12/14/2012 10:09 am ET Updated Feb 13, 2013

iPad of Dreams: Always Be Closing

From local market sales people to traveling sales people there are distinct mobile applications that can help them keep track of their sales actions easier, communicate back to "home base" more efficiently and collaborate with their team members best while working in non-traditional locations and ways. For all sales people, regardless of how and where they do their work, the most important actions are those that allow you to make more meetings, conduct more calls, and network more effectively. These face-to-face meetings, for all sales people need to be more exciting, valuable and productive. There needs to be a reduction in onerous tasks and (brain) dead simple communication and collaboration tools so sales folks can over-communicate with customers and their support networks with ease.

As they say, "always be closing." 2012 was a big year for tablets in the enterprise and as 2013 stares us straight in the eye, I see a dominance and expansion of these types of connected devices. If 2012 was the year of the "trial run," 2013 will be the year of the sales force-wide deployment. The one common denominator is that the apps they house need to be extremely easy to use -- no training needed -- get in, get out and get back to selling!

Interestingly, yesterday, when I met with mobile decision makers at an organization -- whether they were a CMO, CIO or CTO -- we heard an increasingly common refrain, "That's a great-looking app, can you also add Yammer, Chatter, Box or Jive?" Executives are smart. They know that ease of use and some amount of consolidation of all their solutions will increase efficiencies and subsequently their own bottom lines. At Taptera, we try to meet each unique request and integrate into our base applications whatever other solutions a company may be deploying across their sales force. Regardless of those key in-app integrations there are also a core set of functionalities available across a myriad of apps to help sales people get their jobs done.

Below are another few sets of apps to consider for all sales people as they find tablets being incorporated into their workflows more and more.

Category 1: Discover Opportunities

  • Sales Navigator: Integrate your groups, calendars, locations and daily schedule of meetings into one app and you mind just find an opportunity before you pass right by it, literally.
  • This one really belongs in multiple categories: sales tracking, task sharing, file sharing, contact info, task lists, and more. It's all in one app. Naturally it's from Salesforce and once again it doesn't pigeonhole itself into business or personal. It's encourages cross-need use to become ubiquitous in one's life.

Category 2: Stop, Collaborate and Listen

  • Filemaker Go: You're only as good as your data quality. Get everyone updating one database even when they're working on their tablets and you will save time and frustration through powerful collaboration. Plus, it's owned by Apple, so you know it's pretty easy to use and adopt.
  • Salesforce Chatter: More and more we'd been integrating Chatter into our various applications, especially into Events by Taptera. It's a very popular tool to stay up to date with your colleagues, check out what they're up to and take a few minutes to reconnect with your home base whether your on the road for a day or a week.

Category 3: Get your work to flow

  • CloudOn: Microsoft Office, brought to the iPad, alongside Box, Dropbox and Google Drive so matter where you might have stuck something -- you can get to it from your tablet. You can also email files directly from the app to your contacts. So slick.
  • Evernote: If I had a nickel for every time someone raved to me about Evernote. This powerful app syncs across any device, desktop, you name it. It keeps you in the know on what you've done and forgotten and helps you stay on task.

Box: Everyone knows Box makes so many enterprises run more efficiently but to be able to access your documents, share links with colleagues and even "favorite" documents you're able to actually work smarter and get help from an iPad app itself to ensure you stay up to date and on track. We're actually working with them as well on our Crescendo product.

I'm bullish on the tablet, obviously. In 2013 I expect that we'll see not just the iPad but also tablets from other hardware manufacturers and with other operating systems really make deeper inroads into the enterprise. I expect to see more apps that handle closed loop marketing, e-detailing, Office document viewers, and more. Companies that need their sales force to be both physically and technologically nimble, especially as they break into new verticals and territories, are going to drive forward on the backs of smaller connected devices and the innovative applications that lend them weight.