Get Smart!

Nokias E61 smartphone

Motorolas MotoQ smartphone

The Palm Treo 700p from Verizon Wireless

The BlackBerry 7130c smartphone from Research in Motion

TODAYS SMARTPHONE IS OFTEN described as a cross between a souped-up cell phone and a wireless PDA. From the latest versions of the BlackBerry or Treo (Palm Inc.) devices to Motorolas new MotoQ and Nokias Series 60 models, the enterprise smartphone is a bewitching little device that packs a lot of processing power and offers increased on-the-go productivity. Its also one of those rare products that practically has sold itself to many U.S. executives.

Theres no doubt that smartphone vendors and channels have made significant progress convincing large U.S. businesses to begin deploying these multifunctional handhelds. Earlier this year, InfoTech surveyed its enterprise research panel on mobile device usage. More than 80 percent of large (500-plus employees) respondent companies have begun equipping mobile employees with some type of smartphone. Thats impressive; however, the vast majority have fewer than one-quarter of their mobile workers using the device.

It can be argued that the relatively easy sales to CxOs and higher-level personnel are quickly being exhausted. How can wireless dealers convert todays broad-but-shallow coverage into deeper, more ubiquitous smartphone utilization?

If youre a wireless dealer, its time to assemble a next-wave smartphone sales plan that recognizes these market realities. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Focus on companies that already have begun smartphone deployments.

When targeting large businesses, the smartphone selling effort should focus on expanding purchases by current customers. If a large U.S. business hasnt begun deploying smartphones yet, our research reveals that it probably wont be doing so anytime soon.

Current user companies, however, actually expect their smartphone purchases to grow significantly over the next three years. During that timeframe, the percentage of large U.S. companies that equip more than half of their mobile workers with smartphones is projected by our interviewees to grow from 11 percent to 30 percent for full keyboard models (see chart, Smartphone with Full Keyboard: U.S. Penetration by User Group, 2006 vs. 2009) and from 3 percent to 16 percent for the smaller 12-key designs. These projected increases translate into significant sales potential when you consider that todays average large company gauges its mobile population at 20 percent of all employees and expects this figure to grow to 30 percent of all headcount by 2009.

Recommend specific mobile worker segments as next users. Enterprises foresee significant smartphone utilization by a select range of mobile worker types. These include not only the predictable traveling workers (e.g., mobile executives, field sales, etc.), but also certain on-campus roamer categories. Respondents to InfoTechs survey point to administrative staff and IT/tech support as two of the on-campus segments they expect to outfit with smartphones. This interest in disseminating smartphones to on-campus roamers may reflect an increasing corporate desire to keep even on-premises workers constantly tethered and accessible. Whatever the motivation, these groups should be included when youre recommending your prospects next smartphone users or pilot groups.

Source: InfoTech

Target the IT organization as decision maker.

Individual end-user employees no matter how far up the ladder they reside have carte blanche over mobile device choices in only 5 percent of todays large enterprises (see chart, Smartphone Purchase Decision Maker: U.S. Businesses, above). Odds are your sales target is the IT organization. In the United States, in particular, IT organizations are exerting stronger control over smartphone platform and device decisions; they have to for integration and security reasons.

Be prepared, however, for that 20 percent of companies that will direct you to a collaborative purchase team that typically is made up of technology, business unit and staff representatives. You will have to be prepared to discuss smartphone benefits in terms each of these groups understands and respects.

Source: InfoTech

Recognize the power of basic smartphone features.

While new and intriguing smartphone capabilities are being regularly introduced, enterprise customers still place highest value on basic smartphone features and have relegated many of the newer functions to a minimal need category. Enterprises are not interested particularly in cameras, Bluetooth connectivity or GPS navigation, to name a few. Many of these more niche-oriented functions are going to require more explanation and peerjustification before they become effective selling points. Some, such as the camera, can be out-and-out violations of company privacy policies. So recognize the most important smartphone function remains the ability to send, receive and synch e-mail messages. Strong interest also exists around security features, access to company applications and databases, and high-speed data access (see chart, Value of Smartphone Features: U.S. Enterprise Top 10, at right).

Source: InfoTech

Offer a selection of smartphone designs.

Alphanumeric keyboard or 12-button keypad? Enterprise form factor preferences are evolving, and your portfolio must keep pace. Over the short term, the majority of large U.S. businesses anticipate continuing to need both the full-keyboard and 12-key models as options for their employees.

Price strategically.

To speed dissemination of smartphones into a customers mobile worker population, employ a volume/bulk purchase discount schedule. And also recognize the smartphones cannibalization impact on your other voice device sales. In addition to less functional cell phones, both traditional and IP desk phones will be impacted, albeit to a lesser degree. Pricing is one way to guide this displacement effect.

Jeanine Sterling directs InfoTechs InfoTrack for Enterprise Mobility research and intelligence program. Information for this article is based on InfoTechs June 2006 report, Driving Enterprise SmartPhone Sales.

BlackBerry (Research in Motion Ltd.)
Motorola Inc.
Palm Inc.
Verizon Wireless

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The ID is: 70899