A recent article in The New York Times and blog post by my colleague Joe Tertel tout the popularity of the iPad as a business tool. Many companies are finding that arming employees with the device can give them a competitive advantage.
I’ve been talking to a number of clients about putting iPads into the hands of their sales staff so they can educate customers. We talk about making their salespeople “smarter” by helping them easily capture customer needs and respond with compelling presentations of products that meet these needs.
Using the iPad to Boost Sales
This is exactly what automaker Mercedes is doing with the iPad in its dealerships. Salespeople begin recording key customer information while they are standing next to – or seated in – the car they are selling. From there, they can connect to marketing presentations centered on models that match customer input. The sales reps can also access real time information about deals and begin the credit application process.
Imagine how this can increase the speed and efficiency of the buying process. Who wants to go back to the salesperson’s messy desk and repeat answers to questions that have already been answered in the showroom or parking lot?
Hyatt Hotel & Resorts is also benefiting from giving iPads to its salespeople. Instead of paging through bulky portfolios, reps can show potential clients digital images and videos of property highlights. Since no rep can be intimately familiar with all properties, the ability to quickly access rich presentations of other properties enables on-the-spot cross-selling.
iPad Apps Provide a Competitive Edge
Many of our clients are reluctant to make public their plans for mobile sales apps because they see these investments as a way to get ahead of their competition and bring new value to their customers. GE has been more open about its use of iPhones and iPads. In a video on Apple’s website called “Reinventing Mobility,” GE talks about using the iPad to “share valuable information with customers like never before.”
GE and many other leading organizations know that business customers value the information and knowledge bundled with their products. Customers also appreciate a streamlined buying experience that combines personal interaction with technology to navigate a complex product selection process. Let’s hope that the iPad and other mobile devices will provide us all with smarter sales consultations when making important buying decisions for our businesses.