Reviewing Our 2010 B2B Social Media Predictions

Before we start looking forward with predictions for 2011 in B2B social media, we thought we would look back at our predictions for 2010. It is worth looking at these predictions not to determine our skill at predicting the future, but to see how quickly or slowly various aspects of social media were adopted or ignored by B2B companies.

1. Sales Staff Get Social Media Savvy
This is something that definitely started to happen in 2010, but not to the extent that we might have thought. The first steps of this occurred, which are the education and awareness of the benefits of social media to a sales force, and a big part of that is through the growing online conversation about sales 2.0 and social CRM.

2. Inbound Marketing Gets Cash
Spending is definitely increasing around areas that bring customers to online destinations, including social media. According to the CMO Survey, social media spend is expected to be around 10% of the marketing budget for B2B companies within one year, and up to 18% within five years.

3. Location-Based Fills In The Gaps
Location did not happen for B2B companies in 2010. The value of the check-in, and even the growth of location-based coupons, did not adapt well to the complex relationship-building process for B2B social media. Even Foursquare, the leader in location-based applications, acknowledges a consumer retail focus and prevents non-retail businesses from claiming their venue on the site by stating “we’re trying to limit foursquare specials to places where people meet, socialize and linger. Think: cafes, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, museums, theaters, etc.” This limits experimentation of non-traditional approaches of checking in.

4. Social Media Lead Generation Becomes Common Place
While social media lead generation is definitely happening across multiple platforms, this is not a common occurrence. Many B2B companies are still challenged how to move beyond engagement to lead generation.

5. Social Media Publishing Gets More Multi-Media
The growth of audio and video content has been huge in 2010. While every successful campaign like the Old Spice Guy encourages clients and bosses to ask for viral videos, causing marketers to cringe (because you don’t make viral, it happens), they do increase the awareness of video as compelling online medium.

6. Influencer Marketing Gets Even More Important
With the decline of traditional media, marketers are looking for other ways to share their messages, and influencer outreach is definitely a growing approach. With sites like Klout to measure online influence, as well as other determinations based on site page rank or offline industry influence, many in the B2B space are learning who to reach out to.

7. Mobile Can No Longer Be Ignored
It is hard to find any statistics that don’t point to the growth of mobile in the US and around the world. Look at growth of smartphones, sales of iPhones, the growing Android platform and even a Gartner report from earlier this year that says the number of mobile phones that can access the web will exceed the number of PCs by 2013. More B2B marketers are understanding the importance of a mobile experience, especially as it relates to communicating on social networks and driving traffic back to their content.

8. Corporate Web Sites Get Social
Some B2B companies who understand the importance of connections through social media have made corporate web sites more social. This is not something that has gotten very pervasive, but there has been a large adoption of social media follow badges and share buttons across many B2B sites.

9. Social and Real-Time Search Drive B2B Social Media Adoption
More B2B communicators became aware of the importance of real-time information and the required response using social media and other outlets. Google, Twitter and even Facebook pushed the notion of real-time to the top of their platforms, which helps B2B companies see the importance of social media adoption.

10. B2B Gets Smart About Social Data
Most B2B companies are still overwhelmed with the amount of user generated content created around their customers, prospects and industries, and there just have not been good solutions for mining this data for actionable information. The beginnings of this are happening with social CRM platforms, but it is very early in that space.

11. The Firewalls Start To Come Down
Many B2B companies started 2010 by blocking access to social sites on their corporate networks. Not much has changed in those instances, but as social media matures, B2B companies will start to understand the business value of employees accessing sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. If companies are worried about employee productivity or inappropriate online comments if employees have access to social media sites, that is an employee problem, not a social media problem. And with the continuing growth of mobile, employees will bypass corporate networks entirely when searching social sites for business recommendations or polling their networks for information.

How does this compare to what you have seen in 2010 in your B2B companies? Let us know in the comments below. And look for our 2011 predictions next month.

The Best Free iPad Apps for B2B Marketers

Now that Apple has sold 3 million iPads, the platform is worth looking at for B2B marketers. As I have written before about the iPad, in my initial use of the device, it is not a laptop replacement. It is much more of a consuming device, rather than a creating device. This post will focus on the best free apps to use on the iPad. A future post will look at paid apps. These apps take advantage of its compactness and portability and its touch screen. It is a great device for travel, providing you don’t have heavy duty document creation requirements on the trip. I am basing this on my personal experience with the iPad, even though I have talked to others who do more with their iPad than I do with mine.

