If you’re considering deploying an iPad sales application for your sales team, you’ve probably begun discussions with your IT department to help you get the job done. Over the past three years, we’ve heard a lot of complaints from both marketers and IT folks about working together leading to some serious iPad sales app issues and problems.
In fact, “How closely do we need to work with IT to deploy ipads?” ranks in the top five questions we hear from marketing and sales people.
(“How much is this going to cost me?” – is numero uno, of course)
While it’s true IT can cause delays with iPad sales app launches, they may also be the best solution to common issues.
So, this post is written for marketing and sales people looking to deploy an iPad sales app and need to learn how to work with IT–which can be intimidating. We’ll address why you need IT support to deploy the best possible iPad sales app for your team and what problems and issues need to be addressed before you start.
And, if you’re in IT–don’t stop reading. You’ll find three areas that you can provide a major impact on your company’s sales results.
3 BIG iPad sales app issues and problems IT can help you navigate faster.
Problem #1: Choosing a bad iPad Sales App Vendor.
Most iPad sales app projects are owned by Sales or Marketing. The problem is this… Sales and Marketing people don’t deal with software vendors on a daily basis. Coding languages and hardware integrations are not part of their daily jobs. Agile development and SQL databases are not in their vocabulary.
IT people know exactly how to ask the right questions about software and from software vendors. They deal with vendors all the time, so when a vendor is full of crap or when something is not quite right they can catch it.
Furthermore, IT often is working with different business units or divisions. There may be global IT initiatives or other divisions that have a mobile solution to your business issues already in development.
Finally, larger Enterprises often have approved mobile vendors for iPad software, and you could spend months working with a vendor only to find you can’t finish the project with them. Talk about a waste!
Problem: Choosing the wrong software vendor can slow or derail an iPad app launch
Solution: Ask IT to join you early in the vendor selection process
Problem #2: Incompatibility with Existing Systems.
We encountered this problem recently with a multi-national corporation who didn’t plan ahead on integrating their iPad sales app with their existing business systems – resulting in an expensive “do over”. First, they added a file-sharing tool, Box, then followed with an off-the-shelf iPad sales app. Then the sales team started asking for the ability to log customer information to Salesforce.com.
Although we appreciate the business, we hope you won’t have to go through that.
Question: Who knows all your company’s existing software systems? If you guessed IT, you guessed correctly.
IT can be a huge help when integrating your iPad sales app to an enterprise systems like Salesforce.com, SharePoint, and ERP–all of which your sales team will eventually be asking for as well as Sales Managers and VP types.
They also have a good handle on what an API is and why your iPad sales app platform of choice may need one. Hint – APIs help you integrate systems.
Problem: Incompatibility with existing systems can cause costly iPad app upgrades
Solution: Get your vendor/s of choice talking with IT early in the vetting process
Problem #3: Gathering and syncing all your sales collateral
Questions about “who owns the data?” can really slow down an iPad sales app launch.
If you are like most marketers, your key sales collateral including product information and pricing, PDF brochures, PowerPoint presentations, and videos are stored in multiple systems within your organization.
In one case, a customer spent over a month just trying to find the person with access to their e-commerce website to gather their product information to build their sales app! It turned out a consultant from Deloitte was the only point of access.
IT can vastly simplify the process. In most cases, they know the stakeholders for each of your key information and file storage systems. Samples include:
- File Sharing Systems – SharePoint, Box
- E-commerce websites – Magento, etc.
- Desktop and laptop computers of Product Managers
- Email Folders
Each system has its own passwords and stakeholders. IT is your best bet to find them and to help you extract the files in a usable way. If you are planning a bulk upload of product collateral from your e-commerce site, IT is probably the only way you will get the files quickly.
Problem: It can take a lot of time to gather sales collateral from various systems for your iPad app
Solution: Create a list of collateral sub-types and talk with IT to determine the stakeholders early in the process
Bonus Problem: Security issues with iPads. IT can be total pain when it comes to enterprise security, but they can absolutely save your tail when auditors come knocking. Even though it’s tempting to bypass IT, for larger companies we don’t recommend it.
In summary, the most effective iPad sales app launches will include a mix of IT and marketing. Learning what each team specializes in will make the project go as smooth as possible.