A Quick Guide to Mobile CRMLike many business processes, sales and marketing departments are becoming less reliant on a physical office every day. Representatives are increasingly working in the field, from home, and even while traveling for business or pleasure. These reps are becoming more reliant on mobile devices to allow them to transition seamlessly from their physical office to a virtual office.

We get a lot of inquiries from businesses that are experiencing this transition to a mobile sales force. They want to know which CRM vendors provide applications for mobile devices and what functionality those applications offer. Reps use a variety of devices to conduct business on the go, from company-issued smartphones to personal phones, laptops, and tablets—-or a mixture of all of the above. Like most people, mobile business users are comfortable with the devices they use regularly, and can be reluctant to move to a one-size-fits-all device issued by their company. That can make it difficult for a business to choose a mobile CRM solution that will fit all of their employees needs. Below is a quick guide to the current mobile CRM landscape to help businesses understand what CRM vendors offer for mobile access to their products.

Salesforce

One of the “big four” in the CRM space, Salesforce offers CRM solutions for SMBs, mid-market, and enterprise customers. For mobile CRM users, Salesforce offers a variety of options to access both their “Chatter” social networking software and their core sales cloud application.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Another of the big four, Microsoft, like Salesforce, offers solutions for SMBs, mid-market, and enterprise customers. They offer read-only mobile broswer support for CRM users with Android, iPhone, and Windows Mobile devices.

  • Dedicated mobile apps available: Third-party only
  • Access from mobile browser: Yes, but read-only, contact data and notes cannot be edited at this time

Oracle

Third of the big four CRM vendors, Oracle’s customer base skews towards very large enterprise customers that are deeply integrated with the entire Oracle software ecosystem. They currently offer a native application only for iPhone and Blackberry users. When using a Blackberry, the calendar and contact information is not available. For other mobile CRM users, Oracle CRM offers a cross-browser gateway with full functionality.

SAP

The last of the big four, SAP CRM also offers solutions from the SMB to the large-enterprise markets. At this time, SAP doesn’t offer a standalone CRM solution. CRM is an additional module for their ERP products. It’s also necessary to add a Mobile Enterprise Application Platform to access their mobile apps. Once all of that is in place, they offer native applications for iOS and Blackberry phones, as well as iOS, Android, Windows, and Blackberry tablets. They also offer a cross-browser web platform with full functionality.

  • Dedicated mobile apps available: iOS (iPhone/iPad) | Blackberry (phone/tablet) | Android (tablet only) | Windows (tablet only)
  • Access from mobile browser: Yes

Sage CRM

Sage CRM is a vendor that deals primarily with SMB’s and mid-market businesses. Sage CRM mobile offers native apps for phones and tablets running on Android and iOS. They also offer a browser-based portal for mobile CRM users on tablets and phones that use other operating systems.

  • Dedicated mobile apps available: iOS | Android
  • Access from mobile browser: Yes

SugarCRM

Sugar offers an open-source CRM solution for SMBs, and has partnered with IBM to start pursuing mid-market and enterprise clients. They offer a choice of mobile CRM solutions to support different devices and features. Sugar Mobile is included with all subscriptions, and offers native applications for iOS and Android devices.

Sugar Mobile Plus supports iPads, iPhones, and Blackberry devices. It is available a-la-carte with their Professional package, and is included with their Corporate, Enterprise, and Ultimate packages. Sugar Mobile Browser allows users to access CRM data using a mobile web browser, but is somewhat limited. Calendar, email, forecast, report, and target list modules can’t be accessed.

Zoho

Focused on small businesses, Zoho CRM offers an inexpensive, and sometimes free, CRM solution for budding entrepreneurs. Zoho offers a native application for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Blackberry users. They also offer a fully-featured web application free to all users.

Nimble

Also focused on small businesses, Nimble has gone to great lengths to integrate social CRM into their platform. At this time, they only offer a native app for iPhone users. Nimble does offer web access, but usability and features will largely depend on the device and software versions used.

  • Dedicated mobile apps available: iOS only at this time
  • Access from mobile browser: Yes, but functionality will differ depending on user’s mobile browser and platform

GoldMine

A division of FrontRange solutions, GoldMine is designed for small- to medium-sized businesses. Currently, GoldMine only offers native applications for mobile CRM users on iOS phones and tablets. Full web access is available through the use of iGoldMine, which must be purchased separately.

  • Dedicated mobile apps available: iOS only at this time
  • Access via mobile browser: Yes, but requires an additional purchase from the vendor

Netsuite

Another SMB vendor, Netsuite CRM is packaged as part of Netsuite’s comprehensive business management system. Netsuite offers comprehensive native support for iPhone users, and sync-only functionality for Blackberry users. Web access is also available from a variety of mobile browsers.

Infusionsoft

The last of the CRM providers we’ll cover here, Infusionsoft also services the SMB market. They currently offer a mobile application for both Android and iOS, however, it is not recommended to use Infusionsoft within a mobile browser.

  • Dedicated mobile apps available: iOS (limited functionality) | Android (limited functionality)
  • Access from mobile browser: Not recommended

The mobile CRM market is in a rapid state of change. Many vendors are rushing to push out mobile applications while optimizing their software for mobile browsers. Others are turning to third-party applications to provide mobile device support. There are also many third-party apps available, most of which are neither recommended nor supported by the vendors themselves. This constant state of change and uncertainty adds another layer of consideration to choosing the correct CRM solution. If mobile access is at or near the top of your CRM selection requirements, we strongly recommend speaking with a vendor in detail about what options are available before committing to a purchase.

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