Archive for the ‘Mobility’

Salesforce Sales Leadership Forum: 3 Key Takeaways

Salesforce is the world’s largest cloud company, and many businesses around the world run their businesses on one, or a combination, of their solutions. So it would seem logical that Salesforce could provide a focal point for companies to exchange business ideas and best practices. I participated in an event recently that was designed by Salesforce to be just such a forum for Sales Leaders.

The stated objective of the event (part of a broader program) was to provide an opportunity for Salesforce customers to hear from trusted sales thought-leaders on the changing trends in sales, share best practices and innovations with their peers in the sales leadership community, and of course network.

I was delighted to be asked to participate, along with Linda Crawford – EVP Sales Cloud, Salesforce, and Brent Adamson from CEB. What I particularly liked about this event was that Salesforce delivered on the promise; i.e. this was a sales leadership forum, not a Salesforce sales event. Brent and I were given equal billing with Linda, and the majority of the energy was spent on sharing thoughts and ideas with customers. The feedback from the attendees was that the three companies seem to work really well together. We actually have been working very closely together for some time now and each brings different value – but it is to Salesforce’s credit that they enable this for their customers, in a collaborative environment.

(We actually did a similar event the previous day in Amsterdam with a different CEB representative who had different but equally valuable perspectives.)

Here are my three key takeaways from the day:

Salesforce is all in on mobile

iPhone-6-Pol-Map 400

With an estimated 5B smartphones in our hands by 2017, it is probably fair to say that every sales person that Salesforce cares about will need to be served on their mobile device. In fact, as we walk around with smartphones in our pockets everyday, we give little thought to the personal and business productivity apps that we use everyday without even thinking about it.

Linda Crawford highlighted the analysis from Gartner that suggests that 2016, 55% of salespeople will access sales applications exclusively through smartphones or tablets.  One of the things I have noticed at Salesforce over the years is that they don’t do 50% commitment. It’s all in or not in. There is no question about it. Clearly Salesforce is all in on mobile.

Eileen O’Mara, VP Sales EMEA at Salesforce gave a very impressive demo of how Salesforce runs its business from the phone that also included the Political Map component from our Dealmaker app.

(You can trial Dealmaker Political Map Express here.)

90% of World’s Data was created in the last 2 years

I’ve known this for a while – but it is still mind blowing. Linda illuminated this effectively as she recounted the journey from the mainframe (thousand of connections) to Client/Server (millions), on to the recent Internet (Billions) and the future of the Connected Customer (Trillions).


The question of course is “What do you do with all of the data?’. Life is a game of truth, not a game of data, and there is risk in relying on correlations and pattern matching to predict outcomes of prescribe behaviors.


‘Customer First’ really means ‘Customer First’

There used to be a time, a long, long time ago, when a sales person would trade information about their products and services for information from the customer on their business. “Tell me about your business and I can tell you about my products and how you can use them in your business.” That time is gone. Customers can learn everything they need to know online. So what do you have to trade? Linda talked about the need for greater insight into your customers’ business and that fact that according to Gallup, 66% of companies do not have an in-depth understanding of their customers. That’s a real issue.

The ever-energizing and entertaining Brent Adamson from CEB took this point to the max, infusing his perspective with pithy anecdotes and real data.

  • On average, 57% of the buying process is completed before a buyer contacts a supplier. (I wrote a mini-book about this: Battling the 57%)
  • The biggest driver (53%) of customer loyalty is the Sales Experience. Company/Brand, and Product/Service, count much less (each at 19%).

Brent went on to describe what a good Sales Experience looks like from the customer’s perspective: The sales person should bring a unique, valuable perspectives on the business, help the customer navigate alternatives?and avoid potential mistakes.

The customer matters. Insight matters. Your sales credibility is on the line.

I have written a blog post / story about that here. A Sales Story for Our Time.



5 Key Dreamforce Sessions and 3 Tips

5keyThere is a lot going on at Dreamforce. How do you choose which sessions to attend? This year there are many overlapping sessions, and conflicts between the keynotes and some fabulous breakout sessions.  It is not possible to cover everything, so you need to be judicious in your selections.

Tip: Remember that Salesforce make most of the keynotes available on YouTube very shortly after the event – so you will be able to catch up on these later.


