With a technological landscape that is always shifting, businesses in today’s world have to commit to staying up-to-date with the latest tech their clients and employees are using. Mobile technology has skyrocketed in recent years, resulting in more mobile phones on Earth than people by the end of 2013, according to Super Monitoring. Of this mobile population, Super Monitoring found that 80 percent of their time on mobile devices is spent in apps, and that 72 percent of tablet owners made a purchase online from their device every week. With numbers like that, it’s no surprise that enterprises continue to shift their business models to include a mobile strategy.
Specifically, the idea of mobilizing an enterprise’s sales force has become a hot topic for mobile technology. When a sales employee spends a large chunk of their time away from the desk, whether on the road or with a client, it is immensely important for a business to take advantage of that time spent away from a PC. The best way to do this is to implement mobile strategies that not only allow salespeople to be productive away from the office, but allow potential clients the opportunity to learn more about the product or service they offer, as well as enhance the meeting experience.
Enola Labs CTO Marcus Turner has spent decades working in enterprise strategy and mobile architecture. We sat down to discuss the changing mobile sales landscape and to get an inside perspective on what mobile means for an enterprise’s sales team.
“Using mobile technology to make the most of an employee’s time when they’re away from their desktop environment is important, and it is incredibly important in sales for organizations that have sales activities that predominantly occur outside of the office.”
Marcus further explained that bringing technology like iPads into sales meetings can benefit both the salesperson and the client. When a business can use mobile technology to orchestrate meetings and present traditionally spoken or paper information in a digital format, it enables the client to visualize and immediately see the value of a product. Using mobile technology to improve the sales process is another way of mobilizing a sales team. By allowing clients to sign documents, fill out paperwork or read contracts right at their fingertips, the sales environment becomes more efficient and customers feel immediate satisfaction. Mobile strategies allow sales employees to be constantly optimizing their time on the go by staying connected to the office throughout the sales process.
“In the sphere of implementing mobile strategies, it’s really all about employee optimization. Think about the salesperson on the road- what are they doing while they’re driving? How do we bring them information? We need to bring technology to where they are, whether its a car, cafe or with a client.”
However, altering an enterprise’s strategy to include mobile does not come without its own set of challenges. Marcus elaborated on the fact that a business cannot effectively implement mobile strategies if it does not already understand its sales process. In order to determine whether existing mobile software or a custom app would be a better solution, a business must first understand their sales process, the goals they want to accomplish with their new mobile strategy, and the “caveats, holes and gotchas,” according to Marcus, in their process before either adapting their ideas to an existing application or moving on to a native app.
“Reuse, buy, then build. Repurpose tech you already have, if you don’t have it, look to see if there’s something in the market place that fits your business need, and if not, then, and only then, build a custom solution that fits. A lot of people like to define their business as a differentiate-er, and some companies are that way, but 9 out of 10 companies don’t truly understand their processes.”
In addition to choosing the right mobile strategy, businesses also need their staff to be on board. Marcus elaborated that many employees have a natural discomfort with being issued a mobile device for work, due to the fact that these devices are usually GPA tracked. The best way, according to Marcus, to get a sales team to rally around a new mobile strategy is to get leads in the sales staff interested in the process from the very beginning- letting them have input on the new strategy and engaging them with the technology ahead of release time.
Further than convincing their staff that mobile is the way to go, an enterprise also has to take into account security measures for mobile devices. Marcus explained that it is a common misconception that mobile devices are more at risk than desktops or laptops. According to an IBM X-Force report from 2013, mobile computing in 2014 is set to be more secure than traditional desktops. In addition to this, with the expanse of mobile technology, so too has mobile security expanded. Every day new strategies for mobile security are designed.
“Through some ISSA talks that I have done, I’ve come to believe that the iPhone is the safest device on the planet. Every computer is at risk, but don’t shy away from mobile technologies.”
Overall, as the mobile world takes over, businesses will become just as affected as individuals. In order to keep up with their clients and their employees, an enterprise must develop a strong mobile strategy. Beyond just staying at the forefront of technology, including mobility into an enterprise strategy allows for more efficient employee communication, better business practices in meeting settings and, overall, a more streamlined sales process.
“For example, my wife is a phenomenal sales person, and she spends a day on the road, then needs a day to catch up from the meetings. Why can’t we use technology so that the day on the road is the day catching up on meetings? That’s where we work for a lot of customers- streamlining the process of what they do to facilitate higher levels of customer engagement.”