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Blend CRM and on-the-go email with Cirrus Insight Mobile

Cirrus Insight Mobile ClientAccessing information about customers while on the go used to be tough, but it's gotten a lot easier. For companies that use the Salesforce Sales Cloud as their CRM (customer relationship management) system, the mobile story has been greatly enhanced over the past year as several divergent salesforce.com-published iOS and Android apps have been unified onto the Salesforce1 platform and phone/tablet app.

Now with a few taps, it's simple to interact with contacts, accounts, potential new business opportunities or any custom-developed objects in the CRM database.

[Please note: when not blogging for TUAW, my day job is at salesforce.com.]

There's always room for more innovation: Cirruspath, an ISV known for its leading Gmail integration for Salesforce, wants to add another dimension to the mobile experience for Sales Cloud users. The just-released Cirrus Insight Mobile app (free for iPhone, but requires a Cirrus subscription or 14-day trial in Sales Cloud to work) aims to tie email and sales activities more closely together by replacing the native Mail or Gmail client on your phone entirely.

Swapping mobile mail clients is a big deal (just ask users of Tempo, Hop, Mailbox and many others), so Cirrus needs to deliver some desirable features to make it worth a user's while to learn the new UI. Top of the list is when-opened notification; nothing makes salespeople happier than knowing exactly when that email has been opened or read, so they can reach out and connect while the latest offer is right at the top of the customer's to-do list. Cirrus's client can invisibly add a tiny tracker graphic to any outbound message (similar to YesWare and other add-ins for Gmail), which then "phones home" as soon as the email is opened.

In addition to the trackable emails, Cirrus also makes it extremely easy to add or log emails to the appropriate CRM customer record with a minimum of steps. Creating new customers, accounts, cases or opportunities can be done directly from the app, along with calendar functions to schedule events or meetings. Although you don't have to save emails into a Salesforce context, doing so enables the free Cirrus Analytics app to dig into your sending records to see what's most effective at reaching customers.

Cirrus Insight Mobile works with Gmail, Lotus Notes, Outlook/Exchange and any other email system that supports either ActiveSync or IMAP for mailbox access (if your corporate admin doesn't permit IMAP, you'll be out of luck for now). It's iPhone only at launch, with iPad (and Android phone/tablet) versions on the roadmap.

Obviously, any app that wants to be the front end for your mobile email experience should be trustworthy; here's the Cirrus policy statement for reference. As mentioned, the app itself is free but you need an underlying Cirrus Insight subscription -- $19 per user per month, on an annualized basis (for Gmail/Google Apps users; Outlook and Notes have a custom pricing scheme).

Note: I work for salesforce.com; Cirruspath is an independent vendor.

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