More and more people are trying to use iPads during their sales meetings, but often get stuck with just email, CRM, and maybe a brochure or PDF presentation, none of which is really going to rock your audience’s world. So, to change all that, we’re going to run down a list of some of the best apps to use to help you revolutionise the way that you conduct sales meetings with the iPad.

Sadly, this doesn’t include either Angry Bird, or cat videos on YouTube. Sorry, but they’re just not going to work! Also, these recommendations make the assumption that you know to ditch bullet points and use visual animated sequences. If you don’t, check out these free advanced PowerPoint training and presentation skills resources.

Sketching and annotation: Bamboo Paper

You can create a truly interactive sales meeting by using sketching and annotation to make a specific argument live with your prospect. Draw a graph to demonstrate your ideas for the prospect’s particular challenges and what they might get out of it, or show how other solutions or options might work for them giving a relative idea of what kind of benefit they will achieve with your proposed solution. Doing all of this interactively with the prospect on your iPad means that you can communicate far more clearly. Better yet, physically give them the iPad so that they can add to your sketches, and co-create the story being told. You can get so much more insight into their needs, and they feel like they’re able to steer the conversation much more directly to something that will be relevant and useful.

Bamboo Paper is really good for this, as it allows you to draw anything you like freehand using a variety of pens and colours, but also import images and annotate over the top of them which works really well if you have something complex to explain that it would be too time-consuming to draw from scratch.

Polling and interactivity: Crowdsignal

A great opportunity the iPad offers, is the ability to ask questions or promote responses to surveys and polls. This approach is not only useful for basic fact finding for the individual prospect in question helping to steer the conversation down the right track in a way that doesn’t feel like a chore, but more interestingly, the information gathered from many different polls can be aggregated together to give you useful insight into your customer base. These results could help inform a whole host of things across your company, such as sales messaging, targeted marketing, and customer support. You can also build these surveys around specific sales methodologies, so that you always follow the right approach and don’t miss anything vital in the heat of the moment.

I’m going to recommend Crowdsignal as your go-to survey tool, as it produces some neat, easy to navigate response pages. It’s easy to create and customise polls and see your results. You can also have more complex surveys with conditional branching. However, it’s so reliant on the non-iPad functionality, it may be worth looking at some of the other options to see whether the entire package does it for you.

Brochures, specifications & documents: Books

At this point, if you’re following along carefully you may, quite rightly exclaim: “What’s this? Documents on the iPad? But I thought you said no text!” You’d be right, but you might enter a part of the conversation that requires an in-depth look at some technical details. Remember that in a meeting, it’s fine to let your prospect to read something for a minute or two. Why not have a collection of brochures in PDF form on your iPad you can hand over to your prospect for them to read briefly? Just don’t hold the iPad yourself and talk whilst they’re trying to read!

You can add PDFs to your Apple Books Library on your iPad. You can put them into different folders, or collections, to make things easier. If you want to go a bit further and annotate these PDFs, then you can do think in Books too, but other options, like iAnnotate are also great at helping you bring your PFDs to life

Videos & animations: AVPlayerHD

Videos are another great tool to have at your disposal during a sales conversation. The ability to share a minute or two of video is often key to help explain complex ideas, or make an emotional connection to generate some real excitement. Having a selection of videos available,  related to different implementations of your products or showing testimonials, can work really well when used in the right way.

To play video on the iPad is a little tricky, as Apple gets sensitive about giving you free reign over a potentially very lucrative source of revenue. The standard Videos app is quite restrictive, but AVPlayerHD is great. The interface is clean and slick and you can easily access the video you want from your library. Playback is very smooth and great quality, so you can jump into the video that you want and navigate around it without any lag. AVPlayerHD plays pretty much any video format that you care to mention, so you’re not restricted to the .mp4 or .mov formats that the iPad natively supports, giving you much more freedom. It costs £2.99, which might put people off, but there aren’t any free apps that are quite as good.

One option is the now restored VLC player, which is probably the best free video app, but it’s a little trickier to navigate around, slower to respond, and I’ve found it to be less than brilliant when you just want something to play – you really can’t afford loading time on an iPad with a prospect waiting. It’s OK, but not quite as good as AVPlayerHD.

Coordinating content: Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.

Having all of this content available at your fingertips (literally!) means that wherever your audience wants to go, you can join them. Imagine you have prepared a series of short presentation snippets based around a set of value messages, such as cost saving, productivity, or flexibility, and your prospect tells you that they’re under real budgetary pressure. You can jump to the appropriate (cost) snippet and tell them things that they care about.

