This guest post is written by EO Seattle member James Wong. James is the co-founder and CEO of Avidian Technologies, makers of Prophet, the easiest CRM software for Microsoft Outlook.
The use of a mobile device makes remote access to many valuable resources possible, but the missing link is software, which can connect mobile devices to customer relationship management (CRM) databases back on the desktop or office server. Mobile CRM products bridge this gap. With the right mobile CRM software, salespeople can access important data from company servers and can update information quickly and efficiently from their mobile devices. The key is finding a solution that best fits the company’s needs.
Here are some suggested must-have features to look for when shopping for the perfect mobile CRM solution:
- User-friendliness – As with any productivity solution, a new mobile CRM product will only be profitable if it is actually used. Look for a mobile CRM solution that has an easy-to-use, even familiar, interface and intuitive features. Remember that successful implementation of new technology typically hinges on user adoption, and any IT administrator will say user acceptance is best achieved when the software is straightforward and familiar.
- Synchronization – Another feature a good mobile CRM product will have is the ability to synchronize with desktops and/or servers. Look for an application that can synchronize not only while in the office, but also remotely should the device have mobile Web access.
- Compatibility With a Desktop/Server CRM – Mobile CRM solutions that are a version of a larger standalone desktop or server CRM application are ideal because they ensure that synchronization between the mobile device and the desktop or server as discussed above is done seamlessly and accurately. This also allows users to jump between the mobile device and the desktop without any disturbance to productivity.
- Appointments and Tasks – Today, the majority of organizations choose Microsoft Outlook as their primary e-mail, calendar and task application. Choosing a mobile CRM product that also has complete scheduling features, such as those found in Outlook, and that synchronizes with Outlook, will prevent users from overlooking deadlines and missing important meetings while they are away from their computer. Better yet are mobile CRM solutions that are completely integrated and operate within Outlook. Such applications that essentially add CRM functionality to Outlook benefit the user and will therefore increase user adoption because users are not forced into learning an entirely new interface and feature set.
- Tracking Capabilities – Salespeople live and die by their sales pipelines. A good mobile CRM application will give users an at-a-glance run down of where their clients stand at any given time. Going into a sales call and not being able to remember what happened during the previous meeting can be devastating when trying to seal a deal.
- Scalability – Another item to keep in mind when choosing a mobile CRM solution is the company’s growth potential. It’s important to consider whether or not the software will be able to handle the anticipated increase in workload and business expansion. A truly scalable mobile CRM should be able to operate as effectively with a whole army of users as it does for a single individual.
Business doesn’t just happen at the office anymore, but this doesn’t have to come at the expense of losing touch with mission-critical systems and data. Mobile devices equipped with a mobile CRM solution that incorporates the features listed above can provide a user with all of the resources and data they need to build and maintain key customer relationships while away from the desktop.
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