If you watched our sales team “tap” through a laptop PowerPoint presentation at a tradeshow, you would understand why I felt it critical to design a new way to sell our products. I strongly believed leveraging the power of a tablet would be the key to our success. A key difference to the solution I wanted to build versus the PowerPoint presentation (apart from using a tablet) was the flow of the information presented to the customer. PowerPoint presentations are very linear and to skip content, the customer watches you as you quickly page through slides. With this solution, you can gauge the level of interest of the customer and go deeper on each section by moving up/down or just to continue the overview path left/right
My first step was to determine should we outsource or build it ourselves. Based on budget concerns as well as speed to market, we decided to go it ourselves. We reviewed various software applications and how they could meet our objectives. Ultimately, we wanted to leverage our graphic designer’s existing skillset. Therefore, we decided to use Adobe’s Digital Suite and have Indesign as the base software. We had to learn new ways to use the Indesign tool for this new digital publishing purpose. In essence we were going to create a sales solution that was fundamentally a digital magazine that could be swiped up and down as well as rotated. The cost for the pilot was $0. Yes, it cost us nothing to start the solution just our time. To put this in perspective, when we asked a vendor to quote the price to develop the same solution, it was ~$40k.
We had a number of business requirements. 1. Showcase the brand/product with maps, photos, videos, and copy. 2. Have limited number of outbound links on the presentation. (Meaning we had to build the solution so most of the content was internal, so in theory if a sales person needed to sell at a place without wifi, they would not be rendered helpless without the access.) 3. Include functionality that allowed the salesperson to close the sale. This solution could easily meet these three primary requirements.
I included additional requirements based on the need to create intimacy between the salesperson and the customer. At the tradeshows, people are leaning or hovering over laptops on a table. The tablet untethers the salesperson from the table and allows them to present standing up while standing close to the customer OR sitting together with the presentation at eye level. To further create a sense of intimacy, I designed the presentation to be viewed either vertically (buttons on the bottom) or horizontally (buttons on the right). The vertical mode was for a presentation done by the sales person holding the tablet at eye level in their left hand and pressing the buttons with the right. In this scenario, the sales person is standing immediately next to the potential customers. This is contrasted with the horizontal mode where the customer holds the presentation with both hands and presses the buttons on the right as the salesperson speaks to them about the content they are viewing.
Why the buttons? Though the application is easily swiped up and down, I created easy to press buttons for all the up/down pages. In the attached image you see the buttons 1 through 5. These buttons create greater usability and set expectation on the amount of available content in each section.
Pilot Results. We rolled the solution out to our global sales team to collect their individual feedback. The feedback was immediate and positive. The solution allowed them to interact more intimately with customers as they shared information about our products. The customers liked the professional, photo rich, and easy to view format. It was one of those rare win/win/win scenarios. The sales team wins by increasing conversions. The customer wins by being more comfortable when viewing a sales pitch. The company wins by have a single consistent look and approach for all sales brochures on the tablet.