Sales professionals are the original road warriors, so it makes sense that they should have mobile tools that will keep them up-to-date on customer data and other information that could help them close sales. Oracle's new Mobile Sales Assistant may be a valuable weapon for these warriors.
Mobile Sales Assistant gives customers access to Oracle CRM On Demand by leveraging the BlackBerry wireless platform from Research in Motion. The mobile application is designed to allow sales reps to more efficiently manage appointments, collaborate with colleagues, and connect with customers on the road.
The assistant features a simple interface that makes it possible to manage frequent tasks with a single click such as setting appointments, calling colleagues, text messaging, and even getting driving directions. Automated prompts at the end of calls remind users to enter notes so that important information isn't lost or forgotten.
A Java client rather than a browser-based CRM solution, Oracle says Mobile Sales Assistant supports offline usage while leveraging the BlackBerry Enterprise Server's security and push-based architecture. Since it's delivered as a service, small and midsize businesses can benefit from predictable costs and ease of deployment and management.
"We connect a sales professional to CRM data and CRM services and also connect them to other services in the context of their day," Anthony Lye, senior vice president of CRM at Oracle, told us. "We connect them to location services, mapping services, PIM [personal information management] data, and use SMS and Vcard standards for social networking."
Web 2.0 for Sales Pros
The application highlights the growing importance of Web 2.0 to sales professionals. Access to social-networking groups and blogs enables sales professionals to keep up-to-date on news and events that may affect their customers. On its Web site, Oracle calls collaborative applications, social networking, and mobile the "driving forces behind Web 2.0 innovations," and notes it is working to integrate these into its technologies.
"The application is role-based (built for sales professionals), task-based (focused on productivity), and connects to multiple data sources both local to the device (such as maps, phone, calendar, PIM data, and so on) and enterprise services over secure Web services, services like CRM On Demand and Siebel," Lye said. He said Mobile Sales Assistant is "a great example of a Web 2.0 application on the BlackBerry."
The service is delivered over the air and connects the user to a CRM On Demand application using Web services. Lye said the mobile application can be deployed by a single user or an entire sales organization for $30 per user per month, so SMB customers can take advantage of the application without breaking the bank. It's available on the BlackBerry 8800, 8820, 8830; the BlackBerry Curve 8300, 8310; and the BlackBerry 8700, 8703e, and 8707.
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