SAMPS was previously Association of Commercial Professionals for Life Sciences (ACP-LS)

Why Mobile Is Essential for Life Science Sales Professionals

May 9, 2013

wireless internetMobility is on every company's hot list these days. Tablets and smartphones are being deployed across the enterprise, especially for sales and marketing. The health sciences industry has in a large part led the way with major companies from Medtronic to ThermoFisher deploying thousands of devices worldwide. This 4-part series will attempt to cover the "whys," "hows," and "whats" that are driving the adoption of mobility in your industry.

Author disclosure:  My company builds and sells iPad-based applications to many of the largest health science providers.

For the past 3 years, we've shadowed sales and marketing teams as they have taken the plunge into mobility, specifically the iPad. It started with a trickle...
...a few brave souls using their iPads at a tradeshow booth at AACR in 2010...
...and turned into a flood...
...Medtronic deploying 4000-plus iPads a few months later.

Over that 3-year period, early adopter companies have worked to fine tune how devices like the iPad fit into their sales process, corporate security restrictions, and company culture. They've created new positions like chief mobility officer and mobile sales trainer. They've bought and coded (and recoded) apps to deliver content, connect teams, and support customers.

In short, they now know what works and what drives ROI with respect to mobility.

Whether, you have an official mobility plan or not, your teams are using their tablets and smartphones to do business on their own. The question is, why should you get ahead of this trend and provide systems to empower and monitor mobile business activities?

Here are 3 compelling reasons to invest in mobile now.

1. Better sales performance: 68% higher sales quota achievement with mobility

According to an Aberdeen research study,1 best-in-class companies that have deployed mobile sales solutions are achieving 109% attainment of sales quota compared with 41% quota attainment in companies that are lagging (little to no mobility).

These best-in-class companies cite the following reasons for their success directly related to mobility:

  1. Synchronization of contacts, calendars, and events
  2. Leveraging CRM (eg,, Microsoft Dynamics) to have a 360° view of customers
  3. Enabling remote sellers with up-to-date collateral

Although one might argue that best-in-class companies simply have better products, it's safe to say that early mobile adopters are empowering their sales teams with easy access to key information in an attempt to capture buyer mindshare in the field.

2. Instant access to information

The Internet has hyper-informed buyers these days with detailed product websites and easy access to peer-to-peer advice on sites like Scientist Solutions, Assay Depot, and Biocompare. This reality has left mobile employees, like salespeople, at a disadvantage because the buyer often knows a lot about a specific product or service offerings and is looking for deep details to make a decision. Salespeople are coming in when the decision process is well under way.

It's not the salesperson's fault, however, because these days they're often forced to carry a ton of details in their heads, such as thousands of products or functional specifications, and how all this compares with competitors' products or services. The reality is that the human brain can only retain so much information.

To make matters worse, many research facilities and private firms have enacted closed-door policies, effectively shutting salespeople out of a once-ripe sales environment.

The result of this turn of events has narrowed the time a field person gets with a prospect from hours to minutes, or just a "hallway encounter."

Mobility, and specifically, mobilized information, has begun to level the playing field by providing sales and marketing teams with instant access to key collateral like brochures, PowerPoint decks, videos, and even detailed product catalogs.

Properly trained mobile workers can now take advantage of shorter, more precious snippets of time with customers and share pertinent information as they "walk and talk." With the right apps and platform, everything they need is at their fingertips. Best-in-class companies are now gaining an advantage by training teams specifically for these encounters.

This doesn't apply to salespeople only. For example, technical service teams are deploying mobile solutions to get instant access to service manuals, videos, and even share video with technicians at the home office in real time.

3. Save print budget

Everybody knows that budgets are tight these days, so anything you can do to cut a few corners and save a few dollars is paramount. Most companies spend effort and money printing brochures, data sheets, special offer sheets, and paper catalogs.

Sure, it's a great way to let prospects know what you offer and why they should buy it. However, they go out of date in a few short months as new products or services, pricing, and use-case data become available, requiring new ones to be printed in their place. This never-ending cycle can eat into already reduced budget dollars.

By determining the average cost of printing a brochure, data sheet, or catalog, you can determine the value that can be added back to your marketing budget by using a mobile platform to share information instead.

One high-level marketer recently told us that she shaved 50% of her print budget after deploying iPads, because their team could just as easily share and send brochures digitally.

In summary
Ultimately it's up to you and your company to answer the question of "Why Mobile Now?" Whether, it's to empower a mobile sales team, provide instant access to information, or save in printing costs, the time has come for serious consideration of formal mobility plans beyond BYOD (bring your own device) and a pat on the back.

In the next article, we'll dive into the new and challenging position of marketing technologist and explore their difficulties and successes in implementing mobility.

Please leave comments about why your company is adding mobile and mobile tools. I'd love to hear from you, too.


  1. Ostrow P. Aberdeen Group. Best-in-class companies deploy sales mobility practices to better "seal the deal." Accessed May 3, 2013.

Rusty Bishop

Rusty Bishop, PhD, co-founded FatStax in 2010 and has served as Chief Sales Officer since that time. Rusty brings a scientist's focus to the sales process and has a deep understanding of what sales representatives need to succeed in the field. He's been delivering iPad-based solutions that succeed at the enterprise level ever since the tablet launched, and regularly speaks with companies about strategies to effectiely apply iPads.
SAMPS, Sales And Marketing Professionals in Scientific research, is the first and only organization dedicated to sales and marketing professionals within the life sciences.

The association’s goal is to serve its members who work in commercial roles for life science products and services companies and associated businesses, globally.
SAMPS was previously named ACP-LS. We feel that SAMPS more clearly describes the membership, and will form a better foundation from which to expand this membership globally. 
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