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The Connected Web

Phil Wainewright

Your Next Sales Tool: the iPad Slide Deck

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Apple's iPad — essentially a tablet-sized version of the iPhone — is finding its way into quite a few business and professional environments. One of the latest examples is the British Army's use of iPads to help train artillery gunners before they head off to Afghanistan. The troops learn faster because they can practise on the iPad rather than just listening to classroom instructions.

The device will find its way into quite a few face-to-face sales encounters, too, according to Nick Oulton, CEO of m62 visualcommunications and author of the book Killer Presentations. His company specializes in creating slideshow presentations that help close complex business sales propositions, and has seen a big jump in customers asking for Keynote slidedecks for use on the iPad. "It's going to be huge," he told me recently.

The advantage of using an iPad rather than a standard laptop is that the prospect is able to hold the iPad and use the touchscreen functionality to advance the slides. All of this contributes to their engagement with the presentation. Meanwhile the salesperson can sit alongside, which helps build empathy.

The more I hear stories like these, the more I warm to the iPad. Personally, I use the keyboard a lot when I'm online so you're still more likely to find me hunched over a laptop rather than an iPad. The only environment I can see myself using it is to surf the Web while watching TV with the family in the evening — it strikes me as the perfect device for unobtrusive couch surfing. But the more business justifications emerge for having an iPad, the closer I get to acquiring one myself.

All of this is bad news for Microsoft, considering that I've been a very loyal Windows user and have never thought of getting a Mac, even after being won over by the iPhone. It would certainly be ironic if a major part of Apple making serious inroads into the business market were to be a result of salespeople insisting on iPads to make their slideshow presentations. Until now, Powerpoint's iron grip of the sales presentation market has been one of the factors that made Microsoft's incumbency so secure. That bastion of strength will soon be undermined unless touchscreen capabilities rapidly become a staple ingredient of future laptops.

Phil Wainewright blogs about how businesses are using the Web to get better plugged into today's fast-moving, digital economy.

Phil Wainewright

Phil Wainewright specializes in on-demand services View more

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