If you’re a corporate sales rep, or work with or for the sales team at a large corporation, chances are you’ve heard of Salesforce. It’s an application that helps track sales as they go from mere opportunities to contracts, and is either beloved or reviled by those who live and breathe it’s electronic esters every day.
If your company does use Salesforce, and you’re on the road meeting clients, chances are you’ve been stuck on the road and needed to access your Salesforce information someplace where pulling out a laptop just won’t work. Customware’s Salesforce Connector software has you covered. This handy little app allows you to grab your contacts, opportunities, and account information while on the run, although you’ll still need your laptop if you need to update any of that information.
Logging into the application is a bit of a chore. You need to type in your user name and password, as expected. The only hitch is that the password requires your security token, which can be tricky to get if you’re on the road — in the back of a taxi, trying to get into the system so you can find your client’s address to tell the cabbie who is staring at you oh so patiently where it is EXACTLY that he’s taking you. Fortunately, once entered the system stores the information so you only need to enter it once. Just make sure that the admins don’t reset the Salesforce server, and force you to get a new token (oops).
Once open, the application displays a handy little pie graph which displays your various opportunity types by percentage. Although it makes the screen look nice, the information isn’t exactly useful. Scrolling down will display your leads by source. Again, this is pretty, and gives you potentially interesting information at a glance, but the inability to click on the graph and drill down limits it’s overall usefulness.
That said the ability to export each graph and use the integrated functionality of WebOS to share the information makes these capabilities intriguing. I expect they’ll be upgraded in later versions of the application.
The meat of the application comes in the form of four queries against the Salesforce database. You can pull up your Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities, and Leads.
Each pops up in an alphabetical list. You can scroll through each with your finger, or search for an entry simply by typing in the first few letters of whichever entry you’re looking for. Clicking on a entry will take you to a detail screen with some high level information for the entry. Tapping a phone number will automatically bring up the phone app with the phone number in it.
The same can be said for email. Clicking on an address will bring up google maps, which is a particularly nice feature. Although the information is presented cleanly and efficiently, the program cannot yet query any of the custom Salesforce fields for any of the four entry types, which again limits it’s usefulness.
I personally have very little use for Salesforce in my daily life. Fortunately, I know a salesman who was very interested, when I told him he should be able to get at his information over his beloved Pre.
After setting him up, and helping him get logged in, he went on a week long tour of his sales region, and aside from the above mishap with a missing security token while in a cab, he was able to give the software a real beating. When he got back in the office he was more than willing to share his impression: He loved it, but that it was frustratingly limited.
He wanted to be able to access all of his custom information, and update his sales information while on the move. The example he gave me before heading off to report to his VP, was that he was trapped on a slow elevator leaving his client and was so frustrated at not being able to move his opportunity to closed, that he actually stopped to log into his laptop when he hit the lobby.
So, if you can put up with it’s limitations, this is excellent software for retrieving quick information on the go to stay on top of things while dealing with the mundane aspects of travel, but it won’t help you loose the laptop.