Nothing below is so compelling that it will make you rush out and buy an iPad tomorrow, but there are some neat apps available, and when you start to consider the 2nd generation iPad (that’s the one that’s coming with a camera, maybe available this fall), you’ll have a head start on some free apps to look download.

Dropbox (iTunes link) is the best way to sync documents between multiple devices, not just a way to get files, photos and presentations on your iPad without using iTuens. It requires an online repository for your documents, which is free for up to 2GB of space. If you are using an iPad for sales presentations and to share other product materials, this is best way to make sure those out in the field always have the latest versions. Someone back at the office can manage the Dropbox account, which is loaded on each iPad, and each time the Dropbox app is opened, it syncs the latest documents. Other popular programs that sync documents on multiple devices are Evernote (iTunes link) and (iTunes link).

Feeddler RSS Reader (iTunes link) is the best approach to keeping up with your RSS reader. An important part of marketing today involves reading the latest blog posts and articles to stay current and share these finds with your network. Fill your Google Reader with blogs and fly through with the touch of your finger. This app won’t make you read faster, but it will help you navigate faster and easier. If you don’t currently use Google Reader, create an account just to add this list of 330 B2B Marketing and Sales Blogs and keep up with the latest ideas and trends. One complaint is that the free version does not allow you to post to Twitter. You need to upgrade to the Pro version for $4.99. That is definitely worth it if this keeps you on top of your reader.

If you are looking for a more magazine-like experience in your daily reading, try Flipboard (iTunes link). This new app is all the rage among iPad owners. It connects to your social graph and presents articles that those in your network have shared. There are lots of options for curated content as well. It has a very intuitive and touch friendly interface and content is sharable on Twitter and Facebook, depending on the source.

Dragon Dictation (iTunes link) is a well-known iPhone app that transcribes speech and lets you post updates to Twitter or send emails. If you speak slowly and clearly, it works pretty well. There is also a keyboard for correcting any mistakes before sending your messages.

Both WebEx (iTunes link) and GoToMeeting (iTunes link) have apps for the iPad, bringing the the most common, online collaboration platforms to this portable device. All the functions you are used to from both of them programs are included. It’s good that both platforms are available since most marketers do not pick which of these programs to use. As many webinars use these programs, you can easily join in from outside your office, or even from a conference room without your laptop. As companies continue to explore online options in place of travel, these types of programs will continue to grow in use.

Remote Desktop Lite (iTunes link) is a way to log in to your Windows desktop and access all your files directly from your iPad. I have not used this program, as I don’t have a Windows desktop, but now that Microsoft has released Windows 7, the remote desktop functionality is pretty mature, and the app is tapping into that. This is a good app if you are traveling without your laptop and you forgot to save files in a syncing folder. Bring them up just like you are sitting at your desk. You computer does need to on for these types of programs to work. There is also a full version available for $5.99, but even the developers encourage everyone to try the free version first.

If you have an iPad, what free apps have you found most helpful? If you are still looking at an iPad, what are functions that your would expect apps to provide?

Time to Plan Your B2B Social Mobile Experience

Many of the posts on this site are for B2B companies looking for advice on getting started in social media, but this one is for those looking a little further out. Remember how long it took the last time you updated your website? And remember how long it took to get enough traction to get started on the project in the first place? And no matter where you are in your social media planning, execution or success, it is time to look ahead at the next major milestone for your company’s online experience. The mobile web. And it’s going to be social too, so start preparing yourself now.

According to a Gartner report from earlier this year, the number of mobile phones that can access the web will exceed the number of PCs by 2013. And it will only take two more years beyond that for mobile phones to become people’s primary device for browsing the web. Take a cue from this report and plan what can be done now and what will be part of your future planning.

