Sonoma Partners Microsoft CRM and Salesforce Blog

Visualizing Opportunity Data with Dynamics CRM Phone Client

With the move to CRM 2016, on premise customers can now get some of the cool features that CRM Online customers have been enjoying since the spring of 2015. One of these newer features is the updated phone client. Much has already been written about this awesome new client, so I am going to focus on a little nugget I found while testing the client…opportunity calendar visualization!

When looking at your opportunity list, tap the ellipsis ( … ) at the bottom to show the navigation bar. At the bottom, you’ll see Change Visualization action.

opp_phone_menu        opp_phone_menu_change

At first, I thought this had something to do with the native charts, but to my surprise, it was something much cooler. You’ll see that you can show the List/Grid by default, but also have a new Calendar option. After selecting the calendar option, you will now see the opportunities grouped by estimated close date and even have the ability to view by day/week/month.

opp_phone_week       opp_phone_month

And while a bit subtle, notice the dates on the month view change to a blue when opportunities are estimated to be closed on that day (see Jan 18, 2016 in the above example). This helps users know that data exists before tapping a date.

I love the direction the Microsoft team is taking with their mobile client. These small changes make for huge usability  gains for end users and also allow us to rethink how we look at traditional business data.

Topics: Enterprise Mobility Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016

Break the Ice with a Mobile Test Drive


Today's post is written by Kyle Gerstner, Principal Mobility Architect at Sonoma Partners

I believe that every company that has employees working in the field on a daily basis, needs to have a mobile solution. While this is easy for me to say, it’s not an easy initiative to undertake on your own. Some of the questions you may be asking could include:

"Where do we start?"
"What would the requirements be?"
"Why should we spend the money?"

Sonoma Partners offers a Mobile Test Drive package to help our clients tackle these issues, and get started on the path to creating an amazing mobile application.

One of the main components of our Mobile Test Drive is our ride alongs.  During these, our User Experience and Mobility experts observe representatives from the different user groups who would be targeted for a mobile application.  We are looking at what the users do on a day-to-day basis, what information they need access to, and get an initial idea about what the user base may want for a mobile application.  We go into these with a blank slate; no preconceived notions of how the users should be doing their job or what they need to do their job.

We use our findings from the ride alongs to help validate the business requirements for the application.  If you had a set of business requirements beforehand, we usually find some that aren’t overly useful, add some details to others, and find totally new requirements that we think would be valuable to add.  We also help prioritize your requirements, which is helpful when thinking of budgets or timing of feature rollouts.

Finally, we put together some high fidelity wireframes of what the application may look like and a simple proof of concept that you can run on a device to get a feel for how the app would work.  You can use these deliverables as a way to build internal excitement about the initiative and solicit feedback from your users about what you are planning on building.

Here are some examples of high fidelity wireframes and what your working prototype could look like:

Account View - History

Account - History

Account View - Call Report

Call Report

Account View - Information

Account - info.fw



A Mobile Test Drive will help your company figure out what mobile application to build, who will use it, and how they will use it.  I have found that starting with a Mobile Test Drive leads to a better end product and greater user adoption.

Here's how you get started:

1. Contact us to set up a time to discuss a mobile test drive
2. Watch and learn more about our Mobility Test Drive offering

The Negative Effects of a Disjointed CRM System
Topics: Enterprise Mobility

Refreshed Dynamics CRM Phone App Available

A few months back, Microsoft announced the new and improved version of their Phone Client would be available with the Spring 2015 release.  However, with releasing any app to the various app stores, they’re not released immediately.

However, recently the app did show up in the Apple app store and we were able to get our hands on it to take a look and compare it to the previous version.  The previous version is still available in the app store, and has been rebranded “Dynamics CRM for phones express.”  A couple years ago we blogged about it’s release and the functionality it provided back then.  I linked to that post so you could compare and contrast the look and feel of the previous express version, to the new and improved version.

The new version, branded “Dynamics CRM for phones”, is now available in the Apple store, Windows store, and Android store.  You can tell the difference in the apps based on the icon and name.


