Cracking the Code When Selling Mobile Worker Apps to Smaller Businesses

Feb 13, 2018

Small and mid-sized businesses have limited resources, limited time, and limited patience. So what will make them see the value of mobile apps for their workers?

The first piece of advice for app providers trying to earn share in this market? Don’t treat businesses at the smaller end of the scale as one monolithic entity.  Sharp differences exist between the very small business (VSB) sector (usually defined as under 25 employees) and the 25-499 employee SMB segment.  Recognizing the differences in concerns, expertise levels, priorities, etc. will help app providers sell more effectively and profitably to both audiences.

For example, according to the latest Frost & Sullivan mobile business apps survey, VSBs are more likely than SMBs to:

  • Be underwhelmed by the mobile worker app value proposition. Two-thirds of VSBs have no mobile workforce apps deployed.
  • Rank affordability as their #1 app selection criterion.
  • Be concerned about ROI and the lack of sufficient internal resources to vet these solutions.
  • Yet see little need for a partner/expert to help select and implement mobile business apps.

The good news: VSBs know they need to step up their game.  Almost half – 47% -- describe their mobile worker app strategies as “lagging” compared to those of their business competitors. 

Moving up the business size ladder – to the 25-499 employee segment – reveals companies that are more engaged and appreciative of mobile worker app benefits.  However, this SMB sector presents its own set of challenges for app providers, including having strong worries about the data security and mobile device implications of implementing mobile worker apps (for example, if new apps are deployed, does that mean new smartphones must be purchased?). 

Another difference between very small – or micro – businesses and their somewhat larger counterparts: SMBs overwhelmingly prefer to work with outside app experts, spreading their mobility partner preferences around and favoring systems integrators, major corporate software vendors, wireless carriers, and mobile device manufacturers almost equally.

North American VSBs and SMBs are pervasive, are job creators, and are risk takers -- and they clearly require special handling.  Best-in-class app providers recognize their unique needs and know how to neutralize these purchase barriers. The challenge for mobile worker app providers is to do all of this – and still turn a profit.

More of our thinking regarding the mobile app needs of the Very Small Business and SMB markets can be found in the Frost & Sullivan study, “Mobile Worker Apps in North America: Selling Worker Mobility Solutions to Very Small, Small, and Mid-Sized Businesses,’ 9ABE-33, October 2017 at

Jeanine Sterling


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