The rapid evolution in CRM has created a great deal of excitement in B2B marketing. CRM has improved dramatically since the days when Siebel Systems pioneered the technology to when Salesforce.com delivered CRM as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). With SaaS, CRM became easier to use, faster to customize and deploy and amazingly affordable. These advances are all evolving rapidly through the use of mobile devices.
Mobile CRM is a significant transformation. Today CRM is becoming mobile, accessed through the cloud by businesses and customers using mobile devices. Most notable about mobile CRM are these three features:
- It’s as much about end consumers as it is the brand.
- Mobile maximizes a variety of technologies in tandem to deliver great consumer and brand experiences.
- By tapping into consumer social dynamics such as word of mouth, it brings CRM within reach of industries that previously couldn’t afford it.
I’ll expand on these points.
1. Mobile CRM is about the end consumer, not just the brand. Unlike traditional CRM, mobile allows consumers to engage brands they like when they want and through the channel of their choosing. Studies reveal they will share general and personal information voluntarily when it’s convenient or an incentive is offered.
Mobile CRM also reaches customers through social media, where they talk about brands they love and products they use. It monitors customers’ social media activities and allows brands to join the conversation and harvest additional data about their patrons. That data acquisition is done automatically and in real time; and when combined with customer purchasing data, businesses can assemble an amazingly detailed picture of their customers.
2. Mobile CRM melds multiple technologies.
- Mobile: A smartphone is the most convenient way consumers can engage their favorite brands and share experiences. Brands can send them special offers to earn or redeem rewards and encourage customers to refer their friends, play games, take surveys, buy gift cards, pay for food, etc., all in real time.
- Social: By sharing brand experiences through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc., brands have many opportunities to drive word-of-mouth referrals through existing customers. Social campaigns centering on brand events also are easily managed through mobile, and customer participation and referrals are automatically tracked.
- Geofencing/Micro-Location: If a customer comes within a predetermined distance of a store, mobile CRM allows an operator to send her a special incentive to come in, such as a discount on her favorite ice cream.
- Cloud: Businesses of any size can easily tap into CRM from anywhere, execute and monitor marketing campaign performance in real time, understand each of their customers, and optimize return-on-investment (ROI) by marketing to each directly.
- POS: All customer purchasing data is recorded by the POS and shared with the cloud. For customers it eliminates carrying loyalty cards or waiting in line to have loyalty points tallied.
- Big Data: Through mobile CRM, even small businesses can collect and draw on Big Data to understand their customers in exacting detail. For example, a restaurant operator using Big Data would know in real time which customers ordered a chicken sandwich and a chocolate chip cookie during a particular lunch period. In the future, they could target those same customers with a new but similar offer that includes an upsell to add chips and drive incremental revenue.
- Push messaging: Mobile CRM provides for channel-specific capabilities such as custom push notifications to customers who opt in. Such messages, based on customer-specific data, have much higher redemption rates than traditional email-based campaigns.
3. Mobile brings CRM to smaller businesses. Since mobile CRM is cloud based, integrated with brands’ POS systems and customers’ smartphones — and fully automated — formerly costly hardware and human resources are minimized. That streamlining makes mobile CRM affordable for businesses of any size, not just huge firms. Smaller businesses in underserved industries, such as restaurants, now have access to CRM through this innovative technology, allowing them to research and market to their customers with unprecedented efficiency and effectiveness.
Mobile CRM delivers measurable and trackable results in real time, allowing any brand to calculate their ROI on each campaign immediately. Such information is what really matters to businesses, and now firms of nearly any size have access to this amazing technology.
Jitendra Gupta is founder and CEO of Punchh Inc., a mobile CRM suite, including mobile apps for consumer engagement and Big Data customer analytics; it is used by over 1,200 restaurant locations in the United States. He has held product, marketing and engineering positions at Siebel Systems, Synopsys and Inquira and has been quoted as an industry thought leader in the Nation’s Restaurant News, FastCasual.com and QSR Web. Follow him on Twitter @JitendraGupta.