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.
* 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
Don’t assume that a trip to the barber shop will produce a predictable outcome! The end result for the individual can actually create more work like the need to apply hair gels, mousse & hair spray with no givebacks for the effort. I survived this experience but can tell you I received nothing for my investment outside of a great conversation piece many years later.
That brings me to this week’s blog topic of “What do users get in exchange for buying into a CRM platform?” My 26+ years’ experience working directly with customers has generated a common theme. That theme or promises is that the users will see productivity gains and process improvement, but the facts point to a high percentage of post implementation let downs.
The root cause behind most of the lets downs starts with the selection and implementation committee. This team is driving the CRM platform decision and many times is out of touch with the day-to-day needs of the user community they are trying to service. Yes the committee usually does departmental use case interviews which produce a standard collection of requirements. Then comes the challenge of balancing what the users need out of a CRM system vs. what senior leadership wants to justify system costs. Below are my thoughts on this topic.
Kinsey’s stab at defining what user’s really need out of CRM –
- Should be able to access the CRM systems through companies existing message and calendaring standard to remove additional authentication or log in time.
- Must eliminate need for user driven reporting – my favorite!
- Goals & performance should be surfaced at the user level through dashboards.
- CRM system interfaces should have some level of personalization.
- Entry of data has to be simple and fast.
- Each way to access CRM should demonstrate some level of consistency (fat, thin & mobile client)
- Performance must be well-tested.
- Data should be filtered so I am only working with “my” relevant information and not sifting through yours!
- Duplication of data should be addressed prior to system go live…I do not have time to figure out which T, Tom, Timmy and or Timothy is the right record to record my activities against.
- Should not be asking users for their list of prospects or important customers that should be added to the holiday card mailing list. Marketing lists should be dynamic and maintain by the systems.
- Sales stage and or probability of a deal pursuit should not require an update by me. If a sales process has been implemented the CRM system should update automatically when I complete required steps.
- Every department that interacts with the customer in any way should be using same CRM platform.
- Modification of data fields and forms should be easy to do at the administration level or forget it.
- Users had better be able to go offline because we all know that on any given day the janitor just might kicked the plug out of the wall and your internet connection will go down.
I believe that if your organization keeps the mentality of user experience and productivity as a priority you will generate strong user adoption and the gains promised which in turn will drive ultimate return on your investment.
Watch for my next blog on “CRM system training” – why do companies always get low user adoption?