The tools of the traveling salesperson have undergone a major transformation in the last few years. The traditional image of a suited individual, large briefcase in hand, is being replaced with a far more electronic-focused one. Gone is the need to carry a bulky computer and accessories, because the lightweight tablet has become the “salesperson’s best friend.”

That sentiment was expressed in a recent GigaOM article. The piece even highlights one company that has deployed 1,300 of Apple’s iPads across its sales force for the belief that, if paired with the right applications and software, there is no better tool a salesperson can carry.

Darrell Etherington, the author of the piece, focuses on three features that elevate tablets, and the iPad in particular, as tools for selling. The first is the “instant on.” Thanks to flash storage, the iPad is able to be woken from sleep at a moments notice. This makes quick checks between meetings at the airport or in a cab as easy as pulling the device out of a bag.

The 3G connectivity ensures internet connectivity at any location – assuming you are in coverage range – making it simpler to check last minute communications or project updates. The final point is on-device demoing.

“A laptop is an ineffective replacement for a catalog, and presenting a slide show on one is awkward,” writes Etherington. “Using an iPad as a presentation tool, on the other hand, is natural. The tablet is easily passed around, can be read like a magazine, and can also output to external displays with less hassle and fewer steps than a laptop.”

For a device and market that did not even exist four years ago, the tablet has revolutionized how the sales industry works. Companies can take advantage of this with the help of an IT consultant that has expertise in iPad deployment.