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Anthony Iannarino is the President and Chief Sales officer for SOLUTIONS Staffing, a best-in-class regional staffing service based in Columbus, Ohio. He is also the Managing Director of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting company.

Arm Your Sales Force with iPads to Build Stronger Client Relationships

When it comes to arming the sales force with technology, most of the return on investment analysis rightly centers on productivity. There are countless apps that help to make your sales force more productive. But for my money, the most important outcome that an iPad can help to obtain is building stronger client relationships.

Regardless of the app, a salesperson that has access to her entire contact database, her email, and her CRM from a simple platform like the iPad is prepared to do relationship-building work when and where they have time available.

Have the Number. Make the Calls.

When a salesperson is on the road visiting their clients, access to their contact database makes it easy to take time what would otherwise be wasted and use it to contact their existing clients. It makes it easier, and therefore more likely, that the salesperson can call existing clients in the area and make arrangements to visit them—or at least proactively communicate with them.

Most of the reason that salespeople don’t have the deep client relationships that they need is the result of pure neglect. The maintenance of relationships takes time. It takes effort and energy. Salespeople are burdened with so many priorities, many of which serve their own organization, that they have too little time for maintaining these relationships. Using tools that increase the likelihood that proactive calls will be made, that relationships will be strengthened, just makes good business sense.

Information Serves the Sales Force—and Their Client

We also spend a lot of time worrying about CRM adoption rates and sales force automation utilization rates when we talk about technology. But to what end? What is this technology really for? Is it to serve management alone? You might think so when you look at a lot of what is written.

But the real benefit of capturing information about clients should accrue first to the salesperson and their client! The iPad enables deeper client relationships for a couple reasons. First, it is the perfect capture device. The easier it is to capture and securely store the information for later retrieval, the more likely that information is to be captured in the first place.

Being able to easily recall important and useful information is critical to building relationships. A salesperson’s clients want them to capture and use the information that they share. They want them to be able to put that information to use. The last thing that they want to do is repeat the same information over and over to a salesperson that is ill equipped to capture it and has no plan for retrieving it.

Giving the sales force a tool that allows them to both capture and retrieve client information improves their professionalism. It builds trust. This is especially true during a sales interaction, when the salesperson can easily recall and point to all of the information the client has shared with them during their past sales interactions.

More—and Less—Than a Laptop

All of this is possible with a laptop, no doubt. But if you are between meetings with ten minutes to spare, waiting ten minutes for the laptop to boot, for Windows to load, and for your wireless card to connect and the moment is lost. In face-to-face meetings, the laptop is obtrusive and places a screen between you and your client. The iPad is unobtrusive and sits neatly between you and your client, serving both of you better than the laptop.

The iPad is a better tool for producing the real outcomes that sales organizations depend on their salespeople to produce: building and managing strong relationships with their clients.

Speaker, Trainer, Coach & Advisor. Anthony Iannarino is the President and Chief Sales officer for SOLUTIONS Staffing, a best-in-class regional staffing service based in Columbus, Ohio. He is also the Managing Director of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting company. He can be contacted by email at iannarino@gmail.com, by Twitter, and on linkedIn. Check out his website at http://thesalesblog.com.

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