Over the past two years all the buzz in the channel has been about having a mobile strategy. Mobile is the latest in a long line of shiny new things that seem to surface every other year, promising to “engage the channel”.
Most people I talk to about “Mobile” cite statistics about the number of mobile device sales surpassing desktops and laptops, that messaging has replaced emails, and that mobile application usage is growing exponentially. All of this culminating in battle cries for a mobile strategy for the channel. But what to do?
Most people conclude in relatively short order that the only action they can take is to build a mobile application for their partners. It seems logical that a branded mobile application would keep you top of mind, that messaging your partners on an application would engage them more and if you ask a partner if they’d like one they will typically tell you, “yeah sure”.
So, why don’t you need a mobile strategy?
- The top of mind argument doesn’t fly. With the proliferation of mobile applications you are lost in a sea of icons with little red badges telling the user how many notifications they have. Face it; you’ll never beat Candy Crush.
- If you analyze mobile device use, particularly phones, the top productivity apps are messaging, email, and the actual ‘talky’ part of the device. Beyond that social apps such as facebook, twitter, etc. dominate.
- If you ask your partners a different question you will get a better answer. Ask how many vendors they have (let’s use 20). Then ask if they would like their communications spread across 20 apps. They will say, “hell no”.
- In three years there will be no distinguishing between Desktop/Laptop and Mobile. There will just be devices with varying screen sizes and optional keyboards. The MS Surface is a good example of this. Operating systems and user experience will converge for MS, Mac etc.
- Ultimately writing applications for specific operating systems will lose to the browser as the desktop application lost to the browser.
I’ve been in technology for over 25 years and have seen how it has changed our behavior and productivity. The best technology and best use of technology serves to enhance interpersonal relationships by streamlining essential communications.
Focus on leveraging your PRM and CRM systems to enhance those relationships with your partners and deliver the support they that will enable increased sales. That’s a great use of technology.