Tackling the iPad: What Sales Teams Can Learn from the NFL

Tackling the iPad: What Sales Teams Can Learn from the NFL
July 18, 2012

NFL ipadAs NFL teams embrace the iPad like a perfectly thrown spiral, it might be time for sales organizations to make a similar play.

For the past month, stories have been popping up left and right about how more pro teams have ditched their oversized binders for digitized playbooks on iPad tablets. While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Baltimore Ravens started the trend last season, Cincinatti.com reports that at least 10 other teams have gone the iPad route this year, including the Bengals, Dolphins and Broncos.

So far, it sounds like the tablets are a big hit with the players, even some of the league’s marquee names. “Peyton [Manning] loves it,” says Steve Boxer, Denver’s video director, in a recent interview with The Daily. Apparently, the second-best quarterback of his generation (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) is a big fan of the iPad’s video capabilities, as it puts game film of opposing defenses literally at his fingertips. In a recent NBC Sports report, Manning praised the device’s ability to “see a play drawn up in the traditional Xs and Os format, then touch the screen and watch game film of the play being run.”

Based on stories like these, I’m willing to bet that most (if not all) of the league will follow suit and switch to tablet playbooks for the 2013 season.

But it’s not just sports franchises that can (obvious pun alert!) take a page from the NFL’s playbook; chances are, your company could benefit from an iPad rollout as well. Tablets have already become the preferred tool of salespeople in the field, and there’s more than a few examples of how the benefits of iPad-based communication stretch beyond the gridiron. For example:

#1. Compact and easy to travel with. I mean, have you ever seen an NFL playbook? It’s gigantic! I sure wouldn’t want to carry that thing around with me all the time. But while not quite as clunky, many sales reps these days feel the same way about their laptops. The lightweight design of the tablet offers a much more convenient alternative for professionals on the go, whether you’re a field rep or an offensive lineman.

#2. On-demand training videos. As noted above, Peyton Manning is a huge fan of his newfound access to game film and video anytime, anywhere. As he explains in the NBC Sports story, “It’s easier for the video guys to send it to all the different players, and it’s a great way to study for these guys. There’s no excuse not to have the playbook and the game film to study.”

But on-demand video has become a preferred learning tool for many other businesses as well, especially when it comes to training mobile sales teams. In fact, the Aberdeen Group has released a study citing the correlation between mobile sales training with video and sales productivity, noting that “rich media such as video are more likely to create a lasting impression” on mobile learners.

#3. Easy updates for internal communications. In addition to video and playbook access, the Broncos have found that iPads have also become a go-to source of information for the team. Players are able to stay updated on things like practice schedules and travel itineraries, with notifications sent straight to their devices.

Similarly, a company that arms its mobile sales force with iPads is able to keep reps up-to-date with the latest sales and marketing resources and product messaging. They can even keep sales people in the field connected with the most recently approved PowerPoints slides for holding sales presentations straight from their tablet devices.

Judging by the result thus far, it’s clear the NFL is setting a great example for how other organizations can use iPads to improve their overall business communications. Now if only they could fix the pass interference rule…

Related Posts: PowerPoint for Tablets: Where’s the Value for Companies?

(Image credit: tuaw.com)