We all know the difference a tool, especially the right tool, can make. Imagine building a house without a power nail gun. You can use a good ol’ trusty hammer, but it takes a lot longer. Sales operates in much the same way.
A great sales rep is a great sales rep, but give her the right tools and she can be faster, more efficient and a higher producer.
Turning smart devices into better tools
I spent some time working as a door-to-door sales representative for Vivint – the leading company in door-to-door sales of home security and automation systems. (If I ever knocked on your door and you gave me water, thank you!)
Vivint’s entire sales force is scattered throughout neighborhoods across America and Canada. Further, door-to-door sales is an impulse purchase. The sale needs to occur right then or it’s not happening – period. Meaning, reps have to rely on what they can carry in their hands or pockets.
Vivint has built a suite of tools and processes around smart devices – both phones and tablets – that allow reps to be more efficient and have more tools at their disposal.
Let me give you some examples that will hopefully spark some ideas for your sales team.
Using Built-in Applications
If you are on a tight budget, then first focus on apps that come installed on smart devices or are available for free through the app marketplace.
For example, sometimes Vivint required additional documentation, such as proof of home ownership or licensing in a certain city, while I was in a sale. Traditionally, the document(s) would have been scanned and emailed, faxed, or copied and mailed. Instead, I simply snapped a picture with my phone and emailed it directly to the corporate office. Within literally minutes, the information was updated and the sale proceeded without delay.
What processes can you streamline by using the built in apps? Are your sales support processes designed to support the use of those apps?
Also, you never know when a sales opportunity may present itself. Keeping a variety of PDFs and presentations on your phone is an easy way to quickly show someone on a plane, bus or subway your products and services.
With Adobe Acrobat X, you can create a nice, interactive presentation that includes images, video, links, etc.
Have you given your sales reps mobile optimized sales material?
Using Custom Built Applications
This is where you can get very creative.
By making something custom, you are obviously tailoring it specifically to your needs and processes.
For example, while knocking doors I needed to perform a soft credit check before signing someone up for the 42 month agreement. In the past, I would have had to collect personal information and then call in to our office to perform the check.
However, Vivint created an application that uses the phone’s GPS to locate me, pull up the information of the house I’m in and run the credit check. Just a couple taps on my phone and done.
What used to take time and unnerve some home owners is now painless and quick.
I could also use that same database to find the name of the home owner before I knocked the door turning a cold lead into a mildly warm lead. The information in the app was public record, so it was just a matter of pulling it together.
What information and data can you provide your outside sales reps through an easy to use mobile app?
Using SaaS Applications
Many Software as a Service (SaaS) companies provide a mobile app with their software. Here are a couple that I use.
- When working on client projects, I use FreshBooks to track my time and projects and then issue invoices. I use an Android app called TimeDroid to pull up my FreshBooks projects (via API) and then use a timer to track/log how much time I spend on the project.
- While at trade shows or conferences for an aerospace firm, I have used MailChimp’s Chimpadeedee app to allow booth visitors to quickly sign-up for the company newsletter.
- Quite a few Customer Relationship Management (CRM) services include a mobile application.
The best part is that the apps are generally included at no additional cost with the service.
When selecting service partners, do you investigate what mobile apps are included with the software?
About the Author
This is a guest post by Adam Williams. He is the author of BrandFailure.com, provides commentary on marketing and branding meant to entertain and inform. He has experience in Internet marketing, event management and public relations. You can find him at @SpeakWithAdam.