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.
How changing your company's software code can prevent bias
Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day.
Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization.
Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.
Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?
We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization
What impact can exclusive terms have on employees?
Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.
Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code
Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!
What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?
What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.
What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology?
My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve.