My business case for the Apple iPad for the corporate sales force

By Christopher How | Business

Apr 25

When Steve Jobs did the demo for the Apple iPad, only one thought went through my head. “Can I use the iPad for work?” After thinking about it for many days and talking to friends, I decided to take the plunge and buy it. Nevertheless, being an early adopter, I paid quite a premium for it.

So here’s my business case for an Apple iPad for the sales force

Going paperless in meetings and discussions
Instead of using rough paper to jot down notes during meetings, sales people can use the notes-taking apps to jot down important notes and create my to-do lists. The best part about this is that a copy can be sent to colleagues and clients via email.

Working while on-the-move
With the iWorks suite for iPad, Sales people can now work on documents and presentations while commuting. The only pity is that the Numbers app does not export files to a Microsoft Excel format. The PDF export function does not work very well due to the custom fonts that Apple uses for iPad.

A truly portable device for web working
By tethering the iPad to a mobile device, MIFI, or a wireless hotspot, sales people can remain connected to the network anywhere they go. That also means web working becomes truly mobile, with a proper screen resolution, without the weight. Top up a bit more for the 3G version and tethering is not even needed to be truly mobile.

Make a winning presentation
For a 1-to-1 presentation, the iPad becomes a colorful, vibrant, and animated tool that allows sales people to showcase their products and services. Couple with other business apps, sales people can also provide financial calculations and business quotes on the spot to create a business win.

Closing a win at a snap
The moment the customer gives a nod, it is important to close the deal immediately. Instead of having to go back to the office to print an official sales quote, Zosh on iPad allows sales people to open PDF documents and have customers sign on the dotted line with their finger on the screen. Copies can then be sent to the customer as a reference, the accounts department for billing, and the warehouse for order fulfillment.

Should business equip their sales force with an iPad?
After reading all that I’ve stated above, you’re probably thinking that my answer is definitely a yes. I hate to disappoint you, but I would have to say no.

The reason is very simple. While the iPad seems like a great tool, not everyone in your sales force would be willing to switch from the traditional sales tactics that they are used to, to another way of selling. While I do agree that the iPad can be integrated into traditional sales tactics, I would prefer to think that if a sales person can see the potential of an iPad in their sales strategies, they would definitely be willing to buy the iPad themselves.

What I suggest companies can do is to create sales processes that are web-enabled so that traditional sales people can print them for usage and tech-savvy sales people can use them with their iPads.

Do you use your iPad to complement your sales strategies as well? Share them in the comments.

Photo credit: Tom Raftery

About the Author

Christopher How is a digital marketing specialist helping organisations complement their business strategies with digital marketing techniques since 2006. Currently working in Philips Lighting as Senior Digital Marketing Manager (ASEAN Pacific), Christopher manages the end to end digital marketing from generating leads to converting them into contacts for the sales team. He is also involved in proposing and implementing digital marketing solutions that improve marketing efforts and processes for businesses.