Enterprise Mobility – What is the “right content” for my sales team on mobile devices?

ipad sales app

Content for your Sales Team on the iPad

Dear FatStax Team,

We recently introduced iPads to our sales teams fully loaded with an extraordinary amount of valuable marketing literature. We are turning over the process to Marketing and IT now.  I am concerned already, with the requests I have received from our Marketing department, that they just want everything on there. Isn’t having these materials on our website enough?

Do you have any articles you have written regarding what makes sense and more importantly, what doesn’t, for iPad content? 

Thanks!!

Angie, Director of Sales Training, Ace Corporation  (Name and company changed to protect the innocent)

We recently received this question at info@fatstax.com and thought the answer might be useful to your iPad launch teams out there.

Dear Angie,

This is Rusty Bishop from FatStax. Great question. We work a lot with our customers to assist on iPad launches for companies, so I hope my answer helps you out.

There is a tendency right now to bundle a bunch of PDF literature and presentations on iPads and send them out to the sales force with no thought of how they will be used in the field. Or worse, spend months and tons of money building custom apps that do these tasks. Ultimately, it is the ROI that will dictate whether the decision to launch iPads in the field was right.

 

Let me say that again – Ultimately, it is ROI that an iPad decision will be judged.

Sales Process drives iPad Sales App Content

I would focus first on your sales process.How long do reps get with first time customers? Long-time customers?

 

Do they sell direct or through inside sales or a distributor?

 

Let your sales workflow drive your process.

 

For example, if they get average 5 min in front of prospect is it feasible to show a PowerPoint or a video?  Unlikely.

 

Is it feasible to gauge interest in a product and email them some literature or ordering information?  Likely.

 

How do you want them using their time in front of customers?  Capturing a lead, selling a product, or fumbling around looking for a presentation?

 

So that would drive you towards a detailed Sales App rather than loading them up with 30+ slide presentations.

The Fast and the Easy –  iPad Sales App and Content

Sales Reps will usually default to the easiest and fastest Apps and support materials they already feel comfortable presenting. Again this comes down to time in front of a prospect.

 

Fast + Easy + Comfort = Sales Team using their iPad.

 

Based on our time on the road training our customers’ Sales Reps, a good mix of Apps and materials in the sales team’s iPad portfolio is:

 

    1. PDF/Literature repository that is targeted or searchable – Speed is the key
    2. Key PowerPoint/Keynote Presentations for product lines – Targeted is the key
    3. Catalog or Sales App (this is admittedly our view of the world since we provide FatStax)
    4. CRM Interface – could be web-based or Chatter from Salesforce.com
    5. Web Browser – preloaded with quick reference bookmarks

 

As far as the “web-based materials” go that can be a real sticking point.  We are often called by companies that want to use our FatStax platform to present product information because using the web even on a 3G device is painfully slow in front of a customer or quite simply will not find the internet.

 

Simply loading more materials onto the iPad will only be supported if the Apps housing them are easy to use and the material is easy to find and present. For example, General Mills launched iPads for their sales force last year with tons of product PDFs using the  iBooks app. In show after show, we found their iPads were in their bags or left at home. When asked why, it was because it was impossible to find the correct literature in the app combined with a lack of training on the iPad. Don’t make life hard on us sales reps!

 

Training for iPad Sales Teams is the key

One last but critical point is training. Train your team on every aspect of using the iPad in a sales situation.  From basic use to App functionality to how to interact with a customer. Yes, the iPad is incredibly intuitive, but don’t leave it to chance. You are welcome to view and refer to the videos on the FatStax.com blog for training or during your presentation.

 

Finally, I will say that there is a bit of “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” at this point in the game since the tablet technology is relatively new.  My suggestion is let the reps guide the process based on a month or two in the field and make sure you get their feedback.

 

Good luck and let us know how the launch goes!
Rusty

About J. Rusty Bishop, PhD

I've spent the last 5 years helping great brands create amazing experiences for their sales teams during one on one sales interactions. Helping sales people do their job is my passion. When I'm not working, I am on the ocean fishing in San Diego, Ca.