View Your Site on a Mobile Device
The first thing to do is visit your company web site or blog on your mobile device. And look at it on a variety of devices. What is the experience like? The first thing you will probably notice is that you spent all that time developing a horizontal, or landscape, website and most phones initially display the web in vertical, or portrait, mode. Many smartphones can rotate the display to show the web in its more familiar orientation. But the report above refers to all phones that can access the web, not just smartphones. Before you go down the wrong path and develop a site that is inappropriate for its target, develop a profile, or persona, of your customers and prospects that includes what kind of mobile device they use to browse the mobile web. You can confirm this with site analytics which tracks how people access your site.

Planning a B2B Social Mobile Experience
Under the guise of a mobile site, you can simplify your company message and hone in on what is really important to your customers and prospects. You can have a totally different site and experience located at that loads when visitors browse your site from a mobile device. This simple mobile site needs to be clean and direct, with only one or two levels of content, easy to navigate, connected to your social presences and provide an easy way to contact your company for more information. Don’t ignore lead generation with your mobile approach, as this smaller site will be doing more and more work in the future. This means your message and your content must be even more compelling than ever, as mobile users have less patience waiting for pages to load and will not spend a lot of time looking for the answers to their questions. They will just move on.

Mobile Optimized Blog
An important part of your company presence is your blog. Frequently, blog articles are shared via social media. Since people access social networking sites on their mobile devices more than they do anything else, you can easily assume that if your content is shared in a compelling manner, it will be viewed on a mobile device. These posts need to be easy to access, read and share on a variety of devices. For WordPress blogs, there is a simple plugin called WPTouch that creates a simple mobile version of a blog that feels like an app by focusing on the content, not the design. This is for touch screen phones including iPhones, Android and Blackberry Storm.

Are you planning your mobile experience yet?

Mobile Sites for B2B BlackBerry Users

In previous posts, I explored BlackBerry apps that help B2B marketers, B2B public relations professionals and B2B sales teams better communicate, travel, organize and share information. However, when it comes to the default smartphone many businesspeople are required to use, taking the time to research, find and download useful apps can often be more trouble than they are worth.

Mobile websites designed to work within the confines of a smartphone’s small screen, limited navigation and slower Internet speeds can often be a handy work-around for BlackBerry users frustrated with the phone’s limited selection of apps compared to the iPhone and Droid app stores.

Mobile web usage is expected to overtake desktop usage by 2015, and companies are beginning to make sure their websites provide a comparable experience. B2B BlackBerry users can leverage mobile sites to better utilize their phones’ browsers, with or without a huge selection of apps.

Here are some mobile sites that make the BlackBerry’s lack of apps a little easier to swallow:

1. Video

Of all of the mobile YouTube options that Google offers, the mobile site ( is the only version that works on BlackBerry. On my BlackBerry Curve, videos open in the BlackBerry media player and can be viewed “full screen,” which doesn’t actually take up the entire screen but still loads at a decent rate. Visitors can search and upload videos as well.

Google has said its mobile versions of YouTube will receive more frequent updates and improvements than its YouTube apps. This challenge to app-based phone models (namely Apple) could be the beginning of a trend that leads to a bigger focus on mobile site features and usability.

2. Travel

On a BlackBerry, mobile sites for airlines such as Southwest (, American Airlines ( and Delta ( allow passengers to modify flights and rental cars, check in at airports and view their flights’ statuses. ( and ( also provide travelers with mobile versions of their websites.

3. Business news

Almost all major news site now have mobile versions, including business publications. The Wall Street Journal (, The New York Times’ Business Day ( and Forbes Business ( highlight business news important to B2B professionals in an easy-to-view format.

4. File sharing

While the Dropbox BlackBerry app’s official launch date is still TBD, the file sharing service’s mobile site offers users a clean, simple interface to share documents, photos, videos and more across multiple platforms. Dropbox users can browse files in their accounts, as well as download and view.

Which mobile sites do you have bookedmarked in your BlackBerry browser? How do they compare to the apps on your phone?

BlackBerry Challenges B2B Marketing Manager to Succeed

With last week’s launch of the new iPhone, I have wondered can I truly be a successful electronic marketing manager for a B2B company using a BlackBerry? There are a number of necessary attributes of the job worth examining and how they are influenced by my mobile phone.

