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by Craig Borowski,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: December 7, 2016


With mobile device usage continuing to grow, it’s no surprise many customer relationship management (CRM) users now access their system on these devices. For example, according to our research, nearly 48 percent of respondents access their CRM software on smartphones, while 45 percent use tablets.

To meet the needs of these on-the-go workers, many CRM vendors now offer mobile-compatible systems. While some of this software is accessible via the Internet and optimized for mobile browsers, other vendors meet the demand by offering native mobile apps. In this guide, we’ll provide an overview of this mobile CRM technology. Here’s what we’ll cover:

Types of Mobile CRM Software
Popular Functionality of Native Mobile CRM Apps
Benefits of Mobile CRM Software

Types of Mobile CRM Software

Web-Based: These are browser-based applications, allowing users to access the CRM system via the mobile device’s Web browser. For this reason, Web apps don’t usually require any software installation, and can be accessed from most mobile devices.

Because the system is accessible from anywhere with an Internet connection, all users always have access to the latest versions of documents and important information. On the downside, Web apps generally only work when there is an existing Internet connection, and cannot make use of other features of the mobile device (the GPS or camera, for example).

Native Apps: Native mobile CRM apps are designed to run on a specific mobile device operating system (i.e., iOS or Android).

Because they aren’t dependent on a data connection, native apps can run offline, and usually run faster than Web apps. However, these apps may not be designed to work on all devices, and some limit functionality to a few core capabilities. (See our guides on iPad and Android CRM for more information about solutions optimized to run on specific operating systems.)

Generally, businesses should look for a mobile CRM system that is responsive, synchronizes well with the primary cloud-based CRM system in use and loads quickly. Whether accessed through a browser-based or native app, businesses should look for a system that offers the functionality staff need most often when away from their desks.

Popular Functionality of Native Mobile CRM Apps

Because the activities professionals perform in the field are often different from those done in the office, native mobile CRM apps may only offer the features most likely to be used in remote environments. This helps streamline the mobile experience for on-the-go users.

Here are some examples of common tools for native mobile CRM apps:

General

Contact management Provides end-to-end management of clients, contacts and prospects and offers comprehensive contact history tracking.
Activity logging Offers ways to document and share activities with others, as well as ways to store them for future reference and retrieval.
Schedule and task management Provides the means for coordinating and managing calendars, creating to-do lists and assigning tasks to team members.

Sales

Account locator Enables users to find nearby leads, contacts and opportunities and optimizes routes using the mobile device’s GPS-enabled maps.
Pipeline push notifications Sends notifications to sales representatives when the status of an opportunity in the pipeline changes.
Sales content management Provides users with the ability to access and share frequently used sales content, such as product information, price lists, contract documents and sales presentations.
Sales orders Automatically creates, processes and routes sales orders made in the field.

Benefits of Mobile CRM Software

There are many benefits that come from having mobile access to a CRM system. These include:

  • More accurate data. By allowing users to input data from anywhere at any time, lag time between actions and data input is reduced. Because users don’t need to retroactively enter information, mistakes are minimized, and entries are more timely and complete.
  • Increased efficiency. Being able to switch between different devices in different situations enables mobile CRM users to have the right information on hand when they need it. It also allows them to make better use of time spent away from the desk.
  • Greater adoption. Catering to mobile habits increases staff’s likelihood to use the CRM system. The best mobile CRMs adds an extra layer of convenience by offering information on the fly and allowing end users to get more done in the field.
  • Improved customer experience. Customers increasingly expect real-time information and shorter response times. Mobile CRM helps reduce latency in responding to customers by providing users with immediate access to information from anywhere.

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