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Expo Notes: iPad apps MLeads, iPresent help seal the business deal

Shelley Levine might still have a job if he had an iPad.

At the very least, Levine, the sad-sack Glengarry Glen Ross character played by Jack Lemmon, probably wouldn't have complained so much that "the leads are weak"--because the iPad would have offered him the tools to track the best customer leads and make his best sales pitch.

What's clear on the floor this week at Macworld/iWorld is that the iPad--and to some extent the iPhone--is an increasingly indispensable tool in a salesperson's kit.

Some services and apps, like Daylite, provide mile-high overviews of a user's business. Others, like SalesNOW, perform specific tasks to help sales staff track potential customers.

MLeads, an app for the iPhone and iPad, starts at the very beginning of the process: Finding the customers.

Every time a salesperson makes a contact with a potential customer, the salesperson can enter the contact's info into a database--either speaking the name into the app or using the iOS camera to capture and process business card data; users can also simply (perhaps boringly) type in a contact's name.

Data about the customer can then be imported from LinkedIn or even Google. And each contact can be categorized according to "hotness"--how likely they are to become an actual customer.

The idea, stressed MLeads' Rohan Gorawala, is to capture as much data as possible about a potential customer in order to craft the sales pitch. In sales, at least, there really is no such thing as too much information.

The app also helps sales staffers follow up on those contacts with a personal touch. It makes easier the job of generating templates that use all that data to create personalized emails that are designed to catch the customer's attention. And MLeads' analytics tools can track a user's success rate.

MLeads is free for the first month; after that, a subscription fee of $10 per user per month is required.

iPresent: powerful presentations

Once a salesperson has a foot in the door, of course, he or she has to make a pitch. iPresent, an iPad app, helps with the creation of  presentations that use a mix of PowerPoint files, videos, and PDFs to produce a multimedia pitch. Users can pick from several templates and upload their own media.

Those presentations can then be projected on screen from the tablet via AirPlay; a new feature coming in Version 2.0 of iPresent lets users push the presentations directly to the iPads of customers who also have the iPresent app. One added advantage: iPresent's analytics tool can then track which portions of a presentation get the most attention and reaction from potential customers.

iPresent CEO Phil Lenton clearly is an Apple fan, and emphasizes that the goal of iPresent is to create elegant presentations worthy of the beautiful hardware they're made on.

"It's about making a beautiful journey," Lenton said. Customers "get something that looks really smart and really polished."

Like MLeads, iPresent comes with a 30-day free trial. After that, it costs $21 a month per users. And just think: Shelley Levine was willing to pay $100 for just two good leads.


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