Creating sales calculation apps that can calculate quotes or return on investment (ROI) is a very powerful and efficient application of the Open as App platform. Employing our platform for this purpose makes perfect use of the capabilities of a spreadsheet – the complex calculations and dependencies that it can work with – while offering the ease of use and effectiveness of an app.
We recently featured the story of one of our clients who successfully improved their sales process through integrating Open as App. This blog post is intended to show you what the process looked like from a more technological and practical perspective.
It will take you through the process of how this company decided to try Open as App. It will also provide you with greater detail about how the sales calculation apps we presented in our case study were created. This will include a focus on their features, as well as how you can build your own sales calculation apps, step by step.
Keep reading to learn how to create sales calculation apps that can issue sales quotes or calculate ROI with the help of Open as App!
Getting started with Open as App
Our recent case study looked at how our client, a large manufacturing company that builds machines for manufacturing lines, came to adopt Open as App. Within the company, sales manager Giovanni and head of sales Jean-Pierre [names changed for privacy reasons] realized that the sales process direly required an overhaul. The reasons for such an overhaul included:
- A cumbersome and long sales cycle
- Frequent loss of leads due to the length of time required to offer them quotes
- Inefficient and complicated communications with clients
- Complications for the average office user when using the Excel sales spreadsheet
- Data corruption issues in the sales spreadsheet
Why a no-code platform?
After a discussion with Giovanni, Jean-Pierre started exploring possibilities of how they could retain the already existing way of issuing quotes (which was based on complex calculations in big spreadsheets) but make it more efficient and fast.
As head of sales, Jean-Pierre started looking into various solutions. In particular, he decided to check out no-code app platforms that had been recommended to him by a friend. Some of their advantages included that standard app solutions of databases were too general, whereas with Open as App you could turn any structured type of data in a spreadsheet into an app. Moreover, no-code app creation promised to be much faster and cheaper than the individual development of an app.
In looking for no-code solutions, Jean-Pierre encountered Open as App. Since the platform is free to try, he immediately proceeded with creating a few test apps and found that the platform seemed to offer all that he and his company needed to move the sales cycle to the next stage.
Scheduling a demo and testing Open as App
After the initial test, Jean-Pierre also scheduled a call with Open as App at which Giovanni and the whole sales team would be present. While the test proved an immediate success, some questions remained open. These included:
- Data security with Open as App and GDPR compliance – what happens to the company’s data? Can it be kept in the company’s cloud storage? Is company data saved or accessed by Open as App at any time?
- Integration options for future growth and expansion – can Open as App be combined with Salesforce?
Here, too, Open as App proved to satisfy the company’s requirements for data security. The platform never accesses or saves clients’ data during the process of app creation or after that. Users can keep their data in their cloud storage of choice, without worrying that it will leak or be accessible to anyone. Moreover, Open as App also allows for integration with various other services, including Salesforce.
After the successful demo call, the sales team went ahead with creating an ROI calculator app and a Quote app on a test account. The ROI app was later used by sales representatives when customers have questions about the amortization levels of the machines, and the Quote app for issuing quotes on the spot. Yet, the spreadsheets that make these calculations possible could not be used in the sales process with clients.
On the one hand, these spreadsheets are very complicated and large – this makes them overwhelming to use. On the other hand, they contain sensitive company information and reasoning about how ROI and quotes are calculated which cannot be revealed.
What Giovanni’s sales calculation apps can do
Following is a list of some of the features of Giovanni’s sales calculation apps.
As with any app produced with the Open as App platform, features can be added to the app all the time. These features are in addition to the main functionality of the app, in this case, a calculator.
App features are provided by the Open as App platform and can include things such as charts, drop-down menus, and fill-in forms for a client’s name and address in the quote, an automated bcc to the sales back-office when a quote is sent to a client, and more.
Quote app features
Some of the central features in the Quote app used by Giovanni, and made possible by Open as App, include:
- The ability to select any product/amount of products
- Adding client information such as name and email
- Generating a quote on the spot
- Printing the offer as a PDF file
- Sending the file to the client (and bcc to the sales office)
ROI app features
The ROI app offers a variety of other features to sales representatives such as:
- The ability to project individual company scenarios and provide details about the result
- Add values for new products and make calculations based on updated values
- Compare and calculate savings for different scenarios and products
- Print the ROI calculations as PDF and send them to the client
These are some of the features made possible by using Open as App to create an app based on your sales and ROI spreadsheets. At the same time, your company data remains protected and hidden from view for both Open as App as well as your clients.
How Giovanni’s ROI app was created
To give you an example of how Giovanni’s app was created, we’ve built an ROI app that can compare the creation of apps with the Open as App platform versus native apps. See the following sections for a breakdown of how the app was created and a tutorial on how to create your own calculation app.
