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Mobile first CRM is about optimising what mobile does best

(Image credit: Image Credit: Zaozaa19 / Shutterstock)

Have you ever absent-mindedly tried to swipe your laptop screen as you would a tablet or smartphone instead of using the keyboard? However foolish you may feel afterwards, the action tells us much about how we interact with technology. Reflex action takes hold very quickly and once established, using our chosen technology is quick, intuitive and ergonomically pleasing.

This is one of the reasons why ‘mobile first’ solutions have the edge over those adapted for mobile. And also why mobile first CRM can help sales teams be more productive and success. In one study, 65 per cent of sales reps who adopted mobile first CRM reached their sales target compared to 22 per cent who reached their targets working with a traditional CRM system.

Harnessing the power of Salesforce

It’s a given that salespeople are increasingly smartphone-enabled and are spending more time on the road. As such, it’s critical that they arrive at every meeting armed with all the information they need to close the deal - from up-to-minute pricing to a fully-updated history of the customer’s account. In other words they have the power of Salesforce CRM (for example) at their fingertips, wherever they happen to be.

But, simply providing this capability is not sufficient in itself. It’s critical that a mobile CRM also delivers an experience that is intuitive and comfortable. It’s also about optimising what’s best about mobile but also not trying to make it do everything. In other words, nobody is going to write the next War and Peace on a mobile phone – so accept its limitations but ensure it does what it does do well.

Why should ease of use be so important to an employer or sales manager – after all, any discomforts are only relatively minor?  Current generations and those in their wake – the millennials - expect to be able to use mobile technology and do so in way that is familiar. If take up of a new application such as mobile CRM is strong, return on investment will be faster and the topline benefits multiplied. Sales staff will become better engaged with their job, sales cycles accelerate and valuable data is gathered as business intelligence.  

At a day-to-day level, mobile CRM means sales teams can be assured that the information they hold about contracts, products, prices and services is totally current, with updates shown in real-time. This goes for updates to their schedules too. If a new lead comes in and happens to be in the same vicinity as one of the team’s other appointments, it can be immediately inserted into the day’s programme.

Sales reps can update customer data during a meeting, capturing key insights as they are given, rather than having to wait until they are back in the office and the subtleties forgotten. Follow up calls can be automatically scheduled.

But importantly, probably one of the major advantages of mobile CRM is that it improves customer service, with a centralised source of information regardless of how the customer interacts with the company. Instead of having to wait until their sales rep is back in the office to find out prices or features. They can be confident that the information given is the most current and up to date.

Salesforce’s metrics on customer Coca Cola show that mobile CRM could lead to a 60 per cent reduction in the time taken to onboard a new customer or on the service side, a 50 per cent reduction in administration time.

So, ease of use is a crucial characteristic of any mobile CRM. However, it’s also key that management can track usage in order to achieve optimum levels of performance from each employee, with the latest technology showing how often they click back into the app; what they are doing there and where they are logging in from. 

It’s about providing real-time information to the management, enabling them to interact quickly with the team and provide the intelligence, insight and support needed to drive optimum results.


So let’s fast forward – say – just two years and look at what the optimum mobile first CRM application will look like and include. First, design-wise we must be able to swipe it and use the touchscreen so fingers don’t have to be retrained again.

Next, in a few years’ time, a Siri or Alexa-style digital assistant will be a must, so a sales rep can leave the meeting asking it to create an account for their new contact straight away. A recording facility with a decent transcription tool would be a real asset, so meetings can be automatically kept for future reference – without having to go back over scribbled notes or rely on memory.

It shouldn’t be difficult also to include a camera. This would have multiple uses, from snapping business cards to keep as long term records to complementing a conference call facility within the phone, enabling users to keep in touch with the office or dial into sales meetings on the road.

The way technology is progressing, this may well all be possible before the two-year mark. But there’s a key takeout here. If it is to succeed, mobile CRM must be mobile first and must appeal to an increasingly mobile-savvy sales team.  

Sean Harrison, Managing Director, Ceterna (opens in new tab)
Image Credit: Zaozaa19 / Shutterstock

Sean Harrison-Smith is the managing director of Ceterna.