Did you end up getting married to the first person you ever dated?
Not very likely. Most of us married folk dated lots of people before we found that just-right person with whom to settle down and make a life. Why do we do this? Because finding out what we really want first requires life experience to give ourselves the chance to discover what we really value.
Can this selection process also apply when choosing business technology? To find the answer, ask yourself this question: Has my business been running the same ERP/accounting system since its inception? Likely not. Most companies start with a low-cost system like Quickbooks or Sage 50. The reason is smart leaders don’t wish to make too big of a commitment until there is evidence that the business is likely to endure.
In the early years, businesses go through a process of self-discovery. Most start-up businesses are primarily focused on creating new revenue streams, serving customers and attracting talent. Once they start to mature, and the full potential of the business starts to become evident, that’s when finding the perfect ERP system starts to make sense. At that point, businesses invest in a more hearty solution like Sage 100 or Sage X3.
Like decision makers at companies in almost every industry, you have another question to ask yourself. Given your particular growth stage, how can you take advantage of mobile technology? What mobile tools should you introduce to your work force–especially your sales team?
When choosing a mobile sales app–especially for companies with B2B wholesale distribution needs–here are some factors to consider:
- Understand the processes you wish to automate.
- Choose an app that provides a great user experience for everyone.
- Determine the level of ERP or CRM integration you desire.
- Select the operating system and hardware platform that is right for your company.
- Evaluate custom-tailored versus packaged systems.
Now, if the list above makes you feel squeamish (like the butterflies you used to get when dating), that’s okay. It means you should probably take it slow. You might not find your ideal match with your first mobile app. And that’s okay, too. By all means, though, do not let your nervousness get in the way of introducing mobile into your business.
If you’re a novice to mobile–if you don’t feel like you have a great handle on what mobile can do for your sales team–fear not. Just like you didn’t get married to the first person you ever dated–you don’t have to make a huge and long-term commitment to the first mobile software you meet, either.
There are low cost, low risk steps that you can take:
- Find out if your ERP or CRM provider offers a mobile extension for your current system. These are often web-based apps that will provide your team access to customers, orders, opportunities, and perhaps inventory. These apps may be free or available at a low cost.
- Try before you buy. Explore 3rd party ISV solutions and determine if they have free downloads in the app stores. If so, engage your sales personnel and elicit their feedback.
- Consider a limited rollout of mobile built around one or a small number of sales people. Use this trial to evaluate behavior changes and tangible sales results in a more limited setting.
- Talk with your Sage business partner, or key technology and other advisors to your business to discover stories and case studies of how similar businesses may be benefiting from mobile.
When it comes to mobile business technology systems, a match made in heaven is definitely out there. You might not find it on the first go around, but by taking action now you will gain valuable insight to set you on the path of–dare I say-mobile bliss.
Paul Ziliak, the happily married co-founder of xkzero, did not marry the first person he ever dated, but was fortunate enough to eventually find his perfect match. He now helps mid-sized and growing businesses mobilize sales and delivery processes. @PaulZiliak @ERP_apps www.xkzero.com