Our previous posts about Touch.Salesforce.com attracted a lot of visitors. There is no doubt that the Apple iPad will become a valuable tool for sales professionals. With this in mind, we are excited to share this post with our readers:
By Ashley Furness, Guest Blogger and Market Analyst for softwareadvice.com/crm.
A recent Dimensional Research study found that while 78 percent of employers plan to invest in iPads by the end of next year, a majority haven’t created a corresponding adoption plan.
This statistic was literally brought to life the other day when two iPad-carrying sales reps stopped by my office. The pair came in to pitch executives on their latest telecom solution, but neither ended up turning their tablet on. This got me wondering– if they had a plan for using their iPad, what would it look like?
With this in mind, I surveyed a handful of mobile strategists in hopes of finding out. Here are three tips they recommended for managers to make the most of their iPads for sales investment.
Look at the Big Picture
When vaccines developer Novartis Vaccines went to The Cement Bloc to help fine-tune their mobile strategy, sales managers were reporting issues getting the team to use all of their iPad applications. Leadership wanted the device to represent a key shift in engagement between sales representatives and their customers, but reps were frustrated by having to manage so many different tools. The Cement Bloc ended up creating a custom solution that more broadly fit Novartis Vaccines’ needs.
“Companies that build a bunch of disparate apps find it’s not sustainable, then have to rebuild one platform and end up spending way more then they should,” Excellis Interactive Marketing Director Molly Maple said. Her company specializes in “big-picture” iPad strategies that seek to encapsulate all of an organization’s needs in one place. This is exactly what they did for one one medical device client that needed a fix for their 2,200-person, iPad-equipped sales team. The firm was juggling Dropbox for storing, a calendar app, and mobile CRM. Excellis created a solution that integrated all three operations, plus more.
Watch Usage, Create Governance Plan
Savo Group Senior Marketing Director Dan Schleifer recommended sales managers write governance plans for their iPad users– or usage goals for the individual sales rep or product launch. His company’s sales enablement solution (a “Top iPad App for Sales” winner) empowers managers to monitor when reps view competitive analyses documents, show presentations and close deals, among other tools.
“If a sales rep hasn’t done these things, I can guarantee that they’re not out pitching the new product,” Schleifer said.
Leadership can also use the data to continually re-prioritize the usage plan based on results. If one presentation, for example, statistically leads to more deals management could focus efforts on that asset. The solution also allows users to instantly access the latest marketing materials while still in the field.
Not just for PowerPoints
The iPad display has the unique ability to pinch, twist, flip and swipe. Don’t use just it like your laptop, says Gary Galusha, vice president of sales for UpSync, calling the alternative a “missed opportunity.” His company and others such as Showpad and Mediafly provide content management and instant presentation generators specifically for the iPad. These easy-to-deploy apps allows users to instantly create beautiful presentations from the most up-to-date marketing materials. Several also incorporate tools for instantly sharing and rating presentations on social networks. Sales reps can combine images, videos, PDFs, HTML 5 and more.
“One of our clients said they were in a lunch with a major corporation who asked about a particular product. The rep put together a presentation in about three minutes,” Galusha boasts. “He closed the deal before lunch was over.”
The overarching response here was find a solution that is specific to your team. “A good salesperson will always outsell sell a bad one, regardless of who has the iPad,” Bary Sherman of PEPworldwide recently noted. But given the write implementation plan, the iPad can make a great sales person even better.
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