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Alison Mobile CRM Enhances Staff Productivity and Customer Relationships

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 By Alison Diana

Mobile Customer Relationship Management User Adoption & ROI Off The Charts

Whether they're accessing order information from a client site, working on a proposal from a hotel room or brainstorming with the marketing team from the comfort of their home office, undoubtedly some – if not many – of your employees work remotely at least part of the time.

It makes great business sense: Mother Nature, sickness and family responsibilities, combined with the rigors of competing in today's market make it a virtual necessity for staff at many levels to operate away from the confines of your company's four walls. And some organizations – think Jet Blue, among others – have embraced the entire concept of telecommuting as a cornerstone of their corporate culture, using it to differentiate themselves as a way to recruit talent, slash real estate spending, achieve sustainability goals and reduce their maintenance costs.

While clients don't really care where you're working from they do, however, care about the accuracy and timeliness of the information you're delivering. So it's critical that your customer relationship management solution includes easy to use, secure and speedy mobile CRM access. Merely having real-time access to CRM software is not enough, however. Mobile devices and their varying form factors present both unique challenges and opportunities when integrating with CRM software systems. Some CRM vendors take a lowest common denominator approach and simply present HTML screens to all mobile devices, while others develop native mobile CRM applications and offer ecosystems of integrated third party solutions for each mobile device. With the ongoing battle between Apple's iPhone and Google's Android, and RIM trying to remain relevant and hold off losing its market share position, it makes sense to keep an eye on how mobile CRM is evolving - and how these changes affect business processes, the user experience and your mobile CRM software evaluation.

Mobile CRM Facilitates More Time Selling

By empowering remote workers with a mobile CRM solution, businesses have seen tremendous boosts and impressive ROIs. Indeed, sales professionals spend about 74% of their time working on non-revenue-generating activities, according to the Yankee Group. And a lot of that time is spent doing tasks that a mobile CRM solution eliminates.

For example, some sales personnel must go to the office before heading to a client-site in order to prepare for the meeting: 16% of their non-revenue-generating time is spent on sales prep, the Yankee Group found. And 26% is spent on administrative tasks, often at the end of the day or week, which prevents management from getting a real-time status report or snapshot of the department's or company's orders and other performance measures. Lastly, 32% of sales staff time is spent waiting and traveling, the study showed. A lot of that time is in airports, lobbies and conference rooms. Perhaps for that reason alone, the Yankee Group study found that mobile CRM has an impressive 70% adoption rate.

"With the CRM enabled smartphone in hand, and the fact that some activities, like email, are captured automatically, users find that mobile CRM greatly simplifies logging sales activity in real time. This actually reduces time spent on administrative tasks," the research firm wrote.

Mobility continues a skyrocketing growth rate. In the first quarter of 2010, 54.3 million smartphone units shipped, up 48.7% from the same period in 2009, according to research firm Gartner. Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totalled 314.7 million units in the same period, the analyst firm said. In the United States, smartphone sales are expected to overtake feature phones by 2011, predicts The Nielsen Company.

Mobile Networks Merge With the Cloud

Mobile networks are expanding just as cloud computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) adoption grows, a powerful combination of forces that will give mobile workers practically unlimited power from their smartphones. After all, the applications they need will live in the cloud, not the smartphone. Added together, mobile workers will have a veritable smorgasbord of technologies at their disposal - WiFi, cellular, Bluetooth, GPS, RFID and near-field communications - without ever going near a traditional office.

"Considered as a whole, the warp-speed evolution of devices, networks and applications mean that old solution definitions and categories are becoming less relevant," said Research and Markets, in a statement. "The new mobile technologies are creating new types of customers, new services, new channels and routes to market that require not just an extension of existing solutions but new solutions that support new kinds of customer relationships.

"The result is that mobile CRM can, and should, be re-imagined from the ground up. It should no longer be regarded as a discrete application but as an umbrella concept that covers all the ways in which mobile technologies can help organizations get closer to their customers."

This creates a predicament for businesses leery of betting their CRM dollars on the wrong vendor-horse.

Make the Mobile CRM Connection

Of course, no one wants to make the wrong call, especially when it comes to the delicate world of balancing workers mobile access to and communications with clients.

"The way to stack the deck in ones favor is to revert to fundamental principles and evaluate new mobile options in the context of how they can enhance the organizations core strategy and value proposition and help it to reach more customers, more often and more effectively," said Research and Markets.

Businesses should consider all their options, including those we've yet to see, because short-sightedness or closed-mindedness may lead to a costly error in the high-stakes world of mobile CRM, serving the customer and out-maneuvering the competition. End

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Comments (5) — Comments for this page are closed —

Guest Jason James
  Mobile is great for accessing information but terrible for entering information. I think adoption will be slow until this barrier is resolved.
  Denise Denise Holland
    The small keyboards and limited form factors do present clear challenges for data entry. However, this is getting better as CRM vendors deliver purpose-built, or native mobile CRM support, for the more popular devices such as iPhone and Android. Also, several IVR-like products such as Angel are providing voice-based data retrieval and entry solutions that are integrated with several software as a service (SaaS) CRM systems.

Guest Will Snipes
  We delayed our mobile CRM for the sales force for some time, but thank goodness we finally made it happen as the adoption has been completely enthusiastic and there is no doubt we're achieving labor efficiencies. The convergence of 3G/4G, very cool devices such as the iPhone and Android, and the out of the box mobile CRM functionality from all the major SaaS CRM software vendors have delivered all the essential components to implement mobile CRM quickly and fairly inexpensively. I do believe mobile is still somewhat experimental, but if your plan is to wait until it becomes a cookie cutter recipe, you'll delay the clear benefits and lessen your competitive advantages.

Guest Jim Kincaid
  Is Angel integrated with Oracle On Demand?
  Denise Denise Holland
    To my knowledge Angel is only integrated with Salesforce.com, SugarCRM and Parature. However, I suggest you contact Angel directly to verify or discover if they have future integration plans with other CRM vendors. I would also contact Oracle directly to see if they have other similar integrated partner solutions.
 

 

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Mobile CRM solutions have seen impressive ROI. Indeed, sales professionals spend about 74% of their time working on non-revenue-generating activities, according to the Yankee Group. And a lot of that time is spent doing tasks that a mobile CRM solution can eliminate. For example, Yankee found that 16% of sales reps non-revenue-generating time is spent on sales prep; 26% is spent on administrative tasks; and 32% is spent waiting and traveling. A lot of that time is in airports, lobbies and conference rooms. Addressing these factors likely contributes to mobile CRMs 70% adoption, according to Yankee research.

 

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