There may come a time in a marketer’s life when your supervisor tasks you with creating a sales app for your distributors.

I was tasked with the same thing a couple years ago while working for a large farm equipment manufacturer. Not necessarily the sexiest product to sell, but the push to mobile is forcing everyone’s hand (and it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in). So we chose to create an app for our distributors.

The company I was with had a large network of international dealerships and hundreds of sales reps barking at us for something mobile in the field. The need was obvious.

Remember when the big question was whether or not you needed a website? Then, a mobile website? Now the big question is do you need a mobile app? Well, we know how that whole website craze turned out…

>> Read more about why mobility is the greatest sales tool in the world today.

So your distributors need a sales app. But where to start? Here are the top three things I kept top of mind when developing and implementing a sales app for distributors in my previous role.
I already had created all of the marketing collateral in the world. I mean, of course I did. Why should my prospects only be able to see my collateral if they show up at the trade show booth or my distributor’s sales rep rings their doorbell with a pile of papers to hand out? Load your app with all of the multi-media collateral you have at your disposal.

Catalogs, spec sheets, videos, white papers, high-res images, 3D product displays, HTML 5, anything you have created for your sales force should be included in the app. I learned the only way a distributor will get the most out of an app is to not leave any collateral out of it.
Now I have my entire company’s catalog of marketing collateral planned to live in the app for my distributors. But that only helps the sales reps if they’re standing in front of their prospect. I knew this was going to limit the app’s success ever before it launched. Once their cup of coffee at the local diner or visit to their office wraps up, do you expect the prospect to remember everything your sales rep went over with them? Every detail on that highly complex product image?

Shyeah, good luck chief.

I made sure the app for distributors is capable of sending any collateral electronically. Whether that’s by email, social channel or any other online channel, the app does little good as solely a show and tell tool. It needs to be able to share.
Part of what I enjoy as being a marketer is knowing what pushes a prospect over the fence and turns them into a customer. If my distributor shared several white papers, images and spec sheets, how do I know which piece of collateral sealed the deal? At that point, my distributor and I are just shooting in the dark.

>> Read why CIOs need data and analytics to make mobile a success [Forbes]

When you are capable of syncing your app’s collateral back into your company’s CRM, you are armed with the analytical knowledge you and your sales rep needs to turn a generic sales opportunity with limited insight into a more educated one. I discovered this kind of tracking also shortens sales cycles and provide a greater opportunity for increased revenue. (Your boss will like that.)

So as you partake in sales app planning, take into consideration what I did and save yourself the trouble of going back to the drawing board after you pilot the app with your distributors. Remember to focus on providing your distributors with the creative assets they need, grant them the ability to share those assets electronically and provide the insight you crave to make a more effective sale.

Trust me, your distributors will appreciate you took into account these considerations to equip them with an empowering sales app.