Deploying the iPad for Sales in Your SMB

Paul Mah
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Five Considerations when Deploying iPad in Your Business

Factors to consider before deploying the iPad.

I've blogged previously about what to consider before deploying tablets in your SMB. My primary motivation for writing that was simple: to play the devil's advocate to discourage businesses from jumping onto the tablet wagon without careful consideration. And this is borne out by the numbers too: At least one study (pdf) found that while 78 percent plan to have tablets deployed by the end of 2013, more than half don't even have a clear adoption strategy.


Similar to how many end users may have purchased an iPad but end up leaving it at home, the aesthetics and sheer functionality of the iPad may lull organizations into assigning it with an inflated assessment of its value, even as they overlook the actual operational costs of deploying and maintaining them.


On the other hand, the iPad can offer tangible returns to a sales team when properly deployed, however, a point that CRM expert Ashley Furness concurs when she wrote:

When implemented into the selling process with some careful planning, the iPad can be a useful companion for a sales rep.

In her blog titled "So You Bought iPads for Sales-Now What?" Furness went on to offer a number of tips to help transform the iPad into a sales tool, a couple of which I highlighted below.


There's an App for That


Rather than relying on traditional tools such as a PowerPoint presentation, or a static lineup of images or PDF files, Furness pointed to the availability of specialized tools that can be used to put together an appealing presentation.


For example, UpSync specializes in easy-to-use and deployable apps for making and sharing sales presentations on the fly, combining images, videos, PDFs, HTML 5 and other digital assets into a single presentation. Another tool called Showpad promises to turn each iPad into a powerful sales and presentation tool, while Mediafly touts itself as providing a "complete Enterprise Media Presentation solution."


Don't Do It Piecemeal


A common mistake typically made by companies, says Furness, is when they attempt to put their mobile strategy together in a piecemeal fashion. She writes:

First they mobilize their CRM system, then they roll out an app for sales, another for accounting, another for data storage, and so on.

The allure has to do with the abundance of cheap or free tools that can be quickly deployed; the problem though, is that such an approach is not sustainable. The end result is that the disparate tools end up costing the business more than they should. According to Furness, the correct solution involves thinking big and moving to integrate all pertinent sales activities into a single app from the get-go.


I think Meghan Lopresto, vice president of multichannel marketing and sales force analytics for The Cement Bloc, summed it up best when she said:

Transitioning your field sales team over to an iPad platform is more than just an upgrade of their technology. It represents a key shift in the engagement between sales representatives and their customers.

How have you deployed your iPad in your small and mid-sized business? I look forward to hearing about it from you.

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