Be Creative

At first, not having social media apps or location-based social gaming available for the BlackBerry drove me to read everything I could and absorb as much as possible. Without any available apps, I had to explore creative ways to monitor social media, get involved and stay with the goings-on in the evolving electronic marketing world. Sometimes this meant lugging my laptop to more places than I would have wanted, but you do what you must. In this sense, I learned to not let system limitations hold me back. Instead, I took a deeper look at our organization’s systems and the various social networks we were involved in, and found ways to track our social campaigns and traffic to our sites. I learned to not rely on my mobile device for notifications, and have a much better understanding of our systems, their capabilities, and their shortcomings because of it.

Be Ambitious/Passionate

Here is where the BlackBerry influence may be a little weaker. This is a personal quality or characteristic that I feel is vital to the success of any electronic marketing manager. In an environment this dynamic and ever-evolving if you do not eat, sleep, breathe and live the electronic world you will always be one step behind. I remember the initial struggle I had with social media and Twitter because it was not easily accessible (we are talking November 2007). And that is where as a BlackBerry user you are the 5 foot, 100 pound defensive end trying to walk onto a national powerhouse football team. No one is going to make it easy for you, and your iPhone counterparts will always have a leg up. You must have the heart and drive to go that extra mile to be successful.

Know Your Customer

This is a fundamental key success factor for any marketing professional. We all have such unique demographics of customers that I would never try to generalize any kind of advice on why you can or cannot accurately know your customer because of the platform you use. I will say though, with the ever increasing amount of traffic coming from iPhone and iPad users, can you truly say as a BlackBerry user that you can speak toward the user experience your customers have when they come to your website? How about what your tweets look like on their iPhone Twitter clients? How about Droid? It’s not easy. I have borrowed friends’ iPhones to test new pages or designs on our sites. I’ve even gone as far as driving to Best Buy on my lunch hour to test our site on an iPad.

That being said, my design mentality always has me thinking about design elements and user experiences. What troubles me the most is the environmental influences that lead us to feel more comfortable about one thing over another. We should not only take into account how things render on individual devices, but also how common elements in design lead iPhone users to certain expectations and preferences, while Droid and BlackBerry users may have completely different ones. So, as a BlackBerry user, do I truly know what my mobile users want?

Be Persistent and Persevere

So despite my negative portrayal of the BlackBerry platform and its limitations for electronic marketing managers, there is hope. We all have a network of resources at the tip of our fingers. Get to know the devices in your company. Know that you can walk down the hall and have a user test on this device or on that platform. Know that you can shoot a certain colleague a note to meet over lunch in return for a quick test of that new promotion. Simple. Easy. Cheap. My company president would be proud. Take advantage of features from email service providers that render your email marketing messages in various email clients and on various devices. Make sure your provider has this. It is critical.

Pay attention to your analytics. As a marketer for a high-ticket, once-a-year purchase item for B2B clients, mobile traffic to the sites I manage is sparse. I do, however, know that I expect to see a certain number of iPhone/iPad visits each month and I watch for trends in their traffic. If I see high exits or low site time on a particular page for mobile visitors, I’ll reach out to my networks and test to see if I can determine the problem. Get to know your mobile customers from a distance through analytics and, when combined with some first-hand testing on those various devices, you’ll be in pretty good shape.

Do I believe you can truly be a successful electronic marketing manager as a BlackBerry user…Yes. Do I think it is easy…No!!!

I believe BlackBerry users are highly handicapped by the platform when it comes to truly understanding the electronic marketing environment. We are a minority of the mobile web traffic on the internet and an even smaller minority in the social media world. The lack of apps available for us to fully participate in the social media community is binding and relegates us to outsiders in lots of social media events and conversations If you disagree, try attending an all day social media event and running out of battery with a BlackBerry.

Have you struggled in your marketing position with only a BlackBerry? Let me know in the comments below.

JT Moore is the Electronic Marketing Manager at ASPE, Inc., a national leader in providing skills-based training solutions for the Information Technology, Systems/Software Development Lifecycle, and Financial markets. Follow him on Twitter at @j_t_moore.

