Sales Force Automation primarily involves the use of software modules for streamlining all the activities pertaining to sales and to aid in the reduction of time that sales representatives need to spend on each of the steps of the sales process.
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The basic implication of this is that it allows business enterprises to make use of few sales representatives for the purposes of management of their customers (Stanton & Rosann, 1998). Contact Management System (CMS) is a core element of the Sales Force Automation, which is used to follow and trace each of the phases in the sales process for each of the prospective client from the phase of first meeting to the last disposition.
Most of the Sales Force Automation applications are also integrated to have insights to the opportunities, sales forecasting and the automation of workflow (Stanton & Rosann, 1998). This paper explores the different ways through which the Sales Force Automation can be helpful to sales managers and sales representatives. In addition, the paper researches on other websites and applications that can be used for Sales Force Automation.
How do sales managers benefit from using Sales Force Automation?
There are substantial benefits of the Sales Force Automation systems at the managerial level. Using Sales Force Automation, sales managers have the choice of adopting their preferred data format of presentation.
Sales processes such as activity reporting, requesting of information, booking of orders and the presentation of other sales information will be forwarded to the sales manager automatically and in a more frequent manner, implying that SFA provides a framework for the evaluation of the performance of the sales representatives effectively (Stanton & Rosann, 1998).
The performance variables provided by the Sales Force Automation systems include revenue per each sales representative per territory; the margins per customer and the time that sales representatives spend per customer (Stanton & Rosann, 1998).
The second benefit of Sales Force Automation systems for sales managers is that it allows the sales manager to be more quick to respond in cases whereby sales representatives requires any form of help or information (Stanton & Rosann, 1998).
This is facilitated by the ability of the SFE systems to tabulate data and offer appropriate interpretations of such data using complex statistical techniques; this is beneficial because it provides the sales manager with timely and accurate information, which he/she can use to offer the necessary support to the sales team.
Additionally, the Sales Force Automation also facilitates effective communication between the sales and the marketing and advertising department, through the provision of marketing research information that includes demographic data, customer behavior and feedback, which are just a few of the data that the SFA can offer which can be helpful in other functional units within the organization.
This implies that SFA can foster communication between sales manager, marketing and advertising managers in order to help in the development of strategies that can be helpful in the achievement of a competitive advantage of the business enterprise over its competitors (Stanton & Rosann, 1998).
How do salespeople benefit from the Sales Force Automation Systems?
The success of a sale representative is principally determined by time efficiency, saleable product and sales leads. These three elements form the most significant challenges that most sales people face during their sales activities (Stanton & Rosann, 1998).
Despite the fact that Sales Force Automation systems cannot alter or enhance the recognition of the merchandise, it can enhance the overall effectiveness of the sales processes and increase the selling time of a sales representative. Many SFA applications normally have frameworks through the sales person can assess whether his/her efforts are geared towards the right direction. In addition, they also facilitate the realization of sale opportunities in particular territories that were subjected to predictable closures (Darmon, 2007).
Time is an important aspect of a successful sales person, the design of the Sales Force Automation systems is such that it helps in the leveraging of the time of the sale person. This is achieved through the automation of the lead capture phases and laying much emphasis on the details.
The bottom line is that Sales Force Automation systems usually make the work of sales people easy, and facilitate their effective undertaking of the sales activities. SFA systems facilitate faster ac SFA systems facilitate faster access to information, which implies that there is timely response to the customer requests resulting to an effective customer service (Stanton & Rosann, 1998).
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The Sales Force Automation systems also provides an integrated platform through which the sales people can establish more time to connect with their existing and prospective customers and make good deals out of such relationships (Darmon, 2007).
This is because the SFA focuses on a contact management approach that details all the customers’ needs, history, and any open leads for the sales people, the interests of the leads and how the sales person should initiate the next contact with a prospective client. In addition, the Sales Force Automation systems increase the efficiency of the lead handling process and follow up steps; this is because SFA facilitates effective record keeping and are somewhat limited to the core information needed in such processes.
As a result, there is no way that a lead is likely to be lost, making the follow up process mandatory (Stanton & Rosann, 1998).
Sales Force Automation systems also facilitate the process of formulation, keeping track and reporting of the sales activities by the sales person. This is because SFA templates, automatic report generation, reminders and workflow rules that the sales persons have to take into account during his/her undertaking of the sales activities. In addition, the sales person can choose to customize the interfaces offered by the SFA systems according to their needs so that they can execute their sales activities more effectively (Stanton & Rosann, 1998).
Websites and software products that are devoted to Sales Force Automation
There are various frameworks through which Sales Force Automation can implemented, with a greater interest focusing on technological platforms such as cloud computing, which is accessed through websites, and application software modules. Some of the application software devoted to the automation of the sales activities are listed below:
- Zoho CRM sales force automation (SFA)
- Sugar CRM sales force automation
- Net Suite CRM+ software
- Vanilla Soft
- Sage Sales Logix
- Enterprise Wizard
- Sales Nexus Online
Some of the websites that are dedicated to the automation of sales activities include:
- Oracle Siebel
- Microsoft Dynamics
- Oracle EBS (E-business suite)
- Zoho CRM
- Maximizer Software
Darmon, R. (2007). Leading the sales force: a dynamic management process. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Stanton, W., & Rosann, S. (1998). Management of a sales force. New York: Irwin/McGraw-Hill.