Microsoft is moving to a “configure once, deploy everywhere model.”  What does that mean?  That means the life of a configurator is going to be that much better.  More specifically, the form customizations you make in the CRM web client, will now not only be what you see on the CRM Tablet client (as they have been since it’s release), but will also be what you see on the new CRM Phone client.  Therefore instead of having to update the main forms AND the mobile express forms, you’ll just need to update the main form for any changes you make to be applied across the board.

Now to the details.  What does the new Phone Client look like?  Well if you’ve used the Tablet Client before, it’ll look very similar to that.

When you initially log in (requiring only your IFD URL to your organization, user id and password), you’ll see your home page.  This home page is the Sales Dashboard.  However, in the Web Client, you can create additional dashboards that can be selected when you’re on the home page on the Phone Client, and you can also make that dashboard your default dashboard.

image  image

As you can see, from here you’re able to view records that you’ve pinned to your home page.  You can also resize tiles that are on your home page and this makes it super convenient for records with contact information like the Patrick Sands sample contact record above.  You can easily email and call this contact now directly from your home page without having to click into his record.

You can also see at the top of the page the global menu bar which has the following commands from left to right:

  • Back – takes you to previous pages
  • Home – takes you to your home page
  • Search – initiates a multi-entity search
  • Site Map – displays the entities you can navigate to

Also on all pages at the bottom right is an ellipses.  Clicking on this presents more options for the area you’re working in, as well as allows you to create a new record from anywhere you’re at within the application.


When you navigate to an entity from the site map, you can create a new record of that entity type by clicking the plus button at the top of the page.

image image

When on a record, you can view the data about the record and related data very easily.  The Phone Client now uses the same exact forms that the Tablet Client and Web Client use (configure once, deploy everywhere).  If you’re going in to talk to a customer, you can navigate to their account and view any open cases or opportunities immediately from the Phone Client.  You can click into an Opportunity to then see the process based form, and where you’re at within the sales process.

image image image

The phone app also allows you to easily create emails and make phone calls by clicking on email address and phone number fields.  The email fields will automatically open your native email client, and the phone fields will automatically initiate your phone client.  The good thing is after you hang up the call, you’re returned to CRM with a new phone form initiated so you can just punch in the details and click save.

image image

image image

The integration between the Phone Client and the native mobile phone doesn’t end there.  Any address field on the application is clickable, and when doing so, you’ll open up the native map application.

The Phone Client also has a disconnected mode just like the Tablet Client.  While the offline mode is better that previous versions, this is still lacking in that it’s not showing you all records that you have access to, but instead, recently accessed records.  You can create new records while offline (called offline drafts), but unfortunately you cannot modify records while offline unless it was one that you just created while offline.  You can view your offline draft records by navigating to them via the Site Map (you’ll see a new “Draft Records” entry with a count of drafts).  Then when you’re back online, you can go into this list of drafts, and re-save them for them to save to the CRM database.  Not ideal, but is much better than nothing, and I’m really looking forward to what Microsoft has in store for vNext.

image image image

It’s great to see Microsoft continue this “mobile first’ mode and add more products to it’s repertoire.  Enhancing the Mobile Express app and making a true mobile phone app now rounds out their suite of products (web, tablet, phone) to all be first class.  Next steps are to add more features to these apps so that functionality that’s available on the web, is also available on these apps (e.g., custom web resources).  I’m also looking forward to seeing how they further improve on their offline story, and hopeful they provide a true offline solution where users can work with existing records while offline, and not only new records they create while offline.

However, as you can see, the application is pretty robust as it stands.  And the best part is the cost:  FREE!  Go ahead and download your copy now and start playing around.

Topics: Enterprise Mobility Microsoft Dynamics CRM Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

How Changing Nothing Can Change Everything: M.Holland & Mobility

"We can do this in a better way."

