Mobile CRM for Staff Productivity and Customer Relationships

Whether they are 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 can make good business sense. Mother Nature, sickness, family responsibilities or pandemics, combined with the rigors of competing in today's market make it a virtual necessity for staff 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 top talent, slash real estate spending, achieve sustainability goals and reduce their operating costs.

While customers 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 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. Some CRM vendors take a lowest common denominator approach and simply present HTML screens on mobile devices, while others develop native mobile apps and offer ecosystems of integrated third party solutions for each mobile device. Which method works for your business should be based in largest part on the CRM mobile user experience.

Mobile CRM Facilitates More Time Selling

By empowering remote workers with CRM access, 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 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 CRM mobile apps have an impressive 70% adoption rate.

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

Sales professionals will use any tool made available to them IF the tool is i) easy to use, ii) saves them time and iii) helps make them more money. Many mobile apps enable all three of these factors. At the Gartner Customer 360 Summit, analyst Gene Alvarez forecast that 75% of field sales are accessed through mobile devices. 

More Mobile Options Support More Use Cases

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 CRM for mobility 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 the many ways in which mobile technologies can help organizations get closer to their customers."

Making the Right Mobile Connection

There are a dizzying array of mobile solutions integrated to CRM software which can create a predicament for businesses leery of betting their CRM dollars on the wrong vendor-horse.

"The way to stack the deck in ones favor is to revert to fundamental principles and evaluate new mobile CRM apps in the context of how they can enhance role-based business processes and use cases - and help reach more customers, more often and more effectively," said Research and Markets.

Businesses should consider all their options, including core mobile apps delivered with their CRM system, and integrated specialty apps - such as e-signature, field service or Configure Price Quote apps - to calculate the time saving and measurable upside from mobility.