VI. It's a Sin to Overlook Mobile CRM
Today's workforce is increasingly more mobile, and with mobile CRM, staff and customers no longer have to wait for information. Sales success is being driven by the need for Internet access wherever the salespeople are, not just where their offices are. And increasingly, more roles such as field technicians, consultants, account managers, executives and others need access to information residing in customer relationship management systems while serving customers from outside the office.
The benefits of mobile CRM are clear and meaningful — information is relayed in real-time, transactions commence at the point of origin, business cycles are reduced and customers are served more timely.
ABI Research forecasts that 240 million enterprise business customers will use cloud computing services from their mobile devices by 2015 - the same year the enterprise mobile cloud computing market will reach $5.2 billion revenues. Mobile growth is attributed largely to expansion of more cloud IT services and more business customers using cellular devices.
However, while implementing mobile CRM is generally perceived as a good idea, it is often deferred to after the initial CRM software implementation. Unfortunately, many implementors becoming fatigued during the original CRM implementation and subsequent phases fail to ever materialize.
To keep mobile CRM plans on track, include them as a tool in your change management user adoption plan and calculate their expected ROI. Projects linked to payback have a way of maintaining executive sponsorship.
When reviewing mobile CRM products, look for simple deployment, enterprise administration capabilities, groupware integration for calendaring and email, encryption for any locally stored data, ubiquitous mobile device support and remotely managed security — particularly the ability to wipe any localized data on a mobile device that becomes lost or stolen.
When reviewing mobile CRM solutions, it's also a good time to review offline CRM capabilities. These solutions normally deploy limited functionality CRM software to a users laptop.
Offline utilization goes hand in hand with mobile by delivering information to traveling professionals who may incur connectivity barriers. Offline CRM allows sales and other professionals to take, use and update their customer information while on the road when disconnected and then simply synchronize with the online system during the next login. The ability to view and update customer information while on an airplane, in a rural hotel or in a clients office is extremely helpful to capturing accurate data at the source and eliminating redundant work or rekeying of data after the fact.
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