There’s An App For That

How many times have you heard one of your employees tell you about yet another App or piece of software that will help with some minutiae part of your sales process?

But if you’re not careful you can end up adding unnecessary complexity into your organisation which rather than streamline the process and increasing productivity, could create confusion, communication overwhelm, double-handling and ultimately increase the cost of your sale.

Are your team being bombarded by multiple communication channels? Are they required to check email, check your CRM, review an internal WhatsApp group or Slack feed, check their calendars, check their tasks on Reclaro, Asana, Trello or Basecamp AND review some other platform of customer stats before they can make any decisions about what to focus on first?

All of these Apps and software (and lots of other examples like them) can be extremely useful and drastically improve your team’s output but used without any guidance can create overwhelm and paralysis.

Try this:

Ask your team to write down ALL of the pieces of software they use over the course of a single day – I suspect it’s three times more than you first think.

So how do you decide what are the right Apps and software to help support your business effort? Before you can even contemplate answering that, my answer to business owners is always the same. ‘Don’t even think about that until you’ve completed the steps below.’

  1. Map your entire customer journey FIRST. (A blank wall and lots of post-its is a good place to start.)
  2. Then decide what functionality you need from your software to support your customer journey. This is where doing some research into what’s available in today’s market may help. Let’s face it, you don’t know what you don’t know and you could find some useful functionality. However, be wary of over-engineering. Simple is always best.
    Be warned…don’t fall into the trap of fitting your process, around a software’s template. Any software you introduce should fit around your customer’s journey, which is why you should always map it first.
  3. Complete a full market review. (Do a side by side comparison. Which software will give you the best ROI in the simplest possible process with the widest functionality of all of those on your shortlist?)
  4. Aim to have as much of your end-to-end customer journey managed within one main system, supported by the least amount of Apps bolted-on. (The smaller the number of interfaces, the less the chances of integration issues.)

And finally …

Ensure your software is mobile friendly. It’s a must in today’s world! Your team need to be able to access everything they would in the office, on their smartphone.

All of your data should be real-time and synced, regardless of how many pieces of software you use across the business. I once consulted in a firm and within three hours found seven sources of client data. Not surprisingly this firm was struggling to deliver a consistent client experience both pre & post sales.

Choose software with an open API, so you have the option to employ some brainy coders to bolt together some new fandangled App perhaps with an in-house legacy system if required.

Watch out for hidden sources of client data lurking in your team’s mobile contacts, in their LinkedIn accounts or anywhere else where it has not yet made it onto the centralised system.

Introduce a ‘save for later’ folder for your team to store new ideas or Apps when they come across them, then pull out the ideas box at your next quarterly sales meeting and review it together.

Remember, if your software doesn’t help your team deliver on a day-to-day basis they’ll drive you bonkers as they side-step the tech and ignore all protocols, but this will likely inhibit your ability to deliver a consistent brand experience. The accuracy of your data will be compromised, skewing any reporting and your team will be frustrated that they have to work around the technology rather than the technology working for them.


This article originally appeared in the Northern Insight magazine

About the Author Nicola Cook

Nicola Cook is an award winning entrepreneur and twice published international best-selling author on professional selling and personal & business growth. She is CEO of Company Shortcuts, a business devoted to improving business results by injecting skill, passion and strategy to help those entrepreneurs and sales enthusiasts achieve the sales results they desire.

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