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Keys to Successful Mobile CRM

Keys to Successful Mobile CRM

Mobile CRM has quickly become a must-have for many firms -- whether it's an internal mobile sales app or an outbound mobile marketing app. The common thread for all of these projects, besides the sense of urgency in getting one in place, is that companies want their implementations to be successful and quick.

Mobile CRM is usually not a company's first foray into CRM. Before going mobile, a company usually has a SaaS-based CRM application, at a bare minimum, as well as an online presence that has become increasingly interactive over the years -- and likely a social media presence as well.

Unlike traditional CRM, which is built upon a decade of knowledge on how to successfully implement a project, mobile CRM is still relatively new. That doesn't mean knowledge hasn't accumulated in this area, though.

CRM Buyer reached out to several companies in this space for their take on what makes a mobile CRM project successful.

Keep It Simple

In many cases, companies have been able to build on the knowledge garnered during earlier, more painful CRM implementations.

For instance, one of the keys to a general CRM project's success is to not overlook the challenge of user adoption, noted Suneela Vaidya, Acumen's director of enterprise mobility.

"Most salespeople have their own system that they have been tracking throughout their careers and getting them to change is no small feat," Vaidya told CRM Buyer.

For that reason, one of Vaidya's first tips for a successful mobile CRM implementation is to keep the user interface streamlined and simple to use.

Other tips have been extrapolated from earlier CRM lessons as well. For example, "it's important to have a plan to service and inventory all the mobile devices -- they will break and need support," Vaidya said.

The IT Backbone

It's also essential that companies consider their IT backbones and architecture framework, noted Ray Grainger, founder and CEO of Mavenlink.

"For those that use their CRM for service delivery, one thing to consider is that both employees and clients can have access to your platform," he told CRM Buyer.

"Therefore, a platform-neutral technology, such as HTML5, can make adoption much easier,, since users simply go to their mobile browser and don't need to download applications, manage updates or keep track of which devices are compatible," Grainger explained.

Interactive Design

A well-designed front end is key as well, said Dan Cronyn, director of consumer marketing at TheLadders.

"Remember the rule of thumb, or rule of fingers," he told CRM Buyer. "If you have to pinch and resize, it's not right. If your emails look wonky or don't even render properly on a mobile device -- both tablets and smartphones -- you can expect poor click-throughs and unsubscribes."

It's simple to code your emails so they look great for both desktops and mobile devices, "so make sure your CRM developer is all caught up on mobile-responsive design," Cronyn added.

"When thinking of mobile CRM content, try to place yourself in the consumer's shoes and think about what kinds of actions they are most apt to undertake while on the go," he said. "Text-heavy or long-form emails should be avoided. Short copy and clear CTAs with well-designed buttons that move to landscape and portrait are great click bait on a mobile device."

Fundamentals Are Always Key

While much of this advice is specific to the mobile arena, implementing companies are well advised not to forget the basics -- that is, the fundamental principles that are true for any CRM project.

It's a good idea to examine essential business processes to identify where mobile CRM can make an impact, suggested Sage CRM Solutions SVP and GM Dan Wilzoch.

"Many sales, accounting, inventory and support functions can be accomplished securely via mobile devices," he told CRM Buyer. "Some businesses can gain mobile efficiencies by eliminating or simplifying steps in their sales cycle or customer support workflow. Others may create entirely new revenue streams by enabling customer data and payments on mobile devices."

Companies should clearly define the goals, process and approach at the outset, advised Jen O'Brien, director of content strategy at Manifest Digital.

These goals "should be measurable, to support ROI insight," she told CRM Buyer.

Also, "devise a plan to measure success, ongoing," urged O'Brien. "For example, perform user research to determine if messaging and experience meet the audience's needs; adjust as appropriate."


Erika Morphy has been writing about technology, finance and business issues for more than 20 years. She lives in Silver Spring, Md.


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