4 Ways the New Apple iPhone Can Benefit B2B Marketers

Even though many B2B companies, especially corporate and enterprise level companies, prefer Blackberries as their smart phone of choice, if you are in the social media space, a new iPhone is still news and you wonder if this is the time to make the switch. Each generation of iPhone improves its corporate compatibility, and this one is no exception. The new iPhone 4 supports Exchange Server 2010. It also has improved data protection, device management, and VPN support, all things that could make a corporate IT manager more comfortable with the device. But the real question is why do you, a B2B marketer and the person responsible for implementing social media in your company need one. Here are four new features that might convince you:

Facetime Video Conferencing
This is the feature that everyone is talking about on the new iPhone4 and mobile video conferencing, called Facetime, even though it’s just over wifi, is a great feature. Also both parties need the iPhone 4 for this work. Video call your office from a client site and don’t just talk, but show your face. Switch to the back camera and show your product engineer how the client is using your product and the service issues they are experiencing. Share printed documents or photos in real time while you talk about them. And communicating with your office with your face, and not just your voice, is a stronger way to get your message across.

Mobile Video Editing
Another benefit of the iPhone 4 is the continued expansion of mobile video. Not only are the quality and features of video better than the previous generation of iPhone, but it includes a mobile version of iMovie, Apple’s easy to use video editing software. Now those short trade show videos and customer testimonials can be edited and uploaded before you even return to the office.

Better Organization
Rather than a random display of apps (or chronological or alphabetical), the new iPhone 4 allows you to organize apps in folders. These can be organized by topic, or can be customized. You can put your business or productivity apps together and keep your games or other leisure apps in another folder. You can also keep all your social media tools together for easy access.

This is one of those updates that is a long time coming in the operating system, but helpful for the marketer on the go. Switch between tasks easily and the apps remember your place, whether it’s viewing documents while writing emails, or checking your CRM system, while updating Twitter and listening to your favorite station on Pandora.

What are the features of the new iPhone 4 that would make you consider getting one?

Importance of Mobile Strategy in B2B Marketing Mix

Christina “CK” Kerley, B2B Marketing Specialist at CKB2B Marketing, and Chris Koch, Associate Director of Research & Thought Leadership at ITSMA, sat down at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum in Boston and discussed the importance of integrating mobile approaches into the B2B Marketing mix. This is a great example of a hallway conversation that continues after a session, although it was arranged for video. For more of their thoughts and ideas, or to ask them follow-up questions to this video (in addition to leaving them in the comments below), follow them on Twitter at @CKSays and @CKochster.

Production Note: This is an odd beep in the beginning, but it goes away after the first minute.

They discuss the following topics:

  • Why should B2B companies consider mobile marketing?
  • What are some critical success factors for B2B companies and mobile marketing?
  • What are some other approaches to B2B mobile marketing?

Have you developed a mobile marketing strategy for your B2B company? This is just as important for small businesses as it is for enterprise-size businesses.

My iPad for Business 1 Month Update

When I bought my iPad, I posted a review of Day 1 using an iPad for business. Reader Christine Thompson left a comment this week asking how it has been going and what other challenges I have run into.

Note Taking
I learned on the first day that I needed a program to take meeting notes and I settled on Pages ($9.99), which is Apple’s word processing program. This is a stripped down iPad version. If you are a whiz at Word and use lots of its nifty functionality, which most people don’t, you will be hampered by this programs. It has all the basics, but that’s it.

As I have continued to attend meetings and take notes in Pages, it has become a bit frustrating. If you are someone who takes copious notes at meetings and constantly refers to them, you would be supremely frustrated. If you want your iPad to be your note taking device, as I do, you want to keep your notes on the iPad in an organized fashion. That is not possible. After you create a new document, an image of it is created in the visual list that you can swipe across. The visual list, with large images of each document, is the only way to access the documents. These are shown in the order that they were created. There is no way to change the order or put documents into folders. To rename a document, click on the default name below the image and change it. Make sure you turn the iPad so it is in portrait mode, as that is the only way to bring up the visual list of documents. And don’t try to combine documents from different programs. Each programs’ documents (Pages, Keynote, Numbers) lives within that program.

The way I approach organization in this cumbersome scheme is to create one document for each client or project and add a date to it with each new set of notes. If that doesn’t work for you, you can always sync these documents to your computer using iTunes, or just email yourself and put the documents in folders as you normally would. This creates version control issues, and you can never be sure which version of your notes contains what you are looking for. The benefit of keeping your notes on your iPad is that you have all your notes together from previous meetings. Again, your frustration level with this is based on the volume of notes you take and how much you refer to them.

