CPG Tools & Tech

Traditional vs Mobile CRM: Making the Right Choice for Field Teams

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction."

--Albert Einstein

MobileCRMCRM, ERP, SCM, and the other software acronyms that exist to streamline various business processes all serve very important functions. Unfortunately, for many small and medium business owners, these traditional software suites are not what they need to help them succeed and grow. According to a Gartner.com study, over 50% of businesses which have purchased traditional CRM software are not using it. That amounts to roughly 2 billion dollars a year that is being thrown away. 

So why isn’t this software being used? The intentions are good—managers and business owners want to improve the way their business is run, gathering data and making educated decisions based upon findings. They hear or see that traditional CRM has worked for big, successful businesses and want to give their organization that same boost. Unfortunately, employees often don’t like it. In fact, 82.9% of a group of 500 SME business owners said that getting staff to use their software was the biggest challenge they faced with traditional CRM.

CRM software is a powerful tool, designed to meet big needs. Entrepreneurs, small businesses, and sometimes even medium businesses don’t require all the depth that such a complex solution offers, and field team employees know it. Companies are spending a lot of money on powerful tools when simpler solutions are right in front of them. What tools are these? It depends on the business.

The first big traditional CRM platform, Salesforce.com, came out in 1999, 15 years ago now. If that doesn’t seem that long ago to you, take a look at what Google’s homepage looked like the month Salesforce.com was founded. At its inception, traditional CRM was the tool that everyone needed, regardless of size, because it was the only option of its kind available. With the march of time has come an avalanche of technological innovations that have changed both the way businesses operate and the way consumers shop and purchase. Now there are plenty of single-purpose tools with intuitive interfaces and inexpensive entry costs, enabling every business owner who wants to leverage technology for their company. More specifically, businesses with representatives or brand ambassadors operating in the field, such as merchandisers or CPG companies, have the ability to use Mobile CRM Software to streamline their field operations.

Mobile CRM software is available on both mobile devices and desktops. Designed specifically for organizations in the field, this kind of software allows team managers to track their representatives in the field and collect reports in real-time. Some of these software applications even allow employees to take photos of their work in the field, allowing managers to make sure that employees are performing up to standards, and that retailers are abiding by the terms agreed to. Mobile CRM is a simplified solution to a problem with underestimated complexity. If businesses think that they may want to adopt traditional CRM software in the future as they grow, there are plenty of field service management software solutions available that offer integration with tools such as Salesforce.com. With a price point and intuitive interface that allows almost any business to jump right in and be more productive, Mobile CRM is the alternative that field organizations need.

Traditional CRM isn’t bad by any means. It serves an important purpose at deeper levels of analytics and has enabled many businesses to predict customer behavior in ways they never thought possible.  For small and medium agile organizations, the giant toolbox has been thrown away in favor of the Swiss Army Knife—smartphones and tablets offer more versatility to business owners and managers than anything else on the market, and for every business need, there is a developer out there looking to produce a solution.

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Marko Kovač

Marko Kovac is co-founder and CEO of Repsly. He has more then 15 years of business software experience, with 6 years specifically focused on field activity management.

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