It wasn’t too long ago that companies were grappling with the reality of bring your own device (BYOD), and while not everyone has come to terms with that trend, we now have yet another to contend with, BYOA, or bring your own app.

Pushing the discussion in both instances are the sales teams within these organizations. Successful sales people have always been early adopters of technology, think back to fax, Palm Pilots, smartphones, and phablets. No surprise, given that time is the “currency” of sales, anything that helps one be more productive and stretch time is bound to be good, especially when it results in more sales.

As with the previous BYO discussions, there will be much debate, support and resistance from the usual participants about the merits of allowing self-sourced apps, but as it applies to sales people, the need to embrace and accelerate the trend is clear and revenue critical.

While I have always been a proponent of companies having a standardized sales process or sales flow. In fact, often what differentiates good and great sales teams is a dynamic and evolving process, adhered to by all members of the team. Which is one of the reason CRM is an essential tool for sales teams, especially when implemented properly, they facilitate adherence to the sales process, and by extension enhance results for reps and the company.

Where there is room for variance by reps, is in the execution. The process is not meant to create robots or cookie cutter execution, which is where apps come in. Being that sales has been described as a science executed artfully, think of the CRM supporting the standardized process, the science; and apps as supporting the uniqueness, or art of execution. While there could easily be some apps that a company decides to roll out to everyone, each rep’s style may lend itself to apps uniquely suited to that specific aspect of execution. In fact that is one of the pluses of apps, they tend to address a specific requirement that is driven by the individual.

Apps see grass roots adoption in the enterprise

Other factors fuelling BYOA is the shifting age of sales people, millennials will soon dominate, as will their expectations. According to TrackVia, 70 per cent of millennials admit to bringing apps from the “outside” into their enterprise. In turn, these apps are being adopted by their organizations. In December 2013 LogMeIn shared the results of a survey of 1,200 SMBs, showed that 69 per cent report active use of employee introduced apps. This highlights that BYOA not only helps individual sales people but the collective interests of the team and company.

IT is now able to introduce apps sourced and “tested” by individual users, to others who want to leverage the apps to improve their selling. The concept of an “in-house app store” is closer than many in sales think. According to TabTimes, “one in four enterprises will have their own app store by 2017,” no doubt their best customers will be the sales team.

As customers and prospects embrace apps, smart sales people will want to use collaborative apps to create and form tighter and more profitable relationships, making BYOA more important to sales people and companies. Given the difficulty in attracting top gun sales talent, BYOA could be a determining factor in their choice of employer, and the employer’s sales success.

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  • Tibor, great, timely post.

    My last company did BYOD (worked well) and my current one does manage an in-house app store and allow BYOD on request. Sales apps aren’t quite BYOA yet, officially, but people certainly are using their own favorite productivity apps when mobile with smartphones and tablets.

    I personally struggle sometimes to determine what I believe is the right balance between mandated and “free will” app use, especially in this era of big data, where we try to track usage and behaviors for predictive analysis. Will be interesting to watch this trend and hopefully see future posts from you here about it, and other relevant topics, about the convergence of tech and sales. Stay the course.

    • tiborshanto

      Mike,

      I think many are looking for the balance, my sense is that it is still early days, better to encourage “free will” then real it in if it goes too wild. I suspect technology may drive it in the future. As an example BlackBerry having the ability to have both a business and personal profile.

      Thanks for the feedback,
      Tibor

  • Steven A. Rosen

    Tibor very interesting discussion.
    I agree that when reps follow a selling process they produce better sales results. Many sales managers are interested in how to better coach and engage millennials. Although I don’t have the formula, I do like the concept of sales people trying new apps and seeing how they can help the sales process. By allowing flexibility with apps I think organizations can benefit and keep their sales people engaged.

  • My experience matches your thinking on this one Tibor. There are now thousands of apps that provide help and information available for sales and marketing professionals. It is foolish to expect that any one manager or executive will know about all of them and which ones are most effective for their company and industry.

    Small companies have been allowing their sales people to BYOA for some time. The change is that even a massive, dispersed company like HP is encouraging individual sales people to download and test apps to their phones, tablets and laptops.

    It is a smart manager that develops a methodology and environment to capture the experiences and learning that is happening within their sales team as well as a method to share this knowledge with others. Strong performance tools rise to the top, allowing others within the team to take advantage of the knowledge and experience.

    • tiborshanto

      Miles,

      Thanks for the feedback. What you say confirms that knowledge not information is power, especially in the hands of a manager or leader.