What Is Mobile CRM? Definition, Features & Best Apps

Monday, November 25, 2019
Michael Zunenshine and CRM.org
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The traditional structure of 9 to 5 ‘cubicle time’ is disappearing faster than ever, as more and more startups sprout up with unconventional office spaces, remote work, and flexible hours. Perhaps the startup boom points to the rise of the mobile CRM app, or maybe mobile CRM exists to increase productivity for sales reps out in the field, providing easy access to real-time data on prospects and customers.

Whatever the reason, mobile versions of CRM software are an up-and-coming contender for the future of work. A mobile customer relationship management approach may just be the new standard when it comes to watching companies continue to grow. 

We provide you with a breakdown of all the essential criteria to look for plus our top mobile CRM picks for iOS or Android devices.

 

Mobile usage growth

In 2009, less than 1% of all global internet traffic went through mobile devices. Back then, one could be forgiven for considering smartphones and tablets a marginal concern for business. 

Of course, that’s no longer the case. In 2019, mobile has a share of roughly 50% of all website traffic, a figure that’s only rising. 

Many of us now spend a good chunk of our waking hours on our phones, checking email and social media, shopping, consuming content, or streaming videos. We’ve become accustomed to being able to access services in real-time wherever we are, and that extends to customer support and sales staff for companies whose products and services we patronize. 

The average American with a smartphone now uses 5.1 GB worth of data every month. Meanwhile, the annual growth rate for mobile data usage is estimated at 45%, meaning that by 2022 mobile data consumption will have increased 10x since 2016

When you consider that mobile traffic is increasing exponentially, and half (or more) of your potential customers are encountering you via mobile, the value of having a mobile strategy for your company becomes pretty obvious.

And anyway, if mobile internet usage has exceeded desktop usage for consumers, should it not be the same for the work economy?

Mobile CRM adoption rates

CRM mobile app adoption rates are still relatively low, but the overall trend is way up. The Uberization of CRM software has led to easier implementation, better UX, and so more adoption and less churn. 

According to research from Salesforce the general adoption rate for CRM applications is about 26%. While specific statistics on mobile CRM adoption are tricky to tease out, the growth rate of mobile CRM market in 2019 was forecasted at 11% (reaching a market cap of $15 billion USD). This implies significant adoption.

On top of that, over the next decade (from 2019 to 2029), the market for mobile CRM applications is projected to grow 13% every year.

All this makes perfect sense. Having contact management, sales management, and sales pipeline features in your pocket at all times is a powerful proposition. One study by Atlanta-based app developer Innoppl found that 65% of sales personnel with mobile CRM meet their sales quota, whereas only 22% without a mobile CRM do so. 

Another study by Nucleus Research found that mobile CRM offered a 14.6% gain in productivity. That makes a lot of sense; after all, you can now close a deal or defuse a sticky situation in-app, on the morning train or at the park, aided by access to in-depth information stored on the Cloud. 

Mobile CRM advantages

Access data everywhere

The ultimate advantage of a mobile CRM app quite obviously lies in its ability to provide data, untethered from a desktop. You’ll gain access to customer information, pipeline insights, a dashboard highlighting performance metrics, a full contact list, and calendar integrations in real-time.

Respond to customers faster and better

Mobile CRM software offers the ability to efficiently track, manage, and respond to certain customer service cases. Being able to access real-time data on-the-fly lets sales team members get out of the office and into the field, increasing response times and nurturing relationships with customers and prospects. You can even use GPS and geotagging to find out where your clients are and plug in their address for an in-person visit.

Track and complete tasks

Being able to use your platform for conducting daily tasks—like composing and sending emails, scheduling meetings and updating contact information—can be liberating. 

Connect and collaborate

Mobile CRMs offer a heightened ability to stay connected both internally and externally. Keep up with your team by opening and sharing files and customer data. Some platforms even offer the ability to dial into meetings from anywhere that’s Cloud accessible. 

Boost the value of your desktop CRM

It’s all about the relationship between the native mobile app and the home-based desktop version. A good mobile app offers access to all CRM information plus the ability to input new data entry anytime and anywhere.

 

Things to consider when choosing Mobile CRM

Ability to manage contacts, tasks, and deals

Just because your CRM is on a small screen doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be able to do big things. On-the-go CRM features should still meet your business needs, keeping you on task and notifying you to follow-up on deals, and providing immediate access to contacts and key information. 

