Tag Archives: Mobility

Hey, Mr. Chief Sales, Marketing or Service Officer, Don’t Let your IS Team Pick Your CRM Platform!

When was the last time you went shopping for a new bikini for your wife or a set of golf clubs for your husband?  Most likely never…and why?  Because at the end of the day, you are not going to be seen on a public beach in it or teeing off with your buddies at the next golf outing.  These are purchase decisions that should be made by the user since they will be the person using the item.

Buying a CRM system is not much different.  Most likely the user of the CRM tool is someone in one of the following categories:   sales representative, sales manager, CSO, marketing representative, marketing manager, CMO, service agent, service manager, VP of Customer Service or an individual with operations in their title or area of responsibility.

Your IT team would love to dictate the CRM tool of choice because they always know what’s best for you right?  WRONG…they are always going to pick a system that creates the least amount of IT pain for themselves.  This will happen even if it means compromising user experience, time to deployment, support for Bring Your Own Device “BYOD,” or interactions within the social media space.

If I am a CSO, CMO or VP of Service, I would follow these top five guiding principles as I make a CRM platform selection:

  • Involve your front line staff in the selection process.  Yes, I realize they are busy with their day jobs, but at the end of the day they will be the individuals expected to use the tool and can provide the most perspective on use case/productivity requirements. See blog post on CRM end-user givebacks
  • Ensure that the tool supports the growing trend of BYOD.  A truly effective CRM platform should be a tool available whenever and wherever your front line people interact with customers to drive use, value and the holy grail of CRM success: adoption!
  • Activity, message management & social collaboration are a way of life for sellers, so ensure that the tool leverages the required messaging, calendaring & social platforms that your teams already use pervasively to get work done.  What systems do your teams log into every morning to direct their day, communicate and collaboration with customers and prospects?  See blog post on top 14 must have CRM system features!
  • Integration to back office systems is a must.  This one gets blown out of proportion by customers and vendors.  Your IT team would lead you to believe you must stick within the Geranimals IT shop principles.  All CRM systems that reside in the Gartner MQ for 2011 should provide open architecture and — through industry standard web service calls — can be connected to your back office vendor of choice.  Yes, that means you are not restricted to one vendor for both ERP and CRM, so do not let that dictate your final CRM vendor selection choice.  Often, this can lead to weighing down a well-developed, mature business solution with another that just isn’t up to par as far as quality, performance, or capability.
  • Yes involve IT as an advisor during the selection process to insure the tool you move forward with can be supported by your cloud or on premise technology infrastructure.

Good selling and keep your eye on the prize of high user adoption to prevent CRM strategy failure!

– Tracy

CRM Takes Another Step Forward with Mobile Dashboards!

“Dashboards on my iPad?” you ask.  Yep.

We are seeing considerable excitement within the CRM community about this latest innovation, and for good reasons:  1) Mobile Dashboards are useful, 2) Mobile Dashboards deliver great value to businesses, and 3) Mobile Dashboards will help Dynamics CRM partners meet customer needs and close business.

One of the great new capabilities delivered by Microsoft in Dynamics CRM 2011 was embedded dashboards. Now CWR Mobility has made those available on your mobile device – iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone 6.5. Mobile Dashboards provide data visualization; high-level graphical views that turn CRM data into actionable information for mobile users. Dashboards by themselves are a powerful tool when used from PCs, but they really take that power to a whole new level when they become available on tablets and smartphones.

Mobile Dashboards Deliver Great Value to Businesses

Mobile Dashboards now enable a company’s mobile employees – such as those in field sales, field service, or field marketing — to track the things that really matter to them in their business role, from wherever they are, whenever, in real-time. This leads to a state of continually being on top of the things that matter most…being on top of their part of the business. When a customer-facing organization is better informed, cycle times are reduced, responsiveness is increased, and actions are better targeted. If you’re wondering how important this new capability is, just try showing it to a field sales rep and watch their reaction.

CWR Mobility mobile dashboards are easy, flexible and real-time. As an inherent feature of CWR Mobile CRM 2011, they are easy to access and can support any dashboard based on a native dashboard in Dynamics CRM 2011. In this initial release, version 5.0.1.0, CWR Mobile CRM 2011 dashboards are available when a user has mobile internet connectivity, and they can pull any of these online dashboards in real-time, so the user will always have an up to date view of information. Mobile dashboards are read-only in this release; in time, we envision mobile dashboards supporting interactive drilldown capabilities.