That's the conclusion that M. Holland came to when they recognized the need for a CRM solution. They pinpointed deficiencies in their business processes and looked to CRM to take them from -1 to 0. But what started as a CRM implementation project evolved into so much more the moment they realized that by changing nothing, they could change everything. They didn't need to invent new processes or technologies. They needed to alter the delivery of the information they already had and make the functions they always had to do more accessible. To get from 0 to 1, and a place where they had a competitive advantage, they needed a mobile application.

Take it to the field

In the early stages of their CRM project, M. Holland team members took our UX architects into the field to collect essential observational data. They went on ride alongs to watch how people actually did their jobs, instead of listening to them explain how they thought they did their jobs. We found that what was supposedly being met on paper wasn't being met within the context of modern mobility. And with that, the conversation headed in a new direction - towards the creation of a mobile app.

No wheel to reinvent

The mobile app discussion was far from revolutionary. Mobilizing your business doesn't require you to make big changes in relation to what you do or how you do it; it requires you to change how the information and processes you have are communicated and accessed. Once in the field, M. Holland recognized that their people were trapped in the paradigm of their every day. Their sales force was frustrated with their existing tools and felt stuck. Getting information from various locations and drives in their laptop was a painful task. What their team needed was a fresh perspective.

IT to the rescue

It took a technology person to uncover that fresh perspective. Through the participation of junior-level UX activities, M. Holland's IT team was able to understand the tactical flow of events that the field team completed in the real world. Understanding the back and forth of activities and data in a dynamic way allowed them to see things differently, and beg the question: what if we did all of the things we're doing but in a mobile-centric way?

Enter Sonoma Partners

M. Holland’s IT team laid the framework that allowed our UX team to create the mobile solution that they were looking for. Take a tour of two of the app screens below:

Account – Canadian + Ship To
Account - Canadian + Ship To
Take a look at the landing page for an account in the phone app. We put the absolute key information, specifically information that a user might need on their phone, on the surface as soon as an account is located. 

Here you can see the account name and number along with the ship-to details. This is useful for the common case of speaking with M. Holland Customer Service on the phone. If a shipment is delayed, a rep will need this info and it’s important that it’s easily accessible.

The Alerts + Tasks section clearly shows any outstanding work items related to this account. The contacts section allows the rep to tap in and see all contacts at this account. Since we know a rep typically deals with one primary point of contact at a given account, we created a special display of that person’s info on the front page. We then give one-tap access to the rep so they can quickly email or call that individual.

Task List
Task List
Breaking the task list into “Needs my attention” and “Awaiting others” is a relatively simple concept from a CRM customization perspective. But in a mobile app, it is a very big deal. This function allows the app to replace excessive amounts of emails back and forth between sales reps and product folks. With one tap they can answer two questions:

-      What do I need to work on?

-      What’s the status of XYZ I fired off?

Finding the answer to both of these questions used to require annoying searches through an overfilled inbox. With the app, problem solved.

The result

A solution that has:

  • Improved customer experience, leading to more opportunities and growth
  • Pushed the technology team to be engaged in the business
  • Increased credibility of the organization in the eyes of their customers
  • Capitalized on the momentum of mobility to better serve their field team

Neil Goodrich, CIO of M. Holland Company will be presenting How Changing Nothing Can Change Everything on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 3:30 pm at appsworld North America 2015. Come learn more about how M.Holland achieved their mobility goals and how the IT team played a central role in creating that vision.


Get a working custom mobile app for your CRM system


Topics: CRM for Manufacturing Enterprise Mobility

Activity Tracker – Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile Samples

Today’s post is co-written by Kyle Gerstner, a Principal Mobility Architect at Sonoma Partners.

With the rush of the holidays, you may not have noticed that the Microsoft Dynamics CRM team released a new set of sample mobile code that demonstrate how to connect and interact with Dynamics CRM from Windows Phone, Android and iOS devices.

