Today's post is by Scott Eidle, an evangelist for sales best practices, including sales process, enablement, and operations. He leverages more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience to share insight about the top trends in the software and technology sales space, and is currently a global sales enablement executive for an enterprise software company.
With the iPad® Pro™ hitting the market, companies will once again try to figure out if and how they can incorporate a cool, exciting piece of technology into their sales programs…and the concept of BYOD (bring your own device) will likely get serious considerations as a cheap and fast alternative to laying out a lot of cash for yet another piece of hardware. But are the results worth it?
In my opinion, no. Many companies should just forget about BYOD tablet programs and focus on other ways to support their field sales teams. Here are four reasons why.
Reason #1: Most BYOD programs have 30 percent participation rates.
I’ve had first-hand experience with sales-enablement professionals at world-class, enterprise sales organizations that had attempted BYOD programs for tablets. These clients set the standards for excellent sales operations and were implementing methodical, tested rollout strategies. They had great ideas and a fair amount of money. And the resounding results reported by their sales enablement and operations executives? A 30 percent participation rate. Of that 30 percent, user engagement was never high enough for them to consider even their 30 percent as active participants in the programs. If companies operating at this level get these results, other companies can probably expect even less.
Reason #2: BYOD programs come with hidden costs.
It starts off with best intentions. “Let’s give the sales teams iPads! They will rock in front of customers! We’ll be so much more impressive than our competitors!” The enthusiasm is great, but most of these intentions end up on the cutting-room floor when budgets get down to the nitty-gritty.
The reality is that fully-connected iPads will double your costs in terms of technology support. This is for various reasons:
- No one buys an iPad to replace their field laptops,
- iPads aren’t cheap to begin with,
- Wireless programs for iPad data are expensive, and
- You need special programs to adequately present all those Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentations you’ve created over the years.
Reason #3: The iPad is too “personal.”
Most people view their phones and iPads in different lights. While a phone is a personal device, we also use it to call, email, or text our professional colleagues and contacts. (This is why the business world has learned to accept brief responses, misspellings, and the occasional funny autocorrect when we see the “sent from my iPhone” line at the end of an email.)
By contrast, the iPad is a symbol of escape – relaxing, browsing at one’s leisure, everything that is associated with avoiding work. Expecting anyone to willingly and intentionally use an iPad for doing yet more work is just a fantasy.
Reason #4: Real business is still done on Windows, and it’s just not that easy to do real work on an iPad.
Even with the introduction of the iPad Pro, which is taking huge strides to make itself more like a Windows® Surface™ machine, trying to conduct business on an iPad just isn’t that easy. The apps don’t work the same way they do on a laptop – no matter how they are advertised – and, while word processing and typing emails has gotten much better (thank you, third-party keypads!), trying to do anything with an Excel spreadsheet or a PowerPoint presentation is just an awful experience. And let’s not forget that the majority of salespeople are not the best at paperwork or PowerPointing anyway! You don’t want to add the frustration of trying to finger-tap an Excel box on their screen or move and resize a graphic in a presentation.
I understand that operations and enablement teams want to help salespeople and make their lives easier. But, given all these considerations, I think it’s best to steer clear of BYOD programs and invest in other forms of support.