Mobile Dashboards Will Help Partners Meet Customer Needs and Close Business

Mobile Dashboards are also great news for Dynamics CRM partners, because they deliver great business value for companies and can really catch a customer’s imagination. As a Dynamics CRM Partner, mobile dashboards are a great new capability to add to your standard customer demos, and you should consider leading with them. Show your customer an example of a mobile dashboard that is specific to their business. This is easy to do since CWR Mobile CRM Mobile Dashboards support any Dynamics CRM 2011 native dashboard. Create a customer dashboard and then demo it to your customer on an iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry or Windows Phone 6.5 device. Again, CWR Mobile CRM 2011 makes this easy.

You can learn more about CWR Mobile CRM mobile dashboards here.  And you can add a free trial of mobile dashboards in CWR Mobile CRM 2011 by clicking here — if you use Dynamics CRM Online, you can do it within minutes. Check out mobile dashboards today!

Stefan Burak

Vice President, Sales and Partners, Americas

CWR Mobility BV

cwrmobility.com

 

Time to put your CRM system on a features diet!

Yes it’s true when your company departmental leadership team gets finished with a CRM project they have included the sky, the moon and the stars as desired functionality but what you get as a user is a bloated unusable CRM system.

My recommendation is to put your CRM platform on a CRM features diet and get lean and mean if you want strong user adoption.  The key message is priorities your features & configurations based on the benefits you are trying to deliver to the end user community ala sales, marketing and service teams who have to live within the system you build.

Ideas on how to execute on your CRM features diet to create immediate impact or benefit to the user might be:

  • Clean up forms and only include required database fields.  Ask yourself why you need specific information and when was the last time anyone used a specific field.
  • Provide drop down selections to keep data consistent and clean.
  • Integrate with 3rd party data providers to insure data is up to date and relevant.  My personal favorite can be found here!
  • Build automated process to eliminate repetitive tasks.
  • Call your top 3 sales, service and marketing eagles up and ask them what can be done in the CRM platform to deliver a better solution.
  • Consider a cloud based deployment to minimize IT involvement.
  • Incorporate a 3rd party marketing tool to drive drip marketing campaigns that provide relevant and actionable data.
  • Ask the users what personalization they are after and then deliver it by role in a real time dashboard!
  • Eliminate screens, commands, views and reports not relevant to the targeted users.
  • Toss in telephony integration with screen pops to give back something to users!
  • CRM now equals mobile so make sure you deliver on this as a top user priority.

Make CRM system adjustments a ongoing priority and your organization will demonstrate successful, repeatable processes with performance measurements that will deliver strong CRM user adoption.

– Tracy

CRM Sales Mobility – Quotas Untethered!

Guest Writer – Derek Warburton

There’s a new Aberdeen Group Benchmark Report – Sales Mobility: Quotas Untethered and its hot off the press! This report touches on various mobility technologies, with a strong focus an on CRM Mobility.  The research was completed in September and October 2010, and based on a survey of 269 end user organizations, and their real world experience. In other words, this report isn’t based on an analyst’s opinion, but rather on the actual experience of businesses that are planning on, or have already deployed, some sort of sales mobility solutions.

Like all Aberdeen Research Reports, the research and report are in no way influenced by vendors. TenDigits was able to acquire semi-exclusive distribution rights, to ensure our community can access this report free of charge (as opposed to the $399 standard fee).

At the highest level, this report addresses the following:

“Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Sales Force Automation (SFA) access via smartphones has been available for some time – indeed, Mobile CRM access has proven to increase team attainment of quota by 26% (Source: Sales Intelligence, Preparing for Smarter Selling, Aberdeen February 2010) – but to what extent are Best-in-Class Sales teams utilizing mobile selling solutions ?” (Source: Aberdeen Group November 2010)

At a more detailed level, the study focuses on the following:

  • The degree to which sales mobility is deployed in organizations and the impact it has on achieving business success
  • The structure, effectiveness and satisfaction with existing sales mobility implementations
  • Current and planned use of sales mobility tools to achieve desired change in revenue, quota and deal size
  • The benefits, if any, that have been derived from sales mobility initiatives

From a research structure perspective, Aberdeen applies their concept of “Best-in-Class” companies. In the case of this study, “Best-in-Class” represent the Top 20% of the aggregate of performance scores, specifically: Achievement of Sales Quota, Average year-over-year improvement in Customer Retention, and Average year-over-year increase in average Sales Lead Conversion rates.  They then associate the practices and related outcomes, of Best-in-Class companies and compare to other companies, as it relates to their use of Sales Mobility.

