Enterprise mobility experts are increasing productivity and revenue from their field sales teams by incorporating enterprise sales apps into their sales process. But is it better to build an enterprise sales app from the ground up, or buy one off-the-shelf from a vendor? We break down the pros and cons in this video blog.


And for reference, here’s Corey’s whiteboard

enterprise sales app fatstax

Video transcription

Hey guys! This is Corey from FatStax.

A lot of large corporations and SMEs are activating enterprise apps. In fact, numbers from Good Technology just came out this week (8/12/2014) showing a 20 percent increase in enterprise app activations for Q2. With all of this app talk, and enterprise companies knowing they need them, but should they build or buy their enterprise sales app? That’s what we’re going to talk about today.

And we’re going to do this Monday Night Football style (with football season right around the corner!) we’re doing a building vs. buying showdown. I apologize how I drew these helmets. I was not an artist. So if we can just get past the helmets and get to this, we’re good to go.

What are enterprise sales apps?

Well to clarify, I want to clearly define what is an enterprise sales app and what is not. Definitely what are not enterprise sales apps are Dropbox, Google Drive and iBooks. There are more like a file sharing app. Yes they are an app, but very limited as far as what you can do with them from an enterprise standpoint. Especially enabling your team out in the field.

So if you’re leaning this way, you might want to reconsider. We have a lot of great information on breaking down the differences between a mobile sales app and file sharing apps.

Pros to building

Complete control of features and functionality

This is your app. This is your baby. So you get absolute total control over everything that goes into it. What it looks like. How it works. Functionality. Etc… You’re in complete control!

Match your app to your sales process

Because you’re in control, you get to match your app to your sales process. Only you knows what your sales process is. By building your own app from the ground up, you can tailor it to your exact sales process.

Add features to your app after launch

A lot of times once your full version of your app is in your field team’s hands and are using it in front of customers, they will recognize some features that are lacking. They’ll come back to you and say “Hey can we add features X, Y and Z? It will make the app a lot better.” Yeah, no problem. So you go back to your development team and add features X, Y and Z. After relaunching the app, boom, all the features are there and your app is good to go.

Cons to building


There’s probably some sticker shock when you’re looking at this number, but from a lot of companies we’ve spoken to that have either started or gone through and built their own app, we hear the range of $25,000 to $300,000 to build an app. Sticker shock for sure. A lot of that goes into developers, operating system updates and updating your app’s code.

Time to launch

Another thing we hear from companies that build their own app is it taking them six to nine months just to get a version of their enterprise sales app out into the field so their team can beta test it. Certainly another thing there to consider.

Bug fixes

You’re dealing with software, so you’re going to have bugs. But we put this under cons because when bugs come up you have to go knocking back on your development team’s door to get a ticket in for them to fix those bugs. That adds time, and downtown for your reps in the field using your app.

Pros to buying


Cost is certainly a big deal from the building your own app side of things, so lets look at some lower costs. And that’s a big pro.

You’re looking at a range from $6,000 to $85,000, which is a lot better than what we’re dealing with when building your own. One of the big things that comes into play with cost is that this is more of a “per user” cost. The reason for the range here is say you’re an SME and has 30 regional reps your cost per license is going to be a lot less than a large global corporation with hundreds or thousands of reps around the world. That cost is obviously going to go up with the more reps you have.

Time to launch

Because this is an app you’re pulling off-the-shelf, is already built, has been constantly updated, the time for it to be finished and ready for use by your field team is drastically reduced. A lot of times, you can get a finished version ready to go in about a month. A lot shorter than six to nine months just to pilot when building your own.

Bug fixes

Because you’re working with a vendor that deals with these bugs and updates on a regular basis, these fixes come second nature to them. The possibility for downtime fixing these bugs is really not a concern for these groups compared to a development team that built something not out of a box but from scratch.


Certainly there are many ways to customize your app when buying one. Branding options are often available.

Large library of features

When dealing with a vendor that builds multiple apps, they’ll have a large library of features they can implement into your enterprise sales app a lot of times development teams you’re calling on to build one from scratch aren’t able to implement into your sales app.

Quit whenever

Because your agreements with these vendors are per license, a lot of them run on a monthly or annual basis for their contracts. So if the app for some reason isn’t scalable for your corporation, or things just aren’t working out, once that contract is up you can cut ties and start fresh with a new vendor. Rather that than having this app you’ve built that isn’t working and you kind of just want to throw into the digital graveyard and pretend it never existed.

In conclusion

So those are some of the difference between building vs. buying an enterprise sales app. I hope this video was information for you, and thanks for watching!