Mobility and CRM – Things to Think About
Successful CRM adoptions are on the rise leading to many key areas for discussion as they relate to extended CRM functionality (i.e. social media, system integrations, business intelligence, mobile, etc.). Over the past year we have had significant requests from our prospects and customers to extend their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions to mobile phones and tablets, especially in larger mid-market and enterprise clients (100+ CRM seats).
As with any project, we work with our customers to understand the return on investment (ROI). As for ROI with CRM Mobility, we almost always see a significant return on investment.
- Is the application written with HTML5? Solutions that use HTML5 technology provide improved usability and standardization across the most common Smartphone and tablet technologies. This allows one code base for your iX devices, Androids, Blackberries, etc. whereas native applications would need to be developed for each platform significantly increasing development cost and time in companies that support multiple devices.
- Is the application ‘native’ to your device? Although HTML5 allows significant advantages as described above, the main drawback is that HTML5 applications reside server side and are not ideal for disconnected use.
- Mobility is an extension to your CRM strategy. Mobility can have many benefits but it should almost always be seen as an extension to your CRM strategy and in many cases only contain a subset of functionality that the functionality of your full CRM solution. Successful mobile CRM adoption requires a fast, clean, and easy to navigate interface. Trying to cram all functionality into a device with less screen real estate and a lower connection speed will most likely prove to be unwise.
- Think of mobility as more than just a benefit to your Sales Organization. Many times companies think of CRM (and mobile CRM) primarily from a sales perspective. There are many cases where having access to CRM from a mobile device would significantly help with customer service and marketing as well. For example, the ability for sales or service to create trouble tickets or search knowledge base information while in the field or marketing gaining access to critical data while at a trade show or convention.
- Consider Mobility as a Phase II to your CRM deployment. Successful CRM implementations take time, strategy, and continued modifications. Many times customers want to ‘do it all at once’ but forget that successful CRM implementations are not just technology, they are business process related. What companies think they need and want often times are different after the solution is implemented. Focusing on mobility after a functioning CRM strategy and software are implemented will help to ensure exactly what is needed in the field.
- Choose the right handheld devices for the appropriate people. Not all devices are created equal. For example, if the primary reason for CRM mobility is basic such as, to look up contact information or create new appointments, a mobile Smartphone will most likely do the trick (and it’s something everyone would have anyhow). If the user needs to type voluminous notes, take complicated orders, retrieve files from a document library to show to prospects, then a tablet would most likely be a better fit. Different people within the organization would benefit from using the most appropriate device.
- Understand potential mobility requirements before selecting a CRM solution. On one side of the spectrum we have clients with basic mobility requirements that are typically ‘Out Of The Box’ (OOTB) and require little or no customizations. These include viewing contact information, notes, history, scheduling a meeting, etc. Other organizations operate similar to Apple’s iStore. They have customized hand held devices to fulfill orders, suggest up sell opportunities, email receipts, take payment, review previous order history, check upgrade and warranty eligibility, and use the data to conduct marketing initiatives on the back end.
The benefits of CRM mobility are plentiful and can be the competitive advantage that helps your organization stands out from the competition. We have all heard the terminology ‘garbage in = garbage out and allowing field personnel to retrieve and update data in real time allows for lack of duplicate data entry and ensuring that data is entered before it is forgotten.
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