This article originally appeared in the Oct. 2011 issue of Customer Interaction Solutions
The sales industry is constantly on the go and let’s face it, selling is not a some of the time thing. It’s an all the time thing. Sales executives are expected to always be upselling existing customers and finding new customers. Selling is in your blood, and sales people know it is most effective when they are out on the road selling.
Fortunately, enterprises have recognized this and are implementing the proper initiatives to help us do our jobs to the best of our ability. While tools have certainly helped to sell virtually, the method with the highest success rate continues to be face-to-face. As enterprises embrace mobile devices, particularly tablets, it’s the sales departments that are leading the way in adoption.
There are a number of factors contributing to the emerging trend of mobile sales. At BigMachines, we recently conducted a survey to determine which factors were most critical and what we might be able to expect from mobile options down the road. The findings point to two primary issues: empowering sales reps with tools that work for them and streamlining the sales cycle for the client or prospect.
Of the enterprises surveyed, half either currently use tablets for sales or plan to implement them in the near future. The primary reason for this is that tablets are easier to use and more portable than laptops. For those of us that spend the bulk of our time traveling, the less we have to pack and carry around, the better. Laptops are certainly lightweight and don’t take up much space, but in this case, less is more. As a recent Gartner report points out, sales of all PCs are virtually flat, while tablet sales are booming.
Tablets also provide easy access to critical data on-the-go. More than 80 percent of respondents said they plan to use tablets in sales specifically for this reason. The more information a sales rep has about a particular client or prospect going into a meeting, the greater chance for closing a deal.
Aside from portability, sales reps also prefer the ease with which tablets enable quick and professional price quotes on the spot. More than two-thirds of the survey respondents plan to use tablets for providing sales quotes. With the proper applications, an entire proposal can be generated in front of the customer and terms quickly negotiated. This new level of efficiency has driven sales reps to firmly believe that access to mobile devices and applications enables them to close deals faster.
Customers appreciate mobility because it adds an extra degree of transparency to the deal. As quotes and proposals are generated in plain sight, they have full visibility into what is being negotiated throughout the process. While closing deals faster is an obvious plus for sales reps, it is also incredibly advantageous to the client. The faster a customer is delivered the product or service it needs, the better off it will be.
Another benefit that applies to both the sales rep and the customer is how mobile devices minimize, or even eliminate, the confusion that often accompanies complex orders. Devices equipped with adequate software applications enable sales rep to walk a customer through an entire order in-person, allowing the rep to easily explain and iterate through all of the options available right in front of the customer.
With so many advantages of mobile selling, and certainly no shortage of options when it comes to devices, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes the norm within the enterprise. The survey results point to two simple facts: Sales reps prefer these kinds of devices, and customers appreciate the ease with which their needs are met. For those enterprises that have already embraced mobile selling, you should be commended for enabling your sales reps to sell more and sell faster with the tools they need.
Tim Handorf is vice president of product management at BigMachines (www.bigmachines.com).
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Edited by Stefania Viscusi