Mobile CRM: Why is adoption so slow?

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A new report reveals that businesses aren't upgrading from CRM to mobile CRM anywhere nearly as quickly as anticipated. And findings suggest that it is not just inertia, says Mike Richardson.

The way people work is changing and expectations are changing with it. Businesses no longer operate only from a fixed location – the emergence of smartphones, tablets, netbooks and other mobile devices in people’s professional lives means that they can work at home and on the move. To optimise their chances of retaining valuable business or making new sales in today’s plugged-in world, employees increasingly require the ability to keep track of crucial customer data, wherever they happen to be working, in order to ensure that they communicate with individuals at the right time, with the necessary background and in the best way.
CRM systems are integral to enabling businesses to store and access comprehensive and accurate information on customers and prospects, including purchasing histories, service records, notes on previous correspondence and communication preferences. This information sits at the heart of a company’s relationship with its customers. As the way in which companies and customers interact with each other changes, it is absolutely vital that enterprises upgrade their CRM systems to include mobile access and functionality.
And it seems that businesses are beginning to take note: new research from Maximizer Software indicates that more and more companies are adopting web-accessible CRM. The research report, entitled 'Everything, everywhere, right now', indicates that firms are indeed responding to new ways of working by ensuring that their employees are able to access data just as easily on the move as they can in the office. The independent survey of nearly 1,400 small and medium-sized firms in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) reveals that nearly half of SMEs with CRM systems in place have now upgraded them to include mobile access and functionality.
However, while SME adoption of web-accessible CRM has increased significantly, uptake is not as steep as anticipated three years ago. A major research report in 2009 predicted that, within two or three years, almost all companies with a CRM system in place would have upgraded to include mobile access. It revealed that a third of SMEs had already deployed mobile CRM (33%) and that nearly all the rest planned to do so in the next two to three years (63%). Maximizer’s latest research points to a slower rate of adoption, with 46% of SME CRM users in EMEA now having mobile CRM capability.
Mobile CRM concerns
This is not just inertia, however. A number of legitimate concerns, highlighted in Maximizer’s research, are causing businesses to hold off. As well as understandable anxieties over systems cost – particularly in a tough economic climate – many SMEs are hesitating to make the move to web-accessible CRM because they are worried that the security of their data will be jeopardised. As security concerns become big news, with the tabling of new EU data protection legislation and the emergence of remote and cloud applications, businesses are growing increasingly conscious of the importance of protecting customer data. These research findings underline the fact that companies need to satisfy themselves when it comes to the security features of whichever mobile CRM system they choose. It should also encourage CRM systems suppliers to endeavour to convince SMEs of the robustness of their systems’ inbuilt security capabilities.
Half of the respondents to this study also expressed concerns over integrating mobile CRM with their existing systems. Again this is a legitimate point, given that there are countless examples of apparently affordable solutions escalating in price when integration services are added on. However, it is also a wake-up call for CRM systems providers to improve awareness among SMEs of the wide variety of successful CRM systems already on the market which have an affordable entry point, inbuilt saleability and the ability to be customised to the user’s business.
Whilst these concerns may be deterring companies from upgrading to web-accessible CRM solutions, the testimony of those that have taken the plunge provides ample evidence of their potential benefits. One company that is reaping the rewards is Combiflow, Ireland’s leading provider of process pumping and conveying products. The business upgraded to mobile CRM in 2008, when it realised its existing system was preventing its salespeople from spending as much time as possible talking to prospects in the field.
Combiflow’s managing director, Morgan O’Brien, certainly does not regret making the move; he says that having a web-accessible CRM system “has given our remote workers the luxury of being able to work almost anywhere. They can update and share their calendars with the entire sales team, as well as add appointments, sales quotes and customer correspondence details without having to go into the office. It has given us the freedom to make the most of the time spent with potential clients. This has resulted in more sales calls and, ultimately, more business.”
Ensuring that staff can count on remote access to all the sales, marketing and customer service information available – no matter where they are – has clear commercial benefits, particularly as customer expectations change. Furthermore, in a competitive and always-on business environment, it is becoming a fundamental requirement. Firms without the means to respond to the latest information simply because their CRM can only be accessed back at home office run the risk of being left behind.
Mike Richardson is managing director EMEA of CRM solution firm Maximizer Software.

About Mike Richardson

Mike Richardson - Managing Director, Maximizer EMEA

As Managing Director (EMEA), Mike is charged with leading and delivering the marketing, sales, service and operational strategy for the EMEA region, alongside the management of the Certified Solutions Provider network.   

Mike joined Maximizer Software in 2000, by which time he already had extensive experience in key operational roles in IT infrastructure, engineering and systems management.  

Since then he has headed up several areas of the Maximizer EMEA to gain a full perspective of the business, its functions and processes, as well as an incredible depth of knowledge of Maximizer CRM and the value CRM can bring to business growth. Through this he has gained a true understanding of how to help other SMEs grow and succeed through the use of CRM. 

About Maximizer 

Grow with Confidence. Grow with Maximizer Personalised CRM.

We make enabling your success our top priority. That’s why we’re committed to helping each of our customers achieve outstanding results.  

With top-rated tools for contact management, lead management and customer service, Maximizer CRM gives businesses everything they need to grow – all in one place. 

Since 1987, more than 1 million users – and over 120,000 companies, have trusted us to help them boost their corporate bottom line.Today, Maximizer is a global company with offices in five countries plus an international network of Certified Solution Providers. 

We constantly innovate to ensure our customers can become more successful. Time and time again, they tell us that our exceptional service sets us apart as a market leader in CRM. And that feedback keeps us focused on making planning, selling and management ever easier – to help our customers get rapid results. 

For more information, please visit:www.maximizer.com

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12th Nov 2012 14:30

We are seeing that the integration barriers often come from organizational barriers -- there will be a special mobile team given the mission to develop mobile capabilities and they will often pursue the latest "bright shiny object" capabiliies on a solo fast track rather than integrate with existing systems. "We'll develop it first and then integrate it." Worse, CRM is equated with email or even direct mail rather than being seen as a discipline that provides coordinated insight across channels.  The result can be fragmentation of the customer experience--to the customer, it will look like your right hand doesn't know what your left hand is doing.  

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