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“Hi-yo, Silver, away!”

October 25, 2010

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It’s that time of year when adults find an excuse to play dress up, and a Halloween party this past weekend brought me inspiration for today’s blog post. The Lone Ranger and his trusty sidekick “Silver” made a great team, but one without the other was not much of a force to be reckoned with.  I see  similarities of this when thinking of CRM deployments and mobility! 

Ok so a bit of a stretch but I do believe the mobility topic ends up as a nice to have versus a must have feature in the CRM solution selection process.  We expect so much out of our field sellers, but invest little time on device platform selection and guaranteed connectivity to our CRM solutions.  Just think if you go the extra effort to understand a day in the life of your field sellers and mobile requirements how much more productivity you might gain from them?

*Gartner says mobility will be a trillion-dollar business by 2014!  Reference that report and consider the below checklist when addressing the CRM mobility topic:

  • Device support is a must since the growing trend is to let the mobile workforce chose the platform they would like to leverage.  With this flexibility come the need to have CRM compatibility with BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7, iPhone and Android operating systems.  I would add two additional midsize mobile devices that are gaining IT support and customer demand which are iPad and HP Slate 500
  • The CRM system selected must be browser independent now that Internet Explorer makes up just fewer than 60% of the market opening up 40% of the market running on Safari, Chrome and a slew of other browser substitutes.  This topic also ties back to preloaded browsers that come on devices such as the iPad.
  • Online and offline support will be driven by field seller location and connectivity provided by the selected mobile phone carriers.  I find that having both options will be needed to insure there are no productivity setbacks as your sellers move between meetings.
  • Top interactions offered to the mobile CRM user should be easy contact lookup, phone call placement, access to schedule, ability to schedule and complete activities, view & interaction with opportunities and viewing of some historical data elements.  More specialized mobile workforces will require task specific interaction so this topic and requirements will be defined on a company by company basis.

Resources – TenDigits, CWR Mobility & CRM Mobile Plus are just a few third-party CRM mobility add-on solutions to consider. 

Make mobility a priority at every turn in your CRM deployment and your organization will generate strong user adoption within your mobile workforce. 

– Tracy

* Gartner reference is pulled from “Analysts Explore the Changing Face of Mobility at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, October 17-21, in Orlando”  STAMFORD, Conn., October 21, 2010 http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1455314

3 Comments
  1. I completely agree. I think there are three key items with respect to mobile that are critical:

    1.) Offline – speaking from experience both advising on CRM solutions and using too many times I’m more productive w/out connectivity. Having offline capability increases user adoption and productivity
    2.) Mobile Device – phone, tablet, etc. – there are normally two approaches here – one – mobile independence – the best way to support multiple mobile users (blackberry, windows, iphone, android) – is with a light(free imho) html copmadible client and two – a rich/offline-capabile mobile client available for multiple devices – I prefer Resco Mobile http://www.resco.net/enterprise/mobilecrmstudio/overview.aspx – they sell/support a mobile development platform vs. mobile clients for all the different mobile devices so you only need to manage from one central location AND their licensing is based on the development kit vs. per user so extremely competitive.
    3.) The ability to easily configure a mobile UI to what the specific mobile needs are. Too often I see organizations wanting everything mobile and I think that’s a bit unrealistic given the real-estate of a mobile device (phone in this case) and the fact that texting-while-driving is against the law in most states. 🙂 Click to complete an activity after completing a phone call is a popular mobile request.

    As a mobile user I spend 60% of my work week on a mobile device so this is extremely important! I would encourage you to check out Resco Mobile – download form the App Store if you have an iPhone or iPad they have a trial CRM database as well. http://www.resco.net/enterprise/mobilecrmstudio/overview.aspx

  2. Market research – Mobile Users Prefer Browsers over Apps

    http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1008010

  3. kgordnus permalink

    Tracy once again you have outlined easily what it means to be a sales person. As a former sales person thanks so much for offering folks the opportunity to spend a day/life with sales. Especially within the CRM realm. We use all sorts of devices and I would agree many are benificial however for our line of business we stay true to mobility (phones). Keep this great info coming…

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