Simplicity

An app is only as good as its level of adoption, and that might suffer if the user experience is not great, or if there are too many features raising the learning curve. When choosing a mobile CRM app, it’s a good idea to pare down the number of features to what is truly necessary “on the road” while leaving some of the more technical stuff to the office.

Streamlined integration with other communications tools

Your mobile CRM system should provide smooth integration with all the other communication and productivity tools you already use. Seeing as you’re probably using your mobile device to take calls anyway, it’s super helpful to be able to automatically log details from phone calls like date/time and who you talked to in-app.

Buy-in cost and ease of scaling up your plan

Cost always matters, particularly if you’re running a small business. Your CRM solution shouldn’t break the bank, and the vendor should offer tiered pricing plans that move up in a reasonable way; you don’t want to get stuck in a situation where you rely on using an app for free (or cheap) and then realize you need to spend mass cash to scale up to the next plan.

Security

We’re more likely to lose our mobile devices than our computers. A mobile CRM contains a lot of information about your company and customers, so a compromised smartphone can cause a serious breach of information, not to mention trust. Good app security/encryption is, therefore, a key attribute to look for.

Quality of activity tracking

Being able to effectively monitor and manage business activities is the bedrock of good CRM. Logging details on who did what will give you full visibility on sales and management. Your mobile app should let you view communications between your business and customers across all your team members, ensuring there are no redundant interactions. 

Calendar integration

Your mobile CRM should have a calendar that’s able to sync information on meetings, appointments, deadlines, and everything else from email platform you use, whether that be Outlook, Gmail, or something else. This will save you significant time plugging in data, and ensure you never miss important events and opportunities.

Works offline

When you’re on the go, on a plane, train, or out of the country, you’ll occasionally find yourself without Wi-Fi or data. This doesn’t need to be “dead time” though; a mobile CRM with offline mode allows you to work with your CRM data, look up information, and be productive from anywhere. When you get online again, your work will be saved.

 

16 Best mobile CRM tools (2020)

HubSpot CRM

Benefits:

Powerful mobile CRM features including full deal and contact management. Set up and prioritize task lists, follow-ups, and other reminders. Clean UI and a low learning curve. 

Drawbacks:

Customization is limited, and workflow reporting tools may not be sufficient for specialized business processes. 

Pricing: 

  • HubSpot CRM is free, and the number of users is unlimited.

  • Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub add-on packages are $50 each per user/per month, billed monthly.

  • HubSpot CMS starts at $300 per month, billed monthly. 

  • All-inclusive Starter Growth Suite starts at $113 per user/per month, billed monthly.

Website: hubspot.com/products/mobile

 

Agile CRM

Benefits:

Clean dashboard with easy access to recently viewed contacts, tasks to-do, deal tracking, and Google Calendar sync. 

Drawbacks:

Limited customization options. The price jump between versions is significant.

Pricing: 

  • Free version available for up to 10 users.

  • Starter version is $8.99 per user/per month (billed every two years)

  • Regular version is $29.99 per user/per month (billed every two years)

  • Enterprise version is $47.99 per user/per month (billed every two years)

Website: agilecrm.com

 

Copper

Benefits:

Copper has a mobile version that is designed to piggyback atop G Suite apps. They focus on simplicity while also trying to mirror the look and feel of a web app. Some of their more unique points include their @mention function for communicating and sending alerts. 

Drawbacks:

There’s a moderate learning curve, and it’s not possible to attach files to emails sent in Copper (you’ll have to duck back into Gmail). 

Pricing: 

  • Basic plan is $19 per user/per month, billed annually.

  • Professional plan is $49 per user/per month, billed annually.

  • Business plan is $119 per user/per month, billed annually. 

Copper offers a 14-day free trial for all plans.

Website: copper.com

 

SugarCRM

Benefits:

Manage sales, marketing, and support in the field with a quick search, summary, and filter features. Click-to-call, click-to-text, and GPS native mobile device integrations. Offline sync for when you’re working off-the-grid. 

Drawbacks:

Not convenient for freelancers and small teams of less than 10 people. It has a proper learning curve, so you’ll need to set aside time for training your team to use it. 

