Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has been heralded as the panacea for the corporate sales process for over a decade. But things change in a decade, and one of the biggest changes to take place in the past few years is the emergence of the smartphone—really, a very powerful, uber connected personal computer—as the ubiquitous channel of communication of choice. If your CRM module isn’t capable of supporting your mobile workforce, especially field sales, with rich functionality, chances are its actually bad for sales
Is your CRM bad for sales? Time to go mobile. (Part One)
But, you say, field sales have the latest and greatest laptop computers. Well, sorry, but laptops are becoming sooo last century. Using a laptop is an event; you have to take it out, boot it up, hope you have Internet access and batteries that are charged. Smartphones, on the other hand, are incidental; they are always on, almost always have Internet access and have far longer battery life than laptops. Just as important, there is now a wide range of mobile CRM applications on the market that can revolutionize your field sales force.
That revolution starts with productivity. Field sales people have enormous amounts of wasted time on their hands every day, with hours and hours of downtime punctuated by just minutes of golden time—in front of the customer. With a smartphone and mobile CRM, field reps can get the latest updates and have access to all client data while they’re standing in the customer’s lobby. They can access inventory, scheduled ship dates and get pricing sitting across from the customer in his or her office. And travel time turns into a great opportunity to catch up on the time consuming daily administrative work such as entering new client information, planning routes, and updating meeting notes or sales forecasts. Just accomplishing that administrative upload without having to return to the office to get system access can make time for one additional sales call a day. And with a mobile CRM system and GPS, field sales can map all nearby customers or prospects, and contact data, from wherever in the world they happen to me at that moment.
Traditional CRM software causes much lengthier sales cycles than necessary, pushing revenue out into the future. That’s because field sales reps don’t have immediate access to all the information they need to close the deal on the spot. Instead they are caught in “I’ll get back to you on that” syndrome. With a mobile CRM application, field sales can access client or product data on their smartphones around the clock from any location—enabling better responses to customers during valuable face time.
If field sales reps can’t update the system from the field, then sales managers can’t analyze vital current data to determine which sales strategies might be most appropriate for a given customer, and then share that instantly with their reps. Without a smartphone and mobile CRM, business doesn’t get transacted in real time, the sales cycle is protracted, sales managers are cut off from their field sales force and customers are kept waiting for a follow up communication.
Continued in Part Two