Why carry a heavy load?
Sales is all about productivity. The most precious resource that any salesperson has is time. The more productive they can be with that their time, the more sales they close.
Mobile devices can be both a cure-all and a pain for salespeople. On one hand, they allow salespeople to have critical information at their fingertips. But, on the other, reliance on such devices have forced salespeople to become part-time IT workers—spending more and more time on their technology, and less on their customers.
As with other mobile workers, field salespeople struggle with their choice of devices:
- Do they carry a lightweight tablet (like an Apple iPad) that travels easily, but is unable to do everything they need to do their job?
- Do they lug around a full laptop, so they can access corporate networks and all of their important desktop applications?Unfortunately, many sales organizations these days see no alternative but to carry both. Tablet devices have become all the rage with mobile salespeople–and for good reason. They’re lightweight, mobile, and can bring marketing materials to life. The challenge with most tablets, however, is that their mobile form factor comes with trade-offs, typically in terms of power, performance, and versatility. Thus, often a salesperson carrying an iPad is also forced to carry a laptop for when they need to do “real work,” which diminishes the value of carrying the lightweight tablet.
And how about the frequent concern over which device contains the information they need?
Get productive—and practical
Now there is a way for salespeople to maximize productivity in the field while also increasing engagement with customers – Microsoft Surface. Check out examples of companies in many different industries that have achieved measureable savings by deploying Surface with their sales teams.
Maximize salesperson productivity
Tammie Brewer, Director of Sales at DEX Imaging (the country’s largest independent dealer of office equipment), was the perfect example of how the wrong device can negatively affect productivity. She found herself constantly returning to her office in between client appointments to work on her PC.
“I could access my iPad from the road, but could just view attachments to my email. I couldn’t work on a proposal or make any document changes. If the client wanted to change something, I had to come back to the office to get it done.”
Achieve work-life balance
Having a single device means that salespeople enter data one time–and one time only. No need to waste time transcribing notes and transferring information and files from one device to another. As Guy Collins, Pacific Northwest Sales Manager for Hunter Industries (a global manufacturer of irrigation equipment and landscape lighting), explains, that wasted time adds up:
“I would end every day with a lengthy to-do list of all the things I couldn’t get done on my iPad. That meant an extra 90 minutes of work every evening to bridge these two devices and hope nothing slipped through the cracks…[With Surface], that’s 90 minutes more each day that I can spend with my family.”
Another Hunter salesperson, Aaron Huxley, Sales Manager for the Greater Bay Area and Central Coast, echoes this sentiment in this case study:
“I love not having to juggle two devices anymore. Because I get more done throughout the day, I have shorter workdays.”
As the adage goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. When a salesperson enters a customer site with a Surface tablet, customers take notice. The salesperson is seen as polished, professional, organized, and on cutting edge of technology. Guy Collins from Hunter Industries explains:
“We pride ourselves on being an innovative company, and when I’m giving presentations on the Surface, customers always comment on it. It’s far cooler than pulling out a giant six-pound laptop. People notice the Surface. It enhances our reputation as a technological leader.”
Dan Doyle, Chief Executive Officer with Dex Imaging:
“Our sales reps walk in with a Surface. The customer is kind of wowed by it and it leads them to believe ‘Ok. These guys understand technology. They’re using technology. They know what I need.'”
Brent Rineck, CIO at ABD Insurance & Financial Services [a California-based insurance and financial services broker], says that using Surface is crucial for his salespeople:
”A lot of our customers are household names in the tech industry. Those companies look for brokers that have technology. They love when you walk in with a Surface. They’re like ‘That’s awesome!'”
At the end of the day, what’s most important is the ability to close more deals…and close deals faster. With Surface, salespeople execute transactions with on-site quotes, digital signatures, expedited order entry and live tracking—streamlining the process and shrinking the sales cycle.
By capturing electronic customer signatures with the Surface pen and electronically sharing sales documentation instantly throughout the organization, Dex Imaging was able to dramatically improve their sales cycles. According to Dan Doyle:
“Our traditional sales cycle was 28 days from the moment the customer signed the document to the moment the customer received the product. We’ve reduced it so far by 7 days using the Surface Pro 3.”
One of the other great things about Surface for mobile salespeople is the ability to complete sales transactions at the right time. Upon introducing Surface Pro 3 to their sales team, Watersports Central (one of the largest, most respected boat dealers in the Atlanta area) realized that they could vastly improve the sales experience by completing all customer paperwork right on the water. Johnny Crowe, owner of Watersports Central, says:
“We were looking around to see how we could better serve our customers. We discovered the new Surface… With the flexibility that it offers, we’re able to go out to where the customer is and never once have to step into a sales office.”
Reduced IT Costs
One of the additional challenges of tablet usage with mobile salespeople is that many of the devices were originally intended as a consumer-first product. As a result, IT departments are required to duplicate existing processes and policies to deploy, secure, and manage the devices. Because it was designed from day one with enterprise customers in mind—and it runs the standard Windows operating system—Surface is able to smoothly integrate into the existing processes of most IT departments with little additional effort or cost. According to Patrick Adesso, Chief Information Officer with Dex Imaging
“We looked at the iPad, we looked at a host of Android devices. [With Surface], the tangible or direct cost saving was integrating the Surface Pro into an already Microsoft-running shop. We didn’t have to train. We didn’t have to hire. There’s plenty of space. There’s plenty of processing power. We just don’t have any issues with the performance of it. “
Hervé Tahon, Chief Information Officer at Nexity (a French company that focuses on real estate development and the provision of related services) states:
“The Surface Pro 3 really sets itself apart from other tablets [with] its capacity to be integrated into the information system as a classic workstation where all of our security, update, and software distribution strategies could be recovered.”
No matter the industry, the unparalleled combination of power, performance, and portability truly makes Surface a dream for mobile salespeople.
As Patrick Adesso explains,
“It’s very satisfying to know that we’ve deployed Surface and it’s helping. That’s really our goal as an IT company: to enable the salespeople to do their job. Any company that truly does their homework, they’ll see that Surface is the right device for them.”
So, what about you? Are you a mobile sales professional that has utilized Surface to positive results? E-mail us at SurfaceForSales@Microsoft.com and tell us how Surface has helped you achieve your sales goals.