Microsoft asked Sonoma Partners to create a sample code solution specifically for iOS and Android developers. In these discussions, we wanted to showcase more than a simple mobile example connecting CRM. We believed we could come up with a quick, easy to understand reference application that leverages the code samples mobile developers would use in common applications, but also be immediately valuable to the user community. Our key solution tenants were:

  • Provide framework for custom mobile applications
  • Phone-based application
  • Simple & common use case
  • Stand-alone reference application
  • No CRM solution changes required

We focused our use case on something every mobile user can appreciate: the ability to quickly find a contact’s details and record an interaction with that person. The results are the Activity Tracker phone sample application!


While we focused on the iOS and Android versions, Microsoft developed the Windows Phone in parallel, providing you the code to natively work with whichever device makes sense for your organization.

This starter application code was designed for mobile developers looking to get started with Dynamics CRM for the first time, as well as seasoned Dynamics CRM developers. Activity Tracker demonstrates how to find a contact and submit one type of activity interaction (a check-in task). However, the code is open source, so you have a framework to easily add additional activity types, brand the application to your color scheme, and also add additional entities (such as account and opportunity). You can also look to extend the use case slightly for more advanced scenarios.

To demonstrate, we have extended the application for our internal use to bring back tweets from a contact. We simply added a ‘Twitter Handle’ field to the contact form and use that to make a call to Twitter, retrieving all public tweets associated with that twitter handle. As you can see from the screenshot, we also altered the design of the activity history to use a horizontal scroll, for better usability with more information sources.


The Microsoft team also has demonstrated extending the application. They have a sample that enhanced the Windows Phone example to use Cortana – bringing the power of voice commands to your CRM data entry!

From a technical perspective, the samples show you how to connect to both the SOAP and OData endpoints that Dynamics CRM uses. As a mobile developer using Dynamics CRM, you will probably use both endpoints in your custom applications.

The OData endpoint is a more common approach for connecting mobile applications, and is the primary approach taken in this sample. For example, we use OData to fetch details of the contact and get the recent records list, which comes back in an easy-to-consume JSON format. However, not all of the Dynamics CRM API methods are currently supported with OData. One example of this, is using the Execute method which was needed to mark an activity as completed. Hence the need to also demonstrate how to interact with the SOAP endpoint.

We also made use of Microsoft’s ADAL library for Objective C and ADAL library for Android, which uses OAuth to authenticate the user to CRM. Like many mobile applications, this means your user authenticates from their appropriate authentication endpoint, with the credentials they already know and commonly use.  More importantly from an application development perspective, the custom application does not need or has access to your username and password. The OAuth model gives the user and system administrators the ability to revoke access if a device is lost or an employee leaves the organization, helping to further reduce the security risks generally associated with mobile applications. 

We believe these mobile samples will allow you to more quickly deploy a customized mobile application for your organization and make your mobile workforce more efficient and engaged.

Ready to mobilize your workforce? We can help. Contact us to learn more about mobile CRM applications for your business.

Topics: Enterprise Mobility Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

Using Mobile CRM to Drive User Engagement and User Adoption

Your sales team’s expectations are changing with evolving mobile technologies.

Take a quick look at the role that mobile devices play in their personal lives and take notes. We’d bet that a majority of your team uses their phone to complete tasks that increase productivity and save them time. It’s never been easier to pay bills, book flights, and set that painful reminder for a dentist appointment with just a few swipes, taps, and submits. Field teams are demanding new ways to be productive on the road and if your CRM solution doesn’t meet, or better yet exceed, these expectations… you won’t get the adoption you’re expecting. 

Mobile CRM applications can help you drive user engagement and user adoption like never before. Take advantage of the unique opportunity that these tools present, and build your team an app that gives them access to the information they need, when they need it, in a way they want to receive it.

Mobile CRM and User Engagement

Building a mobile CRM application for your organization gives you the opportunity to capitalize on internal excitement that can come with a new launch. Imagine two very different, but very real, scenarios for rolling out your future CRM system.

