When it comes to establishing your brand today, few things are as impressive as having your very own app. This is especially true when that app enhances processes for employees and your customers.

Today in step 5 of our series of 8 steps written for Marketers and Business Opps to help with adding the iPad to your sales and marketing arsenal, we are talking about apps. Download our white paper to have instant access to all 8 steps, as well as other useful information.

To start, here is a quick reminder of what we have covered so far:

  • Step 1 – defining success for you and your company – it’s the old saying, if you don’t know where you are going… any road will take you there.
  • Step 2 – securing C Level support – getting the execs on board has an incredible impact on adoption rate. 
  • Step 3 – Legacy systems – don’t reinvent the wheel, see what you have and how the iPad can enhance and complement current systems and software. Create a cross functional team.
  • Step 4- Budget – a complete budget, meaning that you have all the possible costs covered and the only way to do this is by creating that cross functional team.

Without Apps, the iPad is a Paperweight

One of the costs to consider in the budget is Apps. Without the right apps for your company and your team, the iPad becomes nothing more than an expensive paperweight. There are three basic ways to get the apps you need to ensure success:

  • Build them yourself – requires having your own mobile development and support team
  • External developers – requires time to build and test and support teams
  • Off-the-Shelf solutions – Multi-tenant platforms –requires little effort to deploy and support but its already built and field-tested. However, but may be less customizable for your needs.

You need apps, and if your company has the money and the manpower to do it internally, awesome. Outside developers bring experience and knowledge that is hard to duplicate internally and may benefit more complex projects. If you are looking to get apps designed for your company that will improve current processes at a fraction of the cost you should consider an off-the-shelf solution.

Experience you can take advantage of

Developers that offer an off-the shelf business solution have made it their mission to create apps specifically for businesses. These developers live and breathe the iPad and everything that goes along with it. If you think about it, this actually gives you a distinct advantage over the companies that opt to do it themselves.

  • They have worked with other enterprises – so they know what works and what doesn’t… or they have “perfected” concepts/ideas so that they do work.
  • Exposure – not just to other enterprises but to users. So they know how apps work for the people that use them day in and day out. This experience is priceless.
  • Insider advice – they can actually help you have a success roll-out and offer tips on increasing adoption.

Think about these developers as the experts. In other words, if you are sick you go to the family doctor, if you have a heart problem you are going to a cardiologist… the expert. Yes the family doctor can help, but the cardiologist is going to be able to pinpoint what is the matter and fix it.

Know your users

Whether you have the budget and the team to develop and maintain apps on your own or are going to work with external developers or use off-the-shelf apps, you need to make sure that they understand what sales and marketing professionals need. This is vital. Your development team should know:

  • What your sales people do every day.
  • How your sales and marketing team interact with customers
  • What your sales process looks like
  • How will the new app improve or enhance the entire process

And please keep in mind that there is no such thing as the perfect app… the first time around. Apps get perfected with use. (Fortunately the iPad is one of the most flexible tools you can give your team.)

Your team has to learn how to use the app and give feedback on what would make the app better. This is why you will want to consider doing a pilot… and making sure that you have all the big kahunas in the company on board.

In our next post we are going to talk about developing and running a pilot. You have to know what works and what doesn’t… and what can make it better. If you don’t want to wait until Monday for Step 6, download the white paper here.