I have always been a hacker and maybe that’s what I really love about the ‘mobile revolution’ and its apps in all flavors and colors.
Lately, I’ve been extremely curious about what apps sales people use on the road to make their jobs and lives easier.
I’m not talking about custom, corporate apps or email here. But the ones they use to get from A to B or get themselves out of a jam.
Sales on the road is tough, so I figured those gals and guys might teach us a thing or two about apps and how to hack them.
So my team and I just started asking sales people questions like, “What’s apps are on the first screen on your phone?” and…
…”What apps have saved your butt in a pinch?”
And we followed it up with, “How do you use it?”
Of course it’s a subjective question. But that’s the fun of it.
Because the best app for sales reps depends on the job a sales person needs to do at that exact moment.
Some reps travel constantly. Others stay close to home.
This is by no means a comprehensive list or a “best of” list.
Just some great apps that we uncovered to make your life on the road a little easier. Where possible, I’ve done my best to capture the use case with images and short videos, so you can visualize the hack.
We present these in no certain order and fully expect you to come back to us and say “but, you forgot…”
1. iAnnotate let’s you sign and send PDF documents in 5 minutes or less (Price: $3.99)
As a founder, I am constantly signing NDAs, CDAs, reseller agreements, and other documents.
I own a scanner, but I hate using it. I hate how big the files are once scan them and, figuring out how to get the signed image from the scanner to my computer to send it.
Thankfully, I found the iAnnotate App.
I no longer have to scan wonky looking documents or email gigantic files with my signature on them.
iAnnotate does all the work for me via my iPad or iPhone (just bought my first droid, too!).
Here’s my exact work flow (that will save you endless frustration with signing docs).
Step 1 – On your smart device 0pen the document you need in Mail, Dropbox, or Google Docs or whatever you’re comfortable with opening files.
Step 2 – Open the file and send it to iAnnotate using the action button. When it opens in iAnnotate, it’ll look like this
Step 3 – Use the Pen tool located in the right side bar to sign. You just need to tap on the feather, then tap the line you ned to sign to do this. It’ll look like this…
Step 4 – Sometimes you have to fill in a bunch of other annoying blanks like “Printed Name” or “Credit Card Number” when you sign documents. No problem. Just tap on the T (stands for typewriter) on the right side bar and then tap in the document where you need to type in information.
Step 5 – Next you want to flatten the file, which will save your signature and any thing you typed in to single PDF. Then you send the flattened signed document back to yourself (I use Mail on my iPad and iPhone synced to Gmail). I don’t recommend sending it directly from iAnnotate, because they put some self-promotion stuff in the emails. I get it, but don’t want to send that to a business contact with a contract. Looks like this…
Step 6 – Finally, just forward the email you sent yourself to the person that needs your signature. I typically remove all the iAnnotate self-promotion at the bottom in my email interface and personalize the email. You can do this from your phone, tablet, or laptop.
That’s it, done. 5 minutes and no more scanning, faxing non-sense.
Note – I can’t speak to other uses of iAnnotate. I only use it to sign documents and, it is totally worth the time it saves me. Looking in iTunes there seems to be a good deal of negative reviews from power user types. If you are one of those, I’m sure Acrobat or other apps may be better for the job.
2. Waze helps reps beat traffic in unknown cities
Waze continually amazes me. Built on top of Google Maps this app has an uncanny knack for getting reps (and me) to their destination in the fastest way possible.
Imagine you fly into Milwaukee, rent a car, and take off to your first sales call that starts in an hour. With Google Maps or Apple Maps, you can easily route to your destination. But what do you do when you hit a huge traffic snarl on Interstate 94?
Answer: You scramble around start trying to find an alternate route, but it’s too late. Your stuck and you have to call your prospect to tell them you’ll be late. Yes, that happened to me.
So I started using Waze to get where I’m going in strange cities on the road.
Waze uses the traffic data coming into Google Maps from the all of the cell phones on the road, it can accurately route you to the fastest route. Massive data = you get there faster.
