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Mobile technologies in CRM

What is your opinion on the adoption of mobile technologies in CRM, specifically SFA (sales force automation)?
Sales reps want it all -- full access to customer information and common processes with full ease of use on the mobile phone or PDA they use today. Unfortunately, that's just not realistic with today's devices. Mobile/wireless SFA is gaining adoption when sales needs small amounts of real-time information (such as lead distribution to car sales staff or real estate agents) or when there's high value to a real-time response (such as brokers in financial services). The broad adoption of RIM in financial services shows that sales will drive adoption if they see enough value (several financial services firms have had to build CRM RIM applications when their sales staff adopted RIM email to the exclusion of other systems).

You've also got to let the mobile devices (and standards) mature. Right now, the lifespan of a mobile device is shorter than the amount of time to roll out a major SFA application. When the devices mature, gadget-loving sales people will buy them, and applications will start to flow, probably as an add-on to existing CRM, ERP or commerce applications. Except for industries where real-time information access is critical, I see this as much more of an cool nice-to-have rather than a must have -- it's the perk that saves the sales rep time so he or she can do their real job and bring in revenue.

For more information, check out SearchCRM's Best Web Links on Sales Force Automation.

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