Scenario 1:

You are in a conference room that is filled to the brim with your sales team who are uncomfortably itching in their seats. They’ve noticed that there are 50 slides in your onboarding PowerPoint presentation and everyone looks to their lap where they try to inconspicuously reply to emails, on their phone. If you’re lucky, you have 50% of the room’s attention. You’ve spent months building your CRM and the group’s response is lackluster at best. From the point of unveiling, you’ll have to deliver solely on productivity and user value (you did focus on those during your design and implementation, right?) in order to achieve a successful adoption.

Scenario 2:

You are in a conference room that is filled to the brim with your sales team who are relieved to hear there won’t be an onboarding PowerPoint presentation. You begin the unveiling of your CRM by distributing an iPad Air to each member of your team with CRM/business applications that will help them close more business.

If you hand your end users a tablet, preconfigured with the tools they need, they are far more likely to take you seriously. Who wouldn’t love a shiny new toy that could help them do their job more efficiently?

The device handoff approach is far more effective than sending out an email announcement with a link to your CRM log-in. Trust us, we’ve seen both scenarios unfold and there’s no surprise as to which inspires greater end user excitement and engagement.

Mobile CRM and User Adoption

But the excitement that comes with a new CRM system and the corresponding device will eventually wear off. How can you use your mobile app to keep users engaged to the point that they consistently use the system?

Build or enable tools that truly serves their needs. Building value should be at the core of your project and without it, your users will stop using your app before eventually deleting it.

One way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to invest in customization.

A custom application will help you build an app for your user, not your data. Mobile CRM applications cannot do everything a web version can and it doesn’t need to. The goal is not to rewrite your existing CRM for mobility, but rather distinguish a new hierarchy of activities that your team needs access to on their phone or tablet.

Take the time to pinpoint the 2-3 key things that your mobile CRM application needs to be able to tackle. Minimize the complexity of your mobile CRM application by focusing on the key tasks your end users need to do on the day-to-day. If you can build your team an app that continues to solve their problems in a more efficient way, you create the best possible opportunity for user adoption.

One more thing. Choosing the right device is an important decision you need to make to maximize the value of your mobile CRM application. Outline the tasks your users need to perform and then align these tasks with the native components of different devices. Matching the device capabilities with your users needs will help you build the most effective product.

Want to learn more about Mobile CRM applications, user engagement, and user adoption? Contact us to see how you can create meaningful experiences for your users, which can positively impact the adoption and effectiveness of your CRM.

Topics: Enterprise Mobility

Dynamics CRM 2015: Tablet Client (MoCA) Enhancements

Microsoft recently announced new features coming out with their next version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 (previously code named Vega).  Check out the Dynamics CRM 2015 Release Preview Guide to see what features are coming with 2015.

Next up for our review is reviewing the changes being made to the Mobile Client Application (MoCA).  The first version of MoCA filled a much needed gap to have a native tablet application, but with the improvements below, it’s clear Microsoft see’s mobile as the direction they want to continue to head as they make investments in improving the product.

The following improvements were made with CRM 2015:

Offline Drafts:

  • Users will now have the ability to create and update records while offline.
  • The create/edit mobile experience will use the Quick Create Form defined for the entity
  • A Draft button will appear in the sitemap while offline, taking the user to the Draft Page (+ icon that appears on lists will do the same)
  • The Draft Page will display a count of draft records on the Site Map
  • Users can discard or update drafts while offline
  • Drafts are deleted when the user signs out of MoCA for security reasons (warning displayed first)
  • No lookups / party list support while offline:  However, there’s a workaround to populate lookups while offline by starting at the parent entity and creating a child record from the parent (e.g., creating an Opportunity from a Contact defaults the Contact lookup for the new Opportunity)

You can see from the screenshots below that I have the ability to create records offline (in this instance a Lead), and see a count of how many draft records (creates/updates) that have yet to be uploaded to the CRM server.

If I click on the Draft Records link from the Site Map, I’ll see a list of all the records that have changes that have yet to be uploaded and if I wanted to, I can make further changes to them from this list.



It’s important to note that with the Offline Drafts, users can only modify records that they created offline.  Users will still be unable to go to a record that they had previously viewed while online, and modify that record while offline.

