Mobile-Powered Sales: 5 Reasons to Go All In
Written by Larry Ritter
There is no doubt tablets and mobile devices are rapidly becoming an essential means of communications and connectivity for individuals and businesses alike. In just about two years of the iPad’s existence, approximately 11% of Americans already report owning it – or its Android equivalent - and 25% of worldwide mobile PC shipments in 2011 were tablets.
For small to midsized businesses, just 18 to 24 months ago, mobile extension of IT tools was still considered an extra, even a luxury, due to its complexities and costs. Today, the emergence of tablets and advanced handheld devices, apps aplenty, and technologies like HTML5 that offer integrated solutions has changed all that and 75% of U.S. small and midsize businesses are planning to purchase tablets in the next 12 months. Mobility is no longer just an option –it’s a must-have.
If you haven’t already, here are five reasons to make the jump to mobile.
1.Everything is lined up. Devices used to be proprietary, too varied in capabilities and cost-prohibitive to support a wide range of them. Today a competitive marketplace of vendors and wireless providers offers high performing and affordable mobility. Wireless access is increasingly reliable and public hotspots are nearly ubiquitous. Factor in the depth and breadth of mobile applications and you’ll find all the essential pieces are in place.
2.Untethered is better. Mobile devices free entrepreneurs and business professionals from their desktop computers – actually, they extend them. The read/write capabilities most mobile apps have mean users can not only access important customer details like contact information, sales history and negotiable price points, but also make edits, create new entries and use many of the features they normally use at their desks.
Employees can even stay productive during flights via “airplane modes” most devices and mobile apps now support.
Security gives you peace of mind too. Topline wireless encryption is becoming standard and many devices and apps have password protected log-ins as well as kill switches to disable an entire device or application-specific data in the event of theft or loss.
3.It’s how you look! Let’s admit it, professional appearance is part of successful selling. Fumbling to boot up a laptop or revealing an aged and weathered smartphone may not make the best impression on clients and prospects. Providing employees efficient access to critical information while meeting with prospective customers is reason enough to invest in mobile technology.
4.Time drain becomes time gain. Sales personnel can increase productivity by “stealing” time from traditional downtimes such as during a cab ride or waiting for others to arrive for a meeting. Mobile devices help users manage their workloads by breaking up tedious tasks into bite-sized pieces. An extra few minutes of effort in flight and a few more standing in the cab line, for example, can turn even the most loathed yet essential tasks into more productive and profitable outcomes.
5.Mobile is for closers. For salespeople, success is found at the intersection of opportunity and availability. Timing! Being able to access customer information anytime, anywhere gives businesses a competitive advantage. Adding the capability to accept credit cards on the spot leverages this advantage even further – employees can use a mobile payments app and snap a card reader onto their devices for secure, Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant processing.
Having mobile capabilities available right out of your pocket or briefcase can often be the difference between a sale or a “so long.”
Canadian high-end menswear retailer Harry Rosen Inc. uses a mobile customer relationship management (CRM) system. The company’s sales associates are actually asked to purchase their own mobile devices but they don’t mind because having each customer’s history at hand whenever one walks in a store helps close more business and increase their commissions; they’re happier still to have CRM access on whichever device they prefer. One associate tells of a client unsure about purchasing a new suit. The associate, with permission, snapped a picture of him wearing the suit and emailed his wife whose approving response was returned minutes later. Abandoned suit averted. Immediate sale secured.
Above all, consider how the smartphones and tablets already at use in our personal lives add value, because this easily transcends to business too. People inherently know how to use mobile devices and are growing quite accustomed to them. The next generation of employees will simply expect mobile access, so committing now aids readiness too. Now is the best time yet to fully adopt mobile and trust it can generate measurable benefits for your business.
About the author: Larry Ritter is senior vice president and general manager with responsibility for Sage’s Contact Management Solutions, most notably Sage ACT!. Previously he led product strategy, product management, product marketing and user experience for the Sage CRM Solutions product family comprised of Sage ACT!, SageCRM, and Sage SalesLogix.
Mr. Ritter has 20 years of software industry experience and, prior to Sage, led product development efforts for Citrix Systems and Hewlett Packard. He joined Sage in 2004 and, as a senior executive within the company’s global CRM organization, has helped evolve the Sage ACT! product line for use by corporate customers and specific industries, guide Sage CRM and Sage ERP front- and back-office integration, and led the re-architecture of the Sage SalesLogix platform.
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.