‘Mobile’ has been the word on the lips of sales and marketing execs for a very long time now.
Driven by the consumer, mobile and tablet usage is continuing to increase rapidly, and as a result businesses are sitting up and taking note. The expectation now is for business-critical information to be accessible through a mobile device, whenever and wherever people want.
But despite this sea change in the way in which we consume information when it comes to mobilising their workforce and embracing the potential of technology such as mobile CRM, businesses have still been slow to act.
At a recent event I presented at we did a quick straw poll of the audience. I asked, how many people owned a smartphone or tablet device. Unsurprisingly, the majority of hands in the room went up. However when I asked how many of them had linked their device with their organisation’s CRM system, the number was very low.
It’s telling, that we have the technology at our fingertips but there is still a slow adoption rate of full mobile integration. Businesses are yet to embrace the potential of mobile as quickly as consumers have.
The style of interaction that firms need to see is the same way an employee would treat their own personal Twitter page – thus tapping themselves into a constant stream of data and insights around the organisation.
With people always on the go, maximise that time by having employees tap into live data and insights from your business right now.
But what do we see as the next trend? Another big buzzword right now is responsive design – the design of a website, or programme which adapts and changes the way it looks depending on the size of screen it is displayed on.
From a CRM perspective, this is about displaying the data in a viewable fashion on any device. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to view your data from a 3-inch smartphone screen or a 15-inch tablet – the data that you need to see is all still viewable and digestible, and the mechanics of the app adapt around it.
On top of this, users have that expectation that any modifications made offline will then appear on their local device.
Marketing departments are not fully utilising the benefits of CRM from a mobile perspective yet. This is particularly from a data capture point of view – you can have people out in the field speaking to people, filling in forms digitally, but in many cases that data is not then integrated into a CRM system. This can ultimately mean a duplication of work for those in the field, or even more worryingly, those vital customer or prospect insights are lost altogether.
This segment is particularly underdeveloped from a mobile perspective and I think we will see moves to fill that gap over the coming months. On top of this, the capturing of social interactions between a business and their customer will continue to evolve, building a picture of their relationship.
What businesses need to fully realise are the benefits between front and back office integration through CRM. Think of the possibilities of putting every piece of information and interaction for a customer at the fingertips of your sales team while they are out in the field.
This is the elimination of the paper world where everything is digital and insights are fully integrated into your CRM system, reaping further benefits for your business.
David Beard is CRM principal at Sage UK.