Also, when the user goes online, they will have to save the Draft records manually (they’ll no longer appear on the draft page).  This isn’t an automatic action that’s taken when a user reconnects online

Mobile Analytics:

Microsoft now allows you to have any and as many dashboards on your tablet (system or personal).  Previously you were able to just have the one “Sales Dashboard” on the Tablet Client, but now Microsoft allows administrators to configure multiple. 

A new “Enable For Tablets” checkbox has been added to dashboards to allow it to show up in MoCA (this field is solution aware and can be toggled via the SDK).


There’s a new “Dashboards” Site Map entry that you’ll notice when clicking around the Tablet Client.  Also, the default dashboard users see when initially logging onto the tablet client (prior to personalizing their experience) is defined and configurable by the Site Map XML.


When on a Dashboard, users can:

  • Set as Home:  when users click the Home icon, this dashboard will show
  • Pin to Win 8 Start
  • Pin to Home:  you can pin Dashboards to your Home Dashboard similar to how you pin records – this means you could have a Home Dashboard be one dashboard, and have other dashboards pinned on it for easy access.
  • Select Dashboard to select a different Dashboard




With all these changes, there are few other notes that users should be aware of regarding the Tablet Client:

  • There are no storage limitations (the same limitations will apply to MoCA that apply to the device)
  • All improvements in 2015 / Vega will work on Win 8, Android, and iPad devices (except the “Pin to Start” will be Win 8 devices only)
  • Plugins are still not supported on the device, but when data hits the server they’ll run (no offline plugins)
Topics: Enterprise Mobility Microsoft Dynamics CRM Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

The Seven Use Cases Your Mobile CRM Sales Application Must Nail

We’re now at the point where enterprise mobility should be built into your CRM platform from the beginning of a project. You know that your sales team needs to be able to access their accounts and data on the go.

But how can you guarantee your users will have what they need when they need it? Build an app that nails these seven use cases to ensure that your sales team can and will use your mobile CRM application.

#1. Availability
Don’t assume you are always connected to a network. The terrain that your sales team can cover varies and your app needs to be available every step of the way, regardless of possible nearby wifi networks or cellular connection signal strength. If your app doesn’t have the ability to record notes and orders offline and then immediately sync up when a connection is established, your sales team won’t use it in fear of losing valuable data.

#2. Brand Standards
When your sales team is meeting with prospects and customers they should be able to use their CRM app as a sales tool and collaborate directly with them. This includes being able to display specific product information, conduct a product demo and access relevant marketing collateral on the fly. Because your clients viewing your app with your sales team, your mobile CRM app needs to absolutely reflect your organization’s look and feel and reinforce brand standards.

#3. Digital Sales
Your team needs to be able to do more than pull up existing accounts in the field, they need to be able to create new ones! Your app must allow users to display and present sales collateral during client meetings. Most importantly you need to be able to pull up pertinent information relevant to a specific sale to get a holistic view of the account. Being able to check if merchandise is in stock or an updated version of an item is available could positively (or negatively!) impact the direction of a meeting.

#4. Location-Based Activity
Sonoma-phone-tabletAs your team travels throughout the day they need to be able to see the accounts and prospects in the area. Incorporating geo-coding into your mobile CRM app can help your team maximize their time in the field. If a meeting is cancelled or postponed, being able to identify prospects geographically could translate to a new opportunity.

#5. Activity Management
Not only should your team be able to monitor clients and sales opportunities but they need to be able to manage their schedules. Build a mobile CRM app that allows users to track and manage their day including appointments, tasks, and to-do lists. Make this process as touch friendly and as simple as possible. Creating a tool that provides value and simplicity back to the sales team increases the likelihood of user adoption.

#6. Account Management
It’s important that your users are actually able to manage opportunities in the field.
Accessing sales materials and product information is essential to making the sale but taking notes, updating contact information, and adding reminders for future meetings can be just as important. Building a mobile app that allows your sales team to manage an account at all stages while in the sales process guarantees that the highest quality of data will make it into your CRM.