Others have used Evernote on their iPads, and this automatically syncs their notes across devices. You can also tag those notes for easy organization. What have your note experiences been on your iPad?

Last week I took a business trip armed with just my iPad. I agonized over not bringing my laptop, for fear that I would not be able to do certain things (like video editing on the plane), but since it was just a one day trip, I figured I would be fine. I had sent the presentation to the conference organizers, so I didn’t think I would need to present from my iPad, but I was ready anyway. I have Keynote ($9.99). I have the $30 iPad to VGA connector. I even uploaded the presentation to Slideshare as a back up.

The hotel lobby had wifi, so it was no problem connecting to email, Twitter, and even Skype to check-in on our perpetual group chat with folks back in the office. I had written several offline blog posts on the flight down, using Pages, and once I was connected, I wanted to publish one of them. This was a problem. It turns out that the WordPress iPad app does not recognize paste. You can only enter text into the post field. Seriously, no paste. I jumped over to my web browser to log in to WordPress and try it from the dashboard. But no luck. The main panel is not scrollable in the iPad version of Safari. I wound up having to get another blogging app (BlogPress $2.99) to post before I gave my presentation.

Even though I did not present from the iPad, it brought some oohs and ahhs from the attendees. They even joked about a drawing to win my iPad, but I rejected that.

On the flight home, I had wifi, so I tried to take advantage of the Netflix movie streaming app, but it was not to be. The service was not consistent enough for streaming. It was great for email and Twitter, so I went with that.

After using an iPad for business for nearly a month, I still like it’s portability and the ease with which you can carry it around, travel with it, and show others things on the screen. I am not really bothered by the lack of multitasking, because when I am using my iPad, I really don’t want programs running in the background to pop up alert of new messages. And no matter what Steve Jobs says, according to the TSA, when traveling with an iPad, it is just like a laptop and you have to put it in its own bin.

iPad for Business: What I Learned on Day 1

This past weekend, I purchased an iPad. Apple sold 300,000 of these tablet devices on the first day so I wasn’t alone. And by the way, in the usual iPad conceit of many bloggers, I am writing this post on my iPad as another demonstration of its functionality.

Since this device was released on the weekend, it made it easy to understand the iPad as the consumer device that it is. It is a great personal entertainment device to consume music, videos and photos, whether you stream content over wifi, sync existing media through iTunes or buy it directly from the iTunes store. I would assume that this was part of Apple’s release plan.

While understanding that this is not a laptop or business device, I wanted to use my iPad exclusively in place of my laptop for a full day of work. Here’s what I learned:

I spend a good part of my day going to meetings and I usually take my laptop. On this day I only took my iPad. Granted it is just walking down the hall, but it is easier carrying the smaller and lighter iPad. This let me keep up with email and Twitter during the meeting. Since there are no background services, I did not get any on screen notifications of mentions or any of my search terms. This makes Twitter less real time, unless you keep checking the stream.

Note taking
I started the day without any specific apps to handle note taking. I didn’t think I would use the notes app, which is the same app as on the iPhone and very limited. I thought I could use Google docs, would avoid any syncing, duplication and version issues. I very quickly found that Google recognizes the iPad as a mobile device and serves up the mobile versions of its apps. That means that docs is a read only program on the web. You can view all the existing docs you want, but you can’t edit any of them. You also can’t create new docs. By the end of the day I had downloaded the Pages app ($9.99) for note taking. One word of advice about the iPad user interface. Many applications have different functionality in landscape mode (horizontal) and portrait mode (vertical). For example, the only way to get from an open document in Pages to your list of documents is to turn your iPad vertically which brings up a My Documents button in the upper left.

One the things that appealed to me about the iPad was the opportunity to use it for presentations. If I need to take a quick trip somewhere just to give a presentation, can I really travel without my laptop. I started to answer that question by downloading Keynote ($9.99), which is Apple’s equivalent to Powerpoint. It is easy to copy existing presentations to the iPad using the file sharing function in iTunes. You find it under the apps tab when looking at your iPad in iTunes. Scroll all the down or you will miss it. You can import Keynote or Powerpoint files for display on your iPad.

