In a recent article by Alex Williams on TechCrunch.com, statistics from Gartner Research show that the number of mobile CRM (Customer Relationship Management) applications are expected to rise by 500 percent by 2014. This article is interesting timing for us, as we just highlighted SalesLogix Mobile and Sage CRM Mobile in our Tuesdays with Practical user group meeting last week.
As of right now, according to Gartner, there are 200 mobile CRM apps available today. Gartner projects that there will be 1,400 such apps by 2014. According to the article, Gartner is predicting these numbers by a combination of the upswing in businesses using cloud-based technology in general and a sharp decline in PC shipments.
There are some great benefits to mobile CRM, which we talked about in our meeting. For salespeople, consultants, technicians, and other business professionals who spend a lot of time on the road, the ability to access their client list is of the utmost importance. Greg Lafferty, who gave the presentation (and uses SalesLogix Mobile when he’s on the road himself), said mobile CRM apps are becoming more powerful as they become more like PC-based LAN clients. Search capabilities are becoming expanded, and more functionality beyond looking up clients are starting to appear, such as mapping addresses, phone dialing, and simple e-mailing.
However, Greg said there are also some limitations to mobile CRM technology. One of the biggest hurdles companies face in adopting mobile CRM is having employees “buy in” to using the technology, which we discussed in the meeting. No matter how brilliant the technology is, if employees don’t keep a CRM database updated or use it when they’re in the field, it won’t work properly. Greg also said that people will ask him, “Why can’t I sent a thousand-person mail merge from my mobile phone?” Basically, he said, a phone isn’t designed with that much computing power. Mobile CRM is designed for swift and nimble work, but not the heavy-duty work (like marketing campaigns) that’s associated with LAN-based CRM clients.
Despite these issues, there’s no denying that mobile CRM use is increasing. Greg said that Sage is moving toward total cloud-based technology for its CRM products. Monica Stancik of Nashville Wire Products, who attended the meeting, said her company was already pushing toward using mobile CRM and moving away from a LAN-based client.
It’ll be interesting to see if the mobile CRM technology can eventually grow to match the power of a LAN-based system. It’s something to keep an eye on.