According to IT research, the laptop may soon go the way of the desktop computer – thanks to the pervasive use of mobile devices. Mobile technology is quickly becoming commonplace in B2B companies, especially for sales reps. With the introduction of any new technology, companies are faced with developing policy and procedures to govern its use. For mobile technology, the hot topic being debated is whether a company should adopt a “bring your own device” (BYOD) policy. More and more organizations are favoring BYOD for mobile devices, as there’s the potential for cost savings if the company does not have to purchase, maintain or support them. Seems like an easy decision, right? Not so fast.

Many B2B companies are embracing BYOD, supported by mobile device management and mobile application management plans to ensure proper use. BYOD works well when you’re considering roles where a mobile device is a “nice to have.” However, for B2B sales organizations, mobile devices are quickly becoming a necessary tool to help make reps more productive. This leads to a set of challenges that many sales operations leaders will soon be asked to resolve. What if some of the key sales applications (e.g. sales force automation, sales portal) are only compatible with certain mobile devices? How can sales operations ensure consistent functionality when these devices are being used in front of prospects and customers (e.g. demos, presentations)? How will sales support quickly replace a device that’s not company owned (e.g. sales rep on the road breaks his or her tablet right before a big meeting)? IT cannot do a “hot swap” for a sales rep’s personal device. Finally, security, security and, did I mention security?

For sales operations leaders who must take proactive measures to create efficiencies, the challenges noted above are real. The bottom line: If the mobile device of an employee in human resources or finance crashes or is lost, it can be an inconvenience; however, it spells disaster for a sales rep using a mobile device as a primary technology tool – equating to lost productivity, which means lost revenue. Party over.