The inflection point of enabling mobile devices with greater contextual intelligence, data reporting, visualization and selling features has arrived. The mobile-first strategies of every major CRM provider are now in its third generation of application development, often configurable with easy-to-use administration screens by users in a wide variety of languages. Global adoption of CRM has improved significantly, thanks to the continued success of mobile-first application development strategies.
Many enterprises want to customize their mobile apps for globally-based salesforces, often choosing to use Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to precisely define the user experience that will lead to the fastest revenue growth. Sales teams are no longer constrained by mobile operating systems that were designed to lock the user in instead of opening up opportunities for them to collaborate with other sales teams, both internal and external. Today, hundreds of enterprises are rapidly adopting cloud-based CRM platforms. There are many benefits to cloud CRM platforms, with the most valuable — from a sales effectiveness standpoint — being the support for mobile applications across any device with Internet access.
The State of Mobile CRM
- Creating new business models, improving customer engagement and improving data visibility that delivers greater salesforce efficiency are the top three factors that drive organizations to adopt mobile-first CRM strategies, according to Gartner.
- 25% of all CRM systems globally are now implemented with mobile CRM app support, with the majority relying on a mobile-first strategy, according to Gartner.
- Sales teams gain a 14.6% productivity increase when mobile-first applications are developed for their organization’s selling strategies, according to Nucleus Research.
- By 2020, 60% of tasks will take place across multiple devices, involving contextual delivery and conversational UI across any Internet-ready device, according to Gartner’s study: Predicts 2017: Mobile and Client Platforms.
Cloud Platforms Enable Faster Mobile CRM Adoption And Success
Oftentimes, customers are the source of the greatest innovation. They can point out the most needed changes in how companies attempting to sell to them use enterprise software. It’s ironic that non-cloud based CRM applications had a wealth of insights into what customers wanted in the way of improved speed, scale and simpler customer experiences, yet failed to act on the feedback received. The proliferation of cloud platforms is a result of how urgent both Business-to-Consumer (B2C) and Business-to-Business (B2B) sales teams and the customers they serve need greater contextual intelligence and insight. And those advanced levels of customer intelligence are nearly impossible to gain from legacy, home-grown and, in many cases, on-premise systems. Before the rapid adoption and growth of cloud platforms, mobile CRM applications had proprietary interfaces that made them a challenge to integrate with.
Also, these legacy mobile platforms often required months of development effort just to get an application up and running. Too often, the application would then need additional feature development from the IT department to keep it current. Cloud Platforms alleviated many of these challenges by creating APIs that could scale across any device that could connect to the Web. With an API structure to the entire platform, CRM application developers can increase the speed and scale of the applications they create. Simplifying entire applications for each customer is now completed in a fraction of the time it took with legacy mobile application platforms.
The bottom line is that cloud platforms enable faster mobile app development, greater simplicity in customizing applications for specific needs and immediate scalability across any size organization, from a small business to global enterprises. The following graphic provides a comparison of mobile platforms that were, for the most part, deployed on-premise, versus the current and future generations of cloud platforms supporting mobile CRM applications.
Why Cloud Platforms Are Making A Difference in Mobile CRM Now
By 2018, 62% of all CRM software will be cloud-based, with Salesforce solidifying its market leadership position. The catalysts driving the proliferation of platforms are customer-based, with changing expectations regarding responsiveness, support and contextual intelligence the most important. Customers are also changing quickly regarding which channels, sales teams and websites they prefer to purchase from. All sales channels need to flex to these changing customer requirements, and cloud platforms have proven to be the most reliable in making this happen. From Microsoft’s AX platform to Oracle Cloud, SAP and the Salesforce platform, SaaS-based application developers have many options available for creating current and next-generation CRM mobile apps.
Regardless of the platform selected, mobile CRM applications need to scale fast enough to support new business models, help accelerate new products to market and simplify deployment operations on a global scale. Accomplishing these goals sets the foundation for turning insight into revenue. Simply put, scale, accelerate and simplify mobile CRM app deployment on any platform opens up entirely new channels to revenue faster than any other cloud-enabled strategy.
Fine-tuning mobile CRM applications for greater speed, scale and simplicity deliver excellent customer experiences. Mobile CRM applications’ graphical user interfaces, intuitive navigation and mobile-first responsive designs are pervasive today. Born-in-the-cloud mobile CRM applications are setting a new standard for usability and ease-of-use, with adoption accelerating quickly as a result.
