I read a report recently that around 1.5 billion people now have a smartphone. According to the NYDaily News, 1.3 million Android phones are activated each day! Mobile searches to websites are up at least 30% as well. Around 2-3 years ago, my Dad’s painting site was getting not much more than 5% mobile visitors. Today it gets around 30%. What does this mean? Smartphones are just entering our lives, not leaving. Tech companies are working overtime to create user friendly apps and phones as well. Therefore it is my recommendation that business owners should encourage–if not force–their employees to use smartphones, especially the sales staff.
How can giving your staff smartphones benefit you? There are many benefits. A couple of the key benefits I’ve seen are:
- Increase internal communications among staff members
- Get payments faster using a wide variety of mobile payment apps (PayPal, Authorize.net, Quickbooks)
- Taking photos and videos of projects (before, during and after) and easily sending them to the right place (online or to your marketing folks)
- Responding quickly to customer and prospects while on the go
- If done properly, can keep one more organized using apps like Evernote (note taking, ideas, knowledge base)
- Contact, Reminders and Calendars at one’s finger tips. This is the #1 reason I use my smartphone. I don’t forget things like I used too. I got my first smart device in 2000 and have not looked back. I like using the voice memos or reminder apps to not forget important events, meetings, phone calls or projects. It is so inefficient to have to look through a daytimer or call the office to get a single phone number. I know employees who still do this!
- It can help increase sales and customer engagement. How? If you are using a good mobile CRM like Pipeline Deals or Base CRM your staff can stay more on top of their sales pipeline. You as the owner or manager can also keep better tabs on your sales team if they are using a mobile CRM. You can assign tasks to them, know when things are done (or not done) and even see where they are at for their sales goals: weekly, monthly or annually. This is one of the most important reasons a salesperson should have a smartphone and learn to use it. What if my employee refuses?!!! If he or she knows how to work their cable TV remote, they can use a smartphone, which is technically easier to master.
- GPS: There is a plethora of GPS apps and programs available for businesses today. You don’t have to be Big Brother, but it is nice to know where your employees are when they are on your clock. I have had a few customers tell me they are able to save money each payday because of the GPS tracking apps. It also can, in some cases, lower your insurance rates.
How To Make The Change
Some of you reading this can do a cold turkey change and demand that your staff have a smartphone in their hands by the end of the week. This could work, but my guess is you’ll have a few disgruntled employees. Sometimes it is your top employees that will resist too! Yet, my advice is to pick a couple of employees and gradually win over the rest of the team. Give a few employees a phone and a few key apps that they can use for work: CRM, Calendar, Contacts, Dropbox, Camera, etc. After a few weeks or a couple of months, add another employee or two. After a little time, you can then make it mandatory for everyone (field and sales people) to use a smartphone. I have encouraged business owners to share the vision and be open with their employees about their goals and reasons for requiring smartphones.
Just yesterday I met with a sales manager of a large equipment rental company. He said he does not use a CRM or require smartphones. One of the reasons is because his top salesman refuses to use one. Yet the sales manager spends a lot of extra time each week preparing sales goals, measuring results and communicating with his “old fashioned” sales staff. As I talked to him, he began to see the value of having smartphones, once he saw how much time it could save him.
Let me know how you’ve implemented or resisted smartphones for your employees. How did you do it? Or why are you resisting?