Technically Speaking – SalesWays Hub Introduces Sales Tech Talk

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Sales Tech Talk

As sales professionals, we get a lot of pressure to consistently meet our targets and produce sales. Yet, a sales person is only as effective as their best sales tool. With the increasing variety of gadgets on the market that claim to increase sales productivity, it’s hard to gauge the usefulness, or rather, the effectiveness of each of these technologies in terms of sales productivity.

Everyone talks a lot about sales training, sales coaching and sales methodology, but there is little discussion about the blending of sales and technology. In our case, without technology, SalesWays wouldn’t exist. We’ve looked everywhere, and we can’t find anyone that’s really putting the focus on salespeople when looking at tech tools.

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Cross Platform BlackBerry Messenger – Make or Break Strategy

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BlackBerry BBM

If you read my previous article, then you know I am not a big fan of BlackBerry. I didn’t pay much attention to their annual conference, BlackBerry Live on May 14 (which is just a day before the Google I/O 2013 that I was excited about). One thing about the conference caught my eye through various web sources, and that is BlackBerry Messenger goes cross-platform. BlackBerry Messenger app will be available on both Android and iOS this summer. Starting with just messaging and groups, but eventually gets full featured as a native BlackBerry app.

To me, this is a big and bold move from BlackBerry. Two major advantages of BlackBerry over other vendors are Qwerty keyboard and BlackBerry Messenger. I know many people who stick with BlackBerry devices for these two features alone. By making BlackBerry Messenger available to the major platforms, they potentially give existing customers one less reason to stay.

So why did they do it? My guess is it is all about brand awareness. The new generation is all about iPhone or the latest Android devices.

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Windows Phone 8 Choices: Nokia Lumia 920, HTC 8X, or No Thanks

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Windows Phones

Last month, I wrote the article “Smartphone Battle: Apple iPhone 5, Blackberry Z10, HTC One, or Samsung Galaxy S4“, and I was surprised by the great reception. I got feedback all over the world, and someone was asking me why I excluded any latest Windows phones. Interestingly, it didn’t occur to me at the time I wrote the article. (Microsoft should rethink their marketing strategy, LOL) Joking aside, I should really talk about Windows phones, and give my opinion on them.

The Nokia Lumia 920 and HTC 8X are the high end Windows Phone 8 handsets today. The following are the brief specs.

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Smartphone Battle: Apple iPhone 5, Blackberry Z10, HTC One, or Samsung Galaxy S4

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Latest Smartphones

Technology is moving faster than ever before. New models coming out from the same vendor within nine months isn’t uncommon anymore. If you are using a smartphone over two years, it’s considered obsolete for many people.

I am current using a HTC Desire HD, a 2 years old model. As a high tech professional, I feel the need to upgrade to the latest generation of smartphone. What are my options? I have my eyes on the following smartphones: Apple iPhone 5, Blackberry Z10, HTC One, and Samsung Galaxy S4.

For people who aren’t familiar with all of these phones, here is a quick spec.

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Sales Tips: Why Salespeople Need Cameras

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Fuji & Me

Yes, that’s me hiding behind that camera. It is 20 years old and used size 120 film. When I was in field sales I always had a camera with me in my bag—one that was much smaller than the Fuji GW690 shown in the picture.  Today, more salespeople carry cameras because there is a camera in just about every phone that you buy.

I used my camera mostly to record the stuff that I had sold and installed, hopefully with a beaming customer smiling into the lens. Sometimes I took pictures of things that didn’t work and needed service. That way, I could help the service group to get solutions quickly.

But these were the days of film, and image making with film is a far cry from being immediate. My carry-everywhere camera in the eighties was probably the one shown on the left in the next picture, the Olympus XA. The XA from 1979 was tiny, but took very sharp pictures, and had a rangefinder to get the focusing right.

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MS Surface Update

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MS Surface Pro

I first wrote about my Microsoft Surface tablet here. I’ve had a bit of time playing with it, but not much. So, these are very much first impressions. I bought the Surface RT—let’s talk a bit about the options first.

Microsoft has introduced two Surface tablets, the Surface RT and the Surface Pro. They look similar, but they are in fact quite different. They have different hardware and different operating systems. The Surface RT is built around an ARM processor and runs with Windows RT, a subset of Windows 8 designed specifically for mobile devices and with its DNA rooted deeply in Microsoft’s earlier mobile platform, Metro. The Surface Pro is based on Intel technology and runs a full version of Windows 8.