10 Ways Cloud Platforms Are Enabling Greater Mobile CRM Success
Removing roadblocks from sales cycles and generating more revenue by being able to respond faster with quotes, contracts and other information customers need is the overarching goal of adopting mobile CRM apps. There are many other ways cloud platforms are enabling mobile CRM success, and ten of them are listed below:
- Designing greater responsiveness and speed into mobile CRM apps to improve sales cycle close rates. The immediate, always-on responsiveness of social networks have raised customers’ and sales teams’ expectations of how quickly they’ll get a response from sales, support, fulfillment and service. Cloud CRM apps designed for responsiveness and speed deliver the data needed to keep customers loyal, and deliver an excellent experience on a 24/7 basis.
- The flexibility of fine-tuning core platform components, including databases integrated with the mobile CRM apps, application network and usability configuration options. It’s possible to fine-tune mobile CRM app performance to the platform level, further increasing the speed, scale and responsiveness to customers. On legacy mobile CRM app platforms, this would take months to get done, and often was a trial-and-error process. On CRM cloud platforms, more iterations of changes can be made, and performance gains attained faster.
- CRM apps built on cloud platforms also have greater levels of reliability and scalability, as the supporting Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform layer enables them to flex in real-time to user’s needs. Instead of being constrained by mobile app legacy systems that lacked architectural structures that could flex for reliability and scalability, CRM cloud platforms can be managed within a series of operation parameters. This keeps them in step with every customer group, sales team and channel partner organization relying on the mobile CRM apps. Mobile CRM apps can be configured to provide an immediate response on a 24/7 basis by creating automated integrations across diverse systems. Customers can use a mobile app anytime 24 hours a day, and get an immediate automated response to their queries.
- It’s possible to port born-in-the-cloud apps to platforms, and still has the scale and speed of an entire cloud platform. With response times and usability the most important criterion for cloud apps, the challenge is to have a stable cloud platform that can flex and, if necessary, reconfigure itself for higher performance. CRM platforms from Microsoft, Oracle and Salesforce can be configured to flex for intensive or light workloads.
- CRM cloud platforms and their supporting architectures simplify the complexities of keeping apps and databases in compliance over time. When many CIOs consider their greatest challenges for 2018, one of the most complex will be ensuring compliance across CRM, ERP and SCM systems. Next year there’s going to be more compliance requirements in healthcare, financial services, manufacturing and many other industries. A CRM cloud platform can be customized to meet specific compliance requirements, saving thousands of hours from reporting and potential audits in the process.
- CRM cloud platforms and the public and private cloud architectures they’re built on are purpose-built to turn previous generation apps’ greatest weakness: reliability, into a strength. One of the original design goals of CRM platforms at each of the companies offering them today is to provide High Availability (HA) support for cloud apps. Today, all cloud CRM platforms provide fail-over options on both a regional and global level, including automated backup options.
- Capturing valuable knowledge of how customers use each app daily, including most-used features, potential resource conflicts at the platform level and which integration points they need. Being responsive to customers and the areas of improvement they can see during daily use of a cloud app is invaluable. CRM cloud platforms are designed to also provide this feedback in real-time, 24/7, 365 days a year. CRM application developers know what needs to be changed to increase overall app performance.
- CRM Cloud platforms that secure data far beyond what legacy and on-premise mobile platforms and apps are capable of. A core design component of the public and private cloud architectures that CRM cloud platforms are built on includes enterprise-level security to the role level of every system account. Both CRM cloud platform providers and the architectures they’re built on continually invest in improving security. Enterprise platform security is one factor that appeals most to CIOs and IT departments considering a move to cloud platforms over staying on-premise.
- Building mobile apps on a CRM cloud platform delivers above-average performance when databases and infrastructure are all configured to streamline and simplify complex workflows. All mobile CRM apps rely on integration with third-party databases, cloud and on-premise systems. The highest performing mobile CRM apps today are configured to the platform level, often using APIs to enable real-time integration with systems needed to complete transactions.
- CRM cloud platform providers are partnering with Amazon Web Services, Google and others, so the mobile apps being created and actively used will be able to scale across global locations simultaneously, with no reduction in app performance. One of the most challenging aspects of launching a mobile CRM app is gaining adoption on a global scale. For many born-in-the-cloud CRM providers, including Salesforce, the challenge is to select a public cloud platform that can scale globally. Their recent announcement of a global alliance with Google solves this challenge. The ability to scale a mobile CRM application worldwide in seconds is possible today. For mobile CRM app providers, the decision of which CRM cloud platform and public cloud infrastructure provider makes the most sense for their customers’ needs is driving this decision.