By Chanin Ballance
According to IDC, 57 percent of customers feel that salespeople are poorly prepared, or not prepared, for initial meetings. Partner portals, data sheets, PowerPoint presentations and email communications are often ignored or lost in the clutter. The channel wants something that is easy to get to, easy to digest and relevant to their needs. Plus, it must be quick and to the point. Mobile technology provides the perfect opportunity to reinforce corporate sales strategies and improve product knowledge in the sales channel. By providing the critical information they need to close the deal in the palm of their hands you can help them quickly produce results.
That said, just making information available on mobile devices is not enough. It also needs to be easy to find, access and comprehend. Plus, it needs to be something that can be tracked for continuous improvement. Below are some tips for how to make your content more mobile-friendly, as well as to make sure it’s effective. We’ll also discuss how to easily address the multitude of devices in use by your sales reps and channel partners.
1. Modularize your content for each stage of the buying process.
Breaking information into micro content, not only makes it more manageable on mobile devices, but also makes it easier to integrate into long-term memory. Since working memory is the equivalent of being mentally online, it holds a limited amount of information at one time. The brain needs help. Smaller, more manageable “chunks" or “bits" of information make learning more practical. Sales reps don’t have time to read a 10-page paper on a topic, and even if they did they probably wouldn’t remember most of it anyway. Instead, they want to be able to have that same information in digestible chunks or bits as it is relevant, and at the time and place they choose.
Sales reps are looking for quick snippets of information to help them know what to do and say in the different stages of the buying process. With mobile and cloud-based technology, marketers can better support sales interactions with customers. Distilling knowledge to its core, keeping it concise and supported with memorable examples, and making this information convenient for sales reps to access can successfully improve their time management, boost their performance and increase sales efficiency.
2. Track sales behavior to hone productivity and focus on what works.
Tracking downloads is not enough to know if the content is helpful to your teams. With proper tracking and analytics built-in upfront, companies can collect user data that ties back to business objectives such as lead conversion, sales performance and speed of onboarding. Look for a system that tracks content consumption and searches, as well as supports a variety of feedback mechanisms from the field such as ratings, surveys and open response feedback. In addition, selectively incorporate knowledge checks and assessments throughout the sales enablement program to provide competency and retention statistics. In total, the analytics will allow the company to have a deeper understanding of the factors that influence sales success.
3. Address the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend.
The BYOD movement continues to grow in the workplace. According to a report published by Ovum and commissioned by Logicalis, almost 75 percent of employees in “high-growth" markets (including Brazil, Russia, India, UAE, and Malaysia) use their own devices at work, compared to 44 percent in the more mature developed markets. More than half of these employees say that constant connectivity with work applications enables them to do their jobs better and that they like the flexibility of being able to use mobile enterprise applications outside work hours.
That said, many companies are struggling with how to manage the BYOD trend. Some buy their sales teams standardized phone and tablet devices, others try to address the situation through policy and some are tempted to ignore it and hope it will go away. The truth is that BYOD can be an enabler if you are in control of the process and do not let it control you. Savvy organizations are adjusting to this new era by mobilizing sales support and allowing sales reps or channel partners to quickly access the information they need on-demand throughout the different stages of the buying process. Rather than developing apps for each different device, explore the possibility of using a cloud-based platform that is device agnostic.
With the growing number of employees working remotely and the increasing use of personal mobile devices in the field, organizations have a great opportunity to increase the productivity of their sales force. Distilling knowledge for improved channel engagement and sales performance in the mobile work world starts with anticipating what the sales force wants and needs to succeed in the field. It also requires new technology and templates that provide simple yet powerful user experiences. By delivering highly relevant, personalized support on any device when and where it is needed, as well as tracking user behavior, companies can provide better sales-marketing alignment and are poised for continuous improvement. When designed well, mobilizing critical information such as job aids and playbooks empowers salespeople to improve their efficiency and increase sales performance.
Chanin Ballance is CEO at both VIA and MobilePaks. She frequently speaks about learning, mobile engagement and sales enablement solutions and has written for prominent industry publications such as Chief Marketer, Chief Learning Officer, ChannelproSMB and more.