Mobile Enterprise Strategy: More Money for '07
A new study by Aberdeen Group and mobile enterprise information firm Apresta reports that about 80 percent of top-performing companies plan to invest in mobile sales productivity tools in the next year. "Mobile Sales Solutions Benchmark Report: How Mobility Grows Revenues and Customers Through Increased Sales Productivity," defines top-performing companies as those that invest nearly two times the rate of all companies on initiatives designed to improve customer satisfaction and support.
C-level executives are the driving force behind many of these initiatives, according to the report, but many of the projects will be pilots rather than enterprisewide solutions. Rich Koch, vice president of marketing for Apresta, says, "There are still a surprising percentage of pilot programs. Companies are still trying to figure out their mobile strategies. IT is getting bombarded from different departments within the company."
Many companies don't have an enterprisewide mobile strategy, Koch says. "It's hard for IT to tell a C-level executive to wait for a [comprehensive] strategy when he says he wants something (e.g., a BlackBerry with access to company back-end systems) now." Eighty-three percent of the companies studied are already providing sales professionals with real-time access to mobile data like inventory availability, order inquiry, key customer account information, product catalog and pricing, and lead and activity management, according to the report. Companies that have deployed mobile systems cite revenue growth, increased productivity, and enhanced customer loyalty and retention as measurements of the success of their mobile sales initiatives.
A number of factors are driving investment in mobile solutions, according to Koch, pointing to the demand for real-time access to pertinent customer data to maximize sales performance and better serve customers. Executives surveyed acknowledged that this can mean the difference between a multimillion dollar order and a lost deal.
"The top reason for these programs is the need for access to real-time data," Koch says. "In the past, utilizing mobile technologies within the sale force gave early adopters the competitive edge. "Today, empowering the sales organization with mobile sales solutions has become a requirement...to grow market share and compete the global marketplace." Mobile devices also help settle the tug of war between sales ops and salespeople, Koch says. Operations executives want to decrease costs, while salespeople want to increase sales. "Mobile solutions allow them to do both."
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