Mobile CRM buyer's guide
As smartphone usage continues to grow, organizations are becoming more aware that employees’ productivity can be increased by mobile CRM usage.
Mobile CRM (Mobile Customer Relationship Management) allows employees working remotely or in the field to access business data wherever they are.
With smartphone usage rapidly growing, the number of smartphone users is set to hit 2.5 billion in 2019. It’s no surprise that with growing mobile phone usage, the prevalence of mobile CRM is increasing and affecting how people work.
- According to research from Salesforce, apps can boost worker productivity by 34%.
- An iPass study found mobile workers add 240 hours per year of productivity.
- A Google study shows a 91% increase in mobile in the B2B buying process.
It’s unsurprising that having mobile-enabled employees leads to greater productivity and we’ve known it for a while. A study by Nucleus Research back in 2012 showed a 14.6% productivity increase for salespeople using mobile. With better mobile CRM now, this figure is likely to be higher.
Adoption of world-class mobile CRM solutions has been slow – as desktop CRM has grown, mobile hasn’t followed as quickly. This, however, looks set to change.
Benefits of mobile CRM
One of the reasons for the hitherto slow adoption of mobile CRM is because it’s been seen as a simple add-on to desktop functionality, whereas the benefits are much broader.
Access to information
Employees often need information when they’re out of the office. Whether it’s a sales rep about to meet a C-Suite executive of a large business or a buyer about to meet a key supplier, the need to quickly check information before a meeting is common. A good mobile CRM will ensure that this can be done quickly and efficiently.
Even in meetings when people need to pull up information it can be unwieldy and impersonal having laptops sitting on desks; tablets are a good alternative so even inside the office there is a clear benefit.
One of the main problems with CRM management is the degradation of data, which in some businesses is reported at 70% per year. Data decay is a constant problem, and one of the most effective remedies is ensuring employees are habitually updating the CRM with new data.
Mobile CRM helps facilitate CRM updates. Giving employees the ability to update on-the-go is crucial: if employees need to wait until they’re back at a desktop to add their updates some information will inevitably be lost. Mobile CRM allows for quick updates on-the-go so employees can update between meetings or out of the office without needing to fire up a laptop.
Better customer service
Information is critical in delivering best-in-class customer service. If employees can deal with queries easily when they’re out of the office, this can help improve the experience of key stakeholders.
In a recent project, we were working with a supplier to a large chain of stores. There was an issue with an order which needed immediate resolution. The relationship manager was out of the office and needed to pull up some detailed information to answer the query; she had about an hour before the problem escalated. Having an easy-to-use mobile CRM allowed our client to get access to the right information and provide the information the retailer needed. This probably saved the relationship.
A well designed mobile CRM will be easier to use than a desktop version; with more reactive navigation and touchscreen capability, it can be easier to find and update information.
Mobile CRM allows for better chat implementation so contact between employees can be improved. Also, geolocation capabilities can be implemented. There are various vendors who provide these apps, and they all offer something a little different but use the geolocation of mobile to add value to the sales process - being able to plan logistics and visualize sales territories are a couple of headline advantages.
Mobile CRM buying considerations
As with any CRM, a buying decision starts with the business case: what are you looking to achieve by focusing on mobile CRM capability? Perhaps it is an increase in sales or a reduction in data degradation. Whatever it is starts with establishing your key goals. Once you’ve outlined what you want to achieve you can start to factor in what you want. Here are a couple of key areas to start the thought process:
- Accessibility: what devices do you need employees to access the mobile CRM on?
- Security: how sensitive is the information; this will determine the appropriate level of security?
- Features: what will it need to do to achieve business goals (more on this in the next section)?
- Cost: how much are you willing to spend to achieve the feature-set you want?
- Integrations: what systems does your mobile functionality need to integrate with?
The potential feature-set for mobile CRM is huge, and as a growing category, it will expand further.
Here is an initial list of some key features you may want to include:
Some providers allow advanced chat functionality and the ability to @mention co-workers. This functionality can work as a Twitter feed. Building experience that mimics those in social media through mobile can help employees connect and work together better.
2. Native interface
As mentioned earlier in this article, a native mobile interface allows the CRM to be more accessible and easier to use. Mobile users are accustomed to push notifications, voice recording, and easy navigation. Mobile CRM gives the opportunity to create user experiences which have a profound effect on employee engagement and productivity.
3. Import key information
By tapping into the data stored on an employee’s phone a CRM can be enriched. Call logs, SMS records, WhatsApp conversations and contact details can be integrated into the CRM. This can save an employee a lot of time and manual effort.
4. Offline access
Giving employees the ability to reliably input information even when they don’t have an internet connection is an incredible time-saver. Internet connection is always problematic for field-based employees, but by giving the opportunity to use the otherwise dead time to update information is an important asset of a good mobile CRM.
5. Geolocation capability
As mentioned earlier in the article, a geolocation app enables an employee to plan a set of meetings, visualize their sales territory and provide real-time traffic alerts. When integrated into a mobile CRM this will prevent the need for employees to keep switching between apps.
One mobile CRM is unlikely to provide the specific feature-set you need, so it’s well worth considering vendors, like Salesforce, which offer a marketplace for their mobile CRM. This will give you access to wider and growing feature-sets, and the API capability means some businesses can choose to build their own apps to integrate.
Mobile CRM by business function
There is value in a mobile-enabled workforce for every department, but typically some seem to benefit more than others. Remote sales teams are an example of a classic use-case, but there is relevance for every department. Below are three examples where the value added by mobile CRM is high.
The traveling sales rep
A rep traveling between businesses in the Chicago metropolitan area selling an employee benefit app uses mobile CRM to make sure they are fully prepared for each meeting. The sales cycle can be long, and a lot of data is collected on each prospect, so the ability to quickly double check the latest conversations, names of key people and objections is important. The rep can also update information quickly in-between meetings (even offline) and chat with other employees at HQ.
The project manager
A project manager working across seven different sites needs to quickly access a range of key information. Schedules, employee details, invoices, and sitemaps are all key data that will be needed, and the ability to access that quickly on-site is important. They’re likely to communicate with a wide range of stakeholders so the ability to process and track incoming requests through an efficient communications system will allow for faster responses.
There will be a lot of informal communication on sites, so a mobile CRM is a perfect way of storing the key information and pushing reminders and updates to key people in the organization.
A buyer for a large clothing retailer may spend a lot of time out of the office visiting exhibitions, manufacturers, and potential new suppliers. They are likely to be inundated with proposals and ideas – being successful will require filtering a large amount of data. A mobile CRM will allow them to build up their database of information on the go and prepare for meetings – the ability to do this quickly and efficiently will help them in making decisions.
Selecting a mobile CRM
In conclusion here is a list of factors to consider when planning the integration of a mobile CRM into your business.
What is the mobile CRM aiming to achieve and how can that be measured?
What features do you need to make sure the mobile CRM gives you the functionality required to hit business goals?
|Who is your current provider?||
Maybe your current provider can deliver the solution you need, or maybe you need to switch – is the switching cost worth the benefits?
What level of customization does the mobile CRM have built-in and what flexibility is there for third party apps or open-source development?
Do you need it to be cloud-based (versus on-premises) so there is a third party managing upgrades, maintenance, and hosting?
Employees will lose mobile devices – consider what implications this may have and have a plan for when it happens?
What do you need the mobile CRM to integrate with – make sure this can be done to avoid creating data silos?
|Will it be native?||
If you’re committing to one platform (e.g. Android) then make sure this makes sense to employees and that the platform gives you the functionality you need?
How much budget do you have to allocate to the business goal and what compromises do you need to make?