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Nov 27, 2013

TabTimes: Tablets in SALES -- Getting to Yes Faster

tablets_in_salesAt the recent TabletBiz conference that took place in New York City, there was an interesting panel on the potential for using tablets in sales processes. “Tablets in Sales – Getting to YES Faster” was moderated by Stephen Diorio, Founder of Profitable Channels, and featured panelists Louis Jonckheere, CoFounder of Showpad, Andy Zimmerman, CMO of Brainshark, and Jeff Sturm, Manager of Distribution Technology for Lord, Abbett, & Co. The panel’s objective was to discuss the best way a company can empower its salespeople with tablets and mobile sales apps. Although there are many benefits to outfitting a sales team with a mobile sales enablement solution -- decreased selling costs (no more paper), more consistent marketing messaging, and increased sales productivity -- there are still many challenges to effectively deploying mobile apps to sales organizations. First and foremost, companies need to justify the cost and prove that the project will generate a positive ROI. After all, with a starting price of $499 for the latest iDevice (iPad Air), it is not a low-cost project to supply an entire sales organization with tablets. From ShowPad’s perspective, Louis Jonckheere stated that the main cost justification is the ability for sales representatives to spend more time with customers instead of spending time looking for and processing content and CRM materials. Another factor to consider is the ability for enterprise mobility to optimize marketing efforts: in the companies that they have dealt with, 90% of sales collateral goes unused. With the right mobile solution, salespeople are better able to obtain content that they need, when they need it, and marketing teams have a more effective channel for delivering it to them. According to Jeff Sturm of Lord Abbett,“Today it’s all about the data”. Salespeople are hungry for data, and we are giving salespeople the tools to increase their sales productivity. Mobile app adoption is also a key determinant of ROI: no company wants to spend money on a mobile deployment only to find that employees don’t want to use it. To echo his previous comments that stress the importance of the data, Jeff commented that the challenge for adoption is on the application side, not the device. They learned this when deploying their CRM mobile app at Lord Abbett. Their first deployment was difficult for the reps to access, but after working with Apperian to make the app available via an enterprise app store and to wrap it in a VPN layer to meet the security requirements in an easily accessible manner, their sales force now loves it. Same app, improved accessibility. The moderator then focused the discussion on content as the most important aspect of enterprise mobility for sales enablement, asking the panel their thoughts. According to Andy Zimmerman, Brainshark has found that there are three main challenges to increasing sales productivity that are highly dependent on content;

  1. Buyers are smart and are doing a great deal of homework before even getting to a salesperson, which raises the bar for the sales force.
  2. Often the representative does not have the right content when the customer is ready to engage. In fact, 40% of sales representative time is spent compiling or building content.
  3. Once the salesperson is finally engaged with the customer with content in hand, they don’t always have the right intelligence about the customer at their fingertips.

With an effective mobile solution, companies can solve these challenges and maximize every sales opportunity. As the moderator put it, “content is the gasoline that runs the sales enablement engine”. Louis of Showpad actually saw this in action with one client who increased their sales productivity by 25%, increasing their number of sales visits per week as they did not need to spend as much prep time for each meeting after deploying the Showpad solution. What is the moral of the story? Enterprise mobility can help your sales results if deployed in the right way, with the right content. Are you ready to get started with your sales force?

Apperian

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