With mobile devices giving employees the ability to take their work with them — quite effectively, in fact, enterprises are stepping up their efforts to see how these tools can work to their advantage.

More than half of companies surveyed in a recent study by Constellation Research reported that tablets and other mobile tools pave the way to better collaboration, improved communication and increased productivity. They also said that leveraging mobile as a tool will be a top priority in the coming years.

“Mobile has given us incredible freedom to work anywhere, anytime, anyplace across the boundaries that used to be restricted,” said Alan Lepofsky of Constellation Research. However, as Lepofsky pointed out, not as many companies are doing an effective job at making the shift to transform their workplace with mobile devices. “A large gap exists between what companies know they should be doing and what they have currently accomplished” he said.

So, where to start?

If you’re still struggling to figure out ways to use tablets to your advantage in the sales arena, consider starting with CRM (customer relationship management). It could be one of the most effective ways to see results from a sales perspective. According to Nucleus Research, providing your sales reps with mobile device access to CRM drove a 14.6 percent productivity increase.

Although CRM systems, like Salesforce, have long been recognized as essential tools for sales teams, they are less likely to update customer information while in the field without a mobile platform readily available.

Using CRM in the field

Making the shift to mobile CRM platforms can lead to a significant boost in sales productivity. How so? With your sales rep gaining real-time access to data — with the ability to both review it and update it, they have the tools to create and track sales leads online while out in the field.

In addition, managers and other sales personnel who want to approve business processes and manage company information can do so through their company CRM system via their mobile devices.

When your team is stressing CRM adoption, it’s important to consider the obstacles that may get in the way of 100 percent compliance. It’s also important to see how anything less than full adoption of CRM could be reducing its impact on the company’s objectives.

Devote the time to ask other hard questions. What are your company goals? Are you looking for an extended adoption of your company’s existing CRM system with mobile access or are you looking to enable new business procedures that were not previously without new CRM software? Your answers will help you outline your strategy and choose the CRM software that works best for you.

Leveraging CRM to get to the next level

While they’re out in the field, sales reps need to stay focused on selling. By reducing administrative processes and automating input from sales people into your CRM, you can start saving time, improve productivity, increase the accuracy of your data — and, most importantly, boost your likelihood of making more sales.

About J. Rusty Bishop, PhD

I've spent the last 5 years helping great brands create amazing experiences for their sales teams during one on one sales interactions. Helping sales people do their job is my passion. When I'm not working, I am on the ocean fishing in San Diego, Ca.