Blackberries, Laptops, PDA devices, Smartphones? Where do I begin?

15 08 2007

With the shelf life of many technologies being about 18 months, choosing the right hardware and software for you and your sales team can be a daunting task. Where do you begin? What are the differences between hardware and software? And how are they related?

No matter which combination of devices you choose, they are designed to give the user access to information where he needs it, when he needs it. For a heavy equipment salesman, usually that means access to equipment and customer information where he is most effective – in his territory and calling on customers.

The second criteria to remember: any technology that is complicated to use and takes time away from selling will not succeed. So it must be easy to use. In my last Blog post, I mentioned how often I hear dealer management telling me how difficult it is to implement any changes because their sales teams won’t use the tools. I don’t buy it. Do you think that if a dealer invested in a system that would help a salesman sell more equipment, he still wouldn’t use it? Unlikely.

I see 3 key factors here:

1. Connectivity – Access to Accurate, Complete, Timely information

2. Easy-to-Use – It must be user-friendly

3. Effective – Saves time, increases productivity, increases efficiency

The first factor is addressed by the hardware. Equip your sales force with Laptops with Air Cards, cell phones, PDA devices, Smartphones, Blackberries (visit www.pocketpc.com or www.blackberry.com for more information). Each device has pro’s and con’s. No matter the combination, they give the user access to much more information than if he carried reams of paper around with him. And you need to determine a balance between cost and timely information – it can be quite costly to keep a user connected to information 100% of the time, however, no connectivity means that information is out of date.

Ease-of-Use, this is a tough one. Last week, I was speaking with an IT Support person regarding a system that I use and it seemed like he was condescending to me! If I am being talked down to because I don’t understand a certain technology, what hope does the average heavy equipment guy have? Put the onus on your technology supplier to build tools that are targeted to the audience. A system that requires intensive training and a huge learning curve for its users will never catch on. Keep it simple.

Finally, a software solution should be effective. It should save time, save money, increase profits – whatever it promises to do. It should solve your problem. How do you know if it will deliver? Talk to the supplier and talk to their existing customers. Ask questions; understand what is the core value and purpose of the product. Is it compatible with your other systems? How well does the technology company understand your business? Do they have industry experience? And most importantly: how will the solution make your business easier to manage?

And remember: stay focused on the problem you’re trying to fix.

A couple of months ago, I was speaking to a John Deere Construction dealer who had just completed a Six Sigma study on their sales cycle to uncover their problem. After weeks of study, Six Sigma Black Belts found that for salesmen to be more effective, they needed to increase the Quality and Speed of information to their salesmen. Sounds pretty basic, right? Well as the study went on, they lost sight of their original goal and implemented a solution that did not meet all of their requirements.

Technology is a very fast-paced industry, but you don’t need to get left behind in a cloud of confusion.

Best regards,

Laura Watson

Commercial Manager

Point2 Technologies, Inc.

888.955.7900 || 604.675.9393 ext 228

lwatson @ point2.com

www.point2.com

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One response

17 06 2014
equipment sales

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