Ever since market I have been thinking about the sea shift that has been occurring in the sales profession when it comes to technology. Today at our disposal we have easy access to smart phones, IPads and other tablet devices, websites, emails, social media and so much more to make our job easier or more distracting depending on how you navigate the latest and greatest tools.
Here are a few observations I have made coming out of market on various tools. I would love others opinions on how they are using technology with good results.
IPads and Tablets – Several years ago I wrote a post about if IPads would ever replace the various paper and ink catalogs, reps had to carry around at market. It was with some resistance that I finally made it through an entire market without the crutch of a master Bible of price lists from my various lines. I had everything accessible on my IPad. For some factories who had applications like AmpTab and were willing to keep it current, finding things was remarkably easy. For other factories, putting the new price list in an app like Dropbox seemed to do the trick but was a bit more cumbersome. One more application I have used is a notetaking application like Evernote. Eventually my hope is that all of these functions can be done seamlessly so that I don’t have to switch back and forth among apps depending on what information is needed.
What I have noticed working with major buyers is how many of them have also begun to migrate their market notetaking to tablets. They snap a picture, make some notes, capture a price and move onto the next item of interest. Then when it comes time to review products, they are able to pull up on their tablets for reference or print it out and compare notes when the rep makes a presentation. Much more efficient product than a scribbled note that can’t be deciphered after market because there is a picture attached.
Smart Phones – Just think how rapidly we have come to rely on the smart phone in our pocket for communication. I rarely can get a buyer on the actual phone and talk with them. But I can get emails and texts back and forth for almost instantaneous communication with factory or buyer no matter where they are. There was a time when I had to carry a separate camera to shoot pictures because the quality of the cell phone cameras was so bad. That of course has all changed. Looking for serial numbers or serviceable defects on products without proper lighting was always a challenge until the flashlight app. And if you want to video a sales training presentation, it’s now easy and convenient without carrying another video camera. How much we have come to rely on these devices in our daily life is amazing.
Websites and Social Media – Whether it be your own personal website, Linked In, Facebook Fan Page, Pinterest, Twitter, or Instagram there are so many ways we can now communicate to customers and prospects online. Of course there is never enough time in the day to do justice to any one of them. My question continues to be what is the payback on time and money invested in these medias. We struggle with the challenge given the universe of customers we are trying to track and the fact that most of them are too busy in their business lives to be scrolling for random Facebook posts or tweets. I would be very interested in any successes you have experienced with online media.
Hopefully this post will stimulate some discussion whether it be from other reps, from industry technology suppliers, factory IT guys or retailers on successes people are seeing and using with regards to technology. As always feel free to leave your positive comments below and let’s see if we can learn from each other’s successes.