A good business app sales strategy has a lot in common with a solid sales strategy in any field. Like with anything else, driving a real deal is about asking the right questions and having the right answers. One unique challenge to keep in mind when it comes to mobile apps is the resistance many business owners have to new technology.
If you’re engaging your boss about his need for a mobile app, it’s very likely he will recognize the need for a mobile app because it's "the current trend," but not understand what the app can do for him beyond that. In that case, it’s your job to properly educate him on mobile applications and how they can help engage with customers in the most direct, unfiltered, and practical ways.
The best, properly equipped salespeople bring that information forward first. They know that while businesses like restaurants and gyms have developed apps, apps can be useful for anyone.
Based on a recent survey of over 40,000 apps published over nine months between June 2014, and March 2015, 3% or more of apps released were related to golf courses, lawyers and the legal field, hotels, and resorts, and even professional tradesmen like plumbers. The data is clear about this: Business apps can be used by anyone, in any field. Your job is to identify your customer's needs and understand how a mobile app can help them meet those needs.
How do you do that? By asking the right questions and helping to coach your boss through the sales process.
In a recent survey, 74% of business buyers said they conduct more than half of their research online before making a purchase. That doesn’t mean that your job as a sales professional has changed, or that it is less valuable. What it means is you can expect your boss to have some basic knowledge of how apps work in his field - so you should too.
Here are a few ways to get you started when you’re trying to build the game plan for convincing the guy in charge.
1. Gauge the Potential for Change
Some managers and business owners want a mobile app because they genuinely want to change the way they do business. Others are looking for something that will just complement what they’re already doing. Others still really don’t know what they want; they just have a general sense that having a mobile app is important.
If you can determine your boss’s receptiveness to change, you’ll have a better idea of his desire to challenge his system. From a sales perspective, this completely alters your approach from pushing him to buy and instead emphasizing his willingness for something more.
If you need a starting point, maybe mention that buying on mobile jumped 35% in the first quarter of 2015, and the 45% of all shopping journeys involve mobile at some point.
Business owners who are open to the opportunity of learning about apps and changing their business are not only receptive to buying, but to a bevy of new services you may also offer.
2. Focus on the Idea that Apps are a Marketing Game-Changer
This isn't just a sales cliché or some lip service. Mobile apps are a huge game-changer that fundamentally change the way businesses engage with their customers. People today spend an average of 90 minutes a day - or 23 full days a year - on their phones. Increasingly, they are people’s primary form of connection to the world.
Here's the pitch: Getting your app on a customer's phone is giving your business a direct line to their pocket. You can communicate with them directly, with a message that is tailored to their needs and wants - because the app is designed for them to tell you what they want!
Apps are a way to send marketing messages to customers directly via push notifications - a strategy which boosts engagement by more than 88%. If a business has something it wants to let its customers know about, it doesn’t have to go through an advertising medium like TV and hope for exposure - it can just send that message out directly to those most likely to engage with it - people with the business’s app already downloaded.
Having a mobile app isn't merely a novelty. When a company invests in building and using it correctly, it can provide tremendous value to both business and customer. With the mobile market expected to top $36 billion in value in 2017, it is no longer a little option for early adopters - it is an approaching event horizon, in which companies are either on board or left in the dust.
3. Personalize your Follow-Up
This is sales 101. If you're any salesperson, nobody should have to tell you to follow up on your sales. As much as 80% of sales require five or more follow-up calls. But if you’re a good salesperson, you’ll remember enough about your previous interaction to make it personal.
This brings us back to asking questions. You’re not just asking questions to get your boss thinking, you're asking to learn about his thoughts on the idea of an app, so pay attention to what he’s saying. Take notes if you have to.
For example, you hear him say, “We need something for the small businesses we work with.” You might be satisfied with just that, but that’s a cookie-cutter answer that he can quickly spit out at you. Dig deeper. Ask follow-up questions:
- Is there a particular app function you are thinking of?What businesses will it help us work with?
- Did you ever see how (insert business) does (insert job) with a mobile app?
- Have you looked into any other solutions that you like?
- Do any of our competitors have an app?
These types of questions can help you zero in on what your boss is thinking, so when you do follow up with him, you can wow them about how much of his business you know and remember. This goes a long way towards being treated like a partner.
4. Create Questions that Link Business Needs to App Solutions
One in three app developers says that every single client they work with needs their help in determining features and analytics for their app. Three out of four developers say that more than 50% of their customers need help learning features and analytics.
In a lot of cases, your boss understands the needs of his or her business but doesn't know how the mobile app fits in. He may not even bring up one of the firm's primary needs because it doesn't seem relevant. He can’t even fathom how having a mobile app could help him meet that need.
Your job is to create open-ended questions to allow him to uncover significant needs or challenges the business face. His answer should give you an idea of his desire and timeline in finding a solution. More importantly, you can start formulating how an app can help him meet and overcome those challenges. If you have answers to his business problems, and you can clearly illustrate them, you are opening doors for yourself.
Use these strategies to your advantage to tailor each conversation correctly and professionally. One question - if it's the right question - can open a floodgate of opportunities.