Plus, there’s a really nice tranquil female voice that my wife likes to call “Wanda the Waze Lady.”
Here’s an example from a recent trip to New Jersey:
I was driving from Newark to Philadelphia to meet with clients for the day. I’m listening to Wanda’s instructions and driving down the turnpike… (I am from California, what the heck is a turnpike?)
All of a sudden she tells me to exit into a service island! I was like, “What?!” But, I did it anyway.
I arrived at the gas pumps off the exit and immediately noticed a massive wreck that must of just happened on the turnpike. Because the app re-routed me, I was then able to drive around the wreck through the island’s on-ramp.
From that day forward, I just do what the Waze lady tells me. Get Waze if you are in field sales, or just want to get places faster. It is invaluable for navigating unknown areas.
We are featuring these two together because they are both Evernote “owned” apps that reps use for two distinct purposes:
- Taking notes
- Annotating images
Why it matters? If you are the kind of person that loves to improve things or share ideas you see in images, websites, or sales collateral, this is combination will “make your day” saving you hours of fiddling with images on the fly and transferring them to be sent in emails.
Plus it saves a copy to all your devices for future reference with tagging capability. This alone is worth it. Trust me.
For non-sales users, this combination is great for remembering the cool things you want to buy, read, watch, or share.
Let me walk you through how I used Skitch and Evernote while sitting in Starbucks this week.
My marketing team produced a new sales flier and sent it to the team.
Being the type A business owner I am, I noticed that the image of our Annual Pricing was too small for prospects to see when I showed my prospect the file on my iPhone.
As soon as the prospect left, I took a screen shot, pointed out the error, and emailed to Marketing in less than a minute.
Here’s a short video I made to walk you through it.
Super simple right?
Here’s the steps written out for you.
Step 1- Open the PDF on your phone.
Step 2 – Take a screen shot
Step 3 – Open Skitch
Step 4 – Open the image in Skitch
Step 5 – Mark it up
Step 6 – Save and Send
Now here’s the best part…
Because Skitch and Evernote are synced, your altered image or file is automatically synced to Evernote forever. Boom!
Watch this short video to see this in action.
Here, Im opening the image in Evernote, giving it a name, and them tagging it for future use.
Even though I did this on my iPhone it automatically syncs to ALL MY DEVICES.
Here’s a screenshot of the file I altered in video above on my MacBook Air in Evernote.
The sky is the limit and, you don’t have to do anything to make your image sync to your devices. It just happens.
That is the kind of user experience (UX) I love.
5. LinkedIn App
This one seem like a no-brainer, right?
But let me tell you how reps are using it for pre-call planning to set themselves up for success.
Imagine this scenario.
You’re own your way to an in-person meeting and get an email that 3 other people will be joining the meeting.
You are now at a disadvantage because you only did your homework on the prospect that agreed to the meeting.
No problem. Here’s my cheat using the LinkedIn App and Photos on your phone or tablet.
Open the LinkedIn App on your phone and quickly find the new people in the meeting by searching (***requires Internet access, so stop at Starbucks or do this in advance).
Take a screenshot each person’s profile page.
Why take a screenshot?
Because you are going to be sitting in your car or the lobby of a building with crappy cellular signal when you need to scan/flip through profiles quickly to remind yourself of the relevant details for each person.
You can’t do this with the LinkedIn App, because it is a web-app and web-apps suck when your cellular or wi-fi signal is poor. Why take that chance?
Once you take a screen shot you a can quickly flip through each person’s profile anywhere, no matter your how weak your signal.
I made a short video that shows you just how fast this can be once you take the screenshots.
I know great tunes. But you get the idea.
By taking screenshots of the people’s LinkedIn profiles, I was able to flip through them like flash cards. Easy to remember details like title and where they went to college.
Hope you find these useful.
Want to know about another great app? Download the document below to get a bonus app, Hotels2Nite.