The iPad continues to gain ground as a platform for mobile presentations and sales enablement. Seismic is a sales enablement solution that includes an iPad app and cloud backend. Seismic is about to release an upgrade to its iPad app and cloud platform. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Seismic CEO Doug Winter and spend time testing out the company's previous version.
Seismic competes against Showpad and Storydesk. The demo environment and examples shown to me revolved around sales and marketing people creating , managing, and distributing typical sales collateral from an iPad including:
- Sale pitches
- White papers
- Tear sheets
The role of the Seismic DocCenter iPad app
Even if a salesperson is a total ninth level PowerPoint ninja, they should be spending their time prospecting for new customers and selling, not back at their desk creating presentations. The Seismic DocCenter app lays out all the tools a salesperson needs to create or modify a presentation.
The main screen I saw is well laid out so you can access Library Content, Favorites, Recent Documents, New Content, Popular Content, and Local Content. The upcoming upgrade promises some new user interface enhancements including customization. The next upgrade will provide shortcuts to your favorites; most popular content and your most recently used documents.
You have the option to change your views over All Documents in the Library Content. Again, Winter told me to expect more upgrades here in the new version about to launch on the 24th.
Seismic refers to their content as a LiveDoc because each document in the DocCenter Library is always up-to-date with the most recent data and content each time you open it.
You can preview all the content available to you in the app to see it fits your requirements. You can also rate and review the content. While these features are all useful and good, I wonder how much use they'd see in a highly competitive sales organization. The Ask the Expert section might be better served as a feedback tool something I hope to see in the next Seismic version, Though in the end, these features take a collaborative team in order to make effective.
Seismic has gone to great efforts to make customizing a presentation easy for users who might even are visual communicators. When I opened up the one of the presentations, Seismic made available in my library, I had all the tools for customizing the presentation including entry fields for customer and industry information. I could even upload a logo from my iPad's camera or photo library. I'd like to see an option to use Dropbox, or Box for transferring over logos. Better yet, an in app library for logos would be a useful addition.
The screen even includes options to specify the presentation's audiences. When I scrolled to the next page, there were options to add more team bios and build out the presentation using pre-built sections that were previously setup for the demo environment. When these tools get interesting is with partner agreements, contracts, and other business documents because a salesperson could fill out prospective customer information in these documents and then email them to the person right at the end of the meeting.
After tapping Generate, Seismic generates a customized presentation based on the information you choose from the presentation.
Seismic DocCenter also includes a full set of annotation tools that you can put to work during a customer presentation in order to highlight your selling points and differentiators.
Besides emailing a presentation or document, there are also options to open it in a compatible iPad app, print it out, and save it locally to your iPad.
Data integration with sales collateral
Data integration is one of Seismic's strong suits and a definite driver for financial firms to check out the solution. Seismic's data integration options include:
- Microsoft Dynamics
- SQL Azure
Seismic user settings and administration
Seismic includes some lightweight user settings in the DocCenter app for clearing the cache and configuring mappings to the Seismic cloud backend and Salesforce. Setting up and administering the presentations and other media in the app takes place via the cloud using a desktop browser.
The cloud backend of the previous Seismic version relied on SilverLight, so I have high hopes that the backend of the next version will be more on technology parity with their iPad app.
Analytics for usage tracking and reporting
Winter said the usage tracking and reporting is a significant feature in the next Seismic version. This feature will enable their customers to track, which Seismic content is useful for their users.
The new usage-tracking feature is supposed to include:
- Report on usage at site, teamsite, folder, or content level.
- Filter based on users, groups, and other elements.
Winter said that this new feature will also include a set of standard data sources and reports, which can be further customized as a LiveDoc.
Seismic is available on an annual subscription basis base on the number of users. Contact Seismic for more information about pricing.
The previous version of Seismic was impressive in the demo and during my testing. Unfortunately, a test environment wasn't available to me at time of publication. Therefore, I have to dial back what would've been a very positive review to just encouraging you to try out Seismic if you are seeking a new sales enablement tool for your sales team.
Will Kelly is a freelance technical writer and analyst currently focusing on enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the consumerization of IT. He has also written about cloud computing, Big Data, virtualization, project management applications, Google Apps, Microsoft technologies, and online collaboration for TechRepublic and other sites. Will also works as a contract technical writer for clients in the Washington, DC area and nationwide. Follow Will on Twitter: @willkelly.