How To Choose The Best Mobile CRM For Your Small Business

Is mobile CRM a must for every small business? How to choose an ideal CRM? Which is the best mobile CRM? Let’s answer these questions, and a few others.

In the recent years, mobile devices have become an important tool for small businesses looking for an advantage in this competitive world. The mobile version of a CRM takes business productivity beyond 9 to 5; field workers can access the central database and update it on the go while the executives can view real-time reports in order to make instant decisions, round-the-clock.

Benefits of mobile CRM

CEO of Mavenlink, Ray Grainger, believes that mobile CRM will become a necessity for SMBs in 2013 and afterwards, “This is the year that mobile CRM will finally take off, as businesses of all sizes continue to hire remote workers and provide them with devices that support mobile versions of reliable CRM applications.”

Whether his prediction comes true or not, for any business owner, the benefits of a mobile-based CRM are very hard to ignore:

  • Lets you manage your business from anytime
  • Allows you to perform the important business activities including Contact Management, Lead management, Task Management, Sales Analysis, Customization and Enhancements, right from your tablet or smartphone
  • Takes productivity beyond nine to five and reduces downtime
  • Increases sales forecast accuracy through real- time updates from your field staff
  • Builds customer intimacy
  • Reduces IT and telecommunication costs
  • Offers the freedom to do things with your CRM you simply can’t do otherwise i.e. taking photos, recording videos and voices, monitoring and using GPS data, voice calling the contacts etc.

Best approach for choosing a mobile CRM

Before you pick any CRM solution, outline the specific benefits you want to achieve. The most important thing is to keep your end-users in mind and make a ‘mobile strategy’ which is most helpful to them.

After you have defined end-user needs, it’s time to plan. Different vendors offer mobile CRMs designed for different devices. As a small business owner, you can minimize all sorts of costs including device costs, data costs, administration costs etc. by opting for a standard platform for the mobile CRM implementation.

If you have a bigger setup, before rolling out your mobile CRM across the entire organization, it’s highly cost and time-effective to test it using a smaller set of people. Most mobile CRMs are pretty simple and don’t require any training, but if you have chosen a multifaceted one, then never skip staff training, because if your staff fails to make full use of the application, your whole investment might go down the drain.

At the end, make sure you perform an extensive evaluation and analyze how going mobile has affected your team’s performance as a whole.

Mobile CRM implementation methods

Essentially, there are two different approaches:

  1. Web-based Mobile CRMs   These types of CRMs usually make use of HTML5 and don’t require any downloading/installation. Examples of such CRMs are BizzCRM, Karma CRM, Zoho CRM. Their biggest benefit is that you can use any device, and any browser to access your data instantly. This methodology is ideal for organizations where users want the freedom to use different devices and don’t mind the unavailability of their data offline. As HTML5 apps keep getting better, we’ll continue to see fast growth in theirimplementation and development.
  2. Client-Server Mobile CRMs   You have to install a client side application which interacts with the server to carry out your commands. Insightly and Capsule CRM are two of the famous CRMs based on client-server model. Unlike the web-based mobile CRMs, they offer data synchronization for offline usage, increased security, and quicker access. On the flip side, these applications can be device-specific, platform-specific and might be costlier as well.

Levels of Mobile Maturity

There are three levels of mobile maturity you can choose depending on your goals and business requirements:

  1. Personal Productivity    This is the lowest level that gives the field staff synchronized access to personal productivity tools e.g. contacts, calendar, and email. This helps the users stay on top of their personal schedule and keep up with customers as well as colleagues.
  2. Corporate Application Access   The next level gives a larger subset of mobile workers access to corporate info system. For efficient synchronization of emails and custome data, organizations usually deploy an in-house server. These capabilities result in accurate salesforecast and increased productivity of the entire team.
  3. Comprehensive Mobility   In the highest level of maturity, the staff has real-time, always-on access to the entire business data and business process i.e. in addition to contacts and calendars, they can access sales forecast, customer service cases, leads, team management modules and more. So the field workers can be fully functional with just a tablet or smartphone, and might not require a laptop for most of the day, or in some cases, at all.

The best Mobile CRM

As a matter of fact, there is no one mobile CRM we can label as the best. There is a wide range of applications designed to cater different types of businesses. A CRM ideal for one company might be a sheer disappointment for another. Here are some of the top-rated mobile CRMs with brief description to help you choose the one that suits your business needs to a tee.

Other popular mobile CRMs:

Every CRM vendor realizes the importance of mobility, and most of them already have a mobile version of their CRM. Some other notable mobile CRMs include Relenta, Prophet CRMZendesk Sell , Batchbook, CWR Mobile CRM, RightNow CRM, Resco Mobile CRM.