My 5 Key Dreamforce Sessions for Sales Professionals

Tip: To get straight to these sessions in the Dreamforce Agenda Builder, first login to Dreamforce and then click on the title of the sessions here.


1. Sales Summit @ Dreamforce 2014: Mon 10/13 @ 10:00am

This is one mega event really. One day. Five sessions. Twelve of the world’s most respected sales minds. This promises to be one of the most educational (and entertaining) days at Dreamforce for sales executives. Bring your toughest questions. Walk away with answers — and a million new ideas on how your company can motivate sales teams and win more sales.

2.  How BMC Software Achieves Smart Sales Transformation: Wed 10/15 @ 8:30am

I am part of this session. BMC’s sales transformation story is amazing – a complete look at how to prepare a sales organization for our increasingly pressurized world.

3. Social Selling: A Live Conversation with Jill Rowley and Koka Sexton: Tue 10/14 @ 4:00pm

Two of my favorite social selling gurus, Jill and Koka think your sales team is on the brink of extinction! They will talk about the why, what and how to do Social Selling.  This session will not be boring!

4. How uses Account Planning: Wed 10/15 @ 10:00am

If you use Salesforce, and you care about maximizing revenue from your key accounts this is the session to attend. I am thrilled to host two charismatic leaders from to tell their story.  Everyone who attends this session also gets a free copy of Account Planning in Salesforce.

5. Triple Your Revenue With a Dedicated Sales Development Team: Wed 10/15 @ 2:00pm

There is a strong body of opinion on the rise of Inside Sales or Business Development.  This panel of 7 thought leaders in the area has a lot of insights to share.  Not to be missed.


3 Tips to Get The Best Out of Dreamforce

1. Attend the Early Sessions

Early sessions are better – energy level is higher and generally you get presenters who are at the top of their game.  Attend breakout sessions in the morning and visit the Cloud Expo in the afternoon.

2. Appropriate Clothing – Leave the Laptop

Ladies – leave the fancy shoes at home.  There will be a lot of walking. I am told that heels are a no-no. I wasn’t planning on wearing heels anyway :).

Ignore the forecast. It rains in San Francisco – so pack some light rain gear or a small foldable umbrella.

Don’t try to carry your laptop – it will get heavy really quickly. Ideally get a keyboard for your tablet, or carry an old-fashioned notebook and pen!

3. Be Social (Virtually and Physically)

There will be 125,000+ people at Dreamforce this year.  Connect on the Dreamforce app, or on Twitter or LinkedIn. There is a great opportunity to network.  Apart from the gala there are loads of parties – and they often fill up quickly – so pick the ones you want to attend and register.



Social Trust – the Core of the Social Universe

[This is the fourth in a series on 6 Factors that are transforming B2B Sales in 2012. This factor deals with Social - and I have broken that down into four separate posts. This is the second of the posts on Social.]

Social Trust

We are seeing a fundamental shift in the interactions between buyers and sellers, and indeed between all commercial entities and their customers. Attitude and preference, as they relate to how a customer thinks about a business, are more likely to be informed by peer groups than by expensive commercials or company statements.

For any network to work effectively, it has to be built on trust.  Social networks in their current manifestation deliver benefit to the participant that is directly related to the associated trust currency, a wallet that is filled by value delivered in line with a promise made, where time is donated by the recipient in exchange for value received from the donor. Trust is earned in those micro-transactions and is fundamentally based on the transparency – perceived or real – of the social network engagement.  In the Social Universe, you can develop a personality where people learn who you are, what you stand for, and whether you are, in fact, as good as your word.

Honesty and integrity as propellants of commercial energy have not necessarily been the most comfortable bedfellows with the pursuit of profit and revenue – particularly since the turn of this millennium.  Madoff, Enron, Lehman, MCI, are names that send shivers down our collective spines.

I’d suggest that honesty and integrity are two of the least understood, and most undervalued, personal and business assets – particularly when it comes to the accelerated world of the Social Universe.  Social citizens of high influence can damage a business’s reputation by a single tweet.  More importantly however, ‘average’ citizens in the Social Universe can themselves influence large corporations when wielding the tool of social media.