I used PCs and Microsoft Windows all of my working life until 2008. At that time, using Windows XP I went through a “annus horribillis” (The Queen and I are both British) (Ed. Yes, they are. And for all of us who aren’t, that Latin means “horrible year”. I know about those.), in which the speed of my computer ground to almost zero, and I was plagued by viruses. I decided to try Mac and bought myself a 17in MacBook Pro. I have never looked back, and currently have a MacBook Air, an iPad, and an iPhone. Looks like I am a confirmed Apple fanboy, but not so.

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Samsung Galaxy Camera

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This new camera, launched in in the U.S. in November by Samsung, is interesting on two fronts. First, the form factor of the smartphone and the compact camera have finally converged as people have been expecting them to. And second, the Galaxy camera runs on the Google Android operating system.

The Apple iPhone has driven the masses to photography. Fancy apps can turn a mundane image taken by what is really a “not so good” camera into something that could go into an art gallery. We are seeing a new genre of photography—iphonography. Books are being written about it (see below), galleries and museums are muscling in on it, and the phone is beginning to morph into a camera. Of course, an Android phone can take pictures too, but as usual, Apple is getting the accolades.

The driving force for all of this is that your phone is usually with you all the time. Seasoned photographers know that the best camera to use is the one you have with you — and the phone is almost always there. Capture the moment!

But the iPhone photographers are getting antsy. Early successes are making them want more. That little lens has a fixed f-stop of 2.4 and a fixed field of view of around 35mm in the classic 35mm camera terms. It has its limitations, and these shooters need zooms and a bit more control. Enter the Samsung Galaxy camera—it has an f/2.8-5.9, 23-480mm lens that will let you get closer to the action than any smartphone on the market today.

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The HTC Flyer

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HTC Flyer

This post is about my experiences with the HTC Flyer, a seven-inch tablet device that just happens to fill my specific needs better than any other that I have found.

In a previous post I talked about my love for paper, but also said that I thought paper was under threat from the tablet computer. For me, the seven-inch tablet represents the sweet spot for sales. At last we have a tablet footprint much the same as a small pad of paper, coupled with a screen that doesn’t involve too much compromise when running demanding business applications.

Tablet sales are increasing daily in the business market, so much so that the experts think that the tablet will eventually replace the laptop. Apple has introduced the iPad Mini. There are a plethora of Android devices in the seven-inch category, led by Google with the Nexus at a breakthrough price of around $200. So what is so special about my year-old HTC Flyer?

The Flyer looks like any other quality coloured-screen, small tablet — well executed and running Android 3.2 and with a nice custom overlay called HTC Sense. When I bought it many months ago, it was pricey. I didn’t realize how pricey until later, when I found the pen was not included in the kit and I had to buy it separately!

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Google Nexus 7

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Nexus 7
This is about why I bought a Google Nexus 7. Before I talk about why, let me talk about my background. I have a computer science degree, and I’ve worked in the software industry for nearly 15 years. I consider myself a smart consumer because I don’t buy things that are not worth buying. I always do my homework and make sure I get the bang for the buck.

Before the Nexus 7, I used a HP Touchpad. Yes, you got that right. I bought it when it was on a fire sale. Was it worth buying at the time? Hell yeah, but that’s a different story for another time. I was running Android 4.0 on the Touchpad, and it ran quite well. So what made me switch to the Google Nexus 7 besides all the hype about this device? For me, it is definitely the form factor, a beautiful 7″ screen, 340 grams, quad-core Tegra 3 processor, not to mention for the price tag of $249 (16GB version). I can feel the power in my hand. That’s right, I said “hand”, not “hands”.

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The Mobility Frontier

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Technology changes the way people work, and that means it has to be where people are. In the particular case of salespeople, that is anywhere.

Not long ago, a salesperson, after a full day of visits, had to return to the office desktop to update the information and forward the actions, prepare and submit proposals and also address pricing approvals and discounts with their managers.

The first major change was the size and portability of computers. Today, notebooks and laptops are accessible realities. Smaller and smaller, with a processing capacity greater than the “old” desktops, they are essential items to the salesperson’s tools arsenal, followed closely by the software they carry: spreadsheets, databases, word processing and customised sales applications. With that, salespeople now have the mobility to work with their computer anywhere.

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