Pricing:

  • Sugar Professional plan is $40 per user/per month (10 user minimum), billed annually. 

  • Sugar Enterprise plan is $65 per user/per month (10 user minimum), billed annually. 

  • Sugar Serve plan is $80 per user/per month (10 user minimum), billed annually. 

  • Sugar Sell plan is $80 per user/per month (10 user minimum), billed annually. 

  • Sugar Market plan is $1,000 (unlimited users, 10,000 contacts per month), billed annually.

A free trial is available for all plans. After answering a few questions on the vendor website, you’ll be assigned the version of SugarCRM that best matches your business needs.  

Website: sugarcrm.com/feature/mobile

 

Zoho

Benefits:

Record customer visits on-the-go, add voice notes, and access and update information offline. Locate contact info instantly and initiate calls in-app. Zoho offers a free version of the CRM available for up to three users.

Drawbacks:

Lack of individual email tracking; add-on modules are priced on top of the CRM product, so the price of usage can really jump as you scale up.

Pricing: 

  • Free version is available for up to three users and is targeted at home businesses. 

  • Standard version is $12 per user/per month, billed annually

  • Enterprise version is $35 per user/per month, billed annually. 

Website: zoho.com/crm

 

PipelineDeals

Benefits:

Mobile app offers effective account and deal management in the field. PipelineDeals gets props for its excellent customer support.

Drawbacks:

App integrations with third-party tools like helpdesk software are limited. 

Pricing:

  • Start plan is $25 per user/per month, billed annually.

  • Develop plan is $33 per user/per month, billed annually. 

  • Grow plan is $49 per user/per month, billed annually.

A 14-day trial is available. It includes all the features of the Grow plan.

Website: pipelinedeals.com

 

Gro CRM

Benefits: 

Gro CRM was developed specifically as a mobile CRM, and has excellent, desktop-level mobile features and UI as a result. The integrated email app routes your prospects into leads and customer contact lists, which saves time and seamlessly increases visibility.

Drawbacks:

A desktop app is in the works, but not available yet. This might be a deal-breaker for some teams who want both an out-in-the-field and in-the-office solution.

Pricing:

  • Solo plan for single user is $14.99 per seat/per month billed annually or monthly.

  • Basic plan for team CRM is $19.99 per seat/per month billed annually, and $24.99 per seat/per month billed monthly.

  • Pro plan for core CRM is $39.99 per seat/per month billed annually, and $49.99 per seat/per month billed monthly.

A 14-day free trial is available and offers the full features of the Pro plan.

Website: grocrm.com

 

Capsule

Benefits:

Remote task management, sales opportunity spotting, and offline sync with desktop app. Call, message, and compose emails in-app. There’s a free version capped at two users.

Drawbacks:

While you can view your latest activity in the app, notification features are lacking.

Pricing:

  • Free, basic version of Capsule is available for up to 2 users. 

  • Professional version is priced at $18 per user/ per month, billed monthly.

  • Teams version is priced at $36 per user/per month, billed monthly. 

A 30-day free trial is available for Professional and Teams versions.

Website: capsulecrm.com

 

Streak

Benefits:

Access information and tasks, auto-log calls, and pull contacts from your pipeline to your phone. Built inside of G Suite, it installs as an add-on to the Gmail app for iOS and Android.

Drawbacks:

Mobile app might be too simple for some users. Contact management features are limited on the mobile app. 

Pricing:

  • Personal plan is free for individual users. 

  • Professional plan is $49 per user/per month billed annually, and $59 per user/per month billed monthly. 

  • Enterprise plan is $129 per user/per month, billed annually, and $159 per user/per month billed monthly.

Websitestreak.com

 

Nimble

Benefits:

Track opportunities and deals and access in-depth customer and prospect profiles. Send personalized email messages via Office 365 and Gmail with templated, tracked emails. 

Drawbacks:

Some users gripe about the Android app, suggesting it isn’t as full-featured as the iOS one. Tracking closed deals and deleting messages is a somewhat slow process, as you can only do it one page at a time. 

Pricing: 

  • Contact edition is $12 per user/per month, billed monthly.

  • Business edition is $25 per user/per month, billed monthly.

You can try a 14-day free trial without a credit card.  Discounts available for annual rates.

