UPDATED 4/17/2018 with new data
A lot of companies wonder why they can’t just use their website to house critical sales information for their sales team as opposed to taking the plunge with a mobile sales app or sales enablement tool.
After all, your product information is already on your website.
And, most companies have websites.
Seems like a pretty logical conclusion to open up a browser, pull up your website and show your products to prospects, right?
Furthermore, pretty much everyone has a smartphone with enough signal to pull up your mobile responsive website do this.
So let’s call it like it is…
For some, using your company website is a perfect solution.
For others, a company website doesn’t fit their sales process and issues with Internet access in the field significantly reduces productivity (Every tried to watch YouTube with no signal?).
So, let’s compare the two, starting with using your website as a sales enablement tool.
A website as a mobile sales app
Websites are built for the Web–the Internet.
The Internet is great for consumers to learn about things and share information.
Mobile access to the Internet makes your website a useful tool for sales people on their smart devices, since your marketing team is probably filling it up with great information, right?
Advantages of just using your website
- Your information is already present. This saves you from having to re-create/re-purpose content.
- Your information is up to date. Most companies regularly update their websites.
- It’s familiar. Your sales team probably knows your website very well.
- Prospects see the pages. When your rep shows the customer the web page on their iPad or iPhone, they know where to go when they are navigating on their own.
Disadvantages of just using your website
- Unreliable internet. When the Internet is not available or weak, your iPad is a paperweight. Useless as a sales tool. Plus many reps meet with customers in locations that primarily off-grid.
- Slow loading pages. Server issues, no mobile site, bad internet -for a number of reasons, sometimes it is painfully slow to load webpages in the field. That results in BORED prospects and impatient reps.
- Search results too general. What happens when you search for a product or brochure on your website. Do you have to scroll through dozens of entries or click through to see if its the page that you want? Ask your sales team how useful that is.
- Difficult to send multiple files by email. Every rep will be in a situation where a prospect needs multiple brochures or product pages. Doing this from your website can only be done by copying the links and pasting them into an email one at a time. This makes it impractical to send multiple files at once to a prospect on your phone or mobile device.
- Not designed as a sales tool. Websites host a lot of information about the company. It is designed for customers, investors, what the CEO wants and Google bots, but not sales people. There is no flow, no solution selling, etc.
- No sales-specific analytics. Want a report on how your sales team is interacting with customers on their mobile device? CRMs such as Dynamics and Salesforce.com won’t work with your website to log details of a sales call. A critical go-to-market channel provides very few metrics for you to assess its performance.
Sales Enablement Tools and Sales Apps
- Sales collateral always available. All the important product information and presentations are ready for offline viewing.
- Sales-focused content. The information your sales team needs to sell products and services is often very different from consumer information on your website. Think presentations, manuals, specs and details, etc.
- Send customers multiple files. Most sales apps and sales enablement tools are designed to send an array of product information in one single email.
- Apps actually are sales tools. Mobile sales apps are focused on field sales people’s daily functions.
- Price. Most apps cost about $1 per day/per user depending on the customization and collateral you want to put into the application.
- Time to deploy. It can take some time to get the right mobile app built and launched.
- Build new content. To take advantage of a mobile app, you may need to re-format or create some new selling content.
Using your website as a mobile sales app in the field is a great entry point to get your sales team started using the mobile devices in the field.
However, it’s not designed to be a selling tool like mobile sales apps.
Sales people that are in an office or retail location with excellent Internet access (WiFi) can probably use your website just fine on their iPad. However, field sales reps will struggle and be less effective.
Finally, here’s a quick test.
Where ever you are right now, open a browser on your phone to your website. Record how long it takes you to find product details on 3 of your products and email the links of all 3 to me at email@example.com in a single email. Go ahead and try it. I’ll respond in an instant.