#7. Build an App that Minimizes Training
If you deploy an app that isn’t intuitive or user-friendly, we guarantee that your adoption rate will suffer. Remember that having to use your CRM isn’t enough of a motivation for your users, they have to need or want to use it. Engaging in a user discovery process and investing in thoughtful user experience increases the likelihood that your mobile CRM app will satisfy the needs and wants of your users.



Topics: Enterprise Mobility

A Day in the Life of the Mobile Sales User

Enterprise mobility is your sales teams’ lifeblood.

Being connected even when lacking a connection, is essential for productivity and getting the job done. The best way to ensure that your team has the tools they need at their disposal is to build them a CRM app with enterprise mobility.

To demonstrate how important mobility is, we’ve outlined a typical day in the life of a sales person on the move and mobile dependent. I want you to meet Phil.

PhilPhil has 6 years of in-the-field sales experience working with a global manufacturing company. Let’s walk through a day in the life of Phil to grasp how essential CRM mobility is for him to successfully complete his day-to-day tasks. 

It really begins the night before.

These days, the day begins at midnight. 95% of people (and I’m going to guess that a majority of  your team doesn’t fall into the other 5%) bring their gadgets to bed; tapping, swiping, and browsing the web before they begin their slumber. It’s likely that the last thing they see before they go to bed is the glowing screen in their palm. It should be effortless to transition between their CRM and the apps they need to plan their day.

In Phil’s case, he starts preparing for the next morning’s meetings the night before. He confirms appointment times in his CRM and quickly takes a look at his weather app to see if he needs to plan for a longer commute.

Good morning, Phil.

A few hours later, the alarm goes off and the screen is glowing again. Phil takes another quick pass at his emails that have arrived overnight and checks his favorite websites, both professional and personal. He opens his CRM system and confirms his meetings for the day. It looks like he has 3 appointments and everything is set to run as planned. He rolls out of bed and starts prepping for his first meeting over breakfast.

The first meeting includes a new product demo with a potential customer. He checks the client’s profile in the CRM and notes that this account is hot- they are so close to closing the deal! Phil does a run-through of the demo to make sure everything is running smoothly and that he has the notes on the new features that came out last week. He also runs a report on the product’s inventory to make sure that the model the prospect is looking at is in stock.

Phil sees the afternoon is booked with current customers. He pulls up their existing profiles and orders and checks to see if any of their product lines have been updated. He also sees that it’s one of his client’s birthdays so he makes a mental note to ask about their plans to celebrate the big day. 

The mid-day check-in.

The morning meeting went better than expected. The prospect was blown away by the product demo and they gave Phil a verbal approval for a purchase order! Phil makes notes directly into the CRM during the meeting. He takes notes about the questions they have in order to update his FAQ page. The entire sales team is responsible for recording customer’s concerns, questions, and insights after their meetings. Because his CRM includes a field for client’s notes he can easily tap in the responses without disturbing the natural flow of the meeting.

Because the customer wants to get products in stock right away, Phil is able to place the order from the conference table. He confirms which items are in stock and which ones have a longer turn-around time. The ordering process moved quickly because of the smart fields built into the order form. Phil simply keys in the company’s name and the rest of the contact, billing, and shipping information fills automatically. Another benefit of using the CRM to prepare and manage an appointment.

Phil heads to the second appointment of the day.

He knows that he is meeting his contact at a lab in a basement and service is non-existent. Because his CRM saves all information he enters offline and syncs it back up when he reconnects he doesn’t need to switch to pen and paper to take notes.

The customer gives Phil her opinion on a new product she tested and he takes notes in real-time. Before using a mobile app, he was required to take these notes on paper and then had to rewrite them in the CRM on his desktop. Phil admits that the quality of his data before he got his hands on the mobile app were sub-par and the relationship with his clients sometimes suffered because of it.

Being unprepared for a sales meeting is unacceptable. With the current technology landscape, clients expect to be able to see the product you’re trying to sell as you’re trying to sell it. Because Phil has all of the tools in the palm of his hands, he is never concerned about being underprepared for a meeting.

