iPads and CRM – the road to Nirvana or an Enterprise data security nightmare?

As builders of B2B sales apps for the iPad, we often hear from our customers about CRM and desires to get CRM data to sales reps in the field.  Whether its Salesforce.com or Microsoft Dynamics, one thing is clear the data in CRM systems could potentially boost sales out the roof for companies that embrace mobility.

In Part 1 of this series on iPad and CRM, we’ll focus on the potential reasons this combination could be successful in boosting sales and closing more deals.  In future articles, we’ll dive into the pitfalls and review some CRM apps that have made their way into the Apple App Store already.sales boost chart
First, here’s an event that convinced me that iPad and CRM could save my butt…

iPad and Salesforce.com make my life easy

Two weeks ago I was onsite at MoBio Labs training sales people and MoBio’s distributors on advanced techniques for selling with an iPad.  A gentlemen I had never seen walked in to the conference room and said hello to me like he knew me with a heavy accent.  I was completely at a loss.  Never seen the guy in my life. No idea how he knew me.

I did know his name though, Ian. While Kerri was introducing the agenda for the day, I figured it all out in 6 taps on my iPad. Open Salesforce.com App, Tap Accounts, search Mobio, open MoBio Account, scan down to my notes, and there is Ian, a UK distributor of MoBio that also has an account with us. 5 reps – 8000 SKUs. We’d interacted by email but never in person.

Case solved – total elapsed time 2 minutes.

I fully realize that the above scenario will not happen every day, and I could have done the same task with a laptop. The difference being I didn’t have to boot up, find a WiFi network, log in to SFDC, and then search. On my iPad it was tap, tap, search, tap, find.

Thus the power of an iPad is in rapid access to that customer data, or better yet snippets of the data that most relevant, via Apps and the iPad’s user interface.

5 ways the combination of iPad and CRM could help you close more deals

Here’s 5 ways that we think the combination of iPad and CRM could be extremely valuable to sales people in the field.

  • Pre-Visit Planning – everything we need to know about our accounts and prospects is available in one place, right where you need it when you need it. This allows you to refresh your self on key information right before you walk in the door
  • On-site Customer Information – having our customers history at our finger tips allows for more proactive customer care. You can quickly and easily recall conversations, notes, emails, quotes, and proposals during a sales call without having to “get back” to the prospect.
  • Share Quotes and Proposals – the iPad’s screen is ideal for sharing, and sometimes your customer wants to dig into a quote or proposal. Sharing on the iPad is just so much easier than via a laptop.
  • Configure, Price, Quote – CPQ – the iPad’s screen and the flow of apps like FatStax make configuring, pricing, and quoting a breeze when everything is set-up correctly.
  • Save Time on Admin Tasks – with CRM working correctly on the iPad, you should be able to enter key customer and account information on the fly while on site.  Thus preventing you from having the spend more time on entering data when you get back to the office.

The iPad/CRM combination has a ton of potential combining the usability of the iPad (screen sharing, App UI, and speed) with the versatility of CRM data. Using them together should help us close more deals and boost sales, not to mention keeping our managers happy. Seems like a win-win to me, what are your thoughts?