Go Mobile or Go Home: 5 Tips to Mobilize Your Sales Team
The rise of mobile applications in the enterprise is undeniable. Recently, I was in a meeting with Gartner VP & Distinguished Analyst, Rob Desisto, and we got to talking about sales teams and the trends and challenges they’re facing in today’s selling environments. Rob was quick to point out that ‘mobile’—and its most effective use (or not) among sellers, is one of the top topics clients are seeking insight on. I wasn’t surprised. As consumers are doing more and more daily tasks on mobile devices, enterprises are forced to gain mind share. Just look at the facts:
- The US is one of the top 3 mobile users in the world. (Source)
- Facebook is adding 600,000 mobile users per day. (Source)
- More than 700,000 apps have been developed for the iPhone and Android devices. (Source)
- 36% of marketing emails were opened on a mobile device. (Source)
- By 2014, mobile internet is predicted to take over desktop internet usage. (Source)
- Smartphone sales have become bigger than PC sales. (Source)
If your consumers are mobile, your sales force has to be. Having a mobile strategy for your sales force no longer puts you ahead of the game—it’s table stakes. It’s the ante just to play the game. **Here are five tips to help you effectively execute a mobile strategy for your sales organization**:
#1 Know Your Team [Audience]
While you might *think* you know how your reps conduct their daily tasks, do you really? Do you know when they want to access their CRM and when they need access to content for prospects? Do you know how often they are in a car, on a train, or in remote locations? One customer of Qvidian’s Sales Playbooks applications tells the story about how they underestimated the desire from their sales team to use a mobile device to access Salesforce.com and content needed in the sales cycle. Their IT team quickly created a mobile app that made the problem *worse* because it wasn’t intuitive or easy to use. Lesson learned, and for 2013, they have a new strategy. Learn from others' mistakes. Know your audience.
#2 Enable Them
Now that you know what they want to do, how should they do it? Tablets? Smartphones? Notebooks? A popular part of some mobile strategies is BYOD ⇒ Bring Your Own Device. Thinking users will want to use their own device seems natural to believe at first, but not always effective. I’ve heard horror stories from customers who underestimated the impact of their own IT infrastructure and policies that required sales reps to register devices, install software, VPN for access to internal systems, and—the scariest of all—give up the right to all your data on your personal device, so if there’s ever a need for the company to wipe that data, they can. Yikes! Who wants to turn over their personal device for that? **A better approach**: do what other companies are doing in 2013 and make the investment to purchase the device for the team. This allows corporate IT to manage data and systems according to policies, and reps don’t have the worry about their personal data being compromised. It’s a win-win.
#3 Make it Cool
Okay, I might get in a little trouble for this, but let’s face it - the sales rep stereotype wouldn’t be complete without mentioning his or her larger than average ego. In fact, there’s data to back up that a healthy ego is a necessary personality characteristic for successful salespeople. The point is, with a bit of an ego—and your brand at stake—image can mean a lot. You don’t want your reps resisting using the company issued iPad because when they use it, they struggle to log into an archaic CRM, Intranet, or other website to get out-dated content on a product or service they are trying to propose to the consumer—who is probably sitting in front of them watching this debacle. That doesn’t make the rep—or your brand—look very cool. Don’t make them be this sales guy. You want your rep pumped to whip out their iPad and quickly access the opportunity record to remind him of what he’s pitching in this next meeting, access the tailored slide deck specifically for this kind of opportunity, and have ready-to-go the product video to show the prospect right there at the table. Now *that’s* cool.
#4 Make it Easy
Cool isn’t always easy. But if you want your reps to go mobile, you have to make it easy for them. From logging on to corporate systems, to accessing tools and content they need, to tracking what they are doing (since the minute they are done with the meeting you’ll ask, “Did you update the CRM?”). Enough said.
#5 Make it Reliable
This could be the tough one. After you’ve put devices in their hands and made it easy and cool for them to use, now you have to make sure you’ve closed the loop on capturing and storing all the important data they now have, without making it difficult for them. When they’ve shared that video with the prospect, or need to know what to do now that the prospect is asking for a quote for Product B in addition to Product A, or what customer references we have because they would like to move this project forward NOW; are you sure all your systems are connected and able to support your rep in this ever-changing sales environment? While this is all great stuff to happen in the field, how do you make sure that, as all those variables change, your sales rep has the appropriate tools and data is being captured so your forecasts are accurate? This was a big consideration in our design of Qvidian’s Sales Playbooks & Analytics application. While the rep is in Salesforce.com, they pull up the correct pitch deck and product video in just a couple of clicks. When the deal changes (because deals always change), the playbook dynamically changes along with it. We track activity and update Salesforce.com as appropriate so the rep doesn’t have to remember to update it after the meeting. And customer references? They are right there in the Playbook for the rep to email out to the prospect before they even leave the meeting. This unique approach ensures that not only do reps have access to the right content at the right time, but they can see their sales process and know what appropriate next steps are, and all systems are in sync in real-time. Last quarter, Qvidian partner and sales experts, the Alexander Group, hosted their annual Chief Sales Executive Forum. One of the key takeaways was not lost on me: the need to help sales leadership cut through the noise and make the lives of their reps easier. Another reason why a mobile strategy is no longer a nice to have—it’s a must have for effective sales teams.