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What is the Best iPad Sales App for my Sales Team?

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There is a lot of confusion when comes to iPad sales apps and choosing the right one for your sales team.  Many marketers and IT folks are surprised there are so many vendors and types of iPad sales apps. This makes the decision of what is the best iPad sales app for my company a difficult one.

Unlike mature business software platforms like CRM or e-commerce, the iPad sales app world is in its infancy. The iPad has only been invented for 3 years! So it’s not surprising that it’s hard to know what you actually need, right?

To help business people make a better informed decisions about the right type of iPad sales app for your company, we decided to write this guide as a basic overview of the three main types of iPad Sales Apps.

Common features of best iPad sales apps

Almost all off-the-shelf iPad sales apps have the following features in common:

  1. Offline access to collateral and product information. Your sales team has access to the right information, regardless of Internet access.
  2. Ability to email collateral and product information. Your team can send the information they share to customers from their iPads.
  3. Web-based Content Management System. Managers use this to sync collateral as well as update the information to be sent their iPad sales apps in the field.

Now that you are familiar with these common features, it’s important to base your decision on how your team sells. This is critical because choosing the wrong app could lead to months of confusion.

Do you sell thousands of products in a large catalog or are you focused on one large product?

Is your sales team large or small?

To simplify, we have grouped the available off-the-shelf iPad sales apps into 3 groups based on sales processes found in most companies today.

Types of iPad sales apps

1. Transactional iPad sales apps

You might also think of these as Order Taking iPad sales apps. These apps are designed for sales teams who visit the same customers regularly and take orders in the field. A good example would be a Sysco Foods Rep who visits restaurants in the same cities regularly, taking orders from chefs based on what they ordered previously or might need that week.  Pricing is important. Integration to ERP or ordering systems is likely needed to be successful.

Advantages of transactional iPad Sales Apps:

Most of the time, transactional iPad sales apps have pre-formatted templates that make it easy to update pricing and availability.  The internal catalog structure is formalized like good old pricing sheets, making it easy on the reps. Customer information can be preloaded to facilitate easy invoicing and perhaps signatures.

Disadvantages of transactional iPad Sales Apps:

These apps are ‘mostly’ designed for transactions or invoicing, so they aren’t a good fit for B2B sales reps that may need to search and show complex content such as a video, .pdf, or a detailed piece of product information. Branding and other customizable features are often impracticable due to the focus on invoicing or transactions. It may not feasible to tie these to existing B2B systems like CRM or Marketing Automation.

Examples: SupeRep, Handshake, or even Square

2. Presentation iPad sales apps

These apps are like PowerPoint on steroids. They are truly exceptional for presenting product information about single product or product lines. Many presentation iPads apps are set-up for sequential selling like a PowerPoint, but the best ones can perform much like those old Choose Your Adventure Books, where the rep can browse to the next video or image in a flowing sales situation. Presentation iPad Apps can be great for those that want to show beautiful images or get extremely detailed on product lines like clothing or sports cars.

Advantages of presentation iPad sales apps:

Presentation iPad sales apps can be deployed quickly due to focus on an individual product or product line. You can create some unique ways to present products for your sales team that take advantage of the iPad’s features and “magazine like” layouts. They can really show your unique brand.

Disadvantages of presentation iPad sales apps:

Sales teams that need to rapidly search through large volumes of PDFs and other collateral will find these ineffective. Focus is on flow and presentation.  They are not designed for catalog sales reps like those that sell more than 500 products and need instant pricing or product details/specs rapidly.  They require a lot of thought and planning to change due to their “magazine” like layout.

Examples: Prezi, StoryDesk, iPresent

3. Enterprise iPad Sales apps

You can largely consider Enterprise iPad sales apps a combination of transactional apps presentation apps.

Enterprise iPad sales apps are designed to hold comprehensive product information such as large product catalogs, volumes of sales collateral (multiple PowerPoints and videos). The best ones come with APIs to interface with Enterprise business systems such as Salesforce.com or SharePoint. Sometimes, they contain pricing and deep product specs that can be served up to prospects like transactional apps.

Advantages of Enterprise iPad Sales Apps:

Enterprise iPad sales apps are designed to hold comprehensive product information such as large product catalogs, volumes of sales collateral (multiple PowerPoints and videos). The best ones come with APIs to interface with Enterprise business systems such as Salesforce.com or SharePoint. Sometimes, they contain pricing and deep product specs that can be served up to prospects like transactional apps.

On the whole, Enterprise iPad sales apps are easy to expand and brand with your corporate image.

Disadvantages: The initial cost and the time to deploy can be larger than expected depending on the amount of information you need to put into these apps. Many companies are expecting highly customizable features available only in apps that are coded by developers, but that is a story for another day.

Examples: FatStax, Digital Sales Aid, and ShowPad

 What’s the best iPad Sales App for me?

In summary to the best iPad sales apps for your sales team are largely dependent on what your company is selling and the flexibility needed. Getting this right upfront will save you budget and headache AND make you look like an iPad genius.

If we missed something, or you have a question feel free to comment below or drop us a line.

About J. Rusty Bishop, PhD

I've spent the last 5 years helping great brands create amazing experiences for their sales teams during one on one sales interactions. Helping sales people do their job is my passion. When I'm not working, I am on the ocean fishing in San Diego, Ca.