M-PESA, a phone based money transfer and micro-financing service is said to have had pro-found impact on Kenyan households to manage their money. In a country where only 1 percent Kenyans has a landline, this smart cell phone based service has changed the life of 70 percent population. As per Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation newsletter, a survey showed that 90 percent said that their money was safe with M-PESA and they were “extremely happy” or “very happy” with this service. M-PESA service is just one of the many examples of how smart phones have improved all our lives.
Similarly, all the organizations are hoping to improve their businesses through these small wonders called ‘Smart Phones’ as well. It is said that Sales force automation is an essential piece of equipment for every Organization to grow. One of the core ingredients of this automation is CRM application. Over the years, many analysts and engineers have worked hard towards addressing one debatable question of CRM acceptance among the Sales Team. Even today, every time Sales team hears the words CRM Application, they frown at the person who brought up the topic. It is unfortunate that CRM applications are seen as a mere data entry system that the Sales reps are forced to track their work and progress.
As an engineer and a business consultant, I sought to understand how introduction of Mobile based CRM applications can help businesses reduce this glare and compliment instead of complicate the Sales Rep’s life. Below is an attempt to draw out few mobile based features that have made/will make CRM applications more acceptable among Sales Reps.
Offline data access capabilities Feeding maximum information to ones Sales Team, even when they are on the move, is a key mantra to their success. Be it a Phone number of a contact or an entire Account Plan Report, one should have them all handy and be able to access them at will. Today, with on the go data synchronization capabilities, accessing data on the move has become seamless, irrespective of whether user is at a coffee house or commuting in Shinkansen (Japan’s bullet train) through the tunnel. Some cloud giants like Oracle and Salesforce already have their stream of applications behind this idea.
Mobile Call Manager Imagine a Sales Rep carrying a smart phone and with a CRM App in it. One of the key objectives of Sales Reps is to make calls to their prospective and/or existing customers to either nurture them or just cross sell other products. Presently, with a smart phone handy, Sales rep would dial in the contact number from his contacts list and manually record the details in the CRM system about the call. Thanks to technical advancements, it is today, possible to automatically audio record a call into a media file and links it against the contact record in the CRM application. So now, every time someone attends a call, an Activity of type ‘Call’ would be created against that contact in the system and the entire call will be recorded and attached to the same.
Gamification Most mobile based games these days run on maximum user retention strategy. This idea effectively increases the time user spends on the application screen. Similar to gaming companies, organizations as well craves for a reason which would ensure their Sales Reps spend maximum time using their CRM app. Gamification seems to be answer for this craving. The game is often simple but would have various milestones, for instance, making most sales calls, convert most leads, create more new accounts and many more. Each defined to have set points that the individual would earn. The one with most points by the end of the quarter or an year would emerge winner and of course the leader board – the chart for one to understand where they stand.
Approvals through Short Texts We all hate Approval Processes. They are time consuming and seem redundant at times but, we all know how essential they are to our businesses. One of the key road blocks in CRM systems when it comes to Approval processes is the need for human intervention thus making it time consuming. With Mobile enabled CRM application, now it seems possible to respond to the Approval requests just through a simple Short Text (SMS). Isn’t it smart to respond to a request on the go through a short text reply stating ‘Approved’ or ‘Rejected’ to either approve or reject a request.
Conclusion In the Nutshell, world of smart phone has already impacted the CRM world positively. It has enabled individuals and companies, make decisions faster and swifter than before. Every company is chasing the dream of making things possible with mobile users in mind and hence has begun re-aligning their thoughts and business goals accordingly. Although, we have already seen substantial progress, it seems only the beginning and there is a lot in store for a better future.
About CRMIT Solutions CRMIT Solutions is a leader in transforming businesses with cloud based Customer Experience (CX) solutions on sales, service, marketing & social cloud. CRMIT Solutions is committed to providing customers with the best service in the industry. Everything we do – every order, every delivery, every service, every offering – centers on the satisfaction of our customers, and making them more efficient at what they do.
Deepak H Andeli,
Senior Technical Lead,
CRMIT Australia Pty Limited