I've written a fair amount about Sales 2.0 and technology-enabled selling. I've also discussed my concerns about generation and technology gaps between younger and older sales professionals.
A recent article in BusinessWeek discusses how educators are changing their tune on mobile cell phones. Up until now, most educators saw cell phones and PDAs as a distraction.
According to the article, "Abilene Christian University will hand out Apple's iPhone 3G smart phone to two-thirds of this year's entering class of 950 freshmen. Students will be expected to use the devices to brainstorm ideas and get virtual handouts and podcasts during class. Instructors will use them for such tasks as monitoring attendance. 'This is a new platform for learning, in the same way a laptop or a desktop was a new platform,' says William Rankin, co-director of mobile learning research at the school, which is in Abilene, Texas."
When I read this article, I thought about the 35 or so colleges and universities in the U.S. that offer courses or degrees in professional selling. Although those institutes of higher learning may not specifically provide students with iPhones, you can be sure these students are perfect candidates for learning via cell phones and PDAs. That means they'll be accustomed to using technology for learning and information gathering as well as communication.
My message is this: If you are a sales leader or manager in a company that is a technology laggard, ring the fire alarm now. The new breed of salespeople entering the workforce over the next two years will have the ability to leverage their comfort and proficiency with iPhones and other personal digital devices to the point of competitive advantage. And those sales trainers that are providing, or will soon provide, their content through that medium will themselves have an advantage. Just-in-time, on-the-go learning and learning reinforcement is becoming a requirement for more and more companies.
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