Mobile CRM: Ease of Use Crucial to Success, Say Providers
Trends for mobile customer relationship management (CRM) in 2013 include more user-friendly, high-quality features that don't require extensive training. According to Taptera CEO Chris O'Conner, three areas for improvement are "making the face-to-face sales meeting more exciting, valuable and productive; reducing the onerous tasks of updating mobile CRM systems; and providing a simple communication and collaboration tool so sales folks can communicate with customers and their support networks." What does this emphasis on ease of use mean for midsize IT?
DoubleDutch Doubles Up
According to a BetaKit article, Mobile CRM firm DoubleDutch recently announced a $4 million series B funding boost, which they say is aimed at growing their international business. The company already raised $3 million earlier this year, which CEO Lawrence Coburn says he hasn't spent yet. His latest funding push will help secure marketing and expansion budgets.
The company has several successful mobile CRM apps on the market, including Hive, enterprise event app Flock, and collaboration app Pride. Already, the company claims 250,000 enterprise users across its suite - but they want to do more.
For DoubleDutch, the idea is to take robust desktop CRM and break it down into multiple mobile apps. Says Coburn, "The way we see the next great CRM is as a series of mobile-first applications that work together on the backend [....] Together between 3,5,7,10 different apps, perform the same functionality as a single desktop-first CRM." The words "mobile-first" are of note here - users now expect any smartphone or tablet to function just as well on the road as a desktop in the office.
As an article at CRM Buyer reports, the market isn't there yet. But O'Conner points out that "the one common denominator is that the apps need to be extremely easy to use -- no training. Get in, get out, and get back to selling."
FirstRain CEO Penny Herscher, meanwhile, says, "[Sales staff] need to see the handful of critical developments that tell them what's new and changing for their customers." In other words, apps need to be simple to understand, easy to use, and powerful.
What midsize admins need to know is that although the change is a tall order, the market is already moving toward a mobile-first attitude when it comes to CRM, as the DoubleDutch funding shows. This means increased pressure to make sure user devices are not only ready to support new CRM apps but also secure enough to handle confidential customer data. Fortunately, as reported by ARN, security products like McAfee have recently added mobile defense layers like app-locking functionality to their latest release in an effort to prevent devices from being compromised through services that don't always require a login or password.
Admins should expect the technology supporting mobile CRM to increase sharply in 2013 along with business needs - and this means they must be prepared for a shift in workloads from desktop solutions to handheld devices.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.