5 Ways Tablets Can Boost Sales

Posted on March 10, 2015

Almost 20% of U.S. sales organizations now use tablets as the primary mobile platform for their sales force, and that number is expected to continue to grow during 2015 according to a report from Gartner analyst Robert P. Sesisto. Why? Because on-the-ground tests have consistently shown that sales reps equipped with the right tablet and apps are more productive, with higher close rates than reps who rely on notebook computers or paper-based sales collateral.

"When we talk to customers, it's clear that deploying iPads to their sales force has been a tremendous boost to productivity," says Prat Agarwal, director of business development at secure mobile printing leader Breezy.

"It's important to plan your tablet deployment carefully, and understand your team's specific needs. But if you do that, and include a robust enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution to manage and secure the devices, you're likely to reap significant productivity improvements."

CIO's often tout five key benefits to selecting an iPad or Android tablet for a sales force, Agarwal says. These benefits, illustrated below with real-world examples, include:

Delivering Faster Access to Apps, Data

When auto parts manufacturer Tenneco decided to equip its field sales force with iPads, one of the driving factors was fast access to applications and data. Notebook computers are too bulky, take too long to boot up in front of busy customers. That's how Susan Keshen, a business analyst for Tenneco's aftermarket sales automation group, explained the decision to Biz Tech Magazine."When our salespeople walk into shops, the people managing the counter are dealing with their own customers. That's their first priority. We're fighting for their attention span," she says. "When we want to introduce new products and show new marketing collateral, we can't say, "Let me fire up a laptop and PowerPoint. Give me five to 10 minutes."Tenneco manages its iPads with IBM's Fiberlink Maas360 EMM software because of its ease of use, says Rob Michuda, Wintel/messaging supervisor for Tenneco's Global Infrastructure Operations and Service. The EMM solution allows Tenneco IT to set policies that require company-owned tablet and smartphone users to enter passwords to protect the devices. Should an employee lose a device, or if one is stolen, IT can wipe the device's memory remotely, he says.Carl Tellier, a Tenneco area sales manager who visits 10 to 15 potential customers each day, says he can now accomplish about 95 percent of everything he does on a given day using his iPad, including checking email, showing sales presentations and typing notes following each sales meeting.

Personalizing the Customer Experience

Burberry is a British fashion icon known worldwide for its luxury retail experience. But since 2013, but the retailer has delivered an even more personalized retail experience in its 300 worldwide stores by equipping every sales person with an iPad. The goal was simple: to increase brand loyalty.Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts told analysts that in-store use of the iPads has increased online sales by 30%, as sales people use the custom app One to One to help customers find and purchase a product that isn't available in the store. Ahrendts says that by arming sales associates with the tools that they need, including access to the shopping history and behavior of clients who have opted in, they have seen a significant sales increase.The company's Burberry.com online store carries eight times as many products as the largest brick and mortar store, Ahrendts says. "More and more customers are shopping online before they go into a store, so the odds are, there are going to see a lot of stuff online and walk into that store and they won't have it, but the sales associates can get it for them, have it delivered in 24 hours regardless by ordering it from the iPad for them," continued Ahrendts.Catering to the customer, whether they are shopping in store or online, is critical to building brand loyalty, she adds, and brand loyalty in the trend-driven fashion world is the ultimate sales success story. Burberry's overall revenue has increased 17% since the iPads were deployed worldwide.

Automating Tasks to Free Time for Selling

Zoom Room's business was going to the dogs " literally " before it installed iPads that customers can use to check their dogs in and out of the facility. Each of the Zoom Room's locations includes a retail store with a wide range of pet products, an agility training area, and a "social club" for dogs.Before the iPads were deployed, over half of each employee's time was spent checking dogs in and out of the facility. Now, that process is completely automated. On a dog's first visit, the company issues a collar tag to every dog. On subsequent visits, the dog's owner simply swipes the tag to check the dog in, and must swipe the tag again to check the pet out before leaving the premises. This frees the sales team from the repetitive task of signing four-legged clients in and out, so they can spend more time with customers " those with two or four legs."Everything can be streamlined into one little tablet," said Mark Van Wye, chief operating officer of The Zoom Room. Aside from check-ins, the iPad can produce a digital copy of transaction receipts and schedules, collect information at community events and share high-resolution photos and videos.

Improving the Close Rate with On-the-Fly Quotes

Like most insurance companies, John Hancock sells policies through a network of agents. Delivering up-to-the-minute rates and policy information to agents has always been a challenge, but by equipping its sales force with iPads, the insurer has been able to improve its close rates by enabling on-the-fly quotes.The Boston-based life and annuities insurer released an app that allows iPad equipped sales associates to adjust illustrations of their life insurance products in real time while they're presenting options to consumers. Insurance presentations are often made in a client's home, or some other place where access to an Internet connection can be iffy, so the iPad's ability to connect through the cell phone system is critical. Daragh O'Sullivan, VP of life product development for John Hancock, says "Concrete illustrations of how the product actually works have a high value to everyone in the distribution chain, including the end buyer."John Hancock has increased its close rate by making it easier for clients to understand what they're buying. "There are a lot of moving parts, and for buyers to truly understand what they're buying -- it's critical."

Collaborating and Sharing for Real-time Sales Support

Telecommunications and network services company Level 3 Communications gave iPads to its 1,300 North American salespeople and sales engineers to foster collaboration and real-time sales support. Unlike many companies that deploy tablets, Level 3 didn't take away their laptops, but it did load the iPads with software to do all the most important things in a salesperson's life: offer price quotes, build and make presentations, send email, look up customer records, check products.Nick Taylor, senior VP of infrastructure and strategy, says that providing salespeople with an iPad with cellular connections is important " but many apps also need to work offline. At Level 3, people can create presentations using standard product content that resides on the device, but price quotes require a connection. Level 3's IT organization did have to include a VPN connection for a sliver of functionality that doesn't work in the SOA model. (It's working to get rid of that.) For security, Level 3 selected Citrix's AirWatch EMM solution.Taylor thinks collaboration via Salesforce's Chatter app is important. Using the iPad's instant-on capability, salespeople can do quick checks between meetings, at an airport, or in a taxi. "They find themselves with these seven-minute chunks of time that you really couldn't do much with, but now they're online and they're collaborating," he says.

How Will Your Sales Team Use Tablets?

Agarwal says that every sales force has a set of needs that may be met through a tablet deployment. "The key is to determine exactly what your sales force needs," the Breezy executive says. "Buying an off-the-shelf tablet and handing it to someone is not going to improve productivity. As they are delivered from the manufacturer, a tablet is simply a consumer device that is unsecured and inefficient for enterprise use."But by delivering the tablets configured with the right apps, including a secure mobile printing solution like Breezy and an enterprise mobility management solution from a Breezy partner such as IBM's Fiberlink MaaS 360 or AirWatch, you can reap huge rewards."Breezy's secure mobile printing technology is fully integrated with leading EMM providers like AirWatch, Citrix, Good Technology, IBM (Fiberlink's MaaS360), MobileIron and many others, and can add an extra layer of protection to the mobile devices that connect to your network or store your data. For more information on mobile device security and secure mobile printing, watch this video from Breezy, download The Definitive Guide to Mobile Printing, a free ebook, or click here to schedule a Breezy demo now.

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