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How to Get the Most out of Mobile CRM

The proliferation of mobile business apps and mobile-friendly systems is a direct reflection of what’s happening to the workforce itself: employees are bringing their devices to work, and bringing work to their devices.

According to IDC, the world’s mobile worker population is on track to hit 1.3 billion this year, which accounts for 37 percent of the overall workforce. Forrester estimates the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend currently affects almost 260 million workers globally.

Why are so many people at consumer-facing and B2B companies working on-the-go? Because they can’t afford not to. The depth and omnipresence of the modern customer journey requires sales reps, service agents, and entire teams to perform and deliver regardless of location, sometimes even around the clock. This has a profound impact on CRM, both as a workflow and as a business system.  

There are many different facets of mobile CRM that companies need to embrace to stay competitive, but let’s start by exploring the term itself.


How CRM and Mobile Connect

Mobile CRM is equal parts strategy and technology; it is both the software that provides access and how that access is used. There are a number of CRM systems with their own native mobile apps that give users access to data and functional capabilities via their smartphone or tablet. Prominent examples include Salesforce, Zoho, and SugarCRM. There are also third-party solutions on the market (such as Resco) that act as portals to existing CRMs that may not offer full mobile access.

For most organizations, mobile CRM doesn’t mean taking the entire back-end system on the road. It means giving mobile agents access to the tools that help them do their jobs better.

Chuck Schaeffer, CEO of Vantive Media, put it this way: “The starting point for a mobile CRM strategy is to identify those business processes and information requests most facilitated by anytime anywhere access.”

Here are some examples of common features/capabilities found in CRM mobile apps:

  • Client records and accounts
  • Sales pipelines
  • Lead and case management tools
  • Sales automation
  • Key content (presentations, product brochures, contract forms)
  • Integrated calling and email features
  • Scheduling/calendars
  • Internal collaboration tools


Most business are quickly realizing that real-time mobile access to critical business tools—in this case, CRM software—improves productivity, client satisfaction, and their bottom line. Case in point: a recent study by Inopple Technologies showed that 65 percent of sales reps working from a mobile CRM met their sales quotes, compared to only 22 percent of reps at companies without mobile CRM.


Best Ways to Use Mobile CRM

Beyond just having mobile CRM software, businesses need to make sure their mobile efforts are concentrated in the right areas. Here are some ways to get the most out of mobile CRM:

  1. Streamline the sales cycle: Before mobile CRMs, agents could sell on-the-go, but closing the deal only happened after a processing delay, or when a second sales rep contacted the client over the phone to book the sale. By giving mobile reps direct access to ordering systems, product resources, and sales pipelines, mobile CRMs help clients make a decision faster and speed up subsequent product delivery.

  1. Collaborate in real time: With built-in collaboration tools accessible from smartphone and tablet apps (such as Chatter for Salesforce), employees can share information, files, and updates that are critical to sales or service delivery. Instead of wringing your hands until 8 am the next morning and possibly missing an opportunity, you can get answers to urgent questions in real time. Many companies also find that cloud-based file sharing services like Dropbox and Google Drive pair nicely with mobile CRMs, since they provide anytime access to important documents and files.

  1. Reduce errors with on-site entry: Instead of collecting information on paper forms and notepads, then having to re-key that data back at the office, mobile workers can enter client and order information directly into the system while they’re still on-site. Eliminating the extra step greatly reduces the risk of clerical mistakes, which can cause problems down the road.

  1. Navigate to clients: Some of the best mobile CRMs offer integrated geolocation services, which help plan out the best routes and provide directions to clients. This eliminates the need for separate GPS devices or printed maps. Some mobile CRMs— like Base, for example—offer their own built-in geolocation feature. Others require third-party add-ons, such as MapAnything for Salesforce, or Badger Maps.

  1. Organize and communicate:  For the average professional, a smartphone is nothing short of a personal assistant, helping them keep appointments, send emails, set up automated reminders, and so on. Mobile CRM applications feed directly into this by integrating with native email, calendar, and phone capabilities. Mobile reps can schedule follow-up meetings, make phone calls from contact profiles, email proposals and contracts, and much more, all from their mobile device.

Agent of the Future

Imagine an agent unbound by geographic or logistical constraints. He carries an iPad, an iPhone, a bluetooth headset, and a wireless printer in the trunk of his car. He is a proverbial Robocop of productivity—your dream salesperson. Most importantly, he gets results.

Although this future agent really isn’t that much of a stretch, most companies won’t need to take the “all-in” approach to mobile CRM. Your best bet is to seek out technology that supports the workflows and features you value most, and then train your employees to use it. The end goal of mobile CRM isn’t to turn your agents into 24/7 selling machines; it’s to make them more efficient at the moment when it matters most.