Mobile App Helps the Harried Sales Rep
- 21 December, 2012 14:40
Smartphones and tablets have been a boon for on-the-go sales reps, who are constantly visiting clients, organizing meetings and trying to close deals from ever-changing mobile offices. Now voice-recognition technology could boost their productivity again.
The market already boasts some well-known voice apps, including Siri Assistant and Dragon Dictation. Sophia, from enterprise mobile app developer Taptera, is a new entrant--an iPhone app designed specifically for mobile salespeople. It lets users speak into their phone to record actions (such as calls or meetings) and follow-up tasks in a Salesforce.com CRM system.
Spoken information such as "called John Smith" and details about the call are transferred to the CRM system as text. The goal is to make administrative and data-entry tasks as easy as possible to allow more time for actual selling.
Sunbelt Rentals, an equipment rental company, is a beta tester of Sophia, looking to roll the app out to its 800-person mobile sales force. Dean Moore, director of enterprise architecture at Sunbelt, says the ability to enter actions into a CRM while moving on to the next meeting would be especially beneficial for his sales force. "Our folks aren't going to nice fancy office buildings," he says. "Our reps go to job sites and construction offices, which are harsh environments."
Sunbelt uses two other mobile apps for sales, but neither offers voice recognition. Moore says the voice capability "helps minimize, if not eliminate, a lot of the hard work to get data in." CRM systems can fail if sales information doesn't get entered, he notes.
Art Schoeller, an analyst at Forrester Research, says that Siri's cool factor has created a buzz among consumers, but not in the enterprise. "We don't see it a lot. I always fear [inflated] expectations versus the reality of delivery."
Schoeller says that if sales teams incorporate the technology into their regular practices--and IT manages expectations--then voice technology can yield greater productivity.
Companies should try out the technology, he says. "Provide a bit more hand-holding in the trial and get that initial wave of success," he says. "It has merit and will work, with the right expectations.
Lauren Brousell is a staff writer for CIO Magazine. Follow her at @LBrousell.
Read more about customer relationship management (crm) in CIO's Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Drilldown.
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.
The enlightened CIO’s guide to running projects
Why IT projects really fail
Queensland government to provide 200 services online by 2015
Call Centers Suffer From Big Data Overload
CIO 100: Carsales wins top gong for innovation
Data Centre Physical Infrastructure: Optimising Business Value
To stay competitive in today’s rapidly changing business world, companies must update the way they view the value of their investment in data centre physical infrastructure (DCPI). This whitepaper discusses how companies can succeed in a changing global market. Read now.
Building a Strategic Archive
For years, most companies have dealt with the evolving dynamics of data archiving by addressing an immediate need rather than building a long-term strategy. But over time, putting all information on costly storage is likely to be very expensive. This whitepaper explains why it’s time for organizations to start to strategically evaluate archive solutions for capabilities they need, both now and in the future. While no technology is future proof, an archiving solution can make you “future ready.”
Benefits of Web Self-Service
According to Forrester, 72 per cent of customers prefer using a company’s website to answer their questions. But only 52.4 per cent actually find the information they need online. Customers want to solve their issues quickly and easily, and providing the right solutions means greater customer retention and revenue streams - but this is sometimes not the case. Download to find out more.