Guest Post by Hemant Ramachandra
We’ve all heard the saying that information is power and that’s never been truer. Today’s consumers are now often armed with more information than the sales teams that serve them. As a result, the sales force is often at a disadvantage—needing to scramble to make sure they remain relevant to their customers.
Take the car buying experience as an example.
One of my most vivid early memories was accompanying my parents to buy a new car. We didn’t have easy access to car information, and we certainly weren’t surfing the Internet. While captivated by the mystery of what car would end up in our driveway, I could also sense my parents’ worry that they would be taken advantage of. This lack of information put us at the mercy of the salesperson.
Fast forward to purchasing a car during the information age—where the balance of power is now in the hands of the customer. Before even entering the lot, prospective customers come prepared with facts and price comparisons from online resources. They believe that they know exactly what they want and how much they should spend. How does a salesperson add value and remain relevant, when the customer knows more than they do about the cars on the lot?
Forward-thinking car dealers are changing the way they interact with customers. They are empowering their sales forces with real-time access to warranty, financing and inventory information—above and beyond what the customer is likely to have—with mobile devices. Even access to customer demographic information can help close the deal. The slightest edge on the fly can make a difference in how, or whether, a sale takes place.
The power of mobile evens the playing field between the sales-force and the customer, and it may provide a home court advantage for the sales team.
Car dealers are far from alone. One company I’m aware of wants to arm their sales force with only a tablet to enable them to conduct their daily work and take care of internal tasks through mobile applications.
Clearly, the power of information makes the difference in our digital world. More companies are catching on to the idea that whoever has the most information at any given moment will win the information war. In our Digital IQ survey, we found that respondents are investing more this year in mobile technologies for their employees than in any other technology. Mobile for employees was cited most often as the most important technology to increase innovation.
Yet, some companies are more serious than others. While some companies are diving into mobile, others are only dabbling.
Sometimes companies don’t innovate until they have to. They need customers and even their employees to push them into cultural change. That’s certainly the case with mobile communications. But, it’s only a matter of time before every industry is forced into the battle of information. Otherwise, the car in the driveway might be from the competitor’s lot.
Image provided by GeorgInfanger