The telecom company Level 3 has given iPads to 1,300 salespeople. Several medical device companies are trying them to help quickly pitch doctors on their products. SAP has deployed more than 10,000 iPads to employees, including to salespeople. Tablets are a more natural device to have a one-on-one conversation around than a laptop.
One critical lesson from early adopters is that salespeople need different content when they start using tablets. Mobiquity, a mobile app developer, worked with a company that tried to provide broadcast-ready videos for use by salespeople, not considering the cost and time that would take to download, says Mobiquity president Scott Snyder. Level 3 and high-end furniture maker Holly Hunt each found that, when they gave salespeople tablets, they needed to make it easier for them to create tablet-friendly sales presentations. Templates of tablet-ready presentations--ones that a salesperson can customize with the would-be client's information and assets like product photos--are one option. Some companies still require a laptop to build those kinds of presentations, while others have built apps so salespeople can do that from a tablet.