By Guy Tweedale (pictured), Managing Director at Apresta, a world leader in mobilising business processes
If you've ever worked in a busy sales environment, then you've probably heard the commendable old adage that claims "the customer is always right".
It's a lovely sentiment, and I'm not here to debunk it. But regardless of whether the customer is right or wrong, I think that a better (and far more important) question is: what does the customer want?
It's an easier question than you think. Customers want the same thing that all of us want. They want to feel valued, they want to be treated like individuals, they want to be rewarded for loyalty, and they want convenience.
Used correctly, the much-maligned area of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) can help to achieve these goals. In fact, we have been helping people to do exactly that for years.
However, ten years ago, the idea of "convenience" used to mean something very different than it does today. In today's incredibly fast-paced world, convenience has come to mean anytime-anywhere access to information.
And that's not just what customers want these days – it's what they expect!
The most recent convert to discover the value of anytime-anywhere access to data is a worldwide leader in industrial automation, interconnection, and interface solutions.
And it also happens to be one of the first companies to use our software's mobile capabilities in conjunction with BlackBerry devices in order to provide its mobile salesforce with real-time access to client, inventory, and order status information from its ERP and CRM systems.
For this particular company, the combination of Apresta and BlackBerry was fantastic. In one device, they now have access to mission critical information that allows them to respond faster to customer enquiries and requests.
With seamless and secure access to the company's ERP, CRM and other back office applications, their salesforce can now outsell and out-service the competition.
By using Apresta to automate key sales activities on a BlackBerry device, this company has effectively changed the way in which its sales teams access information.
As a result, it now benefits from faster and better decision-making (thanks to easy access to business-critical information), as well as improved customer support response times, since questions regarding product availability, lead times, and shipments are resolved in real-time from the client's site.
Sales have also increased, since customers are now able to make quicker decisions based on real-time information, and salespeople can place orders directly from the client site.
Field salespeople have also reported more efficient and streamlined sales administrative processes, since they can now search client information (such as order history and billing status) whilst traveling.
With such compelling anecdotal evidence, is it any wonder that Aberdeen Group reports that nearly 80 percent of the top performing companies plan to invest in mobile sales productivity tools to drive top-line growth within the next year?
The same report also concluded that these mobile sales initiatives are receiving sponsorship from C-level executives from these companies, as a reflection of the strategic nature of these investments.
The "Mobile Sales Solutions Benchmark Report: How Mobility Grows Revenues and Customers through Increased Sales Productivity" also revealed that 83 percent of the best-in-class organisations are already providing sales professionals with real-time access to mobile data, such as inventory availability, order enquiry, key customer account information, product catalogue and pricing, and lead and activity management.
The research reflects intelligence gathered from more than 150 companies, across multiple industries.
The Aberdeen report also found that the companies that have successfully deployed mobile systems cite revenue growth, increased productivity, and enhanced customer loyalty and retention as key measurements of the success for their mobile sales initiatives.
However, whilst these findings certainly help to illustrate the growing popularity of mobile sales initiatives, companies are increasingly finding that simply providing access to front-end sales applications is not enough.
Delivering secure access to multiple systems – CRM, ERP and home grown systems – is quickly becoming critical to providing sales personnel with the information they need to effectively serve customers and prospects and produce optimum business results.
Selling within a 24/7 global environment fosters demand for real-time access to pertinent customer data in order to maximise sales performance and better serve customers. In fact, it can mean the difference between a multi-million pound order and a lost deal.
You see, the customer doesn't always have to be right – he just needs to be satisfied. And that may just require a solution with no strings attached
Check out 12ahead, our brand new platform
covering the latest in cutting-edge digital marketing and creative technology from around the globe.
12ahead identifies emerging trends and helps
you to understand how they can apply to modern-day companies.
We believe 12ahead can put you and your
business 12 months ahead of the competition. Sign up for a free trial today.