Optimal Networks

What is the Best Laptop for a Small Business Sales Team?

What is the Best Laptop for a Small Business Sales Team?

Sifting through the number of laptops on the market today can be exhausting, and can leave you more confused than confident in your decision-making. It’s not just you; the number of times our clients have asked us for guidance is too high to possibly count. And for good reason—it’s an important decision that can make or break a person’s ability to work efficiently.

The question is especially relevant when you’re looking to equip your sales team: a group that needs a machine to run demos, record notes, build spreadsheets, and generally stay connected no matter where their sales calls may take them.

So, what laptop best fits the bill? We’ll work through the most important features to consider, along with a few of our specific recommendations below.

What are the most important qualities to look for in a laptop for your sales team? 

  • Portability. Chances are your team members are no strangers to planes, trains, and automobiles. This means that a 7-pound, 15-inch laptop will be more than just cumbersome—it will be a real problem to transport to and fro, and to use in cramped spaces like an airport.
  • Reliability. With travel comes some bumps and bruises along the way. The machine you choose needs to have the build quality and durability to withstand all of the movement, and to run efficiently with sometimes limited power supplies.

Which technical features will give you these qualities?

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to equate technical specifications with results. Below are some of the most important details and what they mean for you:

  • CPU (Processor). This is the machine’s hub, where computing takes place. We recommend an i5 dual- or quad-core processor for maximum power and speed.
  • RAM (Random-Access Memory). RAM essentially allow you to multitask on your machine. 4GB of RAM is a good starting place, but if your team will be using a lot of applications at once (especially multimedia programs) you’ll be better off with 8GB.
  • Integrated Graphics Card vs. Discreet Graphics Card. As you might guess, these cards affect how well graphics display on your machine. If your team will be showing illustrations, videos, or the like on sales calls, a discreet graphics card is a wise choice. Otherwise, a regular, integrated graphics card will do the trick.
  • Optical Drives. This is your CD/DVD drive. Most can do without this (which in turn makes for a lighter machine), but if your salespeople need to burn or download software from CDs, get one (or an inexpensive external drive that connects via USB).
  • Battery Consumption. How long will your battery keep you up and running? Most laptops come with 4-, 6-, or 9-cell batteries—the more cells, the more battery life, and the more weight it will add to your machine. Is having 9-12 hours of life worth the weight of a 9-cell battery, or will 5-6 hours from a lighter 4-cell suffice?
  • Connectivity. Does your team need to be able to connect to wireless Internet? Of course they do. We recommend Dual Band wireless AC or N connectivity, and Bluetooth 4.0 capability.

No matter the technicalities, be absolutely sure that you have a solid warranty on any laptop you choose. You need 24/7 tech support, you need on-site service if remote support is not enough, and you need a guarantee that you’ll get a replacement device if the problem isn’t fixable. We recommend a 3-year on-site warranty at minimum.

What are some specific models we recommend?

These machines are all around 4.5 pounds or lighter, have 11-14” screens, and have all the capabilities of a reliable workstation. We’ve organized by manufacturer:

-ThinkPad Yoga (this shape-shifts into a tent and is fantastic for intimate meetings)
-ThinkPad T440, T440s, or E440
-X1 Carbon

-XPS 13
-Latitude 12, 13, or 14 7000 Series
-Latitude 14 5000 Series

-EliteBook 1040 or 840

-ATIVBook 9 series

Hopefully this helps narrow your search, and provides a more structured framework from which to make your decision. The process might take some time to work through, but for a device that is so closely tied to your sales team’s ability to work (and make you money), it’s well worth the effort.

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