Tablets debuted in 2010, with Steve Jobs dubbing the original iPad “a magical and revolutionary device.” Many organizations quickly embraced the idea of using tablets for sales teams to benefit from the productivity-boosting aspects of these handy devices.

Within six months of launch, 65% of Fortune 100 companies deployed or piloted the original iPad. By 2012, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that 94% of the Fortune 500 and 75% of the Global 500 were either testing or deploying iPads for sales.

In an April 2015 Smart Selling Tools report, 45% of organizations polled were using tablets for their sales teams. Of the remaining 55%, 5% had interest but no budget, 33% responded “not in use,” and 12% were in process of evaluating or implementing an iPad or other tablet.

Here’s a breakdown of how those teams are using tablets for sales:

2017 Tablets for Sales

So, Why Tablets for Sales?

If your neighborhood bar and grill uses tablets so patrons can rock trivia night and place orders with a swipe, as an industry innovator, shouldn’t your sales reps have them?

Aberdeen asks the definitive question: is it wise to arm 21st century sales reps with pre-millennial tools?

Well, no. It’s not.

There are two major benefits to equipping your sales team with tablets:

  1. Boosting sales productivity
  2. Improving the customer experience

Let’s dive a little deeper.

Boosting Sales Productivity

It’s a fact: tablets increase sales rep productivity. How? By allowing them to make the most of the time they do have, getting new reps up to speed faster, and shortening the sales cycle.

When you save reps time spent on administrative tasks and searching for the right product info, they can devote more time to what they do best: selling. With a comprehensive mobile office at reps’ fingertips, 15 minutes of downtime between appointments becomes productive time for completing administrative tasks or even – gasp! – mobile training from the field. Yes, all of that is possible.

When you equip reps with tablets full of product info, presentation software, sales training, and the like, your new hires will have everything they need at their fingertips to learn quickly, gain confidence, and become productive sooner.

And of course, the ever-growing list of sales-specific apps for tablets ‒ CRMs, lead management, guided selling, proposals, digital signatures, etc. ‒ shortens the sales cycle, helping reps close streamlined deals in record time.

Improving the Customer Experience

In 2011, the “Year of the Tablet,” tablets revolutionized the purchasing experience. Weren’t you wowed during your first Apple Store purchase when the sales clerk swiped your credit card from his iPad? Remember that impressed-to-the-core feeling? Yeah, that feeling. Your company can leverage that to wow customers and clients.

Both sales reps and customers are drawn to the cool factor of using tablets for sales, setting the stage for exactly what you want in a sales conversation: reps and customers standing shoulder to shoulder, oohing and aahing at the stuff you sell.

Reps walking into a sales call with a tablet under their arms gain instant credibility. They’re on the cutting edge. Professional. In the know. Customers know they’ll gain access to scads of data at the swipe of a finger.

Aberdeen sums it up:

Customers expect a seamless experience. … They will not tolerate or respect a counterpart who is not enabled with the most up-to-date tools of their trade for fear that the offerings of the company behind that rep are not future-focused.

Bottom line: your customers expect your sales team to use tablets. That’s powerful.

Worse: not having them makes you suspect.

Great Tablets Demand Great Content

But don’t be fooled. The latest tablet is nothing without compelling content. When arming your reps with tablets, you also want to provide them with innovative apps and exceptional content to ensure that your marketing and sales messaging is consistent across the organization.

Think back to the launch of the iPod. Without iTunes and a library of rich content, the iPod was simply a block of plastic and metal with a fun click wheel. It was the marriage of great technology and great content that helped Apple revolutionize the way we consume music.

That’s the core of what we do at Unboxed. We pair great technology – like Unboxed Advisor, our sales enablement platform, and Spoke, our social learning platform – with rich content to keep sales teams and customers engaged.

Testimonials & Results

How about some real-world results?

Here’s what Anthem says about using tablets equipped with Unboxed Advisor to engage businesses purchasing health coverage.

Unlike PowerPoint, Advisor allows our sales team to be very nimble in their conversation with potential clients. It boils down our complicated product portfolio to something that is easily digestible without sacrificing messaging and the breadth of our product offering.

Likewise, Comcast used tablets with Unboxed Advisor to engage retail customers purchasing their home television, internet, phone, and home security packages. The ROI? A 60% increase in YOY sales, and a 40% increase in rep productivity. Read the case study to see for yourself.

Blazing the Trail

So, where can you turn when your organization is ready to start using tablets for sales? That’s where we come in. We’re fluent in all things tablet, and have been since we pioneered the use of tablets in retail stores back in 2008.

That’s right, in 2008 – before the iPad’s groundbreaking debut – we worked closely with Microsoft to develop a user-friendly interface that delivered product information, inventory data, and promotions to tablet-toting store associates. The results were compelling:

  • Sales rep confidence, credibility, and versatility soared.
  • Customers enjoyed a more consistent experience.
  • New hires got up-to-speed faster.

In the 9 years since, we’ve used tablets to deliver smart, beautiful tools that equip and embolden sales forces. Customers oooh and aah; our clients reap the benefits.

So, what do you want your sales team to do with their tablets? Sell products? Complete training? Enhance your brand? Chances are we can help. Drop us a line, or give us a call.


About the Author

Dave Romero is our CPO. His limitless energy and sense of urgency establish our company-wide momentum and commitment to get our clients what they need, when they need it.


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