More and more of the mobile workforce, predominately sales organizations, are demanding that key business systems be available on any and all of their devices. In the world of sales, the key business system is CRM. Mobile sales users are looking for real-time updates to their client data, having fingertip access to product inventory and key marketing material, initiating business workflows, and creating proposals and quotes while on-the-go. Mobile sales managers, on the other hand, are looking to measure the real-time health of their organizations with up-to-date KPI dashboards, alerts, and operational summaries by analyzing aggregated CRM data from any location.
The mobile sales user of today is using a smartphone and/or tablet to manage all aspects of personal life, and the demand to have key business systems embedded on personal devices is increasing. Our culture and expectation for personal and business data has evolved to an on-demand, app-driven, simple to use, give-me-my-data-now consumption model.
Overall, the mobile CRM experience is trending to a simplified, role-based CRM user experience that maintains device independence. In many cases, full-blown CRM functionality is not a necessity for sales users. In fact, full-featured CRM functionality can get too cumbersome for many sales users to fully adopt. It’s generally not what they need when they are on-the-go, and it’s generally not what they want (although they may not know it).
To drive user adoption most effectively, different types of users should have vastly different mobile experiences based on a specific role or task. For example, a new business representative will have different needs than a post-sale sales relationship manager, and an efficient mobile CRM experience will reflect these differences. This will provide the mobile user access to relevant data to support daily tasks where and when it is necessary, and the likelihood of a positive mobile experience will greatly increase.
In the case of Microsoft’s Windows 8 platform, mobile CRM is becoming a core application of the overall mobile experience. From simple dashboards and alerts directly on the home screen to access to the underlying data and workflows, an effective CRM experience will sit alongside other social media, news, entertainment, and personal apps.
When considering moving forward with a mobile CRM implementation, it is important to understand several foundational requirements:
- What do the organization’s sales users say they need? What do those sales users really need? How can sales users’ mobility expectations around CRM data be managed?
- What processes do the organization’s sales users need to regularly support while offline, and on which devices is access required/desired?
- What device(s) and platforms does the organization need to support today? What device considerations need to be supported in the future?
- What security risks will be introduced by providing mobile CRM access? How can those risks be effectively mitigated?
With an understanding of these high-level mobility requirements (and budget of course), a clear go-forward strategy and approach for CRM mobility can be developed and defined.