Mobile is everywhere today. And now something that’s not so obvious: In many corporations, thinking hasn’t caught up with how much mobile has changed the way we work, sell, and collaborate with others.

A mobile selling environment is far more than putting a cell phone in the hands of every member of your team. It’s about understanding and embracing a completely new way of doing business.

The adoption rate for mobile is staggeringly high. One estimate by Morgan Stanley states that 75 billion devices will be connected online by 2020. In our digital era, everyone is able to carry a supercomputer in his or her pocket that connects wirelessly to everyone else in the world.

Beyond phones, mobile in sales includes tablets, wearable tech, and the web- and cloud-based applications that enable real-time order management and data storage for sharing and collaborating. And there is good reason to be excited for all this mobility.

At a recent Salesforce leadership presentation, a senior team member showed that sales reps today are 31% more productive when connected to mobile. What would you do with 31% more sales this year?

Fully embracing mobile means more than just accepting big changes in the way you work. It also means learning how to deal with resistance to change that you’ll encounter along the way. There are four kinds of resistance to mobile you have to overcome: structural, operational, cultural, and personal.

Companies don’t mind equipping their staff with cell phones and other mobile devices, but remain rigid in their assumptions about how and where these devices can be used. Here’s an example: I had a client with an inside sales team that was forbidden to bring their work tablets and laptops home with them. Why? Because this company paid these workers an hourly wage rather than a salary, and local labor laws required that they pay overtime to wage earners for any work performed on these devices at home.

Standing in the way of letting people do great work makes no sense. This team was the top revenue generator of the company; helping them do their jobs better had a direct impact on sales. All the company had to do was revise the team job descriptions and pay them as salaried employees — higher incomes, yes, but no more overtime paid and a much more productive sales staff.

Make sure your internal processes are mobile friendly. Some companies have workflows that are completely out of step. For instance, I worked with one client whose salespeople were all mobile-equipped but were beholden to a 20th-century ordering system that was entirely paper-based.

Each order had to be entered manually by 3:00 p.m. daily. Miss that deadline and you have instant delays and missed shipments. And yet the entire team had devices in their pockets that could have placed all those orders in real time while they were sitting in the office with customers.

I see many examples where companies forbid their sales staff from using social media at work. Sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, or even online services such as Salesforce get blocked. Why? Because they’re afraid someone will say something foolish online that puts the company in dire legal straits.

One of my multinational clients has a solution to address this. It allows social media on the condition that all staff first attend a seminar that outlines acceptable use and best practices online. Another example: To ensure safe use of mobile devices for staff who are in their cars a lot, two clients in the farming and oil refining industries developed a mobile etiquette class and routine driving tests, and made it mandatory that no calls be made or picked up while driving.

This last one is the one where I’m seeing the biggest gap between adopters and resisters: individual salespeople who refuse to adapt. Top sellers all have something in common: they’re ubiquitous because they make smart use of mobile. The struggling sellers, on the other hand, tend not to have a LinkedIn profile, opt not to stay connected to clients through multiple channels — including social media — and definitely avoid real-time processing. They also are the ones who are the least willing to make full use of CRM both in terms of data input and data analysis. The results speak for themselves. One Aberdeen Group study found an average of a 10-point gap between ubiquitous and nonubiquitous sellers on four activities: reps hitting quotas, sales forecast accuracy, renewal rates, and total team attainment of quotas.

For more insight on inside sales, be sure to visit our High Velocity Sales collection page.

At a recent Salesforce leadership presentation, a senior team member showed that sales reps today are 31% more productive when connected to mobile.”

Colleen Francis | Owner, Engage Selling Solutions
 
 
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