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Have you heard about the Sales Force Automation (SFA) system? It turns out that, unlike the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, it is not often used in our country. Many people are not even aware of its existence, which in some cases can be a big loss. The use of SFA is most often found among some producers of solutions for the sales industry. It is then used as an alternative to CRM systems. How are the two tools different and when is it better to implement SFA solutions? Advise.
In order to understand correctly in which cases the implementation of SFA is the most beneficial, one should know the difference between Sales Force Automation and Customer Relationship Management. Only such a demarcation will help you decide which solution will be best for your business.
The tool that is used to manage customer relationships is the CRM system. Thanks to it, you can organize your sales and marketing processes. It allows you to coordinate your work and create a coherent database with customer information. It is available to all employees in your company. Thanks to CRM, you can also generate reports that will help you measure the effectiveness of your actions. And most importantly – using the system you will collect all information related to interactions with your client. These include commercial activities such as phone calls, meetings and e-mails sent, customer notes, documents and files, completed orders, ongoing marketing campaigns, available offers, submitted requests, as well as invoices, complaints and returns. Then these data will be used to achieve business goals, i.e. most often increase sales profits.
Therefore, the CRM system is a customer knowledge base that will allow you to learn the entire history of cooperation between a single contractor and your company. You can generate data at any time in the form of a statement or report. Thanks to the quick access to this type of information, you will better understand the needs of your recipients, learn their patterns of operation in the sales process, and learn what they expect in contact with your company.
The task of the Sales Force Automation system is primarily to support the company’s sales department. It’s software that automates business sales tasks. Thanks to it, you can process orders, manage contacts and relationships with your clients, exchange necessary information, control the state of your warehouses, watch over the course of the order, analyze sales trends, plan and report sales activities. What’s more, you can also target your sales representatives, effectively organize their work, and set and implement sales plans. In addition, SFA allows you to determine sales opportunities, classify customers and divide all activities that will increase the results in your company.
How is SFA different from CRM? Unlike the second solution, FSA software may be different for individual products and industries. Often, these types of solutions are prepared specifically for a given business field or specific type of activity. They can therefore be heavily specified due to the industry. For example, one FSA system may have a map that will map routes to mobile workers. In this case, it will be useful for companies selling their products or services in the field. However, another system may be equipped with specially developed telephone call scripts, which will be useful for companies based on call center activities.
It has become common ground that Sales Force Automation systems are best suited for distributed sales teams that often operate outside the company’s headquarters. However, this is not the only application. FSA support the daily work of mobile sales people, but they are also great for stationary work. Just like the Customer Relationship Management software.
Despite the clear separation in the operation of both systems – CRM and FSA – there are solutions that have the features of both tools. Rarely does the CRM system lack SFA features and vice versa. So it turns out that even the simplest CRM systems are not only an information base, but also provide valuable tips and offer various functionalities.
The same happens with SFA solutions. They help in organizing the work of salespeople, but they also enable the organization of customer interactions based on previous experience. Thanks to SFA you will find out what your preferences are and how to best reach them. After all, you can’t plan routes and sales goals separately from the user himself.
First of all, remember not to attach to the FSA or CRM name itself. Before you choose your software, see exactly what it offers and whether it will meet the requirements of your industry. After the resarch, it may turn out that the software originally referred to as CRM perfectly fits into the assumptions of FSA and it is what is able to provide you with efficient work.
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