The ability to connect and enable mobile and remote employees often is seen as a way to boost productivity, enhance communications or even just to make the employee work experience more flexible and enjoyable. In one area of operations, however, mobile enablement is becoming an absolute necessity; and it’s an area of the business that most companies simply cannot afford to handicap: sales.
A recent survey from Aberdeen Group found that nearly two-thirds of companies’ sales teams members are now primarily remote workers. What’s more, the research shows that mobility enabled sales teams achieve stronger performance around quota attainment, customer retention and forecasting accuracy, as well as other common sales metrics.
Among companies that support sales mobility, for example, 76 percent report total team attainment of sales quotas. That number falls to 53 percent among all other companies. And whereas 39 percent of non-mobilized sales reps report to achieving sales quotas, more than half (56 percent) of reps working for companies that support sales mobility regularly hit sales quota. Sales forecasting accuracy, meanwhile, is achieved by 61 percent of firms that have adopted mobile selling practices versus 44 percent of those that haven’t, show Aberdeen figures.
“The overall takeaway here is that while companies are highly varied in their depth of sales mobility deployment, those with best performance – around quota attainment, lead conversion effectiveness and customer loyalty – lead the way with ‘anywhere, anytime’ sales enablement,” argues Peter Ostrow, vice president and research group director for Aberdeen.
Some 92 percent of sales teams surveyed by Aberdeen now have access to email on their handheld devices. But true mobile sales enablement is about much more than a smartphone connected to a Web mail server. Indeed, companies now realize that reps or account managers seeking to educate, influence and close a deal should have any and all content, communications or data that they may need in the palm of their hands, regardless of how the on-site meeting, conversation or pitch progresses, argues Ostrow. Today’s frontline sellers succeed most often when they not only have their presentations and content mobilized but also can readily achieve Web-based and secure data, as well as communicate in real-time with colleagues and partners, he continues.
This can include checking inventory, obtaining manager’s approval, confirming credit terms, asking for help in negotiations and accessing marketing or other content assets, as well as shipping and logistics information, sales forecasting and commissioning. Essentially, mobile sales enablement means “duplicating the same systems they use within the office to ‘seal a deal’ and service accounts,” says Ostrow, all the while ensuring that there are no losses in security and privacy.
The good news for front-line telecom agents is the tools to enable sales staff mobility – from MPLS VPNs to mobile devices and plans to mobile email to hosted PBX to applications such as Lync and SharePoint – increasingly are at their disposal. And in the case of TelePacific, all those tools are provided and managed by a single carrier and invoiced on one monthly statement.