Marketcircle's Daylite CRM application for Macs, iPhones and iPads has been overhauled with the goal of providing a cleaner user experience and better ways to quickly bring up and view important customer data.
"We've noticed certain patterns with our customers," said Marketcircle CEO Alykhan Jetha. "One of them is reports. Everybody wants reports." While Daylite has a reporting engine it requires some programming skills that Marketcircle's small-business customers may not readily possess.
To bridge that skills gap, there's a new feature in Daylite 5 called Insight View that provides a visual representation of information categories such as leads, contacts and ongoing projects. Users can start with a high-level view of all the categories, then drill into each one for more details.
Another new reporting feature is called Timeline. "A lot of companies have long histories with clients," Jetha said. "They want to see that stuff fast." Timeline organizes all of a company's interactions with a given client and lets sales people quickly jump to a certain period, or group the data based on the type of information involved, such as emails, letters and attachments.
Meanwhile, Daylite for iPhone and iPad has been redesigned to take advantage of iOS 7, with a cleaner, more intuitive look and feel, Jetha said.
Daylite goes somewhat against the grain of today's CRM market given that it has a server component the mobile applications depend on. Data is synchronized between the server and mobile devices on an ongoing basis, although a local data store makes it possible to work without a connection as well.
The synchronization helps sales representatives be prepared for meetings, as it pushes data about clients and prospects to the mobile device, Jetha said.
Marketcircle is working on a cloud-based version of Daylite, but overall remains committed to the notion that native applications are better than ones that run in a browser.
"Network speeds are the bottleneck," he said of browser-based apps. "Our thought is, you should use the full power of the computer you're using to have the best experience." Everything from scrolling speed to response time when you tap a button is better on a native app, he said. "[Web apps have] become better, granted, but there's still that lag."
Of course, the oft-cited gripe about CRM systems is that sales people barely use them anyway, and when they do so, it's begrudgingly.
To this end, Marketcircle has taken a different approach from the beginning with Daylite, he said.
Daylite was conceived as a productivity application first, and a CRM application second, according to Jetha. That way, users are already in the system working with task management tools and other features, making them more likely to go ahead and enter their CRM data as well, he said.
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