Website: nimble.com

 

Pipeliner

Benefits:

Pipeliner’s mobile version boasts a smooth look and feel, and some extra features that their desktop tool lacks, mainly integration with phone, email, and camera apps. It functions smoothly with both Microsoft and Google suites.

Drawbacks:

People have complained about glitches with syncing on the mobile app.

Pricing:

  • Starter plan is $25 per user/per month, billed annually.

  • Business plan is $65 per user/per month, billed annually.

  • Enterprise plan is $85 per user/per month, billed annually. 

A 14-day free trial is available for all plans.

Website: pipelinersales.com/crm/mobile

 

Monday.com

Benefits:

Customizable, flexible project management. Track progress easily with colorful, graphical views, including Kanban, maps, timeline, files, charts, and calendar.

Drawbacks:

Mobile version lacks some desktop features and the UI is not quite as intuitive as other CRM options.

Pricing:

  • Basic plan is $25 per user/per month, billed annually.

  • Standard plan is $39 per user/per month, billed annually.

  • Pro plan is $59 per user/per month, billed annually.

  • Enterprise plan requires contact with Monday.com

A 14-day free trial is available without a credit card.

Website: monday.com

 

Salesbox

Benefits:

Salesbox emphasizes quick adoption and robust automated data entry. iOS users can use the software in conjunction with Siri.

Drawbacks:

The training/tutorials available for the CRM are a bit thin, which might increase the time it takes to learn and implement effectively. Some users have gripes about page load times.

Pricing:

  • Basic CRM is $7.75 (billed as €7) per user/per month, billed annually. 

  • Lead Clipper is $.7.75 (billed as €7) per user/per month, billed annually.

  • Super plan is $33.20 (billed as €30) per user/per month, billed annually.

  • Ultra plan is $66.45 (billed as €60) per user/per month, billed annually.

  • Ultimate plan is $99.70 (billed as €90) per user/per month, billed annually.

Website: salesbox.com

 

HaystackCRM

Benefits: 

Developed with small businesses in mind. Features a simple full-view dashboard, email integration, and easy opportunity management. A solo entrepreneur can use Haystack’s free version.

Drawbacks:

It’s a fairly simple tool, and your business may eventually outgrow its capabilities.

Pricing:

  • Free version offered for 1 user.

  • Full-featured version is $29 per user/per month, billed monthly. 

A 30-day free trial is available for the Full Featured version.

Website: haystackcrm.com

 

Keap

Benefits:

Keap’s mobile CRM gives you many of the product features of its desktop version: Add and manage contacts and tasks, scan business cards and save info automatically, plus send messages from iOS and Android. 

Drawbacks:

It’s somewhat difficult to plan and manage campaigns on the mobile app.

Pricing: 

  • Grow plan is $49 per user/per month, billed monthly.

  • Pro plan is $149 per user/per month, billed monthly.

  • Infusionsoft plan is $199 per user/per month, billed monthly.

A free trial is available for the Grow and Pro plans.

Website: keap.com

 

Nextiva

Benefits: 

Nextiva’s mobile app lets you make and receive business calls, collaborate with instant messages and team chatroom, plus the ability to send business SMS. In other words, it effectively replaces your desk phone. ‘Call-pulling’ allows you to seamlessly transfer a call from one device to another mid-conversation.

Drawbacks:

It’s a lightweight mobile app, so it lacks the broader features of Nextiva CRM. It may take some time to adapt your operations to a new VoIP tool.

Pricing:

  • Basic plan is $35 per user/per month for 1-4 users, billed monthly. 

  • Pro plan is $38 per user/per month for 1-4 users, billed monthly.

  • Enterprise plan is $55 per user/per month for 1-4 users, billed monthly. 

Contract plans are available for 12, 24, or 36 months. Contracting pricing is flexible; price per user decreases with the length of contract and size of organization.

Website: nextiva.com/products/business-phone-service-app.html

 

Quest for full-access

To be frank, there’s a ton of options out there. At a quick glance, it might seem like a quixotic quest to pick out all the minute differences between vendors.

Whether you’re looking to tether a wide range of staff to central command with this bit of roving tech, give your solo entrepreneur efforts a boost, or help your sparsely staffed, budding business startup punch above its weight—it’s worth it to explore your options and desired features before settling on the perfect mobile CRM.

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