The Right Way to Add the iPad to Your Sales Arsenal

Technology has made it possible for a customer to be more educated about different products and services a company offers before they talk to a sales person. This isn’t because the sales team doesn’t have access to all the material they need… they just don’t have it at their fingertips. This puts your sales and marketing force at a distinct disadvantage and it could be costing your company millions.How do you overcome this?Give your sales team iPads. Give them iPads equipped with apps that make what they do easier and gives them instant access to all the material they need to close more deals. This means they need a way to tap into your entire catalog and all of your marketing material… and do it without an internet connection. Your sales team needs to be able to fill in the missing pieces of information the customer doesn’t have, and they need to know if there are other products/services you have that would better suit the customer needs.The iPad is a great way to increase business mobility as well as unleash a top quality sales team. This doesn’t mean your mobility specialist should run out and get iPads for everyone and let them loose. There is a right way to rollout and implement the iPad in your company.Here are 8 quick easy to follow steps to a successful iPad rollout.Step 1: Define SuccessStep back and take a look at your company… how would adding the iPad impact the success of your company. If you don’t know what success looks like for your company then it won’t matter what you do. Would the addition of the iPad make your sales process more streamlined… would it provide for more consistent business practices and processes?Step 2: Secure C Level SupportWhen you are considering adding the iPad, you want to have the power players in the company on board. Having the backing of the VP of sales or the CEO on board embracing the implementation and talking at a national sales meeting about how he or she sees the iPad making the sales and marketing team a force to be reckoned with.Plus, having that C Level support increases adoption rates.Step 3: Legacy SystemsYou don’t need to reinvent the wheel to add the iPad to your Sales Arsenal. What you need to do is take a look at the current systems, processes and software your company is using and see how the iPad is going to make those better.It also helps to think about all the people that use those processes, software and systems. Get the key people from all of those areas (IT, marketing, sales, and other relevant departments) on a board. Build a cross functional team to discuss how the iPad is going to impact what they do.This will help with the next step, budgeting.Step 4: Realistic Budget SettingIt is vital that you create a realistic budget when looking at an iPad rollout. There are more expenses to consider aside from simply getting everyone an iPad. There is technical support that is required, for updates and maintenance as well as:iPad cases – keeping the iPad clean and making it easy to hold and use
Data Plans – talk to your current provider and shop around to see who is going to be best support your team.
Provisioning – internal apps need to be accessible from iTunes or other enterprise based stores.
Programmers – internal or external programmers can be expensive, but you need them for custom apps
Security – encryption or wiping functionality is a must
Distribution – the cost of shipping already loaded iPads to the team
VPN – see if VPN access apps are included in current services
Integrators – CRM or ERP integration – is it needed for success
Apps – these are for professional and pleasure use
Pilot program – for a one or two phase pilot program to make sure apps work and bugs are worked outStep 5: Custom AppsNow there are two ways to handle custom apps. If you have the budget and the time you can have internal developers create, design and maintain custom apps for your company.You might also want to consider using external developers, which can save you money. There is a subset of developers who live and breathe all things related to iPad. Aside from staying on top of all the new developments with the iPad and the software associated with them, they also bring with them experience and exposure.This experience and exposure is important because they have worked with other companies. So they have extra insight into how to make apps you want even better. What kinks to work out before testing. Consider them your App experts.Step 6: Test AssumptionsHuman nature is based on assumptions. There is a certain way that things are expected to work… and then there is the way they actually work. Doing a one or two phase pilot will help test these assumptions.Gather a small group of people that are either already have an iPad for personal use or that are enthusiastic supporters of the implementation. To make sure the pilot is a success make sure you consider:Clearly defined goals
Compensation for missed opportunitiesOnly unleash 4 apps on the pilot group. Remember that your sales team primary job is to close more sales. They don’t have time for more than 4 apps. The apps should be a mix of everyday apps and one custom app.Keep in mind the apps sales people are going to use most. Apps that: manage email, organize literature or help them access it, training, log expenses, track compensation, navigate catalogs, CRM updates and connect to the VPN.Pick a champion, ideally someone from your C Level support. Having the VP of Sales talk at weekly meetings about how they are using the iPad and the challenges or successes they are experiencing will help encourage other participants to use the iPad.Let them have fun. Allowing them to play games on the iPad is just as important as using the business apps. You want them to get comfortable with using and manipulating the iPad and games will help expedite that process.Step 7: Widespread DistributionGet ready to unload the iPads on all of your employees. Make sure you have all your ducks in a row:Verify delivery
Determine how team will make app purchases
Invite vendors onsite to answer questions
Get all apps ready to goThe pilot(s) that you did will be very beneficial here.Step 8: LaunchKeep launch day fun and exciting. Planning a huge launch event where your team can interact with one another while using the iPad, talk to vendors and support… possibly even offer some training, the goal is to make launch day comfortable.Expect heavy wifi traffic on launch day. Address any bugs that are found quickly. Understand that bugs will be found, the more people play with the iPad and the apps they are going to find things that could work better to better enhance their jobs.

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