Magazine article CRM Magazine

Mobile CRM Seals the Deal for Cingular: The Wireless Provider Vastly Improved Interaction with Its Growing Field Sales Force

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Mobile CRM Seals the Deal for Cingular: The Wireless Provider Vastly Improved Interaction with Its Growing Field Sales Force

Article excerpt

Fast growth had Cingular Wireless in a communication void. Cingular has grown through conglomeration and acquisition, as it combined the cellular networks of multiple telephone companies. They themselves were also growing through acquisition, taking on new regional operations. As a result, communication with reps was often one-sided at best, with little to no feedback on leads or deals.

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Creating a common platform for field sales coordination was a priority, coinciding with a broader sales management change that included territorial realignment and commission restructuring.

Cingular rolled out a CRM strategy to its B2B sales organization some time ago, but it was the company's mobile sales deployment that captured the true value. "We had originally rolled out Siebel 6.3 SFA to our direct sales force ... but we have a very mobile sales force, always out of the office," says Bill Stapleton, Cingular Wireless acting director of business sales operations. "One of the pieces that made [CRM] fall into place was the wireless component. [Reps] don't always have the ability to find a landline to sync up their contacts."

Rollout was somewhat slowed early in Cingular's deployment by incomplete matches between Cingular's wireless data capabilities and the handheld platforms that operated Siebel's wireless solution. Since then, Cingular has expanded its GSM wireless network through growth and acquisition, and the RIM BlackBerry 7280 device, which can run Siebel, offers functionality for all Cingular's cellular data markets.

The wireless deployment began in the second quarter of 2003 and has extended to 1,200 users--all but a small fraction of the B2B sales force. Rather than rely on laptops, which are sometimes considered too bulky for sales calls, Cingular decided to use BlackBerry devices. The BlackBerry implementation of Siebel supports the majority of Cingular's functionality, and keeps contact information in the customer database, where it belongs, rather than on index cards and scribbled updates. …

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