When the iPhone was introduced in July 2007, few could anticipate the impact of new mobile technology. Followed in 2010 with the launch of the iPad, the growth has been remarkable.  A report by Business Insider, Tech Report indicates smartphones are now used by 22% of the world population in only seven years and tablets are already on a faster trajectory. Nowhere do we see the use of tablets more prevalent than in sales.

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Successful organizations are using tablets generally in two basic ways: as a productivity tool to access and input information (like CRM systems) or as a sales/marketing presentation tool.  However, many organizations fail to take full advantage of the device as a learning tool.

The question is, can mobile technology improve the basic sales training model?  The short answer is yes, if done right. Much of sales training remains rooted in the old traditional form of education, dependent on event-based instruction.  I refer to this as the “Tribal Elder” model.  Sales reps gather together at a central location to learn from the master; they’re taught, with the hope, wish and a prayer that they will retain the knowledge and of course they won’t.  Sales Performance International reports that as much as 84% of the knowledge will be lost in first 90 days without ongoing practice and reinforcement.

Mobile technology, in particular the tablet, is a great tool to overcome many of the inherent deficiencies of the traditional training model.  A tablet can help to extend the life of training beyond the actual event and produce a far greater return-on-investment.   If delivered on an iPad in short, digestible bites, reps can fit the learning into their daily routine.  They can learn, practice, and get timely feedback from peers, coaches or their boss.  All of this can be done within their own schedule and in a convenient and safe environment.

The native capabilities within the tablet (like an IPad) enhance the learning design to create a more robust (dare I say fun) user experience.  For example, “flipping the camera around” on the IPad to capture and critique sales skills; turn“selfies” into positive learning experience.   Or using “gamification” to motivate reps to improve and win!!

When used properly mobile technology can greatly improve the “stickiness” of sales training and enhance the ROI.  Training can be fun, motivational and ultimately drive sales results more efficiently and effectively; mobile technology is the enabler!

By Bill Young
President and CEO of SkillFitness

Bill Young is cofounder and president of SkillFitness. He credits his involvement with the CrossFit workout program for inspiring many of the concepts regarding practice, motivation and rapid skill development that led to SkillFitness.

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