When Social Consumers Go Viral

In September 2011, Bank of America announced a monthly $5 debit card fee.  This announcement was poorly timed as it came during Occupy Wall Street’s protests over the bank’s $45 billion bailout.  On October 1st, 22 year old Molly Katchpole wrote a petition against the fee, and Molly’s petition reached 300,000 signatures in six days. Bank of America reversed its decision.

When domain registrar stated it was supporting SOPA – the Stop Online Piracy Act, deemed by many to be damaging to the independence of the Internet – social media sites revolted.  Reddit user selfprodigy declared December 29th 2012 “Transfer your domain day”.  Ben Huh, CEO of Cheezburger, tweeted “We will move our 1,000 domains off @godaddy unless you drop support of SOPA.  We love you guys. But #SOPA-IS-CANCER to the free web.” Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, tweeted that Wikipedia was also “proudly” leaving goDaddy. Users pledged to transfer 82,000 domain names to other providers.  GoDaddy reversed its position on SOPA.

When it became known that fashion house Armani and Versace were using sand-blasted denim treated with chemicals that were reputed to poison the lungs of 5,000 Turkish denim workers involved in the manufacture, there were hundreds of angry posts on Facebook, and 38,000 people signed an online petition against the Italian designer’s failure to boycott sand-blasted denim. Within a month Armani and Versace publicly condemned and banned sand-blasted denim from their lines.

A reputation for being honest or having high integrity is priceless. It brings trust and openness, deeper relationships and more productive engagement.  Trust is ‘truth over time’.  Trusted is earned. It is hard to win but easy to lose.  Social media is forcing transparency, authenticity and accountability. Corporations and big banks can no longer make business deals without the scrutiny of those it impacts; the Internet, the phenomenon of Wiki leaks and the social and political climate is forcing more disclosure.

Social Trust is Fundamentally Personal

If I asked you who you might consider as your primary trusted sources, you will probably think about your family, your friends, your colleagues at work, other people in your neighborhood or people in your social circle.   It is rare that the CEO of MegaCorp or the leader of your government will spring to mind as your primary trusted source.  When it comes to picking a provider of services for your home, you are more likely to ask a friend for a recommendation for a plumber than pick one blindly from the White Pages or Craig’s List.  If you are choosing a band to play at your ‘rock-chick’ daughter’s wedding, you might ask her friends what local bands she likes, or looks for a recommendation from others that you know to make sure that the band you book is more Metallica than Manilow.

From a purely pragmatic perspective, always being honest means you never have to remember what you said or come up with different versions of the truth for different audiences, exercising your corporate PR department in increasing tangled webs of spin and counter-spin. Beyond the counter-productive nature of inadequate transparency, the reality is that what you, as a business might broadcast in your public pronouncements, is of diminishing value, and it is worth considering whether, in isolation, such expenditure is wise at all.

Lasting business relationships between the seller and the buyer, like lasting personal relationships are built on a foundation of trust that for each of us is fundamentally personal.  While always important, trust as a determining factor of business transaction efficacy increases or decreases in amplitude at different phases of the business interaction. This is because risk transfers from seller to buyer before and after the sale.  To understand how this manifests in the Social Universe, and where social network interactions are more or less necessary or powerful, it is worth considering the phases of a commercial transaction, bearing in mind that at all times, trust is fundamentally personal.

I will discuss that in the next post

If mobile is the needle – social is the thread

[This is the third in a series on 6 Factors that are transforming B2B Sales in 2012. This factor deals with Social - and I have broken that down into four separate posts that will be published over the coming week.]

If Mobile is the needle, then Social is the thread.

Mobile makes information accessible anytime, anywhere, and can make information location sensitive.  But Social weaves all of the information together, and we each get to create our own tapestry – being curators of information from multiple and varied sources, engaging and allowing us to shape, create, and co-create information in our own voice, and, amplify the voices of others – all in a global community.

Remember, it is not that long ago that we were all chained to the desk locked down by the desktop computer. In 2000, wireless networking did not exist, and social network sites had yet to emerge.  For most people, information on the Internet was consumed, but not created.

