Remember the original rationale for investing in CRM? It just made sense to employ the latest technology to streamline and automate the most important process in any enterprise: selling and servicing customers. Today, it just makes sense to bring your CRM system up to date with current technology and add robust support for mobile devices, the smartphones your field sales force depend on for their first line of communications and info gathering.
Is your CRM bad for sales? Time to go mobile. (Part Three)
Field sales reps relying on old laptop technology are completely dependent upon finding wireless Internet access if they need to send an e-mail to a client, respond to requests or to set up meetings. Even with wireless laptop access, salespeople may not be able to provide instant quotes or estimates or other information if the laptop data hasn’t recently synchronized with data on the main CRM system.
Road warriors who don’t have complete access to the corporate ERP system can’t adequately respond to and resolve client problems or complaints. The rep may not even be aware that the client has complained or expressed concern about, for example, a shipment or invoice. Resolution time is delayed—as well as potential further sales—until the sales rep can access the necessary resources to respond to the customer’s top of mind issues.
Sales reps need client information prior to meetings with clients not only to appear knowledgeable and develop a well-aimed pitch. But without access to that client info, including a history of purchases and problems, the salesperson will be hard-pressed to create the intimacy that is required to keep customers. And keeping customers you already have is less costly than trying to find new customers.
Mobile CRM systems deployed on smartphone can improve communication between sales reps and customers by allowing sales reps to contact clients or prospects via e-mail, text message, or even fax, depending on the information being relayed and the customer’s preferences. But primarily, it’s the 24/7 availability and accessibility of mobile CRM that allows sales reps to stay in touch with and respond to clients.
Access to up-to-date CRM info on a smartphone allows sales reps to get what they need to deal with customer complaints. From asking managers for permission to give discounts, to accessing information about policies for returning goods or providing reasons that field service wasn’t done as promised, mobile CRM applications help sales reps soothe frustrated customers. Customers expect instant resolution of their issues, and are all too happy to switch to a competitor if that doesn’t happen.
Field reps need better access to accurate client info. With a mobile device, sales reps can show up to meetings with clients, with all client data one click away—helping the meeting to go smoothly from the salesperson’s perspective. But that’s only half of the situation—a salesperson’s ability to access client data also helps create trusting relationships with customers, leading to more sales and higher customer satisfaction.
One thing we know about technology is that it is impossible to put the genie back in the bottle. Smartphones are hereto stay, and will only become more powerful and more ubiquitous.