Mobile Sales Enablement 101: Adopting mobile tools to improve sales performance and redefine the selling experience
Printed fact sheets and brochures are no longer the mainstays of sales presentations. Today, mobile sales enablement tools are creating new and better ways for salespeople to engage and sell to their customers, while increasing efficiencies, reducing costs and streamlining the process. The bottom line is, mobile technology offers unmeasured potential for increasing sales success.
Benefits of mobile for sales teams
Following are some of the key reasons why enterprise business organizations are looking to mobile for their sales teams:
- enabling field sales and service teams to sell anytime and anywhere
- reducing hardware cost by replacing more expensive laptops with tablets
- reducing traditional printing and distribution costs for sales materials
- streamlining content updates and enabling sales teams to remain in sync with up-to-date content
- offering multimedia, interactive features, data capture and tracking
Setting the stage – the proliferation of the tablet
In July 2015, technology research firm Gartner, Inc. reported 2014 worldwide media tablet sales at 226 million units. Compare that to 2010 sales of only 17 million units.
According to Gartner VP David Willis, “Leaders are finding legitimate business use [for tablets] and redefining processes for ‘ready at hand’ moments where other computer types are not as well adapted. CEOs often prefer tablets for distributing material for board of directors meetings. Salespeople are using them in client-facing situations; sales configuration tools help close more business and reduce error rates; sales and marketing leaders are using them as dashboards to their business; and marketers are designing campaigns around them. Doctors and nurses are carrying them; they are even being used on the manufacturing floor. Anywhere you once saw people carrying a clipboard or lugging printed reference material, you’ll find an application for a tablet.”
In fact, Gartner names the #1 commercial business application category for tablet devices as sales automation systems for customer collateral, sales presentations and ordering systems.
Aberdeen Research cites 23% more firms meet team sales quotas when employing a sales mobility strategy. IDG research shows 73% of firms who built mobile enterprise applications realized a gain in productivity.
Per Aberdeen’s Mobile Sales Enablement: Fulfilling the Promise of Untethered Selling, “Best-in-Class organizations place significantly more emphasis than under-performers on arming their remote and field-based sellers with an ‘anywhere, any time, any device’ toward filling their pipeline and closing deals.”
IDG research shows 73% of firms who built mobile enterprise applications realized a gain in productivity.
At Signal, we’ve witnessed this trend as well. We’ve recently created tablet apps for organizations that allow:
- equipment dealers to show customers product features that are difficult or impossible to demonstrate in on a showroom floor.
- medical device representatives to house all brochures, images and videos in one convenient and updatable device.
- sales representatives in the field to receive timely updates to their interactive presentations in a centralized and coordinated manner.
So how do you begin?
First, you need to ask yourself a lot of questions, and by this we mean more fundamental thinking than concerns like “iPad or Android?”
Rather, take a look at your sales process now and ask your sales team questions:
- What does the current sales interaction look like?
- At what point in the sales funnel do they get involved?
- Are your salespeople just serving to close the deal, or are they tasked with generating awareness and interest, detailing the benefits and features of your offering, and answering questions with relevant proof points?
- How can mobile support this interaction?
Remember that you don’t want to replace sales, but ask reps how mobile might help them streamline their process and be more effective.
Perform a communications audit of all marketing materials the sales team is currently using. Compare those assets to the story sales is telling when they’re in front of a customer, and see if there are any gaps that a new mobile solution can help fill.
Next, ask your marketing team how mobile might help them.
- Does technology resonate with your target audience?
- Is their primary messaging making it to the end customer during a sales call?
- How often do the marketing materials need to be updated?
- Are salespeople running around with outdated print materials, or creating their own?
- Would centralized content management and rapid push updates help better connect marketing and sales?
Bring in your IT team.
- Do you need offline access for sales presentations in remote locations?
- Are there hardware cost savings you could realize by replacing traditional laptops with tablets?
Answers to these questions will help dictate the path you take and the technology you use.
Supporting the face-to-face interaction
There are many mobile solutions that you can put in place for a sales team. For the purpose of this discussion, we will focus on how an iPad app can be used as a tool to help your field sales team when they are meeting face-to-face with a potential customer.
Here are two scenarios that Signal was involved with, as an illustration of how different client needs and circumstances led us to unique development strategies.
CLIENT NEED #1:
Fully Customized Sales App
GE Hitachi wanted to create an engaging iPad app showcasing their service offerings in nuclear plant safety and maintenance. In lieu of bringing their customers to see actual on-site equipment, our client wanted compelling informational material to support the sales team, beyond their conventional printed collateral. Signal audited their existing assets and drew up a plan to create rich, interactive visuals demonstrating the benefits of their service offerings across several categories. The delivered iPad app takes advantage of dynamic multimedia content like splash screens, demo animations, scrolling technical diagrams with interactive hot spots, video clips, 3-D renderings, photo galleries, fact sheets and ad slicks.
Because many of the sales meetings take place in remote locations, all content is embedded within the app. This means the salesperson is not dependent on an Internet connection during the sales call and there are no buffering delays for multimedia content.
CLIENT NEED #2:
Sales Briefcase App
One of our clients sells irrigation products through a nationwide dealer network. Although a comprehensive arsenal of traditional collateral materials is available to support their sales effort, keeping the large volume of product fact sheets and videos current and organized has presented a continual challenge. With organization as the central objective, Signal created an iPad app that serves as an interactive library of marketing materials. Users can read brochures or watch a variety of videos, all categorized by product – no more fiddling around to find the right video or printed sales sheet.
Updates and time-sensitive campaigns are typically a concern in sales materials across the board, and this app allows revisions to be pushed to the entire sales team by means of a version update, similar to version updates we are familiar with installing for personal apps.
CLIENT NEED #3:
Combination Presentation and Organization Sales App Utilizing Web-Based Platform
Medical Mutual desired an iPad app to help its salespeople to better engage and sell to prospective physicians. Unlike the app described in Client #1 above, this one did not require fully immersive, rich media. However, they did need a professional animated presentation and the ability to organize a full library of marketing materials using a web-based content management system.
Signal created an interactive presentation in PowerPoint format and utilized a third-party platform called Showpad to publish the content to a native iOS app format. We chose the Showpad sales enablement platform because of its ease of use and professional presentation. These platforms offer a variety of functionality using a monthly subscription model, including the following:
- Content management and delivery
- Some branding and customization
- Publishes to any device (iPad, Android, etc.)
- Sales team communication via announcements
- Web apps
For this scenario, what you lose in branding and customization, you gain in functionality, all at a reduced investment.
Enterprise or App Store?
In the above three cases, the apps were internally deployed as an enterprise app only, but you may find that it does no harm and can actually be a benefit to publish your app for general downloads on the iOS and Android app stores.
In a further example, we developed an app helping dealers of a prominent lawn equipment manufacturer to showcase certain product features that are hard to demonstrate on the showroom floor. The app uses video, 3-D imagery and animations to engage potential customers and help them decide whether a lawn tractor or zero turn mower is the best fit for them. Originally planned for dealer usage only, the app was later released on Apple’s App Store as a means to help create awareness and boost sales beyond the scope of a limited dealer release.
Simply distributing tablet devices to your sales force is not enough. Once everyone has these wonderful devices, the really important step is to change your organization’s thinking about sales presentations and the very nature of one-on-one customer interactions. Custom mobile sales enablement applications represent a critical strategy for turning your mobile investment into tangible results.
We hope you’ve found this paper helpful as you think about the best way to incorporate mobile tools to improve sales performance. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!