Author: Stacey Homan
Today Apple officially unveiled the long-awaited iPad 2, the successor to their unbelievably successful (15 million sold) tablet computer. The iPad 2 upgrades the basic functions of the original model: it’s 9 times faster, thinner than an iPhone and will be compatible with the Verizon network– the most used by sales people. Additionally, the iPad 2 includes front and back facing cameras, which can also be used as a bar code scanner in many apps as well as video conference calling.
Last year saw a large number of pharma and medical device companies jump into the iPad platform, using the device to help sales representatives perform their jobs efficiently and compliantly. With 70% of hospitals launching iPads and the iPad 2 arriving in stores March 11, more companies are investing in this technology for their sales forces. So what are some of the iPad apps sales reps can use to increase sales? Below is a quick list of some of the apps currently on the market:
- Show Videos, Animations, Images. The iPad’s most immediate use is the ability to easily show video, animations, and anatomical or product images to physicians at any place or time: next to a scrub sink, at a dinner, even in the OR if the need arises. This can be a powerful tool to tell the ‘story’ of the product or procedure, especially if the story is complicated and/or better told using visual aids. Additionally, the iPad has instant on so there is no awkward delay in the middle of your sales presentation. When the iTouch was first launched, I provided preloaded devices to some of our sales reps as a trial balloon. It was so successful the rest of the field purchased their own within a month to show videos and animations to customers. Example: Combine SugarSync with GoodReader
- Training. Training activities are tailor-made for the iPad. Devices can be preloaded with a plethora of training information for new reps instead of the standard boxes of binders are produced and shipped. Training apps can be developed internally and include updated materials, weekly training videos, and other multimedia items to keep reps informed and well-trained, eliminating a barrage of emails. Example: Mutual Mobile
- Inventory Tracking and Case Scheduling. Reps can now use their iPhones/iPads to track inventory in their accounts, implantables for internal databases and to schedule cases. Examples: InVivoLink, iTraycer and Raftar.
- Distribution of Marketing Content. Instead of printing and shipping marketing materials, use an app that can electronically deliver the content your customers request. Work rules can be customized to ensure compliance with internal procedures. Example: Prolifiq (full disclosure: Prolifiq is a sponsor of this blog, though I do not receive any compensation from the company).
- Physician Sampling and Signatures. Apps now exist that can electronically collect physician signatures for sampling or other compliance programs. Example: iRep.
It is important to understand is that none of the above apps will ever replace your sales field and the important face-to-face interactions they have with customers. Just because you can remotely distribute marketing materials does not mean your reps should be sitting at home e-mailing all day. Rather, these apps should help them be more efficient with their face time with customers, thereby increasing sales.
The above is just a short list — as more pharma/device reps start using the iPhone/iPad the list above will continue to grow. If you know of other apps or have been using them yourself, please add a comment with a link so others may benefit.
- iPad 2 shows up in China (something has anyway) (chatootsboots.wordpress.com)
- What The iPad 2 Announcement Needs In Order To Be Bi-Winning (techcrunch.com)
- Tablet Buyers on the Fence About iPad 2 (pcworld.com)