Should I Force My Sales Staff To Use a Smartphone?

Posted by David Chism | Thu, Jun 27, 2013

 Should I Force My Sales Staff To Use a Smartphone?

Smart­phone Growth

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.

iphone perkWhat’s In It For Me?

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, Autho​rize​.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?

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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