Cogent Mobile is a platform which is aimed at solving the problem of mobile CRM productivity for fields sales and field service professionals. These professionals are busy people with very active customer facing schedules. Their busy schedule often conflicts with the ability to update the CRM application to keep management up to date on deal progression and customer feedback. Our platform leverages voice recognition with CRM (salesforce.com) to provide use cases and functionality to improve enterprise mobile productivity. The Cogent vCRM app allows sales professionals and their organizations to save time by allowing seamless input, update and query of CRM data. The time savings equates to more productivity; and this in turn means the individual can use the time to meet with clients and generate more revenue.
The existing options for CRM while on-the-go are limited to:
Using mobile CRM (if available);
Connecting via laptop or mobile solution;
Calling or emailing the office or support call center
Our team conducted an extensive survey of professionals that utilized CRM software on a daily basis as part of their job responsibilities. The results of the survey were interesting and affirming of the approach and benefits of the vCRM solution that provides voice enabled command and control of mCRM. When the respondents were presented with the Cogent vCRM as a solution aimed at matching their CRM functionality to their modality; the respondents provided the following interesting points.
Site of CRM Access: 85% of respondents said they access CRM from home and many other noted accessing from hotel (38%) and airport (23%) – which can be attributed to the high incidence of working remotely (but not in transit) amongst our respondents. 27% accessed CRM from the customer site which make sense considering the purpose of the tool.
Change of Usage since Mobile CRM Implementation: For those respondents whose companies have implemented Mobile CRM, there has been little to no reported change in CRM usage. All respondents answered that they either continue to use their old way of accessing CRM or simply they don’t use the Mobile CRM. This finding may be a result of the previous finding, that adoption of Mobile CRM is not widespread as of yet and therefore usage has not caught on.
How CRM is Accessed: 77% of respondents accessed CRM on their home at the beginning/end of day, again, which can be explained by the high incidence of working remotely. 27% reported accessing CRM via mobile. In light of our findings about Company implemented Mobile CRM and change in CRM behavior, this suggests that mobile CRM is being used by individuals whose company did not implement Mobile CRM.
To learn more about Cogent Mobile, Inc. visit www.cogentmobile.com
Additionally to participate in the latest Cogent vCRM survey, please click on the link below to submit your responses.
According to a recently published study by Pew Internet, thirty-one percent of Americans would rather communicate through texting on a mobile phone rather than speaking with someone over the same phone. The flip side of that being 53% of the respondents preferred a voice call to a text message. The study also confirms a commonly known fact that approximately 4 in 5 of American adults own cell phones and three-quarters of them (73%) send and receive text messages.
Additionally it also found that both text messaging and phone calling on cell phones have leveled off for the adult population as a whole. An interesting interpretation of these findings is that they not only confirm the pervasive us of the non-audible communication (SMS texting, Instant Messaging, and MMS) in everyday life but they also validate the software evolutionary changes to leverage a more socially connected and hyper responsive consumer.
At the forefront of this evolution are Cloud software providers such as Salesforce.com, who have focused on building messaging platforms like Chatter, as a means to position for accelerating growth of these mediums in the enterprise/SMB arena. A host of offerings that provide free texting across platforms as positioning to leverage the consumer concerns around the texting cost on their mobile plans. Voice interactive mobile applications are a rapidly growing sector of mobile productivity which consumers continue to adopt to take advantage of benefits such as ease of use and compliance with regional driving and cellphone usage.
The increasing risks associated with individuals using their cellphone in the car are being recognized nationally as indicated by the latest report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Talking on a hand-held cellphone while driving is banned in 10 states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Utah, and Washington) and the District of Columbia. Furthermore, the use of all cellphones by drivers is restricted in 30 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, text messaging is banned for all drivers in 34 states and the District of Columbia.
Taking these facts into account, voice interactive productivity solutions for mobile professionals look to be strategically aligned to help keep the roadways safe. Companies that focus on addressing the productivity problem while seamlessly building extensible solutions for the organization; will be the ones to prevail in the convergence of smartphone dominance as a mobile personal computing device.
Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Field sale professionals are busy people, constantly in transit from customer to customer, needing real-time access to information from their corporate CRM. They often require discrete pieces of customer information in a timely manner; this requires them to either to call into the office or to find a wireless connection and access their network remotely. Furthermore, sale management is keenly focused on ensuring that their sales team is keeping the CRM system up-to-date. For businesses that are increasingly managed by data, CRM data integrity is ever more important.
Thus, the benefits of mobile sales force automation are many. These benefits have been detailed to varying degrees in a number of leading industry reports, vendor white papers, and CRM blogs. The top benefits of mobile SFA and mCRM are as follows:
- Improved data quality – real-time access allows sales reps to enter data into the system while still fresh in their mind, leading to more complete and accurate accounts of customer information
- Productivity gains – access to customer data used be a timely undertaking, requiring multiple phone calls or finding mobile connectivity; plus mobile direct access and automated tools eliminates cumbersome manual tasks
- Better preparation for meetings – mobile SFA allows sales reps to review timely and accurate customer information while on-the-go; ever more relevant with the rise of social enterprise initiatives
- Customer service improvements – sales reps are now able to respond near instantaneously to customer requests given that the information is readily available
- Increased user adoption of the underlying CRM – smartphone devices are compact and easy to use and provide an array of tools that support the sales reps daily tasks and simplify their lives; in turn, increased use of mobile CRM to retrieve, manage and enter customer data reinforces use of the underlying CRM system itself
Complementary technologies, namely mobile devices, their operating systems and mobile networks, have made great advances in the past five years. With the introduction of the current class of smartphones came increased data capacity and data transmission speed as well as markedly improved user interfaces. These technological advances make enterprise mobility, and all of its benefits, a reality. Furthermore, as the pace of business is increasing (for instance, as real-time customer to enterprise and rep to rep interactions are spawned by social CRM), the need for constant connectivity and real-time updates is now paramount to success.
