Enterprise mobile applications are on the path to becoming the next $100 billion market opportunity. Already, companies have taken a top-down approach to implementing mobile-first strategies including vast investments in smartphone and tablet technologies that help sales teams engage in their daily tasks, and with their customers, faster and more effectively. Yet when it comes to selecting the best applications for these devices, sales, marketing and IT must choose wisely. Optimizing return on investment requires that the software supporting a salesperson’s daily activities do more than simply work on mobile devices. They must embrace a mobile-first design center, and keep in mind the following principles.

Time. For sales reps, field service personnel and contact center agents, time is money. Ensuring that applications are built for the way sales people actually work includes streamlined workflows and the ability to put critical information at their fingertips instantly. Delivering high levels of productivity and engagement requires that applications be first intuitive and easy to use, but also highly relevant and non-disruptive to selling time. True mobile-first applications are designed to work that way – eliminating the onerous task of navigating an enterprise application not optimized for mobile’s small screen.

Convenience. According to a recent study by Deloitte, the average person checks their mobile device 46 times per day. By applying sales enablement methods to native apps and Webmail, organizations can reach sales reps they were previously unable to engage with traditional methods. The use of push notifications based on an employee’s profile offers another great convenience, eliminating the need for reps to go looking for content, and alerting them to important updates or next steps in a sales cycle. There is an emerging class of mobile sales communication tools that incorporate workflows such as these, that are designed to serve up the right content at the right time for the right prospect using any mobile device.

Motivation. Many of today’s most successful mobile applications for sales have embraced features that prey on extrinsic motivation. These are designed to keep reps continuously engaged, and include the use of social, reputation and game mechanics or other rewards. Simple tactics such as scoring and leaderboards have been found to be to highly effective at driving desired behavior among reps.

Other applications offer powerful intrinsic motivation, such as the value they provide to the rep through continuous reinforcement of core knowledge, sales skills development via scenario-based challenges pushed to their mobile device. Software like this helps reps to have better client interactions, and improve the reps’ own ability to drive buying decisions.

Management Insight. When you look at the impact of technology like mobile on data collection and analytics, we’re still only scratching the surface. A growing number of mobile software applications now incorporate powerful onboard analytics that synthesize thousands of data points in real-time on the skills, behaviors and activities of the individual reps and teams who are using them. The reporting of this data delivers some amazing – and sometimes unexpected – insights into the behaviors of their teams. Some tools do a nice job bubbling up specific activity data for sales managers. This type of insight not only drives manager coaching actions, but can provide confidence to senior sales leadership that their teams are aligned and ready to win.

Even though the mobile world has been dominated by consumer apps, enterprise applications continue to gain prominence across all areas of business. With the ability to streamline processes, increase productivity, and drive competitive advantage, it’s safe to say that the trend toward mobile-first strategies will continue. And, with the right applications, ROI is just around the corner.