A new report from Gartner covers the latest advances in sales strategy and some serious stats on B2B adoption of mobile technology, social CRM, and clienteling. Here’s one of their most startling predictions: 80% iPad adoption by pharmaceutical sales forces by the end of 2012. The High Tech, Life Sciences and Insurance industries already have a jump on the game with huge levels of iPad adoption for sales productivity. Insurance is not really what you think of when it comes to being ‘adventurous’ so you know there are some serious numbers behind the move.
Budgeting for new vs. old CRM
While some companies and entire industries are leapfrogging with mobile CRM gear, Gartner found that 70% of budgets still concentrate on more mature CRM technologies like customer service, e-commerce and sales force automation. This is great news for you because adopting future-forward techniques like iPads puts cloud capabilities in the hands of your sales force while cutting out 2/3 of your competition. Sales productivity has shown immediate gains from up-to-the-second streaming video demonstrations, immersion catalogs, and targeted apps on an iPad.
To get you started, here are your 3 biggest obstacles to deploying BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) along with some suggestions on how to handle them.
iPad roadblocks and bypasses
- BYOD skepticism – VMware reported that 79% of businesses do not support BYOD due to security and compatibility problems. Apple has an app for that. Apps push the security back to network level and so device security is not such a problem. iPads are not designed for document storage but your sales force doesn’t need to store anything if the cloud is available and your bandwidth is strong. If the device is lost or stolen, it can be switched off the network. The bigger philosophical question is: do you trust your sales staff. If not, you’ve got a different category of problems.
- C-suite silence – If iPads were so great, you would hear it from your CEO-CFO-CTO, right? Wrong. This is precisely the kind of tactical decision they are counting on you to handle while they work on long-term strategies. The ball is in your court so slam-dunk it. But these guys don’t have time to do the research so you’ll have to post-it note the financials. One thing you can do right now is to do some office politics and get your plan in front of senior managers. The reality is that gatekeepers have to be in place to protect C-suite schedules, but they can’t ignore an accumulation of management support.
- Passive pushback – the modern sales force correctly feels that more is being demanded of them every day. Management priorities come and go, so the safest way to survive in sales is to ignore most of what you are ordered to do. Sales numbers speak louder than compliance. So how does a manager motivate a jaded sales force to try something new? Fight dirty: think about what’s in it for them and give it to them. Don’t underestimate the power of shiny new toys that they can call their own. Allow them to customize things like look-and-feel, even if it creates more work for you and the IT department. Sales productivity will be worth the headaches.
SaaS and the future
Your next problem is how to support the flood of new customers and where to spend all that extra loot. Gartner’s report is ready with a suggestion for you there as well. Software-as-a-service has been such a financial success (because customers now demand a customized experience of your core business) that leading companies are moving up to Platform-as-a-service.