Making the “Mobile-First” Vision a Reality

Matt Keowen, Guidebook

Mobile-first mandates are taking sales and marketing organizations by storm. Yet too often, “go mobile” directives from the top get stalled in the execution phase. Teams are overwhelmed with the possibilities, unsure how to get started and where to apply mobile for the biggest impact.

Chances are you know the “why” – but what about the elusive “how”?

Building mobile apps used to be out of reach – they were simply too expensive and required dedicated resources with deep technical know-how. Similar to how Squarespace and Wix democratized website building, app platforms have democratized mobile app building, allowing marketing and sales teams to create apps without involving a developer or IT.

While many people think of apps as outward-facing, some of the most effective deployments to date have been internally focused. By centralizing information in one place, apps empower distributed workforces and those constantly on the move with anytime/anywhere access to information they need where they want it most – on their mobile devices.

If you’re looking to shift some of your processes to mobile apps, the following use cases offer an excellent starting point.                                                              

1. Sales kickoffs: Excitement around a product release or a new quarter can be magnified if the event has its own go-to mobile resource that reinforces the learning happening at the kickoff. A mobile app provides a central channel for people to revisit after the event to review information, connect with colleagues, and tap back into the initial positive energy generated as the event unfolded. It also offers a way for connections made at the event to continue throughout the year.

Pro tip: Create a mini, internal social network through the use of activity feeds and photo albums to boost participation and maintain enthusiasm. You can even incentivize those who are most engaged – not only during the event, but after a designated time period.

2. Ongoing sales enablement: Why not capitalize on the momentum from the sales kickoff by using mobile apps as part of ongoing communication and sales enablement? Organizations with a distributed workforce or mobile reps are increasingly turning to apps to host their collateral – pitch decks, competitive battle cards, and one page explainers – along with other sales resources. Apps can serve as a mobile playbook at your team’s fingertips – so when your rep has a chance encounter with a potential buyer on a cross-country flight, she’s well prepared to share accurate information.

Pro tip: Combine your training updates with embedded videos and short quizzes that ensure the knowledge you’re attempting to transfer is actually received. Reward those team members who are most engaged with the material.

3. Field marketing: Companies send hundreds of field marketers around the world over the course of a year. Email is the primary method of coordination and the sales binder provides the foundation for customer outreach, localized event marketing and many other tactics. By creating an app for the field marketing team or for each of their specific initiatives, you can reduce reliance on traditional communications channels and massive collateral packages. This also makes it easy for field marketers to get details about every program – everything from travel arrangements and set-up instructions to presentations and schedules – while also reining in the otherwise never-ending stream of updates, questions and problems.

Pro tip: To further cut down on emails and phone calls, message changes with push notifications and assign individual calendars to specific team members.

When anyone in the organization can publish a mobile app, your mobile strategy doesn’t need to be adopted, owned and executed by a single stakeholder. Rather, the responsibilities – and opportunities – are distributed across the marketing and sales organization.

Plus, gone are the days of expensive, drawn out project timelines for mobile initiatives. Testing out a mobile strategy with a single app, or handful of apps, allows you to get creative and try out ideas with very little buy-in, iterate, and then scale up when your organization is ready.

When you turn passive, static information into an active experience via mobile apps, you’ll communicate more effectively with teams of marketers and salespeople and keep everyone more engaged – all critical ingredients for a sustainable mobile strategy, and that coveted competitive edge.

Matt Keowen is vice president of marketing at Guidebook, the leading mobile app platform provider. He has nearly 30 years of experience in tech companies and is well versed in marketing and sales strategies.