How to Deploy Mobile CRM at Your Organization: 4 Tips for Getting Started
How do you go about implementing a mobile CRM deployment? What should you do first? What kind of mistakes should you
watch out for? This article answers all these questions and more, by showing you what you need to know to get started
with a mobile CRM solution that drives efficiencies for your sales force.
Most of what you need to know about starting a mobile CRM deployment is outlined in the following four steps. Be sure to
look at the recommended resources listed throughout, and at the end of, this article for more detailed information.
Tip # 1: Assess whether or not mobile CRM makes sense for your organization.
To do this, take a look at your sales organization currently. What CRM or Sales Force Automation (SFA) tools do you use
today to make your salespeople more effective? Once you identify these tools, assess whether or not mobilizing those
applications on a BlackBerry would result in incremental or substantial benefit to your sales people.
Some questions to ask are:
- Will mobile access to these tools improve how our salespeople they do their work?
- Will it save them time that could be used interacting with customer and advancing leads?
- Would it improve their effectiveness in closing deals, by helping them close deals in a shorter time frame, and/or with less calls per lead?
If mobility solution makes sense for your organization, you'll need to put together a sound business case that illustrates
this value for other stakeholders in your company. Building the business case to document this is not as difficult as you
might think. In fact, RIM shows you how to do so in this on demand webcast: Building the Business Case for Applications
Tip # 2: Understand your options for extending your existing CRM environment to the BlackBerry.
Your existing CRM solution will determine what options you have in terms of setting up your mobile CRM deployment.
For example, Saleforce.com delivers their own proprietary application for mobilizing to BlackBerry. The same is true for Sage
software and SalesLogix. If, however, you're working with something like SAP or Seibel, you'll need to bring in a third party
Independent Software Vendor (ISV) to manage the mobile deployment. ISVs provide the middleware software solution that essentially
connects existing enterprise server-based applications (like CRM and SFA applications) into the BlackBerry Enterprise Server®
infrastructure, including mobile data systems.
You can visit the BlackBerry® Solutions for Sales Force Automation web site to learn more about specific ISVs.
(Scroll down to Third Party Solutions menu and click "See More" on the page.)
Be sure to ask your existing CRM vendor, "What are the options available to us for extending to BlackBerry?"
Ask for case studies of proven deployment and customer references.
Working with Vendors
You may discover that there are multiple ISVs who offer solutions for extending your particular brand of CRM software to BlackBerry.
Ultimately, you will have to decide which vendor is most suitable to your scenario. Also ask these vendors for case
studies and customer references.
Remember that there may be as many as three vendors involved with your CRM deployment. These may include your CRM vendor, the
appropriate ISV, or RIM. Ultimately you can expect one of these vendors to take the lead for your implementation. Typically you
can expect your ISV to liaise with RIM and your CRM backend counterparts.
With your business case built, and a clear understanding of your options for extending your particular brand of CRM software,
it's time to consider the single-most important factor affecting the success of a mobile CRM deployment: your user base.
Tip # 3: Engage Your User Base Early.
The most critical success factor in a CRM mobilization deployment is establishing buy in among the user base. You can do this
by educating your salespeople on the reasons for mobilizing CRM. This type of mobility tool will change the way your salespeople
work, so to help prevent any resistance to this major change, your message to salespeople must clearly communicate the benefits
that will result. Important elements of the message to salespeople are illustrated in these generic sample statements:
- The ability to interface with the CRM system on your BlackBerry smartphone saves you time and helps you manage important
account details. Ultimately, it allows you to close sales faster and with less total calls to each customer, which shortens
your sales cycles and allows you to sell more.
- Before you go into an account, you can do a quick check on status on the account, and scan the latest calls to action that
have been imposed. This knowledge can provide you with conversation starters or make you aware of new sales opportunities that
you would otherwise not have known about.
- After the call you can do an update right away via the BlackBerry CRM database as to what actions need to be taken, versus
taking notes during the call or trying to keep everything in your head, and risking missing or forgetting important information
when it comes time to input into your CRM system later.
You can of course add specifics to these statements, which focus on those areas of your mobile CRM deployment that deliver most
value to salespeople in your organization.
Driving the Message Home with Training
A training program is essential, to ensure that salespeople can experience for themselves how the benefits of the mobile CRM
deployment will ring true. What might a training program look like? Here's a quick look at how SAP America structured training their
own sales force when they first extended their mySAP application to BlackBerry smartphones:
Training played an important role as part of the solution. When the portal was deployed, classes were implemented that
addressed both the portal and the mobile application simultaneously. The training courses lasted 4 hours, with 3 hours and
15 minutes dedicated to the portal and just 30.45 minutes for the BlackBerry application. Training began in April 2005 for
3 months in 7 different locations for a total of 15.20 days of training (broken into 4-hour sessions).
From the IDC Case Study: Business Value Analysis of mySAP CRM on BlackBerry at SAP America, January 2007.
Tip # 4: Define and Measure Key Performance Indicators.
Define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) early (as you build the business case) and commit to measuring them regularly after
deployment, to prove the value of the solution. Useful KPIs to consider for your mobile CRM are:
- Adoption Rate (i.e. the percentage of the user base actively using the new mobile CRM application),
- Activity by Day of Week, so you can look for smoothing out of usage activity compared to usage spikes on the day before CRM reporting is due, and
- Activities by User, to measure overall increase in CRM system usage post mobile deployment.
An initiative like CRM can get derailed at the end of a pilot, or shortly afterward, if not properly measured and reported on.
Your commitment to measurements will ensure that your CRM deployment remains viable and achieve projected sales performance and ROI
results over the long term.
RIM provides you with a simple ROI Calculator spreadsheet tool for calculating ROI on enterprise applications using BlackBerry®
Enterprise Solution™ v4.0 or previous versions. Click here to download the tool.
For more useful tips on how to deploy mobile CRM at your organization, check out the other articles in this issue of BlackBerry
Connection, and the list of recommended resources below.
Also in this Issue:
Two Common Pitfalls of Mobile CRM Deployment and How to Avoid Them
Mobile CRM at SAP America: Case Study Snapshot
Case Study: Business Value Analysis of mySAP CRM on BlackBerry at SAP America.
End-to-end analysis of SAP America's mobile CRM deployment, including project timeline, lessons learned, benefits summary and quantitative analysis of results. Published by IDC.
Webcast: Building the Business Case for Applications on BlackBerry.
ROI Calculator for enterprise applications using BlackBerry® Enterprise Solution™ v4.0 or previous versions.
BlackBerry Sales Force Automation Solutions web site