To create sales calculation apps, you need a well-structured Excel spreadsheet, like the one on this screenshot. For this app, the spreadsheet was structured in several blocks which add up to the final ROI calculation.
First, the spreadsheet is programmed to calculate the cost of product use. In this case, this is based on the buying price for a particular number of people that can create apps and the number of apps you can create based on these costs.
The second block calculates the cost per app on the basis of the above information. It also allows for the comparison of the cost of app development in Open as App versus individually programmed apps (native).
Finally, the last block of the spreadsheet compares the costs of app maintenance and updates.
Before uploading your spreadsheet to the Open as App platform, it is important to plan how you envision the app to look and function. When planning, consider how you want to structure your app, what you want to visualize for users, and what users need to be able to work with. Once you’ve planned your app, you can go ahead with uploading the spreadsheet,
When the spreadsheet is uploaded to Open as App, the portal analyzes the data, and you are given the option to determine the type of the app. In the case of the ROI app, this is a “calculator” app.
The user must then select the cells that will be displayed in the app. Input fields in the spreadsheet are white, whereas output fields – the results which the app displays based on values provided by the user – are blue.
When creating the ROI and Quote app, Jean-Pierre and the sales office followed the above logic. They also made sure to define a printing area in the spreadsheet, so that they could instantly calculate and print the quotes to PDF, and send them off to the client.
How the app was published and distributed
Once the app is created, it must be published and distributed. When Jean-Pierre and the sales team created the ROI app, they rolled it out to several people in the company for testing and feedback.
After this process was concluded and all the kinks were ironed out, they could roll the app out to the entire sales team for immediate use. Seeing how fast and easy it was to create that app, they immediately proceeded with creating the quote app as well.
For Jean-Pierre, his sales team, and the back-office the effect of these apps was significant. On the one hand, the apps freed up the sales experts in the back-office to work on other tasks and to spend more time improving the spreadsheets that the apps were using. On the other hand, the apps enabled sales representatives to shorten the sales cycle and build more trust with clients, because they could now instantly provide them with information about pricing and ROI.
Moreover, the company also plans to integrate Open as App into Salesforce with the help of the Open as App customer success team and Open as App partners which allows them to build a variety of other custom apps for their teams.
How to create your own sales calculation app
Do you want to try creating a sales calculation app yourself? Follow the steps below to learn how to create easy to use sales calculation apps from your spreadsheets.
1. Introduction to app creation
Spreadsheets can be intimidating to users who are not experienced. They may also contain too much sensitive information or company intellectual property. That’s why you should consider turning them into apps instead.
That way, you can protect your information while your employees or clients can still benefit from the calculations that your spreadsheet enables them to make. Whether it’s costs, quotes, interest rates, or something else – Open as App can import any type of calculation.
2. What to expect when creating sales calculation apps
Any app created with the Open as App platform retains the internal logic of the spreadsheet it is based on. For end-users, though, an app is much more accessible and usable than a spreadsheet.
When creating an app through the platform, you can organize it in any way you want, i.e. how your app looks and functions is entirely up to you. Since apps are dynamic, they will instantly display the correct results when a user changes the values in the calculation.
3. Create your own sales calculation apps
Step 1. Link your spreadsheet via your preferred cloud storage provider, or upload it to the Open as App platform directly. Your spreadsheet and its logic will then be analyzed by the platform.
Step 2. Once your spreadsheet is analyzed, the platform will ask you to select those cells from your spreadsheet, which you’d like to have displayed in your app.
These cells will automatically show up in the app preview on the side. Cells that display results will be blue, whereas those that display input values will be white.
Any formats that apply to your cells in your spreadsheet will also be applied to the same fields in your app.
Step 3. Once you’ve finished selecting the cells which you wish to include, your app prototype is ready. You can then proceed with the design phase.
During the design phase, you can customize how you want your app to look. This includes colors, themes, and more. You can also arrange the different elements as well as add new ones.
Finally, if your spreadsheet also features a defined printing area, you can include this in your app as well.
Step 4. At this point, you’re ready to publish your app. You can use your app through the Open as App client on your smartphone, and it will be available both online and offline.
Initially, your app will only be accessible by you. You can change this setting from the Open as App dashboard, and give access to other users. The dashboard is also the place where you can manage access anytime, as well as edit your app further.
These are the steps that Jean-Pierre and his team followed when creating the ROI and quote apps for their company.
Just like them, if you’ve planned it well, you can create your own sales calculation apps within minutes. Want to try? Go to your app wizard and create your first app right now!