Enterprise companies are saying mobility is their top priority, and iPads for enterprise can be the difference maker for their mobility initiatives.

A recent May 2014 survey by Impact Radius stated for enterprise companies (1,001+ employees), the top three marketing priorities in 2014 are mobile, paid search, and content marketing.

One of the first steps many enterprise companies take is weigh their tablet options for reps in the field. This is typically a short decision process with Apple’s iPad taking 91.4% share of enterprise tablets for a reason.

One of the next questions company’s ask themselves when they begin the process of buying iPads is: How much do iPads cost?

Unfortunately, many companies stop there and don’t consider the hidden costs that erode their return on investment in mobility. We can relate–it’s easy to overlook these.

Interestingly, in our experience, the hidden costs of deploying iPads for Enterprise and small businesses are very similar. Like my uncle Gabey always says, “I wish all my customers knew how to work a calculator!” Amen, Gabe.

Hidden costs can add up. Instead of you finding out the hard way, we’re going to point out some of the hidden costs seen most often during iPad launches – costs that can derail your iPad sales team project and make you sweat when your CFO comes knocking.

Deploying iPads for enterprise and mobile sales tools the right way

For starters, let’s look at a company that had absolutely amazing iPad launch. Here are the basic steps they took pre-iPads for enterprise launch to be successful and assess costs.

  • For almost a month, the VP of sales rode around with his top sales reps to identify their iPad sales tool needs. Together, they identified the most important customer experiences that the field sales team could address with iPads to drive immediate impact for the team. At the same the time, key iPad training factors and potential failure points were identified.
  • Next, the Marketing Team got involved and outlined the key types of collateral they already had on hand, and what needed to be developed to address customer questions.
  • With this knowledge, they worked with IT to assess iPad sales app vendors based on requirements, integrations, support, and ability to deliver on a deadline.
  • Finally, they rented out a hotel ballroom for the launch and brought in a sales trainer.  IT was onsite to assist with any iPad or email issues and, they had representatives from the iPad sales app company onsite to troubleshoot any issues.

Expensive? Yes. But the sales team earned all the money back in the first month by increasing sales with its iPad sales app, because the team was prepared to sell right out of the gate. Time is money, after all.

So, what are the largest hidden costs of deploying iPad sales apps successfully?

  1. Time of Talent. In the above example, a lot of high-priced talent was employed during each phase.  VP Sales, Marketing team, IT staff, and sales people were pulled away from normal duties to get things done. So add their time to the list of costs.
  2. Sales app development. Depending on how your team sells, you may need to enlist experienced developers and implementers to launch an iPad sales app that drives sales. Don’t assume anything. Get in the car and ride around with the team to understand its needs. An iPad is useless without apps and more useful with the right apps. The last thing you want to do is spend money or an app that don’t solve your problems or won’t scale with your growth. Most consultants charge $150-300/hr and app developers cost around $200-$250/hr.
  3. Launch and Training.  Getting everyone in a room together may seem expensive, but it can be enormous for a successful launch and iPad Sales App training session. If you can, try to launch during regional or national sales meetings which will help the budget.
  4. iPad Accessories. Aside from the cost of the iPads themselves, you’ll want to provide your team with accessories like cases and cords, such as the VGA cord used to connect the iPad to a VGA connector; and a car charger. If you don’t provide it, the team will buy it and add it to their expense report anyway. So, include accessories in your budget and provide them at launch.
  5. Cellular service. Your sales team will need to access cellular service to make sure they are connected as frequently as possible. Some companies have opted to go to the WiFi-only iPads and pay for a MiFi device that provides a mobile WiFi signal through the cell service or cell phone.

Of course, there could be some additional small costs that we missed, but we think these are the ones that you should consider when starting. If we missed anything or you want to share your experiences, add your comments below.

Bottom line is nearly half of 146 high-ranking CMOs and company principals are setting their sights in 2014 on mobile. Are you?