Tablets in the enterprise: How to enable and empower your mobile sales force

by Brendan Cournoyer

April 23 2012

Brendan Cournoyer is a content marketing manager at Brainshark


With tablet sales rapidly eclipsing PCs, it's time to ask the question: How can your mobile sales representatives best use them?

It may surprise you to learn that 2011 marked the first year that smartphones outpaced PCs in global sales. With the rapid emergence of the iPad and other devices, some are predicting that it could be as little as two years before tablets pass their aging predecessors, as well.

If these trends continue, it won’t be long before just about every business professional owns a tablet, and enterprises everywhere are already eyeing a transition to this new wave of computing.

But as you might expect, the question of tablet implementation doesn’t start with the how – it starts with the why.

Selling Goes Mobile

Many companies across the country have already begun to see the benefits of enterprise tablet use, specifically with their mobile sales forces. And at an executive roundtable session hosted by Brainshark, Inc. last fall, the majority of attendees cited sales as the primary function for tablet usage at their companies.

For salespeople in the field, the benefits of tablet adoption are simple to understand. Lightweight and easy to travel with, the tablet has proven to be a convenient device for reps on the go. Armed with tablets, reps can now walk the floor of events and conferences with short presentations and product demos at their fingertips. Some have even reported that the “instant on” capability of iOS and Android tablets has helped improve their productivity in pitches, as less time is wasted on tedious boot-ups and log-ins.

Other organizations have found tablet usage to be critical to training remote employees and updating salespeople on the road. As sales teams spend less time at the office, more companies are opting for on-demand video and informal learning programs over traditional live and in-person sessions. A recent report from the Aberdeen Group notes that companies credit the accessibility of mobile devices with their ability to stay better connected with reps in the field.

Tablets Help Make the Sale

Perhaps the biggest benefit from a sales standpoint, however, centers on communication. In a survey conducted late last year by sales performance firm Huthwaite, more than 8,500 salespeople world-wide cited “fast communication” as the primary advantage of using mobile devices to hit their quarterly numbers.

While smartphones have already simplified access to voice and email, respondents noted that tablets also allow them more freedom to perform PC-based tasks and access company data and resources.

These days, salespeople are even using tablets to quickly generate proposals that prospects can sign on the spot and instantly receive a copy of via email. Features like these allow organizations to eliminate hard copies for signing up customers, shrinking the sales cycle and making the contract process more streamlined.  

Despite all of these benefits and the demand from salespeople themselves, Huthwaite also reported that less than 13 percent of those surveyed have received company-issued tablets for work.

As salespeople continue to attribute tablet usage to dollar signs, you can bet that percentage will begin rising quickly in the enterprise.

Brendan Cournoyer is a content marketing manager at Brainshark

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