If you will be presenting on a large monitor or projector, you will need the VGA out connector. The thing that is different about this output is that it does not mirror your display from the iPad. It just displays native iPad content like Keynote, YouTube videos and photos. So when you are connecting to the projector, make sure you open Keynote so you can make sure the connection works. The presentation shows on screen and the iPad shows that it is in video out mode with forward and back arrows. It does not display speaker notes.

And finally, Keynote on the iPad only exports as Keynote or PDF, so if you make any changes on the iPad, you will need Keynote on a Mac to get the presentation back to Powerpoint.

The last thing I learned in my first business day with the iPad was how to use PDF. By default, the iPad uses the quick viewer to view PDFs that you receive in email or find on the web. This means you can see these documents, but that’s about it. By downloading the Good Reader app ($0.99), you get more functionality. This app uses the file transfer function associated with iTunes, so you can add PDFs directly to you iPad for later viewing, or sales presentations. You can also download PDFs from the web. These files are only viewable through this app, as there is no way to see what files are on the iPad.

Another way to use PDFs is to convert them to the ePub format and view them with the ipad’s book reader, but that conversion seems unnecessary if you use the Good Reader program.

That’s what I learned in my first day of business use with my iPad. One final note about the keyboard. My typing has already improved, and I’m sure it will continue as as I type more.

Did you get an iPad, or are you thinking about it, and what are your thoughts about its uses for business?

Blackberry Apps for Your B2B Sales Force

After covering BlackBerry apps for B2B marketers and PR professionals, this week we’re taking a look at BlackBerry apps that facilitate B2B sales.

B2B salesmen and women are constantly traveling, and their nomadic lifestyles demand mobile support. In the field, even a laptop can be cumbersome, so it’s important to have sales solutions that fit in your pocket.

As the go-to choice for most sales teams, it makes sense BlackBerry has many apps designed to close deals and deliver results:

1. Salesforce Mobile

Customer relationship management (CRM) is an integral part of an organization’s sales strategy., one of the most popular solutions, has a mobile version for users to upload customer information in real time, right after important customer calls, e-mails and visits. The app helps to manage sales and prospect data outside of the office, which equals less time at your desk and more time in the field.

Thanks to a recent Salesforce update, the Mobile Lite app is now free for all Salesforce users, including Group customers.

2. Oracle Mobile Sales Assistant

If you use Oracle as your CRM system, its Mobile Edge app will take your CRM data on the road.

Mobile Edge puts all of the traditional CRM account, contact, opportunity, activity, lead and ticket information on your BlackBerry, syncs with your phone’s address book and utilizes custom objects, pre-loading device data, centralized administration and interface mapping. Its latest update in October 2009 introduced support in 12 languages, opening up new opportunities for global B2B companies.

While this free demo will give you a peek into the mobile app’s features, you’ll have to contact your Oracle rep for full installation and connectivity.

3. Kindle

E-book readers have become a part of B2B marketing tool kit, delivering novels, industry e-books and blogs (like Social Media B2B) in one sleek package – but what if that package is still too big for salespeople on the go?

Amazon just released a beta BlackBerry app that puts more than 400,000 books on your smartphone. Kindle owners can access their libraries and notes, and the app automatically synchronizes your last page read and annotations.

While it’s not a replacement – BlackBerry Storm owners will be at an advantage, as Bold, Curve and Tour screens require constant page turning and squinting – the Kindle app for BlackBerry extends the convenience of an e-reader.

4. VQ Mileage Tracker

Tracking mileage and gas on business trips and customer visits can be tedious and time-consuming. There are many mileage tracking apps available for the BlackBerry, but VQ Mileage Tracker (currently discounted from $14.99 to $6.99) goes one step further and does all of the work for you.

The app automatically calculates mileage every time you’re in the car, and stores the data until you generate a report with information on the date and time of each trip, address and miles driven. The app also uses BlackBerry or Google maps to pinpoint each trip.

5. MyCommission

More sales equals more money, and the MyCommission app ($2.99) helps salespeople figure out just how many dollars they’ll take home at the end of the day.

The app allows you to enter the account name and status (committed, in upside or are pipeline) of each deal and calculates the resulting commission.

What BlackBerry apps have you found to be helpful in the sales field?