Tablet adoption is no longer just an option for enterprises – it’s a foregone conclusion. This is especially true for organizations whose sales teams spend more time on the road than in the office. In fact, Gartner predicts that iPad tablets will continue to gain popularity with business reps over the next few years – even surpassing the fading BlackBerry by 2014.
Of course, today’s salespeople aren’t waiting around for their companies to get with the tablet program. Acceptance of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for business tablets is at an all-time high, with financial services reps leading the charge. A recent study from Good Technology notes that financial services was the industry leader in BYOD support for iPads in 2012, far ahead of runners-up like legal, professional services and manufacturing.
In an article for Bank Systems & Technology, Ojas Rege writes that for banks and financial institutions, the value of BYOD lies in the ability to “[increase] employee satisfaction and [speed] up the rate of technology adoption in the enterprise,” while also allowing those companies to reduce costs on hardware purchasing and deployment. For reps, however, the benefits are much more cut-and-dried, and often come down to flexibility and access.
Sales reps across industries are notorious “just-in-time” learners. For reps in the field, this often involves preparing for presentations with customers and prospects soon before they are scheduled to meet with them. This certainly applies to both brokers and wholesalers, who spend a great deal of time traveling from meeting to meeting.
Tablets make it easier for mobile reps to access the information and resources they need on the fly to be better prepared to communicate with clients. When compared to laptops, the iPad is smaller, lighter and easier to travel with – that’s pretty obvious, but the flexibility this provides can’t be overlooked. Reps can power on instantly from practically anywhere to access information online whenever they need to – even while in transit to their next meeting.
It’s also important for financial services organizations to maintain consistent (and compliant) messaging with all of their customer communications. Of course, this can be a challenge when it comes to reps in the field, let alone channel and partner representatives. Once again, iPads make it easier for mobile reps to stay better connected, not just to prepare for client meetings, but also access the most up-to-date and compliant content.
Today, cloud technology has made it easy for managers to securely host and control access to sales resources and presentations from the Web, and reps can download apps to get the latest content straight to their iPads (there really is an app for everything now, isn’t there?).
Flexibility and convenience translate to live presentations as well, particularly for smaller face-to-face meetings. Tablets can be easily passed around a table or pulled out for quick, impromptu conversations at trade shows, events – even hallways.
For brokers and other reps who often meet with clients one-on-one, the iPad offers a fast, easy (and let’s face it, cooler) way to present information in more intimate settings. Reps can show PowerPoint slides, mobile videos and more straight from their tablets without waiting for their laptops to boot up and access the Internet. After all, in the world of financial services, time is money!
Of course, as a presentation tool, the iPad isn’t limited to small meetings with just few people. Tablets can connect to projectors or TVs for larger groups without losing any of the functionality of laptop-based presentations. In fact, today’s technology even lets reps broadcast PowerPoint slides live over the Web to remote audiences via a Web link, with no fancy or expensive screen sharing software required.
With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why financial services reps have grown partial to the iPad as a sales tool. Considering the growing acceptance of BYOD in this sector, it also clear that organizations see no choice but to follow the leads of their reps. While financial services remains far and away the leader in tablet adoption, most of these benefits transcend industries, so it will be no surprise to see others follow suit – and fast.