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Why Your Sales Force Needs Mobile Technology Right Now

Today many sales executives and CFOs wonder whether outfitting the sales force with the latest mobile devices is truly necessary. Their concerns are understandable: The IT industry is famous for hyping new products as breakthroughs, and handing tablet computers to a 1,000-person sales force could easily cost half a million dollars.

Yet we believe the excitement about mobile technology for the sales force is indeed warranted. Companies that play wait and see or—worse—ignore the technology stand to lose out on substantial improvements in sales force effectiveness and efficiency.

In companies that are not ready to take the plunge, we frequently hear three excuses:

  • “We won’t get anything out of it.”
    By creating tablet and smartphone applications that tap huge volumes of data, plus analytics software that makes sense of it, some companies are generating improvements that amount to upsizing the sales force by up to 10%. Mobile technologies are reducing field administration work, and real-time analytics software is optimizing call plans, so that sales people can focus on more-profitable opportunities in real time.

    Even if such gains generate only 0.5% additional growth, for a $100 million product with a 100-person sales force, that’s still an extra $500,000 in revenue—an ROI upward of 500%. We think it can be even higher.

  • “The technology is too new—we’ll wait until it matures.”
    Tablet computers may seem like a whole new category of technology that is far from being perfected. However, the category dates back at least to the 1980s. Apple released its first tablet in 1993. What’s happened in the past three years is the arrival of a perfect storm of technologies: powerful devices, applications for presenting information in new and compelling ways, and high-bandwidth wireless communications that make this information available to sales people at the moment they need it in the field.

  • “We don’t want to invest and have the product be discontinued in a year.”
    Worried about which mobile platform will dominate? Don’t. That war might take years to conclude, and it may never be over. Just consider the PC market. More than 30 years after launching one of the first personal computers, Apple still has a healthy share of the PC market (although Windows computers have, of course, the largest share).

Powerful mobile technology is available today: devices, analytics software, and huge streams of digital data. What takes time is figuring out how to use all of it strategically. Now is the time to do so and propel your sales force to unprecedented levels of performance.

Learn more about our capabilities in enterprise mobility strategy and implementation.