By John Houghton on December 7, 2012
Modern companies are finding that the iPad can be a great tool for increasing sales effectiveness. Because of its compact form factor, ease of use, and ability to supplement the sales process, the iPad is making its way into the average sales rep’s arsenal.
Seeing is Believing
It’s a new way of presenting that combines two of the strongest sales tools: the personal meeting, and visuals. Many of us know that we’re much better off having a conversation with the chief influencer rather than engaging a group in a one-way PowerPoint presentation. The only downside of a conversational meeting has been that we couldn’t easily show our prospect visuals that cement our sales points. Enter the iPad. During conversation we can now say, “Here, let me show you,” and then present a visual graph, image, or short video. In this way, the visuals supplement the conversation and reinforce credibility. The nice thing about the iPad is its quick startup, which allows your rep to whip it out to make a point (versus waiting for a PC to boot up). Plus, it’s much easier to take an iPad to a restaurant or coffee shop versus a laptop.
Order Configuration and Booking
Strike while the iron is hot! Many companies are finding the iPad is a great platform for hosting a real-time custom configurator, allowing reps to configure and book orders before they leave the customer site. A common workflow looks like this: a rep builds a configuration in the field, then sends it to headquarters for review. It is then tweaked or approved and sent back in real-time. This allows the rep to book a complex order before leaving their appointment. For this, we suggest you use iPads with cellular data connectivity versus Wi-Fi alone.
More and more sales reps are using their personal iPads for storing sales literature such as PowerPoint presentations and PDFs. Why not equip your sales force with an app that automatically pushes new content to them, including documents, audio, and video? A mobile app can serve as a multimedia library of easily accessible and well-organized literature. Having a sales app will also counteract any perceptions that your company has fallen behind on its use of technology.
Back in the old days, sales reps used to love to stay motivated and educated by playing audio tapes in their cars between appointments. The modern equivalent of that is sales management producing a weekly audio program for sales reps that features messages from management, positioning, competition updates, industry news, and interviews with subject matter experts. If it’s well done, sales reps will use this as a go-to resource and listen religiously. Another idea is video recording your top sales reps as they go through their PowerPoint presentations and handle objections from the audience. Audio and video can now easily be pushed to mobile apps in real-time so that sales professionals can listen on the go: as they’re working out, driving, or flying (the app can be configured to load content for offline use).
The two hot tips for enterprise iPad apps are to password protect the app, and to use Apple’s enterprise release process rather than the iTunes store release process. Sales reps love iPads, and the sooner you can get them up and running with sales apps, the sooner you’re likely to realize new revenue.