Sharing information effectively can be the difference between your small business closing deals and losing business. The good news? There’s an app for that.

Collaboration is a common topic in business articles – perhaps to the point that the word is starting to lose impact. But, dismiss it at your own risk. For me, it remains the key to successfully finding, winning and keeping customers for today's small businesses.

We've covered collaboration before here, here and here, but I want to focus on a different aspect – sharing information to drive sales productivity.

Successful, fast-moving businesses, from start-ups to slick multinationals, tend to have mastered the art of collaboration. They know several minds are more powerful than one. Meanwhile, other organisations still create silos and play people or teams off against each other. For a small business to be competitive and close big deals just like their larger competitors, giving people the ability to work together and share information is key.

It’s nearly impossible to collaborate without mobile apps

Mayo Hardware supplies outdoor lifestyle, safety, security and hardware products to the retail, trade, government and commercial markets in Australia and New Zealand. Their sales team is made up of 40 sales reps who spend their days pitching new products to buyers.

As many successful salespeople are, their 40 sales reps are usually in meetings and on the road pitching new products to buyers. They used to hold a huge amount of extremely valuable information in their heads and, as their work takes them everywhere but the office, sharing that information was not always easy.

They needed to be able to share knowledge in a way that would benefit the business as a whole to increase sales productivity. The company learned that a mobile app they could use to access and log work records on the go, without batch updates (usually done in the evening and inevitably missing details) would be essential for the business to keep growing.

A mobile app helped Mayo Hardware collaborate more effectively – to be faster, more agile, more personalised and more responsive in the way it interacted not only with its customers and prospects, but also with its own people.

When you collaborate successfully, big deals happen!

How does sharing information on any device and from anywhere make a business like Mayo Hardware more successful?

Firstly, it offers sales immediate context for customer interactions. Salespeople can get up to speed on their way to a meeting to understand how the potential client came to them – what drove their need – and prepare with relevant advice and meaningful solutions to the customer’s challenges.

Next, salespeople can close their deals while they are in the meeting instead of waiting until they’re back in the office. Everything can be done in real-time – from contract to collaboration with their team to close – as soon as the decision is made.

Then comes the real value of mobile collaboration. All of the personal information and feedback a salesperson receives from a client, whether it relates to a specific product, a desired service, a customer service issue or a reason the salesperson’s business was chosen above others, gets updated as part of a complete view of the customer for everyone else within the business to use. This transparency keeps subsequent customer interactions smooth. It also keeps management informed. It’s a win-win across the company.

Rather than waiting to share old morsels of information at twice-yearly sales conferences, the entire team improves each other’s performance on a daily basis by sharing knowledge and key assets immediately. This faster, better customer experience creates remarkable customer loyalty. And a focus on loyalty creates a culture that’s customer-centric, which is an incredibly valuable point of difference.

Collaboration, our research tells us, increases productivity within a business by more than 40%. A sales team that’s 40% more productive has a direct impact on the bottom line.

Mayo Hardware’s collaboration tool of choice is the Salesforce1 mobile app, and it has proven key to sales success. Here is a quick demo on how you can run your business from your phone. 

Looking to super-charge your sales team? We’re here to help – download our ebook ‘The anatomy of a high-octane sales team’.