Friday, August 8, 2014

Sync SalesForce to iPhone, Android and BlackBerry via Exchange Server Contacts

By Vern Weitzman

Sync SalesForce Contacts to an iPhone and Increase Your Bottom Line

How many times has someone on your sales team missed a client call because the right contact information wasn’t in his or her phone?

If you answered even once, it’s too often.

Missed opportunities when your tools aren’t in sync

Chances are you’re using a CRM tool such as SalesForce. SalesForce dominates the CRM landscape1, with 16% estimated share of the global market.

Are your sales teams are able to manage all that rich client data far easier on the go - just with the use of their smartphones?

The problem is that without continuous and automatic synchronization between that expensive CRM tool and the modern salesperson’s best friend - aka the smartphone - you get missed client calls, frustrated sales managers, and occasionally lost revenue.

Despite the fact that an estimated 250 million smartphones sync with Outlook on an Exchange server, only a tiny portion of those users are getting real-time contact updates from SalesForce or other CRM systems.

Dont take a chance on Outlook Add-ins

Stop trying to play 18 holes without a putter
You wouldn’t ask Tiger Woods to tee off at The Masters without all the clubs in his bag to get the job done. Why are you putting your salespeople on the line without having all the real time information they need in their back pockets?

This means implementing a full scale automation to sync SalesForce to iPhones, Androids, and BlackBerries directly from Microsoft Exchange and Outlook.

The benefits of using a server based solution such as this are:
  • One server can sync contacts to hundreds of mailboxes
  • No applications to run at the desktop or on a mobile device
  • Sync happens automatically, multiple times per day, insuring smartphones always have up to date information
  • No user training required, updates are transparent
  • Utility of CRM tools and mobile devices soar with increased “in the field” usage of client data

Don’t our smartphones already sync with Outlook?
The answer is yes…

… so, you’re probably wondering why your business isn’t taking advantage of all the benefits detailed above.

The why has to do with the fact that even though All Exchange and Outlook users have built-in contact sync (using Microsoft ActiveSync ) between Outlook and their smartphone, getting the most up to date contacts into Outlook requires another step.

And, this crucial step has it’s own inherent problems depending on how your sales people tackle it.

1. Editing by Hand or Going Old School

Manually inputting and editing SalesForce contacts into Outlook has gone the way of fax machines, rotary phones and the 3 martini lunch. It’s out of date and unreliable.

Not only is it time consuming but the chance for errors increases with each person manipulating the data. Add in the mindless activity of editing contacts directly into an iPhone or Android device - and you’ve got the perfect recipe for typos.

2. The Outlook Add-in approach
Ironically, many sales professionals rarely get to use Outlook on a conventional Windows desktop. They might sign on via Outlook Web Access, or from a laptop. If the sales team uses Mac OS/X, the Outlook Add-in strategy doesn’t work. In these scenarios, SalesForce contacts will be either missing or out of sync on their smartphones.

3. Automated approach: Synchronize SalesForce contacts to Outlook

The ideal situation involves an automated approach. If your company runs Microsoft Exchange Server and Outlook, you can sync SalesForce contacts to iPhones, Android, BlackBerry or any smartphone from a central server.

Directly update Microsoft Exchange mailboxes without the need of desktop or smartphone software. The bonus: it can be deployed to hundreds of users in a few hours - or thousands of users over a weekend.

A real world example: The ROI of keeping your SalesForce contacts on smartphones updated in real time
Any incremental advantage you give your sales team can translate into new customers and increased sales. For many businesses, the real value-producing sales action occurs away from the desk.

Your salespeople are making deals in the car, in the airport, at home, in a meeting.

How much can a sales tool cost and still be viable? Of course, the answer is, “It depends.” A typical sales prospect could end up delivering a cumulative value of $500 - or he or she might yield a million dollars.  

Clearly, a tool that costs $500 but nets a few extra customers is worth the price of admission. If you have 30 sales people bringing in 100 million dollars of revenue, even a single-digit percentage gain can turn a mediocre quarter into a quota-smashing celebration.

Let’s look at typical situations involved in SalesForce-to-smartphone synchronization involving a company with 30 SalesForce users and a usage bill of a few thousand dollars.

  • There are 100,000 contacts in SalesForce and it doesn’t make sense to push this many contacts to every sales person.
  • Each salesperson needs unique contacts based on his or her ownership of a customer / prospect account. In other words, the sync solution needs to be capable of tracking which customers are linked to each salesperson.
  • Some of the sales people use a SalesForce iPhone app, but this approach requires end users to find and install the app, and it defies central administration and control. In real life, such apps have a low adoption rate. Many employees just prefer to stick with what they know.
  • Another 70 employees (that support the sales team) need occasional access to the SalesForce data. These users may be spread across customer service, field service and technical support. However, for these users it may be hard to justify tripling the monthly recurring price of CRM. Such users often end up using a shared SalesForce account, or get a CSV file which is rarely refreshed.
  • Some users choose a Mac as their primary desktop client. The solution must work perfectly despite that the lack of OS X applications.

Without the ability to automatically update contacts from SalesForce to each smartphone in a fully customizable way, costs increase, productivity lags and sales opportunities get missed.
Let ActiveSync deliver the contacts to iPhone, Android and BlackBerry
Sync SalesForce Contacts to iPhones, Android and Outlook

Sync Contacts from SalesForce using a Central Server

In our next installment, Part 2, we’ll explain the best practices to establish this sync process, how you can keep it all running smoothly from a simple administrator console, leverage Active Directory Groups and see how the itrezzo solution automates the task of keeping precisely the right contact data on each smartphone.

If you are an Office 365 user, learn how to automatically sync Salesforce contacts on CiraSync!

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