This article is appeared in 'Technology for Business' magazine and features quotes from Derek Warburton, Vice President of Sales for TenDigits Software, makes of MobileAccess. Download a PDF version.
On the move.
Mobile CRM the next killer application.
As a society we have come to expect—and frankly, demand—that information be available to us when and where we need it.
With the growth of mobile workforces and home office workers, real-time access to information is no longer a "nice to have" but is something that is critical in order for an organization to remain competitive.
"When you combine today's environment of mobile and remote workers with demands from customers and prospects for near real-time response, it is clear that companies need a solution that offers flexibility in how staff access customer information," says Angie Hirata, Worldwide Director, Marketing and Business Development, Maximizer Software Inc. This is especially true when it comes to sales and service organizations, which are increasingly looking to mobile customer relationship management (CRM) applications in an effort to enhance sales productivity and streamline business operations.
According to Derek Warburton, Vice President of Sales for TenDigits Software, makers of MobileAccess® for Dynamics CRM, "By mobilizing your sales force, you boost the efficiency of your office-based staff, who are now spending less time on the phone answering questions from employees in the field, and of your mobile workers themselves, who now have a more streamlined workflow, less paperwork and real-time access to accurate customer information."
More than just streamlining internal processes, mobile CRM is also about improving the customer experience. The ability to view past buying trends, determine the status of an order, or see the date of the last item purchased, all while in the field, leads to a much more satisfying experience.
So how do you determine the best solution for your business? "For the most part you want to make sure the user experience and application works with your business scenario, either a small one user or up to an enterprise group," explains Grant R. Jay, Director of Carrier Partnerships for Interchange Solutions Inc, the creators of SalesNOW.
Secondly, the software "must have the ability to be easily deployed without a lot of IT effort and involvement. Businesses must be able to manage their own matters while leveraging their mobile business investment to manage their customers," finishes Jay.
Imagine for a moment that you are a sales professional on a customer call in Phoenix, AZ. The night before your meeting you check the office-based CRM system from your hotel room to get up to speed on the latest customer status report and to refresh your memory on the customer's account. Confident that you are prepared for the meeting, you turn in for the evening.
The next morning, you arrive at your meeting and from your car you check the office-based CRM system one more time to ensure you are equipped with the most up-to-date information available. You see that there has been an alert added to the customer's account, and based on the information, you realize that it might be useful for your customer if you were to provide them with the latest marketing and sales collateral for your new Widget 3.0. So you access the documents from the system and email them to your customer.
Your meeting goes exceptionally well, and afterwards, before you drive your car back to the hotel, you take a few minutes to update the customer's account with your notes from the meeting, which are saved in the office-based CRM system, immediately allowing seamless communication and connectivity across all channels of your organization.
No longer tied to the head office, your working life is improved, your employer sees efficiency gains, cost savings and better management information in real-time, while your customer gets an enhanced sales experience.
With so many mobile CRM solutions available, how does an organization go about choosing the one that is best for them? Here are a few factors that every organization should consider.
Buy-in: No matter the size of your organization, buy-in is critical. The success of a solution is largely determined by those people it impacts; if the end user doesn't accept the solution, they won't use it. Ask your sales team how they manage their day, relationships, time and administration. Their input, and subsequent buy-in, will help you choose the right solution for your organization.
Deployment Process: How quickly can the software be installed and fully functional? Does the system require ongoing support, and if so, what are the associated costs? How easy is it to add users? Be sure to know precisely what you are getting before you commit to one solution over another. As Grant Jay of SalesNow points out, a sign of an effective CRM is its efficiency when it comes to deployment. "Our application can be deployed with a simple download of an application within 1 minute and fully deployed within 15 minutes per user."
Ease of use: According to Frank Falcone, Senior Product Manager, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, "an organization must look at how easily the mobile CRM solution integrates into their email and smart phones, and how friendly the product will be for employees." If the solution is too complicated or is deployed without the proper training, it likely won't be used because the users simply don't know how to use it.
Security: No matter which mobile CRM solution you opt for, it should satisfy any security concerns you may have, especially since the device may be storing sensitive customer information such as credit card and social security numbers.
When it comes down to it, there really isn't a right or wrong answer to which mobile CRM system is best; it depends on the needs of the organization, and more importantly, the end user. Once those needs are established, you can then implement the best system to meet those needs, ensuring your mobile workforce remains as competitive and efficient as possible.
To see how MobileAccess can meet your mobile CRM business needs, take a tour.