Surprising number of companies pass on using tablets for sales

by David Needle

February 20 2014

Using tablets as a sales tool is supposed to be a no-brainer, but a new survey indicates adoption is far from universal

The global survey of over 700 B2B (business-to-business) marketers and salespeople asked how they used tablets to help sales-related activities.

The result? Only 23% said they had deployed tablets. Of the remaining 77%, a whopping 83% said they had no plans to deploy tablets, even though 75% said tablets help, or would help improve sales activities.

(The survey was conducted by Corporate Visions, a provider of marketing and sales messaging tools to business).

Analyst Tim Bajarin found the percentage who hadn’t adopted tablets for sales a shock.

“Maybe if they talked to a lot of international and smaller companies you get a high number, but there’s no question that in the U.S. the majority of sales organizations are using tablets,” Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, told TabTimes.

("How a new generation of apps are making tablets a more effective sales tool" will be one of the key sessions at the Tablet Strategy conference in New York on May 6, 2014. You may be eligible for a free pass if you qualify.)

Tablets help the sales process

As for the 23% on board the tablet train, the devices get plenty of use. For example, 60% said they use tablets exclusively to walk through a sales presentation when meeting with customers in person.

Another majority (56%) said they use tablets to demo a solution live to customers, while a solid minority use tablets exclusively for various CRM activities (45%) and to customize or edit a sales presentation ahead of customer meetings (39%).

“The results from this survey seem to show a tale of two conflicting viewpoints,” said Tim Riesterer, chief strategy and marketing officer for Corporate Visions.

“The majority of people in marketing and sales believe tablets either are or can improve sales enablement, but nearly the same majority of companies have no near-term plans to deploy them.”

Still, Riesterer notes, “tablets are the ideal tool for the outside sales rep who is constantly on-the-go and has a just-in-time mindset for how they access and consume sales enablement coaching and content.”

Perhaps a useful perspective here is that despite the seemingly overnight boom in sales of tablets by both consumer and business, the iPad was only released less than four years ago and there are plenty of areas where laptops and other alternatives continue to hold sway.

“Even if you accept the numbers are as low (as the report says), there is no where to go but up,” says Bajarin. “There’s a huge opportunity ahead for tablets in sales and broader IT as well as for SMBs.” 

(For more timely coverage and insights about how tablets are being used in sales subscribe to the free Tablets for Sales newsletter)

David Needle is Editor of TabTimes and based in Silicon Valley
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