Mobile enterprise app maker DoubleDutch's announcement today of $4 million in Series B financing led by Floodgate Fund hints at the broader trend in the space—organizations are increasingly mobilizing sales forces but still face a unique set of challenges in top-down enterprise deployments.
DoubleDutch, which added venture capitalist Mike Maples Jr. to its board of directors during its latest round of funding, seeks to make "mobile-first" CRM applications that DoubleDutch's cofounder and CEO Lawrence Coburn says will shape the company's product road map.
The Hive application, launched this September, logs actions made on iPhone or Android devices directly in the Salesforce.com opportunity contact record; sales reps on the road can set up mobile push notifications for meetings or prompt reminders to log customer visits in their CRM.
The goal is "to help that sales guy manage that lead up until close," Coburn comments. "We have about 500 companies that are using the free version and a couple of companies that are doing a larger top-down deployment [one of which is a 2,000 seat deployment.] I think the message of, 'How do you quickly and easily update Salesforce from your phone' resonates pretty well with the market."
Another of DoubleDutch's products, Flock, an interactive event and conference scheduling mobile app, is used by Fortune 500s for customer days, such as 3D design software company Autodesk's Autodesk University event. Attendees can bookmark sessions, favorite speakers, and comment on products and discussions, which Coburn says gives Autodesk an additional layer of insight into how solutions are resonating with customers and where they might appropriate investment in the coming year.
DoubleDutch's Pride App takes Hive's capabilities one step further by turning opportunities into a team effort for sales and product managers through a collaboration tool. "We're looking at, 'How do these apps work together and improve the functionality of what was possible with a desktop version of a system," Coburn says.
Another mobile enterprise start-up, Selligy, looks to simplify the journey to the sales meeting. The company just launched the public beta of the Selligy iPhone app, which syncs a sales rep's iPhone calendar contacts, offers up opportunity contact information through a Salesforce.com integration, and uses location-based triggers to alert reps to how long they have until their next customer meeting based on geographic position and traffic.
"What became obvious when people started selecting their own smartphones and bringing them to work is that it wouldn't be too long before they started selecting their own software as well," remarks Nilay Patel, Selligy's cofounder and CEO. How this plays into the sales organization, he says, is how mobility has impacted a salesperson's average day to day.
"One of the challenges salespeople have is their CRM system[s are] designed for the desktop PC," Patel observes. "If [salespeople have] three to four meetings a day, they generally don't update their CRM until the end of the day if at all. So a lot of the details are lost or intermingled."
Software company Taptera, developer of applications Serendipity and Collateral, and which recently introduced voice-to-CRM iOS application Sophia, says enterprises face some inherent challenges in mobility, such as picking the right mobile device management partner to selecting an authentication solution.
Once infrastructure-related issues are cleared, an organization then must "buy or build mobile business apps that their employees want to use," according to Taptera's cofounder and CEO Chris O'Connor. Then, as Taptera and its enterprise counterparts have discovered, companies need to find a way to close "the feedback loop" that exists between mobile and CRM to ensure proper logging of information.
"Market data and growing enterprise investments in mobility reinforced our direction, sales and revenue-driven business functions are where the enterprise invests first," O'Connor comments.