This post is from the Apperian blog and has not been updated since the original publish date.
Mobile App Distribution: Mobilizing Your Dealer Network
The sales industry has always embraced new technology. Clunky laptops and drab PowerPoint presentations were once all field reps had at their disposal. Now smartphones and tablets are the new tools of the trade. Coupled with enterprise mobile apps, sales teams can use their personal devices to do their job better. However, you can’t expect to see results until you have an effective mobile app distribution method in place.
The App Advantage
Already armed with the latest and greatest gadgets, dealers are eager to take full advantage of their mobile devices. For the enterprise, it’s just a matter of putting apps in their hands as quickly and easily as possible. Equipped with the right features, enterprise mobile apps provide your dealer network with the competitive advantage they need to close deals and increase sales. Custom enterprise apps have come a long way in recent years. Companies like DLL, a global provider of asset based financial solutions, are leading the way. DLL’s Express Finance app offers a host of innovative features, such as real time trade-up quotes and the ability to digitally sign documents. That’s just the tip of the spear. Today’s top mobile sales apps display everything from content-rich marketing materials and product configurations, to live inventory and pricing reports. Beyond that they are now capable of supporting the full sales cycle from end-to-end by building digital proposals and contracts, taking payments, and finalizing contracts.
Mobile App Distribution
Of course, enterprise mobile apps are only effective if they’re being used. That’s why getting them in the hands of your dealer network is absolutely essential. Organizations with widespread or global networks can generally handle mobile app distribution in one of two ways: publishing to a public app store or publishing to an enterprise app store. Mobile app distribution through Android’s Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store lets field sales reps anywhere in the world download them in the same way they would download Angry Birds or Instagram. This solution works well from a user perspective, but is not without its faults. For one, getting your app accepted by popular app stores is not an easy process and requires additional coding. If it is rejected, you’ll need to push back its release date significantly. Publishing your enterprise app to a public stores also provides anyone with an internet connection, a point of access to your enterprise.
The alternative to making your mobile applications globally available is publishing them on a custom enterprise app store. An IT manager can control access to the store and specific apps through role-based permissions, making it only visible to a pre-defined set of users. This still allows field sales reps to securely download custom apps as well as approved 3rd-party mobile applications, only it is much more secure. Enterprise app stores are similar in look and feel to public stores and require little to no training for users. They can be branded to your organization and include familiar App Store components such as app names, descriptions, screenshots, and user ratings.
Enterprise Mobility Simplified
Custom enterprise app stores simplify mobile app distribution by circumventing the cumbersome process of getting an app approved and admitted into a public store. In addition to saving time and money, an enterprise app store is also a more secure means of distribution. If it is supported by a robust mobile application management (MAM®) backend, IT managers can implement a range of security features using an intuitive management console. Additionally, apps can be distributed to 100% of target users, regardless of whether they are under device management or not. Through an enterprise app store, mobile app distribution is distilled down to a few minutes and clicks of the mouse. The sooner sales reps can get their hands on the latest apps, the sooner you’ll see an impact on the bottom line. Coupled with the right mobile apps and policies, managing apps through an enterprise app store makes it easier to align enterprise mobility efforts with business goals.