Like a lot of sellers, I’m at a desk much of the work day calling and emailing customers. As a result, I work primarily out of the browser-based version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. Naturally I had loaded the free Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile App to my (Android) smartphone and tablet in order to show prospects when I’m in the field. However, I hadn’t really used them in my day-to-day selling efforts. Recently, I deliberately began using the mobile apps to get a better idea of how they work and to see what the relative strengths and weaknesses were to the browser-based experience.
I was surprised how easy it was to become fluent on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile App, consume customer records, and enter basic data in ways useful to sellers on the go or just hanging out. I can’t provide a live demonstration in a blog, but we can provide a comparison of the two experiences to show you the basics of navigating the mobile apps. In each instance, you’ll see a screen shot of the web-based experience above the mobile device (in this case, an HTC Nexus 9) experience.
Open Opportunities: Browser
Ten columns including just about everything you need provide a high-level view of the opportunity. Plus, multi-entity (universal) search and additional functionality just below the blue navigation bar.
Open Opportunities: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile App
The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s actually easier to read. A nice surprise in a mobile experience. I can swipe left to get a look at the 4 columns that are missing from the view above. Another thing I really like about the mobile experience on a phone is that I’m only 2 touches away from calling the contact associated with my opportunity. I have my multi-entity search tucked into the upper right-hand corner. I’m missing some of the fancy stuff from the browser version like Data Import, but you’re not going to use those in your typical sales scenario anyway.
Opportunity Record: Browser
What I like best about the browser experience is that we a have a place to put all the important bits of data that we want to collect about a potential sale. However, aside from logging activities like calls and email, a lot of the data does not change daily.
Opportunity Record: Mobile
I still have access to the data fields that reside in the browser version, but the layout is designed for a quick review and like I mentioned earlier, on a phone I can hit the telephone icon and be ringing up my customer. A neat twist with the mobile app is the ability to use my smartphones voice-to-text converter to enter data in activity fields and such. Granted it’s not always as accurate as typing in the data, but it may be fine for you to log calls and visits, and create follow-up tasks.
Contact Record: Browser
Here’s where the browser is really nice. We can see all the contact information that we could ever need. The Activity feed is visible, plus other data like recent Service Cases. There’s a Bing map that displays the Contact’s office location also nice in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile App.
Contact Record: Mobile
Once again, you only need to hit one tile to launch my dialer and ring up this Contact. You can also touch the email tile icon and launch my email client. All this with one hand. In the field, this is a huge convenience. Swipe left and get the Activity feed and other data if you need to.
Activity Record: Browser
You can see here the Activity view looks like a spreadsheet. You have rows that represent individual activities and columns that indicate the urgency of the activity, the date it is due, etc. You can sort this view by due date, priority, and customer name. We can modify the view, e.g., add more columns.
Activity Record Mobile:
The Activity view on the mobile app is very different. Rather than a list view, you have a calendar view. Move through the calendar, click on a day, and find the activities due on that day. Personally, I’m not crazy about the calendar style view in the mobile app. This is one area where I like the browser experience better.
Click on an item and you get a single Activity record that looks like what you see below.
Overall, I prefer the layout of the mobile app. Microsoft has done a great job of making CRM available to sellers in an attractive, easy-to-use interface. The Activity view is the one exception for me, but that’s definitely not that big a deal.
You can also push customizations from your browser based CRM to the mobile experience – a great feature. And did I mention that the mobile apps are free? If you haven’t tried them out yet, download them to your mobile device and point the app to your CRM URL. Wait for CRM data to get pushed to your mobile device and you’re ready to sell on the go!
By Mark Abes, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Dyn365Pros, a Microsoft Partner focusing on sales and productivity solutions powered by Microsoft Cloud. Based in San Diego County Southern California.