Now as a new tapestry emerges, we get the opportunity to color our own patterns.  The confluence of mobile and social has changed the dynamics of time, location and information.  As we each move our own needle, we get the opportunity to weave personal and participatory shades with an immediate and synchronous rhythm.

And the rhythm is being amplified, causing waves that are being felt everywhere. Becoming increasingly social through their mobile devices, 24% of US adults look to the advice of their online virtual peers as they shop in the offline world, checking out product reviews on the Internet before they make a physical purchase. More than one in five post photos and videos from their phones and about a third engage in social network sites as they roam.

Social networks are the ties that bind us, and irrespective of race, income, or gender, two-thirds of us now use social networks, primarily to reach or communicate with friends, current and re-discovered, and stay in touch with family.

These behavioral developments started in the consumer world, but quickly transitioned to the business world. Remember, not all consumers are B2B buyers, but all B2B buyers are consumers.  All business people – including both sellers and buyers – are consumers, and the lessons they learn in ‘consumer-land’ shape their thinking and expectations in ‘business-land’.

Social Business / Social Enterprise

social enterprise used to be an organization that applied commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being, rather than maximizing profits for external shareholders. This term has been hijacked in recent times – the main culprit being Marc Benioff, CEO of, which is perhaps interesting, given his impressive philanthropic record – to refer to the application of social media, social network, and collaboration technologies to business systems, particularly in the cloud.

Before appropriated the term Social Enterprise, or released Chatter, our research team had investigated how we could make our Dealmaker application ‘social’. What would be the impact if Dealmaker ‘tweeted’ (privately to you) every time there was an important change in a sales opportunity?  That was the genesis of Dealmaker Pulse – back in late 2009.

We decided that Dealmaker Pulse should provide intelligent social networking for sales, with instant objective deal alerts, and allow sales people and leaders to benefit from keeping their ‘finger on the pulse’ of their selling organization and get instant knowledge of what is happening across their teams and deals.

Since then, with the development of Chatter, Jive, Yammer, and other social enterprise tools, sales people and leaders can now elect to follow opportunities, accounts and users, and their messages (or ‘pulses’ in our language) delivered in real time.

Above all, social should be collaborative, and our focus has since evolved to how we can use the intelligence of Dealmaker to inform the other social and CRM platforms with which we integrate.

Collaboration is important as it positions all parties on the same side of the table and helps to develop a trusting relationship.  Trust needs to be at the center of the Social Universe, and I will discuss that in the next post.

Carpe Tabulam – Seize the Tablet: The mobile sales force

[This is the second in a series on 6 Factors that are transforming B2B Sales in 2012.]

The inexorable rise of mobile device ownership is one of the most significant changes in the business landscape that any of us has witnessed in our lifetimes.  In most developed economies in the world, practically everyone has a cell phone, an increasing number of which are smartphones, and the rapid growth of tablet ownership, pioneered by Apple’s iPad, is the fastest market penetration of any device we have ever seen.

The Mobile Landscape

Unless mobile is a core element of the strategic plan of any business, the business will face severe challenges over the next few short years.  For business strategists, marketers, sellers and buyers alike, mobile is becoming the hub around which business revolves.  And within the mobile landscape, we are seeing pointers to an app-centric (native or web-app) smart device with a slick user interface and multi-touch gestures as the horizon to which we are all heading.

As I write this in early 2012, it is not unreasonable to ask whether Nokia or Research in Motion (the makers of Blackberry) will survive the hyper-competitive environment that has been thrust upon them by Apple and Google (Android) devices.  Formerly titans of the cell phone market, Nokia and RIM are struggling to match the ingenuity and velocity of their more inventive competitors.

Nokia, struggling to reinvent its smartphone business around Microsoft’s Windows software, had a loss of €929 million in the first quarter of 2012 as sales plunged 29 percent because of flagging demand for its older Symbian smartphones. The loss, equivalent to $1.2 billion, contrasts with a €344 million profit a year earlier. Sales fell to €7.4 billion in the quarter from €10.4 billion a year earlier. The Nokia president and chief executive, Stephen Elop, said Nokia would accelerate its cost-cutting efforts amid what he described as a mixed response to its new Lumia smartphones with Microsoft.

