Today’s sales professionals are expected to negotiate, close and complete deals as readily on-the-go as in the office. One of the biggest limitations preventing them from maximising their potential whilst travelling is connectivity. Research has shown that European businesses overspend on connectivity by a whopping £2.4 billion per year. With this in mind, how can today’s sales professional stay connected cost effectively whilst travelling?
The Business Traveller Report shows that even when Wi-Fi can be accessed, travelling professionals often face difficulties using it, especially in places where it’s most needed, such as airports and hotels. Many of them find freely available Wi-Fi connections slow and insecure and paid-for options costly and rigid. Some resort to purchasing expensive Wi-Fi day passes even when they only need connectivity briefly. Both Wi-Fi options have taxing login and registration processes, which are a nuisance to most, but especially those that are that are protective of their personal data.
Negotiators are equipped with top-spec devices that enable them to complete sales on the go, but many would limit data usage when abroad to avoid extortionate roaming charges. Ultimately, technologies that empower salespeople have little value if their usage has to be restricted.
The cost and speed of cellular data can encourage salespeople to choose Wi-Fi as their favoured form of connectivity. Many now also use data-hungry Cloud and Unified Communications applications such as Sales Cloud and WebEx on a daily basis, which have become critical tools of the trade. As such, sales professionals need the ability to connect to these apps, yet these apps require the bandwidth and speed of Wi-Fi. Research suggests that over three-quarters of travelling professionals would use these applications more if equipped with global Wi-Fi access. But as it stands, around the same number of them (75%) feel that limited access to Wi-Fi is restricting their productivity outside of the office.
In modern times sales professionals need to be able to access a global Wi-Fi network. This would allow cost-effective and hassle-free connectivity wherever they are in the world. Wi-Fi needs to become more like the cellular experience we have today, albeit without inconsistent speeds and high roaming costs. Many sales departments fail to consider connectivity as important to sales missions as flights or accommodation when arranging business travel - but this has to change; both for the hungry negotiator eager to stay productive and firms that want to curb their communication expenses. Rather than accept the status quo, sales people must make employers aware that for them staying connected is critical.
By June Bower, CMO, iPass