Today’s apps need to ..

Today’s apps need to make access to information as simple as possible so you can sell

Important information about customers and sales opportunities (deals) are commonly stored throughout Salesforce and other CRM systems. And, it has been said that top sales performers are the ones who take the time to understand the intricacies of their company’s CRM and fully leverage key account information.

It is a huge challenge to know where in the system each piece of information is stored for later access and – worse yet – many times important or critical data just gets “dumped” into a note or a description field because no one has a clue where to put it.

As an example, in Salesforce, the contact’s organization relationships and their role in the opportunities can be stored in multiple different places. People need direct access to and the ability to update any of this important information without having to hunt for where it is stored.

Sadly, this can be the difference between selling more and missing your numbers.

Fortunately there is a new app philosophy that insulates the user from the underlying data structure. In this concept, the app provides a “real world” interface designed to allow the user to get to work with no need for instruction. These new interfaces can manipulate multiple sources of underlying data without the user knowing, or best, even having to know what is happening in the background.

And, visual representation is a must. While text and numbers provide the details we will always need when looking at trends or groups of information, we are better suited to focus quickly on indicators.

In the real world warnings are communicated with colors and lights because we learn and identify these indicators quickly, and are able to use them to focus where we need when we need.

In Salesforce, for instance, each company tracks their sales opportunities through stages to follow the progress of the sale. These stages help identify what needs to be done to work the sale to a close.

Many companies have built reports to feed dashboards to see the stages of the opportunity. But when it comes time to manage those stages, users (sales professionals usually) are left to navigate around the dashboards to make changes.

Real simplification is needed, simplification means that:

People are able to use a simple touch selection, or drag and drop to manipulate the underlying data no matter where it is actually stored
People have direct access to update any of this important information when needed
Opportunities are displayed by stage and close date and the people involved and can be simply updated with touch and select inputs
Knowing the relationship of the players and their roles is critical information when selling. A simple interface provides organization view with color indicators of sentiment and role in the deal. Additional color indicators show stage level, and stage position in the overall pipeline. In a sales opportunity, this can play a critical role in winning or losing a key deal.