For Research in Motion, it is difficult to see how they will survive as a standalone entity.  RIM’s stock declined 75% in the twelve months to April 2012, and in the enterprise, its core market, it is losing market share at a very damaging rate.  While email, instant messaging, and the other network services RIM provides its customers remain extremely popular with users and respected as first-rate technology, the company has struggled mightily to keep its BlackBerry smartphone and PlayBook tablet products relevant in the face of increased competition from Apple and Google.

The other major casualty of the rise of Apple has been Adobe’s Flash. Flash is a multimedia platform produced by Adobe.  Flash has been the standard for adding video, interactivity, and animation to websites.  According to Adobe:

  • 98% of enterprises rely on Flash Player.
  • 85% of the most used sites use Flash.
  • 75% of web video is viewed using Flash Player.
  • 70% of web games are made in Flash.

But in 2010, Steve Jobs had the courage to question the applicability of the Flash technology going forward.  Jobs made waves and enemies when he banned Flash from use on all iOS devices.  iOS is the operating system from Apple.  Jobs was almost unanimously criticized by the industry.

After a largely public battle between Apple and Adobe, the latter capitulated in November 2011 announcing that Adobe is stopping development on Flash Player for browsers on mobile and increasing their investments in HTML5, Apple’s recommended platform.

When you combine all of these data points, you can derive your own picture of how the short-term mobile landscape will evolve.  If you accept my hypothesis that mobile is in fact one of the most significant changes in the business landscape that any of us has witnessed in our lifetime, then you should consider what that might look like in terms of required capabilities for your business and the mobile platforms that will dominate.

In our own business, we’ve committed to delivering our Dealmaker sales performance application solutions in a mobile world; and, it is possibly interesting to relate how our customers’ opinion changed during the lifecycle of our mobile project.

In late 2010 and early 2011, when we first discussed with our customers their need for an iPad enabled Dealmaker, the interest level was only moderate.  Our customers indicated that they would indeed be looking at it in the future – but that it was not generally a topic that was urgent.  We listened to our customers, but also listened to our gut instincts. We took a view that if we wanted to maintain our leadership in the sales performance application marketplace, that we should invest ahead of the (mobile) market demand, and trust our instincts.  So we ploughed ahead with the technology investment to deliver a HTML5 based web-app that would operate equally well in a web browser on a laptop as well as on iOS (from Apple) and Android (from Google) mobile platforms.

Dealmaker is a complex product with a broad range of capabilities that help sales organization to sell smarter – to win more sales opportunities – through intelligent sales process, automated deal coaching and collaboration tools, and to manage better – through accurate sales forecasts, predictive sales analytics and deep account planning and management methodologies embedded in the software.  We decided that if we were to deliver Dealmaker on a mobile platform, then should go “all in” and provide all of these capabilities in the hands of the mobile sales worker.  This was not an insignificant task.

When we first showed Dealmaker on an iPad at a customer event in November 2011, our customers were very impressed with the capability, but were singularly unimpressed or surprised by the fact that we had undertaken this initiative.  These were many of the same people who, just nine or twelve months earlier, had expressed just tepid interest in mobile solutions for their sales teams. It was a  lesson in product management and the need to balance customer input and market research with informed vision – and we were happy that we had made the right decision.  During 2011, mobile solutions, almost surreptitiously, became a baseline requirement – fueled by a ubiquity that caught many people by surprise.

The evolution of the mobile-centric economy

At the end of 2011 there were just over 327m mobile subscribers in the US.  That’s in a country of 315m people.  What are they doing with those devices, (apart from following Lady Gaga on Twitter)?

Well, for most of us, our mobile device has become an extension or part of who we are, plugged in, and always on, in an increasingly connected network.

In the first three months of 2012, Verizon Wireless, the largest cellphone services in the US, reported that fewer customers joined its service compared to the same period in 2011.  The predicament for carriers is that because most people who want a cellphone already have one, their subscriber growth has been anemic. That was the case for Verizon, which said it added 734,000 subscribers in the first quarter, 16 percent fewer than a year earlier.  However, Verizon still managed to post a profit of $1.7 billion for the quarter, largely because of the fees that customers pay to watch videos, browse the Web or play music over Verizon’s network on their smartphones and tablets. Revenues generated from mobile data services were $6.6 billion, up 21.1 percent.

