Use Mobility to Empower Your Sales Organization

Lance Walter, CMO, Capriza

Under more pressure than ever before, today’s sales organizations are tasked with figuring out how to drive revenue, ensure accurate forecasting, deliver great customer experiences, and shorten sales cycles, all with less time and resources.

The best way to reach these goals is by spending more time in the field, leading more productive conversations with prospects and customers, with access to any needed data in real-time. This is all possible through mobility, yet many sales teams haven’t fully embraced the concept. While most sales people have smartphones, the majority of them only use email or calendaring for work purposes. When it comes to enterprise apps, most salespeople either don’t have them or don’t want to use them because they’re clunky or unhelpful. Anyone who has seen failed rollouts of desktop-based CRM knows that simply giving a sales rep access from a device is not enough to drive usage and therefore business value.

In addition, sales teams have long been plagued by faulty and complicated CRM systems. While CRM systems promise to provide information that can improve the sales process, the truth is that they can often slow the entire cycle by asking the rep to document numerous details about the opportunity in a way that helps the salesperson’s employer, but not the salesperson or the customer. If sales team members can’t be responsive to a customer, they won’t be able to quickly close deals or accurately manage pipelines.

One thing is clear: Sales is in need of a mobile makeover. With the amount of sales and customer data that resides in an organization’s CRM, it’s important for sales teams to have access to only the most relevant information through their mobile device. The key to mobile-enabling the sales team is to better streamline the organization’s complex and massive CRM platform into specific mobile oriented tasks that are useful for each person. This is about “improving by removing,” clearing extraneous process steps and fields that don’t help the salesperson while they’re in front of a customer, or in those critical five-minute windows just before or after a customer meeting.

When tasks are broken into mobile “micro apps” centered around tasks and transactions crucial to the salesperson’s daily activities - ie. account management, opportunity management, logging activity or meeting notes, and processing / approving requests - the job can be completed more effectively, easily and quickly. By providing a simple and swift experience, the sales team is more likely to get the job done, and the organization and its customers will benefit as well.

Mobility gives organizations simplicity and speed, but what are the best ways to use it in the sales process? The six key areas for sales teams to mobilize are account and activity management, quote approvals, price calculation, inventory lookup and accessing sales assets:

Account and activity management - Mobile apps allow account managers to have quick access to view and update customer information before, during or after meetings. Sales teams are typically distributed, with executives in the field or in offices around the globe. This can be a challenge when it comes to information sharing and keeping customer records updated in the CRM system. Mobility is an ideal way to make sales more effective in the field and improve sales agility. While your cloud-based CRM system might give your salesperson the ability to, for example, change the billing contact address for a customer while mobile, they almost never need to do that, and exposing it gets in the way of what they do need to do - capture brief notes, update the opportunity stage, document the next step, etc.

Quote approvals and price calculation - Due to the fact that important discount or quote approvals can often be lost in the email inbox of sales and finance executives, delays are often introduced in the sales cycle. By using mobility, sales teams can decrease the time it takes to execute on discount approvals, allowing them to sell more in a shorter amount of time. One example is Volvo Financial Services’ sales team, who was bogged down with complex approval processes for discount approvals. To simplify and speed up the customer booking process, they turned to mobile apps that leveraged Volvo’s existing back-end systems. This provided an easy way for their sales team to calculate interest rates and gain instant price authorization, allowing their team to speed up the sales process and reduce approval time from days to hours.

Inventory lookup - Through mobile apps, account managers can have real-time access to inventory, which allows them to provide immediate information to prospects and customers. For instance, The Linde Group’s sales reps rely on mobile apps to answer questions about pricing or inventory in real-time when they’re with customers. By using mobile micro apps, the sales team can sit with a customer and check inventory balances within 10 seconds, a huge reduction from the 24 hours it used to take their team. This type of speed is crucial in the sales process and can help teams close more deals while delivering a better experience for their customers.

Sales assets - Mobility allows the sales team to always have access to necessary assets so they can maximize the effectiveness of a discussion. During meetings with prospects, sales teams can use mobile apps that allow them to quickly pull up customer references, case studies or detailed product information. The ability for sales teams to leverage collateral in real-time is exponentially more effective than telling the prospect, “I’ll get back to you about that.” Today’s customers expect immediate answers, so equip your sales person to provide them.

By tapping into mobility, the sales team can be more effective and provide a better experience for customers and prospects. Mobile adoption can ultimately transform the entire organization by helping maintain a competitive advantage, anticipate hurdles or growth opportunities, and deliver superior customer interactions. By embracing mobility, all organizations can have a fluid and well-oiled sales machine.

Lance  Walter is Chief Marketing Officer of Capriza, a startup that lets business users create and use mobile versions of enterprise software workflows themselves, in the form of simple mobile apps.