Mobile Business Matters: Why Your Business Should Hit the Road
You’d be fairly hard-pressed to find someone in our business world who doesn’t have a smartphone these days. And that portable little pocket device you’re toting around is over a million times more powerful than the computers that sent astronauts to the moon. So what are you missing out on if you’re not using your phone to do a little mobile business?
If you haven’t jumped on the mobile business bandwagon quite yet, here are a few ways that adding a mobile business application can accelerate several areas of your operations.
Mobile business software:
- Lets you get straight to business
- Minimizes internal touches
- Gives real-time access to critical data
- Offers better service to your customers
Each of these reasons should be significant enough to stand on their own, but when your mobile business leverages all of them, you’ll really start to cruise.
Let’s get down to mobile business.
You’d be forgiven for launching into the song from Disney’s Mulan here, but instead of freeing all of China from a Hun dynasty, you’re freeing employees from the shackles of their desks.
Going mobile with your company’s core software applications allows sales personnel who are frequently on the road to enter orders from the car before they drive to their next appointment. Tech teams doing field research can log data from the field instead of waiting until they’re back in the office. CEOs can check performance metrics of the entire operation while on vacation. You get the idea.
Can you hear me now? Good.
Remember the Verizon Guy? Before the Verizon Guy turned his back on his roots and defected to team Sprint (who was just recently purchased by T-Mobile), he made the phrase, “Can you hear me now?” regularly heard around millions of households.
The idea of these commercials was that no matter where you went, if you were a part of Verizon’s expansive cellular network, you’d still have access to cell phone service. Our question is, why should access to your business data be any different?
Mobile business software is just the cure you need if you’ve ever sat in an airport thinking, “It would be awesome not to be days behind on work when I get back to the office.” Mobile software helps you use this downtime more productively. Mobile solutions give employees the chance to catch up, stay caught up, or even work ahead (because that totally happens).
Can’t touch this.
Let’s say that the process of entering an order and emailing the customer confirmation requires eight different touches for completion.
- A sales rep receives an order from customer while on the road
- Sales rep forwards the customer order to a CSR
- CSR enters order
- CSR Manager reviews order for a profitability check
- Profitability check passed, the CSR Manager gives the order back to the CSR
- CSR reopens order and downloads the order confirmation PDF
- CSR emails confirmation to a sales rep
- Sales rep forwards confirmation to customer
The above is a pretty typical setup. While not overly bloated, it doesn’t scream “efficiency” either. However, if you could speed up this process by cutting out most of these steps, why on earth wouldn’t you?
This process could be highly optimized using a mobile solution and a little automation, to the tune of something like this:
- Sales rep receives an order from the customer while on the road
- Sales rep enters the order on their phone
2.a Using automation, the order passes through a predefined set of rules where profit margin is verified, the confirmation is sent to the customer, and the warehouse receives all shipping information
What used to take a combined total of several hours of labor now takes a matter of seconds, largely because of access to a mobile solution.
Now you see the real me.
The beauty of a mobile app integrated directly with your core system is that the data you’re seeing while on the road is 100% live and accurate. When something as minor as 10 minutes of lag time can be catastrophic, the need for access to real-time data just can’t be understated. If you want your employees to do their jobs well (and why wouldn’t you?), you need to provide them with accurate data.
For distributors, this means knowing inventory counts at all times. If there is any delay in the accuracy of your inventory numbers, you’re at risk for conflicting orders, delayed shipments, and backorders.
Imagine that there’s a 10-minute delay time between what employees on the road see vs. what’s actually available. During this 10-minute blind spot, two different outside sales reps enter orders, and both orders are for the same type of guitar strings.
After entering both orders, the reps saw that there should have been 67 sets of strings available. Unfortunately, both reps promised their customers they had more than enough stock, when in reality, due to the time delay, they ended up being 13 sets short.
Now the two sales reps have to duke it out to see which lucky customer gets the full order. While one customer is none the wiser of this whole situation, the other receives a call from their sales rep saying “Hey, uh, sorry Jim, but we actually don’t have those strings in stock.”
Not a good look when you’re trying to grow a happy customer base. And speaking of keeping customers happy…
wife customer, happy life.
Mobile business tech can help you build and maintain valuable relationships in a competitive environment. When your company data is available anywhere in the world, helping your customers quickly is never an issue. When a customer is on the cusp of deciding between you and one of your competitors for their next order, making yourself available to meet their needs should be your top priority.
Imagine this scenario: You received a huge order for landscaping supplies from a big-box store. They call your office, wait on hold for 15 minutes (growing more and more frustrated), and finally, they get the message that you’re out of the office.
Think that agitated big-box customer is going to recommend your company for its next rush order? Even if they had called you directly, without a mobile piece to your operations, you’d have to connect with your warehouse staff and verify that you can meet the order demands. There’s a log jam holding up confident decision making.
Picture the same situation, but this time, you’re armed with powerful mobile business software. The customer gives you a call, tells you what they need, and waits 15 seconds while you verify actual inventory numbers. You assure them that you have the stock they need, enter the order while they’re on the phone with you, and by the time you hang up, warehouse employees have already started picking it.
Now who do you think this customer will turn to when they’re in a pinch?
These situations had extremely different outcomes for customer relationships, especially on the bottom line for the businesses involved. The only different piece in each scenario was that there was a mobile app that made doing business on-the-go possible.
The Last Word
Taking your company on the road offers your organization greater accessibility, flexibility, and control over your operations. You’re removing the constraints of time and distance—you just don’t have to be in the office anymore to conduct business. Getting down to what matters can be done faster when you don’t have to jump on the interstate to help out a customer. Your productivity will skyrocket, you’ll maintain accurate data no matter where you are, and you’ll better serve your customers. What’s not to like?
We firmly believe that the right tools make all the difference when it comes to driving your business forward. If you’re in need of some guidance while you seek the right mobile solution, drop us a line! We’re eager to connect your company with what works best for you.