According to Willaim Band of Forrester Research, in response to this clear business need and technological readiness, there has been a steady increase in the number of companies that are actively looking at, or have already deployed, a mobile CRM solution over the past few years. And as of 2010 nearly all CRM vendors offered mobile sales solutions. Yet despite this fact, and the clear business case, an earlier Forrester report (2008) suggested less than a third of enterprise and SMB sales organizations were utilizing or in the process of rolling out a mobile sales force application. While clearly gaining some momentum, it is perplexing why so few companies have not already fully embraced and adopted technology applications that have such clear cut benefits.
Looking at the exciting progression of enterprise CRM to mobile CRM (supposedly making it accessible anywhere anytime) it’s easy to lose sight of the obvious. CRM adoption has always had a less than stellar embrace from the chief beneficiaries of the technology – the sales professionals themselves. Why is that? There are the obvious benefits of CRM to the both individual rep and the organization of greater visibility and the ability to leverage the information from one central repository. But beyond the obvious improvements to sales hygiene that CRM offers, the glaring hole not often addressed are the organizations’ expectations and the resulting (negative) sales culture embodied in the usage of this repository.
And furthermore having worked at both starts-ups and large multinational enterprise software companies, I can say that the perceptions of the benefits of mobile CRM are not yet aligned with the burgeoning shift to the mobile medium. While the fundamental belief (by both the organizations and the professionals) has remained that field sales professionals need to be more connected and need more relevant tools to execute on the organizations mission, there remains a misalignment with desired functionality and ease of use and the mobile medium itself.
Cogent Mobile, has it genesis from the belief that the fundamental issue with mobile CRM adoption is not for lack of applications and tools to exploit the benefits of conventional CRM. Our hypothesis is that user adoption and CRM usage is hampered by the form factors of the mobile CRM currently available. Sales professionals are constantly moving, in-transit and multi-tasking, yet mobile CRM technologies have not evolved to match the pace and required ease of use needed to keep up with the inflow of business critical information. Cogent Mobile addresses these and many more issues by providing an interactive voice user interface as the medium for sales professionals to get, update, create and manage information in their CRM. What we have created is the first of its kind virtual private assistant for mobile CRM that will hopefully revolutionize the way sales professionals work.
The most relevant sub-segment of the CRM market for Cogent Mobile is Mobile CRM (mCRM) space. By our definition mCRM is mobile, full-featured software that allow field workers (such as sales representatives) to access and interact with customer data via their mobile devices while working remotely. According to a 2008 survey by Forrester Research, nearly 50% of Enterprises and more than 40% of SMBs were piloting, rolling out, or currently using mobile applications for sales force automation. We believe that in 2011, this number is significantly higher (though we have yet to locate a credible industry survey to support this supposition).
So based on the CRM mobile penetration and the overall size of the CRM market, Cogent Mobile estimates that mCRM currently represents approximately 20% of total the sales force automation CRM market, or conservatively a $700 million global market and $300 million North American market.
Additional relevant market size points of interest about CRM and mCRM:
• CRM represents 25% of ERP market (which was over $9 billion globally and $4 billion in North America as of 2009)
• 6% annual growth rate projected for CRM (with significantly higher growth rates for mobile solutions and SaaS based products – e.g. Salesforce.com is growing at 25%+ per annum)
• Overall mobile enterprise application spend is projected at $9 billion by 2011 (this includes all enterprise mobile applications from text to email to innovative CRM solutions such as Cogent)
All in all Cogent Mobile believes that the mobile enterprise space is very much in its early stages and will show some impressive growth in the coming years. As Cogent continues to size the mobile CRM market we will keep updating this blog with any information we can locate. We openly welcome any reader insight on the size of the mCRM market.
Source: Gartner, 2009.
First off, let it be said that we fundamentally like (maybe even love) the concept of Mobile CRM (mCRM) for Sales Force Automation (SFA). In fact, we think it has the potential to be one of most important business/sales management tools in existence. In the increasingly metrics driven world in which businesses operate today, having a CRM system is imperative to anyone hoping to compete and survive. And for those with a mobile sales force, providing remote access to CRM is only common sense.
There are a number of really great mCRM systems out there (with Salesforce.com leading the charge in our minds, and clearly in the minds of many others). That all being said, mCRM in all of its potential greatness still has its problems. Why is it that organizations spend their hard earned cash on mCRM system upgrades and yet struggle so much with user adoption? Here are a few of our thoughts:
1. mCRM Systems were Designed for the Wrong User – In the sales organization ecosystem there is the sales person (the end user) and the manager (the decision making unit). We believe that too many mCRM systems were designed with the decision making unit in mind, and not the end user. The result is systems that are really great at producing reports, but are just not that user friendly.
2. Mismatch between Modality and Functionality – Smartphones have made mCRM possible, but let’s be honest no one likes to “fat finger” in a long meeting note on those tiny little keyboards. And reading a mobile GUI while on the go can be frustrating at best.
3. Lack of User Support and Training – End users already know how to use CRM and they are familiar with their phones, so many first generation mCRM applications took this for granted. The organizations who sold and bought mCRM wrongly assumed that could simply you take an existing CRM, format it for a mobile phone, and users should just get it. Not so, users need support and training.
As we said, we fundamentally love the concept of mCRM. To make it all that it can be, Cogent Mobile is in the midst of working on addressing these shortcomings. We hope to be sharing our solution with you all very soon.
We would love to hear your thoughts on the shortcomings (or advantages) of mCRM.