Your sales team needs tools that provide information, scheduling, forecasting — and are easy to use. While laptops and tablets are popular, the smaller, lighter handheld devices such as the iPhone and BlackBerry are capable of the same functionality. And software is available to take advantage of these small devices.
What features does your sales team need? Faron Thompson, managing director of Primary Capital Mortgage in Atlanta, Ga., loves having the ability to customize, drill down and sort fields in the dashboard, plus the ability to integrate home-grown applications. He says that a mobile platform needs to be an extension of the desktop, complete with accessibility to email and scheduling.
Other features guaranteed to draw in your sales team include:
- User-friendly dashboards
- Portals that allow you to dig in for more information, formatted the way you want
- Personalized scheduling and to-do lists
- Web access and email
- Lead and opportunity management
- Ability to view and update KPIs (key performance indicators)
- Pipeline information
- Ability to work offline, with easy connectivity to home base
- Compatibility with Microsoft Outlook, Excel and Word
- Ability to sort by customer, quarterly or monthly sales targets, campaign effectiveness and other information
Here are some products that deliver these capabilities and more:
Salesforce.com Inc . offers sales, marketing and analytic support, plus an AppExchange where users can test-drive and download applications without having to reinvent the wheel. Applications enable dashboard views that are customizable per job category, such as marketing manager, sales rep, support or financial analysis. Drill-down and sort functions make data readily available. Salesforce.com integrates with Outlook, Excel and Word, and it provides offline access on your laptop or PDA.
Sage Software Inc .'s ACT! displays a dashboard on start-up that can be customized to show your schedule, activities, opportunities, opportunity pipeline by stage, top 10 opportunities and closed opportunities — all on a single screen. Managers can also track group performance. The Dashboard Designer feature enables customization of components and creation of new ones.
Oracle Corp . has developed a new BlackBerry platform in collaboration with Research in Motion Ltd. Oracle CRM affords wireless access to important data and the ability to work offline to manage personal and customer data. The new Oracle Contact Center Anywhere 8.1.1 offers VoIP , email and Web access to keep you updated and connected.
NetSuite Inc . accesses real-time data to integrate sales, marketing and support teams. Its high-rated dashboard is personalized per employee, including snapshots of KPIs, knowledge management and a command-center approach to scheduling and contacts.
Microsoft Corp .'s Dynamics CRM promises easy integration with marketing, financial and service departments to integrate sales efforts with marketing strategies and service requirements. Dynamics works inside Microsoft Outlook, so the dashboard is familiar and easy to learn for previous Microsoft-product users. The Workflow Manager tool creates user-defined steps from opportunity to closure. Customer profiles are sorted by column, and keyboard shortcuts enhance efficiency.
Maximizer Software Inc .'s Version 10 coordinates with Palm and Windows Mobile devices, and it can use Outlook to hook up to your office for easy download or upload to your database servers. As well as containing the usual email and calendar functions, Maximizer's ability to drill down and reformat information and create user-defined fields makes it a time saver for sales teams. All fields — user-defined and otherwise — can be drilled into and reformatted to accommodate individual needs.