According to estimates by Cisco, by 2016 there will be 10 billion mobile Internet devices in use globally in a world where the population is projected to be 7.3 billion.  In that same time-frame, smartphone traffic will grow to 50 times the size it is today, according to Cisco. To cope with this increasing demand, all the carriers say that they need more spectrum, the government-rationed radio waves that carry phone calls and wireless data.

As an example, in Verizon’s case, to get more radio waves, they made a deal in December 2011 to buy spectrum licenses from a consortium of cable companies including Time Warner, Comcast and Cox Communications, for $3.6 billion. (T-Mobile USA and Metro PCS, smaller wireless carriers, have urged the Federal Communications Commission to block the deal, claiming it would put too much spectrum in the hands of the nation’s largest carrier.)

And just in case we were unsure about mobile being the hub of future Internet traffic, Facebook paying $1 Billion dollars for Instagram is another data point to consider.  The three-day sprint to the deal started on April 5, 2012 when Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, picked up the phone and asked Kevin Systrom, CEO of Instagram to meet. At the time, Systrom was just hours from signing a deal for a $50 million venture-capital investment that would put a $500 million value on his company, which had just 13 employees and no revenue.

Instagram makes a smartphone “app” that lets people take photos, dress them up with special effects, and easily share them with friends. In the first three months of this year, its user base nearly doubled, to about 30 million, the company said at the time. After Instagram released a version of its app for phones powered by Google’s Android software on April 3, the user base shot up again, to around 35 million at the time of the Facebook deal.

Mark Zuckerberg was particularly concerned when he saw millions of people signing up for the Android app, people familiar with the matter said. One concern: Facebook was falling behind in mobile as younger start-ups were innovating more quickly.

Knowing your mobile customer

The market that we serve is business-to-business (B2B) sales organizations. The promise we make is that we can help our customers to increase revenue and gain more predictability in their business through our Dealmaker solution.  We believe the unique value we deliver is the result of combining two disciplines; (1) intelligent software applications and (2) deep sales methodologies. Innovation is at the core of our efforts and the Dealmaker intelligent software platform is the engine driving revenue growth for our customers.

To deliver on our promise, it is critical that we can view the market through the eyes of our customers – and in the context of mobile, we need to understand how our customers themselves can deploy mobile solutions, and how their customers are using mobile in their day-to-day interactions.

If you are a sales person, sales leader or business leader, then you should join me in seeking a deep understanding of how to make your sales person’s interactions with their customers more effective. How will she and her customer communicate, learn, and engage, both internally and externally?

The short answer is that the business world in which they operate is: always on, increasingly connected, and peppered by frequent interruptions.

Attention span is short.

Instant gratification carries a premium.  Information is plentiful, but effective analysis of that information is lacking.

Yesterday’s news is a valueless currency as we use our mobile devices to learn about business happenings, world events, and personal activities in a torrent of up-to-the-minute information flow.

- o – o -

A business thrives when it can influence its customers’ thinking in a positive way.  In order to do that, the business must first understand how the customer wants to interact, before the sales cycle, during the sales cycle and after the sale. To change the mind of the customer you first need to get inside it, and understand what is important to the specific profile of target buyer that you seek to influence.

According to Pew Research, smartphone usage in February 2012 is most prevalent among the 18-29 age group, 66% of whom own a smart phone, followed closely by the 30-49 age group (59%).  Other key indicators of smartphone usage are the level of household income where smartphone penetration is at 68% among the $75,000+ income group; 60% where users are college educated; and men (49%) slightly outpace women (44%) when it comes to smartphone adoption.

The accelerating pace of change

And as I mentioned earlier, the pace of change continues to accelerate. Looking just at the last ten years, we can observe the rate at which different technologies were adopted.

Starting with Apple’s iPod in 2002, it took nearly a year for Apple to reach the milestone of a million units shipped. RIM’s Blackberry actually outpaced the iPod in 2002 reaching that threshold in 300 days.  In a continuing move towards increased mobility, the world embraced netbooks in 2007 and bought one million units in just six months.  The time to achieve this level of penetration has continued to shorten and Apple’s iPhone took just 70 days in 2007.

