John Golden: Sales teams that use tablets close deals faster
2012 will be the year the sales industry truly discovers the many benefits of tablets, according to recent research conducted by Huthwaite. Of the 8,500 sales managers, directors and associates who participated in the worldwide study, 47% cited accelerated pace as the devices’ greatest advantage.
The survey also found that about half the sales reps who said they benefited from faster communication also met their third-quarter sales targets. The correlation suggests that sales reps that are easiest to reach are the ones who seal the deal with customers.
This correlation isn’t surprising since a tablet is like carrying your office in your brief case. Sales reps can respond to leads faster, and the quicker the reps are able to send and receive information to prospects, the better they will be able to take advantage of opportunities in a timely fashion.
In addition, as across all industries, the device provides instant access to company data, multiple email accounts, view embedded links and open, edit and save company documents, just to name a few.
The Huthwaite study also revealed currently only 13% of companies gave tablets to their employees. Of those companies, 85% gave their employees iPads. Although Android leads in the consumer market, the tablet lags severely in the business world, with only 5% of surveyed companies using it.
It appears that although Android market share rose in fourth quarter of 2011, the iPad is still the clear choice for sales because it offers better productivity apps, a cleaner user interface and clearly has a cool factor.
Pharmaceuticals leading the tablet charge
Driving the trend is the pharmaceutical industry, which had the most sales reps using tablets--at 18 percent of survey respondents. If the overall survey results are projected out to the entire sales industry, millions of tablets could be in use in the sales world for competitive advantage and to close deals.
As more sales teams look to integrate the advantages of tablets into their sales efforts, there are cost effective ways for teams to get started without making a huge investment:
- Managers should arm at least part of the sales team with a tablet for sales call and be present during sales meetings.
- Sales managers and coaches should work with sales reps to measure the productivity of using the tablet including the length of sales cycle, time between advances and preparedness for sales calls.
- Begin taking advantage of apps that will sync with office computers such as CRM apps, LinkedIn or third-party apps so once the entire team begins on tablets the list is refined to include the best apps.
- Finally, sales should begin coordinating with the marketing team to create a mobile-friendly website and content that can be read on different tablets.