The article is about six vital iPad apps, and I’ve cheated a bit by offering some alternatives, so it’s up to at least eight so far! This next bit is really cheating. Sorry. There are a couple of different approaches to take, but Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, or any of the other similar services provide great apps allowing you to store pretty much any file, of any size and access it when you need it. The neat thing about most of them, as cloud-based content solutions, is that you can access your content from any device, anywhere, which is great when you’re on the road. However, you can also download the content for off-line access. This means that they really can be a single source for all content whether you’re online or not.

It is a bit of a cheat not recommending just one of these, but most companies have an account with one of them, so the decision may have been made for you. The key thing is, try to make use of them to pull in lots of different content as part of your conversation.

Planning conversations: MindManager

So now you have all of these different pieces of content to use and a selection of great apps to share them with. Now, you have to try not to get lost!

A good way to ensure you’re meeting goes well is to plan out the kind of conversations that you’re likely to have. Start by thinking about what your audience is most likely to be interested in. How do you add value and how can you get them to recognise that value? What do you want them to do as a direct result of your conversation and over the longer term? How do you differentiate from your competitors? What is your audience’s perception of that difference? Answering questions like these will help you frame the content and topics that you need to cover.

A great way to plan all this out is to use a mind mapping tool. We like MindManager, an app that gives you a pretty neat mind map. It’s fairly easy to use. You can create main themes, sub-topics, and content for each section, as well as links between topics, so that you can plan a route through all the content. A mind map is good as it allows you to see everything in one go, rather than trying to plan something out in a Word document, or PowerPoint presentation, where you’re somewhat limited to a linear flow.

Using iPad apps: Seamless shifting

Remember that, within your meetings, you need to be flexible and tailor your content to the needs of your audience. A great tip to help you seamlessly move between your different apps is to use a four finger swipe, either left or right, to move between apps by turning on the multitasking gestures control in Settings. There is no one app that does it all, but a combination of them can be very powerful, helping you show your prospects what they need to see to be convinced to buy from you.

And if you need help to create it all, there’s an App for that too.

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Written by

Richard Goring

Director

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  1. Image of Namiko Namiko says:

    Hi Richard,
    Please consider adding iPad presentation app “Ruri ” to your list.

    Ruri is another presentation app on iPad for anyone who want to make beautiful presentations quickly.
    To make a beautiful presentation, Ruri puts words and images in suitable places automatically and provides background movies.
    Watch Ruri on move: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPfCxyFvJ6E

    Please check this out. We’re planning to provide Ruri for free until 21st March.

    Ruri on AppStore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ruri-create-presentations/id959336813?mt=8
    Our website: http://www.martianstalk.com

  2. Image of Ben Ben says:

    If you’re looking for a quick way of putting interactive audience polls within existing PowerPoint presentations then checkout http://www.participoll.com – uses audience members’ mobile devices to collect votes.

  3. Image of Adrian Adrian says:

    Hi, I stumbled on here looking for an app that would help me make a video presentation like this with animations and being able to illustrate in a number of ways… Any suggestions for something that would make an animated 20min video presentation?

    • Image of Joby Blume Joby Blume says:

      Well, PowerPoint can do it but takes a bit of expertise. If you don’t want to learn complex software, maybe take a look at our review of VideoScribe?

  4. Image of Luise Bianchi Luise Bianchi says:

    Hi Richard,
    I wanted to add to your list also JustPerfect and the related office suite from morepaths.com.

    I found it quite useful and straight forward for my sales meetings with my clients.

    Here some references: http://www.morepaths.com

  5. Image of Filip Filip says:

    Hi Richard,

    Unfortunately SlideShark is going out of business by end of this year. It was and still is the only tool to correctly display Powerpoint presentations on iPads.

    If you know of any alternatives – please post it on your blog, I am sure it will be very, very useful.

    Also, I suggest you add CrescendoApp.com to your list. It is the best sales presentation tool for mobile teams that use Sharepoint, Google Drive, Box, etc to manage their content.

    • Image of Richard Goring Richard Goring says:

      Hi Filip, yes, you’re right. However, the PowerPoint app – now on all platforms – is a great tool to show PowerPoint presentations. It incorporates all the animations, graphics, transitions, and interactive elements (triggers and hyperlinks) that you can build in PowerPoint, so is our go to app now.

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