Today, we’re seeing the demand for mobile CRM grow as organizations continue to demand access to critical information anytime, anywhere. With the emergence of more robust mobile devices and enhanced applications, together with the onset of more widely dispersed sales organizations and the increasing accessibility of high speed wireless and networking, more organizations are putting mobility at the forefront of their CRM initiatives, and rightly so. Mobile technologies can not only support, but also enhance, a comprehensive CRM strategy.
So why do the two go hand-in-hand so well? Primarily because the mobile channel enables organizations to build a direct connection with their customers. Mobile technology allows for more immediate and personal interaction with customers, and surely improves response rates as mobile devices are nearly always within arm’s reach of customers who are accustomed to monitoring the device and responding in real-time. In addition, because of strict regulations and best practices governing the use of mobile technologies, it has developed into an ‘opt-in’ channel which requires recipients to request to be communicated with. What could be better than this? Your customers and prospects telling you how to contact them! Talk about accessibility and responsiveness…
Once you’ve made the decision to utilize a CRM mobile solution in your organization, how do you go about evaluating the breadth of offerings available to you? Here we break it down into five simple points to consider when evaluating a CRM mobile solution:
Always On Connection vs. Offline Consider how available you want your customer information to be across your organization. A comprehensive CRM mobile solution enables organizations to guarantee their sales, marketing, and customer service associates have fast, up-to-date access to vital customer information. With an offline CRM solution, whenever users disconnect from the Internet, vital customer information is still within reach. Users can then later synchronize with the central server ensuring all customer data is consistent and up-to-date.
Ability to Support CRM Customizations Does your business requirecustomized forms, views, business logic or systems integration with third-party systems? Before settling on a CRM mobile solution, it’s important to consider the level of customization you’ll require in order to be successful and which mobile solutions meet those needs. Ideally, you’ll want your CRM mobile solution to be equally as robust as the on premise version so as not to compromise productivity of your sales and marketing associates.
On Premise vs. Cloud Service Undoubtedly there is significant hype surrounding cloud-based applications; while many are intrigued, not all are making the move to the cloud. However, more businesses are turning to a hosted CRM service, using CRM software provided by a service provider. With a hosted CRM service, you don’t have to worry about large upfront capital investment in software and hardware, expensive software management resources, and continuous licensing costs. What’s more, you can free-up storage for applications that you choose to keep on site.
Pricing Models – User vs. Server Licensing CRM software doesn’t always fit into an organization's budget, and the cost of ownership must be weighed with the return on investment (ROI) it will yield. When evaluating a CRM mobile solution, it’s important to evaluate not only the server model that will be utilized but also the estimated number of users and type of users so that the appropriate model can be applied.
Platforms One key advantage of implementing a CRM mobile solution using a solid mobile platform, or what is often called a wireless application gateway, is that it will be easier to adapt to changes down the road. Changes can include adding functionality, adapting to business process changes or back office application changes, and ensuring consistency across multiple applications – all made easier when a solid mobile platform is in place from the onset.
The mobile channel is a hugely powerful tool, especially in today’s volatile market. It’s a channel that nurtures loyalty and perhaps most importantly, creates a conversation between organizations and their consumers – which of course is what CRM is all about – building, improving and hanging on to valuable relationships.
With that being said, and considering all the factors mentioned above, no single solution fits the needs of all. Rather, success will depend largely on the ability of the mobile application to effectively support your organization, your goals, and the mobile workforce.
If you’re considering a CRM mobile solution, which factors above are of utmost importance to you during your decision making process? We’d like to hear from you.
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