Before the era of the tablet, a salesperson’s tools of the trade included a smile, a handshake, a desk and a phone. Today, the new tool of the trade is fast becoming the tablet. According to one statistic, 40% of sales teams use an iPad or some tablet device. Tablets are becoming an indispensible tool for sales, serving as the modern salesperson’s new desktop, 3-ring notebook, product catalogue, calculator, and rolodex.

Here are six ways tablets are transforming sales:

1. Portability and Ease of Use

This seems obvious, but tablets are lightweight PCs that enable easy access to important data on the road. With the right set of apps, a wireless signal and the right adaptor, a salesperson can get close to the functionality of their desktop and leave the laptop, binders, and back pain behind. Unchained from the constraints of a desk, salespeople can go where their customers are.

2. Access to real-time data

Having access to real time data about a particular client or prospect before going into a meeting offers a greater chance for closing a deal. A tablet connected to your CRM system becomes your source of truth. Before a meeting you have access to all records for that customer, and after a meeting you can change the status of the deal. No more lost  leads, scribbled notes and lack of follow up. 

3. Increased visual engagement in demos

White papers and price sheets don’t cut it anymore when it comes to getting the attention of your prospects in the field. A tablet loaded with colorful and engaging media – animated demos, video, slideshows, quotes -- becomes the modern conversation starter to engage customers faster and in a consultative way-- versus the old format of 1-way presentations. This trend challenges your marketing teams to create mobile-optimized content for their sales teams.

4. Make and customize sales presentations or quotes on the fly

In the past, sales teams may have worked from one first call deck and repeated the same generic message to every account. They downloaded the deck from remote servers and prayed for a fast dial up. Today, tablets enable users to pre-install presentations and quickly adjust and enhance a presentation to be relevant to a particular client while on the road.   

5. Connectedness and collaboration

Tablets also bring increased connection to your peers and manager. Today, selling is a team sport and information needs to be shared as soon as it's received. Using a tablet in the field empowers them with real-time sales data and constant communication with team managers. Not to mention, being able to crowdsource an answer for a prospect fast using Chatter Mobile on your tablet.

6. Increased productivity

What used to be black holes between sales appointments are now real-time updates from the road. A sales team can update notes about the meeting in Sales Cloud CRM, check out the LinkedIn profile of her next prospect to find shared connections, or check in on a deal in Chatter. To put it simply, less down time and more insights leads to smarter selling.

To realize the transformational benefits listed above, it's key that your sales team deploys the right set of tablet apps that meet their needs. No amount of whizz-bang tablet functionality will replace a great salesperson, but adding tablets as an essential tool on the road can help you shorten sales cycles and close deals faster than before.