App Development

Is a Mobile App Right for Your B2B Business?

7 minute read

On average, a smartphone user spends four to five hours each day on mobile.

Like it or not, mobile is completely revolutionizing marketing and brand strategy. So, it’s time to make your business mobile-friendly, or risk falling behind your more technologically-savvy competitors. And one of the most popular B2B mobile trends is app development, or the creation of mobile apps to enhance your brand’s presence in the mobile sphere.

However, there are plenty of B2B businesses that have poured time and resources into app development, only to have their apps flop. So, what is it that sets the successful apps apart? Read on to learn the benefits of mobile marketing, assess some mobile marketing examples, and discover how to make sure your app succeeds.

Advantages of Mobile

It’s hard to deny the many benefits of mobile for business. In fact, those who have implemented enterprise mobility have witnessed 25 percent improvement in overall user experience and 24 percent increase in revenue from consumer facing mobile apps. Mobile can help you differentiate your brand from competitors who might not be as technologically advanced–and customize for clients like never before.

Take the app Slack for example. Slack, which advertises itself as “team communication for the 21st century,” allows users to make choices about their app experience, ensuring that it fits their needs. Team conversations can be organized into user-defined “channels” like certain projects or topics. Slack is also a highly effective document-sharing tool that can send all file types and sync with any cloud-based document storage solution, like Google Drive or Dropbox. Through these features, Slack ensures that everyone–regardless of their preferred device, operating system, or software–can use the app; making it easy for businesses to implement.

Apps also streamline users’ more cumbersome processes–for example, the digital marketing agency Whereoware’s Spotlight app. This app helps retail enterprises showcase products, take orders, and monitor sales activity for sales teams, retailers, consumers, and designers. By including all of these functions within one app, Spotlight simplifies the retail process, allowing businesses to maximize efficiency and drive success.

Finally, Entrata Inc’s SiteTablet demonstrates how an app can also enhance customer experience. SiteTablet was designed to help real estate agents mobilize their leasing offices. With SiteTablet, agents can guide potential residents on virtual tours through properties, and show them ratings, reviews, and real-time pricing and availability. Residents can even see what their furniture would look like in a potential home with the “Virtual Move-In” feature. By creating an app that helps users help their clients, Entrata has driven their users’ success above their competition.

Common Pitfalls of B2B Mobile Applications

Apps clearly have the power to take businesses to the next level. However, simply developing an app does not guarantee success. Prior to app development, it’s crucial to evaluate less successful B2B apps and assess where they went wrong.

A common mistake in developing apps is focusing solely on app function rather than user-friendliness. This can result in an aesthetically unattractive app, but there can also be larger consequences. For example, if an app becomes overly complex, it will be too confusing or unwieldy and will deter people from using it.

Apps also become tedious when they combine too many functions at once. Less is always more for mobile, so apps should only focus on achieving only one or two goals. Too many features, pages, or functions will make your app laggy, which is bad news–especially considering that the majority of mobile users is willing to wait only six to ten seconds before abandoning a page. Your app can of course be complex in its construction and development–but that complexity should never reach the users of your app.

Additionally, many B2B apps fail because of simple quirks that quickly become annoying to users. One of the most notorious of these quirks is connectivity. While mobile networks are increasingly far-reaching, they still don’t cover everywhere perfectly–so, if your app is only functional with a data connection, it will inevitably run into issues. The point of an app is to allow clients to interact with your business from anywhere. Equally damaging are oversights like sending too many notifications or imposing inconvenient security controls (like requiring complex passwords or making users login every 30 minutes). While these all seem like relatively minor details, they can make a big difference when your user is assessing whether your app is worth their mobile device’s storage space.

Connecting Mobile Apps and Business

With so many potential pitfalls for your app, development can seem intimidating. However, if you thoroughly assess each stage of your app’s development, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

When your app is still just an idea, take the time to evaluate your goals. First, identify whether your business is conducive to an app or not–specific types of businesses, like ecommerce or those that specialize in digital tools or content sharing, work especially well for apps. Next, pinpoint the specific types of people that will make up your market and make sure your app addresses their needs, so that they see your app as valuable.You should also analyze potential competitors, who are both mobile and nonmobile, to ensure that your app is fulfilling a unique purpose.

When you’re choosing the features that your app will have, be exclusive–don’t let your app become too complex. Organize those features by following one of these templates.

Finally, a common trait among the best B2B mobile apps is including company contact information in the app. You can do this by adding features like map or social media integration, contact forms, push notifications, payment options, and email opt in. This creates a strong link between the app and the enterprise, ensuring that the app functions well as a mobile marketing tool.

Key Takeaways

  • If you’re wondering why you should create an app for your business, the stats make a pretty good argument: with mobile users spending about one-sixth of their day using their mobile devices, an app can greatly enhance your B2B business’s marketability.
  • However, it’s easy for an app to fail: if it becomes too complex, too invasive, or if it proves to be useless to your market, people will delete your app without a second thought.
  • It’s therefore important to meticulously plan your app–from your target market, to your functions, and even to the aesthetics. When you’re developing your business to business application, every detail matters.