In a recent press release from International Data Corp., researchers are shifting their projection for PC sales downward by an additional 1.6% for 2015. Although this doesn’t seem like much, this drop represents a significant loss of revenue in the personal computer market. There are many reasons for this downturn, chief among them that consumers are turning more and more to tablets and phones for everything from entertainment to business.
The recent shift in focus is no surprise to many business leaders. In 2013, the PC market saw a 10% decline in unit sales as smartphones began bursting onto the scene with force. The last two years have seen a gradual stabilization, but at much lower levels than ever before.
Although this is not great news for the PC market, it could be fantastic news for the savvy sales professional. By recognizing the impact that mobile is having on people’s buying habits, a techno-wise sales pro can take advantage of this shift and create a sales pipeline that is accessible from all the right devices.
Taking Advantage of On-The-Go Researching
Businesses are no longer trapped in the banner ad hell that riddled digital marketing trends five or ten years ago. The typical sales process isn’t someone sitting down at their desktop and spending a half hour getting to know your business.
Instead, many people are using their mobile devices to do the heavy legwork of investigating new products and researching brands. According to the 2014 IDG Global Mobile Survey, 77% of senior executives used their smartphones to research a product or service for their business. And, an additional 80% of respondents researched business-related services on tablets after work.
What it means for your sales process: As a sales professional or business owner, these findings are key in tailoring your selling process, especially in a B2B environment. It is vital that your website has clearly developed landing pages with mobile-optimized information. In addition, considering that 93% of purchases are still done on a laptop or PC, it is helpful to have several “bookmark” calls to action. These free papers, newsletter opt-ins, or contact buttons can allow you to engage your potential customers before they make that all-important transition to their desktop “decision-maker.”
Give No Excuses for Old-School Web Design
It seems counter-intuitive to think that so many people would be researching their product from a smartphone but buying on a PC. The problem is, there are still so many websites with technical problems when it comes to closing a mobile sale. In the IDG survey, the two biggest concerns with purchasing from a mobile device were security (45%) and lack of mobile optimization (43%). In short, buyers don’t think that mobile sites are safe or easy to buy from.
What it means for your sales process: Although you could throw you hands up in the air like you just don’t care, you’re too smart for that. To get a bigger piece of the pie, you need to use this information to create a secure, easy way to buy. Today’s largest Internet retailers including Netflix, Amazon.com, and Apple Inc., have set the standard high when it comes to mobile ease of purchase and security. One-click online purchasing and cloud-based multi-level security has netted them an online sales increase of 17.1% in 2014 alone.
Key In to Location-Based Geo-Advertising
The shift from PC to mobile use is great news for the advertising market. Geo-advertising (ads that are targeted to the exact location of the mobile buyer) are a big business – currently $4.5 billion. This business is expected only to grow in the coming decade.
This isn’t to say that location-based advertising is without its flaws. Recent coverage in Adweek highlighted some key concerns with using the new technology, mainly with “ad-jackers” (fraudsters using weaknesses in the geotracking system to replace paying business ads with their own) and oversaturation. Still, the overwhelming trend is toward regulating this new market and making it more available for businesses to drive potential customers into a store that is within walking distance.
What this means for your sales process: There is no doubt that location-based advertising is an exciting prospect for sales organizations that thrive on store-front traffic. Although the potential for sales gain is there, you may have to pay big before you see any results. It makes more sense to connect a small location-based campaign with other, more reliable tactics such as online re-targeting campaigns, social media geo-advertising, and email marketing.
Invest in Mobile-Optimized Customer Service Links
As more consumers research and purchase from mobile devices, it is vital that customer service reflects their needs. Potential customers want to have direct, fast access to information from their smartphone or tablet instead of having to scour online help boards to get the answer to their questions.
The increased pace of information-gathering and sharing means that customers need faster customer service. In a recent Harris Poll on behalf of NICE Systems, surveyors found that the most important element of a customer service call was the speed in which the customer’s problem was resolved. A full 59% stated that a quick and correct answer to their question was the most important factor in their satisfaction.
What this means for your sales process: Although purchases are being done from a PC, the vital researching phase is being done from a mobile device. That means warm leads will be calling and live-chatting to find out more about your business. In order to take advantage of this phone-friendly research phase, embed your contact page with links that will allow customers to call or chat while they’re researching. Then, prep your sales staff to track calls and chat pings from online sources. That way, you get a better idea of which sites are driving research traffic and you can recreate your successes on other sales pages.
What do you think?
Although the PC may seem to be going the way of the dinosaur, there are still good reasons to include it in your sales process. As you recognize the value of mobile at advertising, driving traffic, and supporting customer service, as well as the PC’s power of purchase, you will be able to create a leaner sales process that maximizes both of these vital sales technologies and their interconnections. Do you have a unique strategy for sales that feeds off the mobile-PC buying relationship? Tells us about your experiences in the comments.