Apr 16

Mobile solutions in enterprises pay: #1 – Sales

Experience indicates there tend to be two schools of thought about deploying mobile devices into enterprises. The first seems to prefer to prefer a ‘laid-back approach’, where the expectation is that introducing solutions based around mobile technologies “just makes sense, if only because today’s employees expect it”: much of this has to do with the arrival of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and employee expectations that they can do better in their work by using these. The second approach,in contrast, is more hard-headed and bases its justifications on specific calculations of the Return on Investment (RoI).

From research into more than multiple mobility projects in enterprises and local government it is clear that introducing mobile possesses the capability to deliver substantial RoI — and across multiple different disciplines (Sales, Logistics, Field Engineering, Manufacturing, etc.). The keys to success, as will be described, are clear thinking about what is necessary to obtain a positive RoI combined with an equally clear understanding of what the savings and/or increased opportunities will amount to for each enterprise.

While mobility projects vary in the amount of RoI delivered and how each organization (whether enterprise or government) measures, net savings, or the opportunity to add new possibilities previously unavailable, are clearly available to those that wish to introduce mobile technologies. For example, consider these two sales examples:

  • In the first the company equipped each of its sales representatives with a large screen smartphone capable of running an internally developed app that could not only show off products as part of the customer sales process (photos, color options, etc.) but which could also place orders into the manufacturing ERP system and confirm the anticipated delivery schedule. With this app each of the company’s representatives will,on average make an extra 10 sales call per year. With an average gross order value of c US$400 and a proven sales closure rate of 70%,this means that on average each sales person can bring in an additional US$3200 each year. Spread over, say, 1000 representatives this produces a gross increase in sales of $3.2M each year, for an app and project that cost, once-off, around US$750K to implement.
  • In the second a medical products company introduced ‘iDevices’ to its sales force. Its calculation is that this improved sales force efficiency plus improved sales delivery plus improved accuracy and saves 30-60 minutes per day per salesperson. This enables approximately 1 more appointment per day per sales person (typically a sales person makes 10-15 appointments per day) which will deliver over time some 5-10% more sales by value, per sales person per year. There are additional benefits: by being able to place orders direct into manufacturing or into the delivery function (for example for despatching samples), service to customers has improved and loyalty increases.

Both these descriptions demonstrate how much RoI is available when an enterprise thinks about how mobility might assist the Sales function. What is not obvious is that sales force ‘happiness’ improves:

  • in part this may be attributed to the fact that most sales people are happier when they are selling more and therefore earning more
  • yet improved ‘happiness’ goes beyond this, by reducing the chore of administration — whether this is writing up sales reports or entering customer information and order details
  • tablet devices are particularly important as a substitute in sales for laptops; laptops are heavy, take time to boot up and can feel confrontational (‘I am presenting at you’) whereas tablets come to life immediately, are light and the sales person and customer ‘share the selling experience’.

What is also clear is that when mobile devices are used to ‘feed’ both CRM and ERP systems immediately there is improved data accuracy. Eliminating the end of the day or end of the week (or even end of the month) customer updates has powerful downstream effects.

[In this, and future analyses, qualified mobile technology projects with quantified benefits are grouped into the following categories, each of which warrant examination:

  • Sales (as above)
  • Field Support
  • Logistics/Delivery
  • Local Government
  • Administration(including of mobile devices)
  • Changing the business model.]

 (c) 2013 C3B Consulting Ltd

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