How often have you been in a sales meeting and there has been a technical glitch? Either the salesperson can’t connect to the client’s guest network, the video keeps buffering due to poor bandwidth, content searching takes too long, the VPN connection doesn’t work, or there’s no Wi-Fi availability to access your content in the cloud... and that’s just to name a few. In this online world, the loss of a reliable internet connection can unravel the best of sales meetings.
Offline support is a crucial and often underrated feature that isn’t given much thought until it is too late. No matter the circumstances, it can ensure a smooth operation in any situation -both virtual and face-to-face - and can elevate the customer experience to another level.
With offline capability included as standard on Showell, everybody instantly benefits from the improved user experience that comes from having everything locally on the device automatically. There’s no waiting, no buffering and no problems - only reliability.
Don’t take online connectivity for granted
Living in urban areas and working in office buildings can result in online connectivity being taken for granted. We unthinkingly assume there is always a proper internet connection easily available and forget just how many of our productivity apps rely on the internet to operate.
Offline capabilities are super important, so the sales meeting can be flexible.
“Even though virtual selling has exploded, especially due to COVID-19, for many of our customers, their salespeople are meeting face to face with customers and operating in hard conditions. They might be in the middle of the forest, in an agriculture area, on industrial premises or even down a mine, none of which are likely to have a strong connection. In those situations, offline capabilities are super important, so the sales meeting can be flexible,” says Aleksi Niemi, who is responsible for business development and growth at Showell.
Sales reps for heavy machinery firms like Sandvik, Ponsse, Sleipner and Massey Ferguson will visit the site where their machines will one day operate to meet customers, plus service personnel will eventually follow. “There's no way that they could easily have information online there,” states Markus Lehto, CMO at Showell and one of its founding partners.
From exhibitions to the extreme – be ready for everything
While mines, forests and fields are the extreme cases, there are other more common uses for offline capability, such as fairs and conventions. “Wi-Fi is usually offered at those large events, but it quickly gets oversubscribed, and then the mobile data bandwidth also deteriorates due to the volume of users,” describes Lehto from personal experience.
It’s annoying to show a company video and it starts to buffer or doesn’t work.
He also shares an example of an impromptu sales presentation on board a boat out at sea where there’s never any internet connection. “If you work in any of these environments then it's crucial to have everything with you all the time offline. It’s really annoying when you try to show a company video or 3D model and it starts to buffer or just doesn't work - or even worse: the YouTube video starts with a competitor's ad,” he observes.
COVID may have temporarily halted some face-to-face meetings, but there are still some salespeople travelling where they can for meetings, which raises one additional advantage of the offline capability. “It can be expensive to use mobile networks abroad and not every country is as connected as Finland, Western Europe or the US,” points out Lehto.
Why is offline support crucial in sales?
A sales rep usually has a good idea of the customer’s interests, but sometimes that assumption isn't right. “You’ll have heard stories of the customer suddenly being interested in something totally different. This is why you should have everything with you at all times, locally. It gives you a competitive edge over your competitors,” advises Lehto.
Even if the customer is not interested in something completely different, in sales meetings reps almost always have to answer various questions, which they haven’t been able to prepare for in advance. “This is why the ability to react and find the necessary information quickly during the meeting is so important,” adds Niemi.
Don’t underestimate the value of a smooth meeting.
The basic default setup for applications like Google Drive and SharePoint is that everything is in the cloud and only available when you have internet access. If you suddenly need an unexpected document, brochure or video and you haven't manually synchronized it to be available offline, you cannot access it.
Being able to immediately and seamlessly adjust your presentation feeds into a positive experience that the customer gets. “If something works in the meeting, it instills a promise that whatever is being sold will follow suit. Don’t underestimate the value of a smooth meeting: a technical delay of 1-2 minutes can be an eternity and some people aren’t forgiving,” warns Lehto.
How does Showell work offline?
“After any content is downloaded to Showell Admin, the user, namely the salesperson, logs in to their Showell App and there will be an automated check to see whether there have been any updates or changes. The App automatically updates these changes or downloads the new version,” details Niemi.
We want to deliver that great feeling when everything just works.
This means that all content is stored locally to a user’s device. Of course, the content uses storage space, although this isn’t a problem for most modern devices. “If needed, there are several ways to optimize large content and admins can control if certain content is not automatically downloaded to a user’s device. However, they can still find the metadata of the information offline, so the content is still as easy to find as all other content in the Showell App,” he adds.
With Showell, data capturing can also be done without an internet connection. For example, the user can log any data to Showell and, when the device accesses the internet, it will be transferred via API to other IT systems. This capability brings a lot of benefits, such as if a company wants to capture information from expos or any situation where an internet connection is not reliable.
Deliver a solid and smooth experience – book a demo
“When we think of the customer of our customer, we want to give them that great feeling you get when everything just works. If you can deliver that experience time after time during the many touchpoints you have with the customer, it really makes a difference. Even if the people in your organization change, you still have a seamless interaction,” notes Lehto.
Repeatedly delivering a solid and smooth experience on every touchpoint along the customer journey is brand building. He concludes by saying, “From the first meeting to customer support, it has to be the same high level all the time. It’s giving a promise and then keeping it.”
To begin your own brand-building journey, book a demo with Showell or try our Freemium and self-service models today.