So what were the results?

There are dozens of figures and charts, and virtually all of them strongly indicate that Best-in-Class companies approach sales mobility differently than other companies, and are more likely to have enabled their teams with mobile CRM solutions.  The results are quite compelling and for the most part should be read in the context of the entire report.

I have listed a few tidbits of information here (Source for all: Aberdeen Group November 2010):

  • “While not all companies deploy sales mobility, those that do, outperform those that do not across a myriad of measures, including overall team attainment of quota, lower sales turnover, as well as better year-over-year growth around revenue, customer renewals, deal size and CRM adoption”  Source: Aberdeen Group November 2010
  •  “Survey results show that firms enjoying Best-in-Class performance share several common characteristics including:  78% support remote viewing and modification of key CRM sales information…” 
  •  “44% of Best-in-Class consider sales mobility initiatives “absolutely vital to the health of our company, regardless of cost” compared with 26% of other companies.”

There’s even a url within the report that provides access for the reader to take an On-line Assessment, to compare their company’s practices and performance against Best-in-Class companies, and provides a free personal Scorecard.

On the whole, the findings strengthen the case that CRM Mobility is no longer just a “nice to have tool” for some of the sales team. Rather, CRM mobility, in organizations where sales staff is frequently in the field, is a critical component to the CRM solution and has a significant impact on sales performance for staff and the company.

Having said that, not all CRM mobility is equal. There are many mobility applications, but what offering will best enable real business success. It’s not too difficult to find a tool that will “get CRM on my phone”, but that’s a far cry from a solution that is designed for the optimal user experience, with appropriate security and organizational manageability. The more comprehensive solutions can also be configured in a variety of ways to deliver very different user experiences. Don’t assume that you are simply taking a CRM form, and pushing that to a phone. The user experience should be optimized for the use case scenarios, and to reflect that a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) is not a desktop computer. Mobile devices also offer capabilities unique to the device, that aren’t available from a computer monitor, and to incorporate that into the CRM experience. For instance, the ability to capture photos or voice recordings, or GPS data, and upload that into a CRM system.

If you’re trying to address: CRM user adoption, sales productivity, sales effectiveness, timelier follow-up of leads or improved lead conversion rates, gaining a competitive edge, or even reducing the cost associated with sales staff turnover, and then you’ve got a reason to further explore how mobility can support your objectives.

When we work with our clients, we first endeavor to understand their objectives, what their people in the field do, what they use CRM for, and potential use case scenarios for mobility. This allows us to provide insight into how mobility software can best be configured and used for the organization.  A great example of an organization that saw mobility is critical to their Microsoft Dynamics CRM and business success is HealthSouth Corporation. To learn more about how they leveraged mobility for a 1000 field staff, see this MSDynamcsWorld article.

How to access the Aberdeen Report:

You can either visit the Tendigits website or go directly to the following private access link.

Article and materials provided by guest blogger:

Derek Warburton

Vice President of Sales

TenDigits Software, Inc.

Time to have TSA x-ray your CRM evaluation?

The hot topic of the week of course is the TSA body scanners and the revealing images they produce.  A need to prevent such unwanted exposure has spawned an inventor who created TSA-proof underwear to shield private parts from x-ray machines, prying eyes!  The good news with this debate is that you can opt out of the body scan, but watch out for the ensuing dreaded pat down if you choose to do so.

I am starting to think that customers should incorporate a bit of TSA like x-rays procedures during their evaluation of CRM solutions.  I say this because I continue to run into so many customers who are dissatisfied with their current CRM systems, but are stuck in subscription contracts that prevent them from gaining the value they believed they bought into. My goal with this weeks blog is to try and help you avoid some of the issues I continue to encounter in the trenches.