When the iPad was released a whole new market opened up and in just one month, a million users were experiencing  new ways to consume information, browse the web and interact online.

The tablet phenomenon has outstripped everyone expectations. At this point in time (April 2012), 20% of all US adults own a tablet device. Propelled by an unparalleled user experience, increased bandwidth availability, and a drive for instant access everywhere, tablet ownership almost doubled between December 2011 and January 2012.

When the iPad 3, or New IPad as it was called, was released in March 2012, Apple shipped three million units in the launch weekend, making the time to reach a million less than one day!

The number of iPads now been sold by Apple is outstripping laptops sales from any of the traditional manufacturers.


As we reflect on how to equip our sales teams to interact with their increasingly mobile customers, we need to consider how they learn, how they use our business systems, collaborate, and communicate; all through the lens of a mobile worker.  Using an iPad (or other tablet) in a sales meeting changes the dynamic of the meeting. The psychological barrier that accompanies the traditional sales person presenting from behind the lid of a laptop goes away. Customers become involved and reach for the sales person’s iPad to run the presentation themselves, or, in a software demonstration, they often want to take control and see what happens as the swipe, tap and pinch.

Workers leave their iPad sitting around on their kitchen table, always on, always connected, a portal to their corporate information systems, their daily news sources, or their learning environment.  Skype or Facetime calls from iPads, iPhones or other similarly equipped devices puts video interactivity just a tap away, and new and more intimate communication norms are emerging.

As you develop your strategies for your sales force in 2012 and beyond, I’d encourage you to ask yourself if you’ve considered whether you’ve adequately factored in this unstoppable force.  Are all of your systems fully mobile-ware? Can new hires learn about your company, your products, your customers, and your target market from their mobile device?  How much have you thought about the shortening attention span of learners and users alike that accompanies the mobile mindset? When your managers seek to support and coach their direct reports, can they find the information they need on their mobile device, and collaborate with them in that mode?

Most new technologies go through two phases of adoption; the first is when we find new and better ways to do things that we already do, and the second – and definitely more exciting phase – is when we uncover things that we can now do that we could never do before.

Now is the time to Carpe Tabulam – seize the tablet.  (I’m sure the Latin scholars out there will correct any inaccuracies in my grammar.)

As ever, I’d welcome your comments.

[The next post in this series will explore the impact of Social Networks on selling.  If you want to be notified of new blog posts you can always subscribe at the top right of the blog here, or follow me on Twitter @dealmaker365]

Exactly How Mobile Is Your Sales Force?

Time is precious, and the sales person’s time is incredibly precious, both to them and to the sales organization looking to maximize the performance of their key quota-bearers.  Since so much of a sales person’s time is spent moving between A and B and back again, does it make sense to equip them with the tools to connect to their stakeholders to the greatest extent possible?

As with many important strategic decisions, though, it becomes a question of degree.  To what degree should we enable our sales people to be on the grid when they’re mobile?  Where on the spectrum of mobile phone (low mobility) through to complete mobile replication of their office situation (high mobility) makes most sense for our business and our budgeted investment?

I offer below 6 reasons for why you should embed automated intelligence into the mobilization of your sales force.  I have taken content from our free White Paper called Intelligent Automation for Sales Mobility, which you can download here.

Productivity. Simply put, allowing your remote sales people to perform the same processing and computing tasks on the road as they do from their office helps them work smarter

Consistency. If integrating methodology and process into CRM increases adoption of best practices, then integrating into mobile CRM must do too

Responsiveness. Being able to respond quickly and authoritatively is important, and if you can do that while mobile, perhaps in front of your customer, then all the better

Collaboration. The greater the degree of interaction with your customers during meetings, the more value you both get out of their (and your) precious time

Access. If you can demonstrate your product or service to your customer on your tablet or smartphone, you also demonstrate that they can use your product service on their mobile device too

Profitability. The fully engaged, fully connected sales person greatly increases their sales velocity while reducing the cost of acquisition

We learned a lot of this when we focused on mobile as part of the recent release of Dealmaker on the iPad.  If your business is the business of involved B2B sales, then you too should consider giving your sales people the same opportunity to interact with the grid when moving as they enjoy when they’re stationary.

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