My opinion on Zuzana’s 10 common myths about Mobile CRM

Today I stumbled on a great article written by Zuzana Farkašová from Resco, about the 10 common myths about Mobile CRM. In this article she debunks these myths. At some points I agree with her, at some points I don’t agree with her.

In this article I’ll give my opinion on the myths she’s debunking…

Myth 1: Mobile CRM is just for occasionally looking up some data

Let’s say you are working on a big project and you want to check its progress as you’re having dinner at home. Or you’re at a conference and you want to get some work done in-between the sessions. In these cases, mobile CRM is a nice-to-have thing.

However, Mobile CRM is a real working tool for a large group of people.

Technicians need to be able to move around a factory while updating the office folks about the current status of merchandise. Managers ought to know how their team performs even if their schedule shows meeting after meeting. And sales guys, who leave the office in the morning and don’t return until the day ends, certainly don’t want to finish customer visits only to come back to the office and get on with the paperwork (CRM data input in this case).

My opinion: I agree with Zuzana. Mobile CRM should be treated like a first class citizen. However I don’t believe that massive amounts of data entry will be done on mobile devices. In the end nothing beats a large screen and a full size keyboard. For me one of the most important things in a mobile CRM solution is the ability to have access to the data and to make some quick data entries.

Myth 2: Mobile CRM is only an add-on for standard CRM

Most mobile CRM systems act only as a mobile, stripped-down version of CRM. Then there are those that make use of what is on offer. Picture capturing, push notifications, phone call tracking, fast note taking, GPS location, navigation… these are the functions a tablet and a smartphone has to offer. Good mobile CRMs know this and take advantage of it.

My opinion: Once again I agree with Zuzana. A CRM experience on a mobile device should benefit from the additional functionality the device has to offer. Think: GPS, Navigation, Camera. For the user it should be natural to use the additional functionality.

Myth 3: Mobile CRM should be free

If you want something good, it ain’t gonna be cheap. Certainly not free.
It’s a simple equation – you want a product that brings you value. A company is willing to make that product. Why do for free?
If free is what you’re looking for, you are likely to end up disappointed with the product, service, or both.

My opinion: Why should it be free? It should either be a part of the CRM offering or a good stand alone product using the CRM backend. For some reason people believe that software should be free. Like cars or other goods are free as well?  I don’t believe that a good solution has to be expensive. Money is not a good way to measure quality.

Myth 4: Mobile CRM has to be simple

Simple? Simple as possible. That’s more like it.

Each business is different and what some people consider as the bare minimum is an overload to others. The app should be what people need it to be. If you’re fine with basic functionality, good. But that could be completely insufficient for others.

So simple is good. But not necessarily simple for the sake of being simple.

My opinion: A Mobile CRM has to be tailored to the task and has to be tailored for mobile usage. I believe in a Zen philosophy where it comes to Mobile application design. You can read more about this in my article Designing for Mobility: a different game”.

Myth 5: Mobile CRM should be built in-house

If there are no options on the market, go for it. But there usually are other options. In-house development can get tricky. First you think you need to ONLY develop this and this. And then you figure out there are more things that need to be added. And then you notice Apple has released a new iOS version and you need to update your code in order to make it work. And then you realize the developer who has worked on the application is no longer with the company. And then you’ve got a mess on your hands. In-house development is just messy.

My opinion: Zuzana, I don’t agree with you on this one! If you have the opportunity to buy a solution out there, go for it. In most cases the solutions out there don’t support your business processes the way you want it to. In those cases you have to build yourself. Software development is a profession, and should be conducted that way. Documentation, standardisation and a good architectural principles form the basis for successful development.

Myth 6: Mobile CRM is not safe

Scary. Just thinking of all the threats that accompany Mobile CRM makes you shiver. How can you make sure the data is safe?
You have more options than you think you do. Some mobile CRM have some security measures already embedded in them. Things such as remote wipe that will allow you to wipe-out all data from the app from a distance. Then there is a whole industry around securing mobile devices: Mobile Device Management solutions. And these tools make Mobile CRM safe for use. Even for children.

My opinion: safety is not just a matter of technical measures. Safety is an awareness. In case you treat the access to your devices like you treat the access to your house there is no need to be scared. Common sense…. (and don’t open all those funny attachments  )

Myth 7: Mobile CRM does not have to do it all

You understand that a mobile app is just a mobile app. So you’re OK with read-only access to some records, with a few unsupported features, with no connection to other applications… you’re basically settling.

Yes, mobile devices are limited. But not nearly as much as you think. So next time you think to yourself, well, it’s just a mobile app, it can’t do it all, stop and ask yourself: Really? Is this functionality really not there because it’s technically impossible or because someone didn’t make it yet?

My opinion: I agree on that. On the other hand you should respect the limitations of the device and use these limitations as a benefit.

Myth 8: Mobile CRM takes time to adopt

Spoiler alert: People are used to having phones and tablets.

Whoa! Could you believe it? It comes as a second nature to us: we wake up and the first thing we look at is not our partner sleeping next to us, but our phones. Sad, but true. Phones have so deeply impregnated our lives, we cannot go a day without them. Why should it then pose any problem if you give people a mobile access to the CRM system? The opposite is to be true – employees who get a mobile access to CRM are likely to adopt faster and use it more.

My opinion: Second First thing I do in the morning is grabbing a double espresso. As long as the user interface of the mobile CRM solution is native to the device, users don’t have to adopt. Key thing is that the user interface and offered functionality is intuitive! The functionality should be task oriented instead of data centric.
On-the-go you want your job getting done. This requires a mobile CRM that is focussed on getting your task done easily.

Myth 9: Tablets and phones are just expensive toys

It’s easy to assume that phones and tablets given to employees will be mainly used for non-productive activities such as gaming, social media, YouTube… But given the opportunity, employees prove time and again this assumption is just plain wrong. People value the investment in them, plus they find Mobile CRM really useful. And if something is useful to you, you are likely to use it.

Some of our customers told us that Mobile CRM saves each sales and service guy around an hour or more a day. A whole HOUR! That’s a lot of money if you picture it as a portion of their salaries.

Mobile CRM is an investment. Investment that increases productivity and data quality.

My opinion: I agree on this one!

Myth 10: Mobile CRM can wait

I’ve seen dozens of articles that predict CRM trends for the year. Mobile CRM is always on the list. The trouble is: it’s on the list of trends for 2015, as well as for 2014 and 2013… Ironic, isn’t it?

Mobile CRM is here – it’s here for you to help you get more business.

There’s no real reason to keep postponing it and treat it as anything other than an important asset. Just get on with it and, once you see the results, you’ll be glad you didn’t wait any longer.

My opinion: As Satya Nadella told us “Mobile first, cloud first”. The new working generation is used to mobile devices. Why lagging with a CRM experience.


My final thoughts…

As I stated in my opinion before: the mobile CRM experience should be task oriented instead of data centric. On-the-go people don’t need massive amounts of information. Most important is, is that the mobile CRM experience is intuitive and that the tools provided should support a one-handed operation while on the go to catch a train…

In an ideal world I would love to see a mobile CRM application in which I can work task oriented, e.g. Let a customer sign off, make notes, enter an order, navigate. All triggered from a list of tasks to do for that day. For each specific task a tailored screen (or set of screens) should appeat allowing me to operate it one-handed.

From what I ‘ve seen till sofar, the current mobile CRM applications are in my eyes too data centric.