The late afternoon.

Phil’s third appointment had to cancel because of a conflict. He checks tomorrow’s schedule before reaching out and notices he has an appointment with another prospect 3 miles away. He sends a follow up email, requesting to meet the following afternoon and the client obliges.

Because of geo-coding capabilities built into the CRM, Phil can organize his schedule based on locations. With the afternoon wide open, he decides to stop by another client’s office and drop off some free product samples. Because Phil can easily access his records via his mobile CRM application, he doesn’t waste any time adjusting his schedule and completing a task off his to-do list.

Sound familiar?

Enterprise mobility is your sales teams’ lifeblood. Are you 100% sure that your CRM system supports your sales team's needs? If not, please contact us. We can help you get them the mobile tools they need!


Topics: Enterprise Mobility

Salesforce1 Mobile – Becoming mobile ready

In my last post on Salesforce1 Mobile I showed you how to brand your mobile deployment of Salesforce1 to better fit your brand’s standards including how to change the logo, colors, and publisher button to your own. Now that you have an application that your users can identify with, it’s time to start thinking about the functionality that will allow your users to be effective and efficient at their daily tasks.

Meet Bob, the sailorman salesman

Let’s meet Bob, a door to door salesman who makes his living selling sailing equipment to private boat owners and retail boat companies. Bob has recently purchased Salesforce to track his various accounts, and is on the road most of the time. To begin, let’s look at one of Bob’s accounts in Salesforce1 mobile, without making any customizations to the forms.


Bob isn’t really happy with this layout. All Bob wants to see is the name of the account, the phone number, and its address (captured in the Shipping Address fields). On the related list page:


Again, there is too much information. All Bob needs is Contacts and Opportunities.

Customizing the forms for the mobile user

Let’s see if we can’t make Bob a little more productive by removing the fields from the form that he doesn’t need. The idea here is that we’re going to create a new form that only contains the information Bob needs to see, and assign it to his profile (Standard User). The other users in the system who do not have the same profile as Bob will continue to see the native form and can continue to use the extra fields if desired.

To create the new form, we go to:

Setup > Customize > Accounts > Page Layouts


On the Account Page Layout page, we’re going to create a new layout - not copying an existing layout - and naming it Standard User Layout.

The new default form includes the required fields by default. Let’s add the fields and related lists Bob wanted to the form.


Clicking Save, we’re brought back to the Account Page Layout page. We need to take one more step before turning this over to Bob – we need to assign the layout to Bob’s profile so that the application will use this new layout instead of the native one when Bob looks at an account.

Click the Page Layout Assignment button and change the Standard User to the Standard User Layout.


Once we let Bob know that the changes are ready and he refreshes the account on his mobile device, he will see the changes:



This is all fine, but we can do better. If Bob clicks the publisher button in the lower right corner, he’s still presented with many options that aren’t relevant to him:



Let’s remove these extra actions to just the ones he needs: new contact, new opportunity and link.

Publisher Actions – Overriding the defaults

Going back to our form, we see the Publisher Actions panel, but it looks like there aren’t any actions! Where are the default actions coming from? 


Reading the text carefully, it’s telling us the layout is inheriting the default ones from the global publisher layout and that we can override it, which is exactly what we’re going to do. Clicking the link provided gives us an editable box where we can drag just the actions we care about.


And back on Bob’s device:



As you can see, enabling users to be productive while in the field is not as simple as giving them mobile access to a desktop oriented site. You need to spend time thinking about, and usually working with, the end user and their day-to-day tasks to customize the experience to best fit their needs. Sometimes this can take many iterations, as the users explore their options. Listen to your users’ feedback, and take it seriously as it may help you improve their efficiency, and by extension the bottom line.

Do you need some help with your mobile strategy? Not sure if mobile is for you? Contact us and we can help – from discovery all the way to delivery and post go-live support.

Topics: Enterprise Mobility Salesforce