Below is a short list of items to drill deep on when evaluating your first or next CRM platform to prevent possible regrets or low return on investment:

  •  Hidden Costs - This can bite you in so many ways so look at areas of data migration; early contract termination; costs of reducing users; training fees; data-ownership issues; integration; customization; data storage; mobility & reporting.  In addition, make sure you are not sold on entry level pricing with incorrect functionality if multiple versions are available.
  • Performance – Look for performance white papers and scale testing options based on your data set and configuration.
  • Missing Functionality - A vendor demo can be a bit misleading.  My suggestion is to validate and re-validate your requirements against solution capabilities to insure what you require is core functionality provided.
  • Support -Who is providing this when issue arise? Find out if this comes from the vendor or implementation partner and at what cost per incident?
  • Training Materials - What is free and what will be required to insure driving proper adoption.  See Is CRM training that important?
  • Vendor Stability - What kind of dollars are being invested in R&D and will your vendor be around in 3 to 5 years to support you?  See Gartner Market Share: CRM Software, Worldwide, 2009.
  • Software License Agreements -What happens if your SaaS CRM system goes down?  Does your SaaS CRM strategy have a parachute?
  • Open Architecture - This is important to understand in case you need to develop future integrations or move to another vendor.
  • Deployment Options -What if you decide that a SaaS model is too expensive long term and need to migrate on premise? 
  • Customer Evidence -It is never a good idea to be the first at anything including the first person to go through the TSA body scanner…can you imagine how many people looked at that first image?  Make sure your CRM vendor can provide some form of evidence that what you are asking to do within their system has been done before.

Resources links – See Gartner Blog CRM and Innovation Spending in 2010Forrester WaveSaaS & On-premises.

CRM vendor transparency and incorporation of this x-ray procedure checklist will help create a recipe for making the right choice during your CRM solution selection process.

–          Tracy

Disclaimer – References in this blog post to TSA, body scanning, product and pad downs are not an endorsement or rebuttal of the need or opposition to these topics but I would love your opinion!

"Hi-yo, Silver, away!"

It’s that time of year when adults find an excuse to play dress up, and a Halloween party this past weekend brought me inspiration for today’s blog post. The Lone Ranger and his trusty sidekick “Silver” made a great team, but one without the other was not much of a force to be reckoned with.  I see  similarities of this when thinking of CRM deployments and mobility! 

Ok so a bit of a stretch but I do believe the mobility topic ends up as a nice to have versus a must have feature in the CRM solution selection process.  We expect so much out of our field sellers, but invest little time on device platform selection and guaranteed connectivity to our CRM solutions.  Just think if you go the extra effort to understand a day in the life of your field sellers and mobile requirements how much more productivity you might gain from them?

*Gartner says mobility will be a trillion-dollar business by 2014!  Reference that report and consider the below checklist when addressing the CRM mobility topic:

  • Device support is a must since the growing trend is to let the mobile workforce chose the platform they would like to leverage.  With this flexibility come the need to have CRM compatibility with BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7, iPhone and Android operating systems.  I would add two additional midsize mobile devices that are gaining IT support and customer demand which are iPad and HP Slate 500
  • The CRM system selected must be browser independent now that Internet Explorer makes up just fewer than 60% of the market opening up 40% of the market running on Safari, Chrome and a slew of other browser substitutes.  This topic also ties back to preloaded browsers that come on devices such as the iPad.
  • Online and offline support will be driven by field seller location and connectivity provided by the selected mobile phone carriers.  I find that having both options will be needed to insure there are no productivity setbacks as your sellers move between meetings.
  • Top interactions offered to the mobile CRM user should be easy contact lookup, phone call placement, access to schedule, ability to schedule and complete activities, view & interaction with opportunities and viewing of some historical data elements.  More specialized mobile workforces will require task specific interaction so this topic and requirements will be defined on a company by company basis.

Resources – TenDigits, CWR Mobility & CRM Mobile Plus are just a few third-party CRM mobility add-on solutions to consider. 

Make mobility a priority at every turn in your CRM deployment and your organization will generate strong user adoption within your mobile workforce. 

– Tracy

* Gartner reference is pulled from “Analysts Explore the Changing Face of Mobility at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, October 17-21, in Orlando”  STAMFORD, Conn., October 21, 2010 http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1455314[share_links