by Lauren Carlson
CRM Analyst, Software Advice
In our increasingly mobile world, applications have become an integral part of people’s lives – both personally and professionally. Many are familiar with the consumer apps available through iTunes and the Android marketplace, but we are seeing a lot of development around mobile apps in the enterprise space as well. This buzz of activity is particularly prevalent in sales, where reps are always on the go. So, we decided to highlight some of our favorite mobile apps for the mobile sales force.
Networking & Collaboration
- Though Salesforce Chatter started as an online application, it’s move to the mobile space in fall 2010 seemed like a natural one. With the Chatter mobile app, field sales agents can still stay plugged into what’s happening at the office even when they’re a thousand miles away. With an easy-to-use, Twitter-like interface, agents can post their status updates, or even use the neat photo upload feature to share images of a whiteboard session or a competitor’s product. They can also get real-time updates from their coworkers, such as new lead information or an updated presentation. Chatter users on the iPad can actually preview slides from presentations or see them in their entirety. Price: Free. Devices: iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, and Android.
- Business cards are great for winning free lunches, but in today’s increasingly fast-paced and paperless business world, they are losing relevance. That is why Hashable created the virtual solution to the business card: Hashable Mobile. This cool little app allows you to track everyone you meet. You simply need either an email address or Twitter handle, and the app uses Foursquare tracking technology to take care of the where and when. Once you track someone, you can set private notes to that contact, as well as reminders to follow up, which sync to your calendar and email. You can also use the app to track events such as meetings and phone calls. These, along with your follow-up reminders, get put on your to-do list, so it’s easy to stay on top of upcoming tasks. Price: Free. Devices: iPhone and Android.
- Box.net takes document collaboration to the cloud and drops it back down to your mobile device. With Box Mobile, users can access documents, presentations, media and other files from any mobile device. This app makes it easy to organize documents and files that are integral to business operations, and then share those with colleagues. Users can edit and modify documents, leave comments, and manage document workflow by assigning tasks to colleagues. Our favorite feature is the wireless printing capability. It is only available for iPad users currently, but it allows you to print any document on an AirPrint-enabled printer, directly from the app. Price: The basic Business Package is $15/user/month. More pricing options available upon request. Devices: iPad, iPhone, Android, HP TouchPad, and any mobile browser.
- Apple’s answer to Microsoft’s PowerPoint is now available on Apple’s mobile devices. Keynote is a very intuitive application that allows users to build impressive presentations from a mobile device. It comes with 12 pre-set templates to choose from. You can type and edit text and images, insert charts and tables, and add animations to create a visually appealing presentation. One really cool thing about the Keynote app is that you can display your presentation on your Apple device, or use a video output cable to sync it up with a projector. This way, users can cater the experience to their audience, whether it be one person or an entire auditorium. Price: $9.99. Devices: iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.
- SlideRocket is VMware’s latest SaaS acquisition. SlideRocket is an online business presentation tool that allows users to create, edit and share presentations in the cloud. It has touchscreen navigation, and can be accessed on any mobile browser. No app download needed. Simply click the presentation URL and get started. Because it operates in the cloud, any changes made to an individual slide or presentation get updated across the system. SlideRocket is one of the most sophisticated tools in this category, with full-screen HD video and high quality digital audio that can be displayed on an iOS device or hooked up to a screen or projector to enhance the experience. One of the stand-out features is SlideRocket’s analytics. This tracks who has seen your presentations, which ones they responded best to, and what actions they took as a result. With this information, users can continue to improve their presentations in the future. Price: The Lite version is free; Pro is offered for $24 per user/month. Devices: Any iOS device.
- Soonr has created one of the industry’s first file collaboration apps for mobile. Not only can you create and edit PowerPoint presentations, but their patented rendering technology makes it possible to access 40 different types of documents, including audio clips, word processing files, Excel spreadsheets, etc. You don’t even have to download the document to edit it. Large files can be opened in seconds, and any changes made are saved automatically because Soonr operates in the cloud. Soonr has really stepped it up with their collaboration features. Users receive SMS notifications and updates on their mobile device whenever a project has been modified or a team member has made a comment on a document. This enables the user to stay up-to-date on what is going on in the office, even when on-the-go. Price: $9.95 per user/month. Devices: iPhone, iPad, Android, Android tablets.
- Travel & Time Management named one of the 50 best iPhone apps by CNN Money Magazine, iXpenseIt makes it easy to track daily expenses and budgeting from your mobile device. Sales people who operate on the road are constantly having to track their expenses, such as car rental, hotel stay, food, and gas/mileage. Instead of saving those receipts, you can snap a photo of them and save them on the app. This, combined with the record export feature, allows for quick expense and/or reimbursement approval. Other neat features include a built-in world currency converter, .CSV and HTML data export for easy reporting, and full text search that allows you to easily locate past records. You can also easily track your personal expenses, making iXpenseIt a great finance app for anyone on the go, whether for business or pleasure. Price: $4.99. Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
- One of the most stressful aspects of being a traveling salesperson is that first part: traveling. FlightTrack Pro is the most popular flight tracking app on the App Store. Users can automatically sync travel itineraries thanks to the app’s native Tripit integration. You can receive push notifications with flight changes and updates, and track all information about your flights in an easy to navigate interface. There are even advanced analytics that give you on-time probability for your flight, making it easier to plan your airport arrival time. Two of our favorite features are the flight tracking maps and the terminal maps. The flight tracking maps provide a visually stunning way to track your flight, and include radar capabilities to illustrate current weather conditions. The terminal map might just mean the difference between making or missing that connecting flight. FlightTrack Pro has detailed maps of every major airport terminal, making even the most confusing airports easily navigable. Price: $9.99. Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
- Mobile CRM is not new for Sugar. However, in their latest release – Sugar 6.1 – they have upgraded from the browser-based application to a more sophisticated native app that is available for download via iTunes. This latest edition has greater ease of use and a more friendly interface. From the app, users can check reports, prioritize opportunities, set up meetings and manage support cases. Updated email management capabilities make it easy to send follow-up emails from your mobile device that get automatically synced up with your SugarCRM system. Another neat feature is the Twitter Connector, which allows users to manage Twitter streams without having to leave the app. Price: Free (with the Sugar Professional and Sugar Enterprise editions). Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
- Salesforce Mobile brings the power of Salesforce.com to your mobile device. Users can access sales performance data, as well as critical account information while on the go. Because the app operates in the cloud, new leads are automatically routed to your mobile device, and any account changes or status updates made in the field get synced back to the system in the office so your manager and team can have the most updated information on your status and progress. Our favorite feature is the customized map. Let’s say you go out to a sales call only to have the client cancel on you last minute. Salesforce Mobile’s mapping feature allows you to identify clients that are nearby, turning that potentially lost hour into an opportunity to make a sale. Price: Free. Devices: Blackberry, iPhone, Windows Mobile.
- CWR Mobile CRM is designed specifically for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM field sales team. Voted Microsoft’s 2011 Mobility Partner of the Year, CWR integrates directly with Dynamics CRM without the need for middleware or other third-party apps. The interface is familiar, but has been scaled down and simplified to be easily digestible on a mobile device. Customization is simple and can be modified to each person’s role. CWR Mobile CRM offers many of the same features and capabilities as it’s competitors. However, it stands out for it’s availability of deployment options. This application can be operated on nearly any mobile device. Users can access account, pipeline and performance information from the comfort of your preferred smart phone or mobile device. Price: Free. Devices: iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 6.5, Windows Phone 7, and Android.
These are just a few of our favorite apps for the mobile salesperson. Have you used any of these? Are there some that you think we should have mentioned? Let us know in the comment section below.