American Marketer


Four rules of mobile CRM

March 23, 2012


By Alan R. Sultan

You have probably started to hear about the benefits, efficiencies and bottom-line cost savings being generated by extending large scale ERP and CRM programs into the mobile ecosystem.

The challenge has been that these benefits only came after significant upfront investment, specialized technical knowledge and long development cycles with uncertain outcomes.

This has changed, however.

Cloud-oriented technologies, SAAS-based pricing, new data management techniques and next-generation "non-techie" user interfaces are combining to make true mobile ERP/CRM something that just about any size enterprise can exploit to capture a competitive advantage.

Here are four rules to consider as you plan your mobile ERP/CRM strategy:

Rule 1: Pick a platform, not a provider. The days of one-off mobile campaigns or a single standalone application are over— it is about convergence, continuity and proven results.

Select a platform that can do it all, that can grow with your needs and not require new providers and extensive ongoing custom development.

Plus, unless you are planning to bring on board someone to focus on mobile strategy, make sure that your provider has strategic resources available to help you weed through all the noise in the market and ensure your offerings stay ahead of the competition.

Rule 2: Intelligence is not optional. Use every bit of CRM/ERP data you have available to drive and target every mobile interaction.

New techniques make it easier than ever to apply traditional direct marketing segmentation and analytics to optimize the value of every mobile interaction. Check to see if your existing data licensing agreements apply to mobile—and be sure that any new ones do.

Rule 3: Test, meter, enhance, repeat. Collect data from every mobile interaction and ensure that it gets deposited back into your legacy ERP/CRM systems.

Do not forget that tracking and applying mobile interaction data will provide an entirely new perspective on your customers and employees that can be used to enhance traditional media interactions.

Rule 4: Serve all. Once set up and integrated into your existing systems, the new generation of mobile ERP offerings are designed to service all your stakeholders – business to business, business to consumer and business to enterprise – from a common platform.

Your IT group will appreciate the single point of integration, senior management will enjoy centralized reporting and your chief financial officer will get economies of scale.

Alan R. Sultan is Washington-based senior vice president of business development and channel sales at Hipcricket. Reach him at