Role of Sales Force Automation In Improving Organizational Revenue

By Girish Sharma, HEAD – IT, Serdia Pharmaceuticals (India) Ltd

Girish SharmaThis is the age of digital transformation. The evolvement of technology year on year has been changing the way businesses operate for the past decade. Today, we speak about Artificial intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data, CRMs and SFAs to improve sales and marketing effectiveness with the usage of these technologies to get the edge over the continuously evolving markets.

The core activity of companies is their sales force activity managed by the multiple CRM or SFAs with various functionalities and features. Many users today are confused between Sales force automation and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and what these enterprise solutions do and how they differ from each other.

One of the most fundamental differences between Sales Force Automation and Customer Relationship Management is that, while Sales Force Automation is concerned about the entire sales process and monitors the efforts of salespeople internally, Customer Relationship Management is different. It’s all about the customers.

Customer Relationship Management has emerged as one of the most prominent types of enterprise software. In its early days, Customer Relationship Management was a bit less sophisticated, and had several core features that all pointed in one direction. Customer Relationship Management has always been a customer-focused tool with its primary focus on the relationship between a business and its customers.

One of the most common and fundamental features of CRM is to set or keep detailed customer profiles. CRM systems are available in multiple devices which include hand held devices and have made it easier for the users to have customer profiles in front of them when interacting with the customer or prospect. Another major feature of CRM is historical information about the customer. A repository of information about the customer behaviour and purchase information is stored to help people understand customer motivations, and what their relationship with the business has been like. Sales Force Automation is very different from CRM. It’s objective is to look at the sales process, and automate a lot of manual processes which includes order processing, contact management, inventory monitoring and control, order tracking, customer management, sales forecast analysis and employee performance etc. Sales Force Automation tackles logistical and practical issues involved in generating leads, making sales and closing deals and is not necessarily a part of CRM.

It’s now almost mandatory for all small or big organizations to spend on an effective sales force automation (SFA) tool as SFA today is a powerful tool that increases sales win rates, reduces the sales cycle duration, enhances the sales representative’s productivity and improves revenue.

Today the challenge for the companies is fragmented customers and sales data, complex products, increased competition, higher customer expectations, longer sales cycles and expanding sales force. There are many SFA solutions  available from Software as a service (SaaS model) to complex inhouse builds and regardless of the technology, the key point is that SFA should deliver most of the following benefits:

Save time

SFA systems automatize time-consuming processes which are automated sufficiently to give the Sales person the ability to quickly generate sales estimates, and in turn convert these estimates to proposals and order immediately when the deal is signed. In addition to that, the sales team has immediate access to order tracking and alerts the customer accordingly with the order details and deliveries. In case customers have any questions and queries about their order, this information should be at the fingertips of the sales person.

Improve customer service and satisfaction

SFA is an integral part of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and it contains the central repository  of customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction. It helps to eliminate the causes of customer dissatisfaction. In case, the employee handling the customer case is no more with the company, it’s easier for the new replacement to reach the customer in no time.

Increase revenue

Freeing sales people from repetitive error-prone administrative work and empowering them to focus on their core activities either on phone or in person allows them to generate more prospective and revenue for the company and for self. SFA also empowers the employee to make the most accurate Sales forecast based on real time figures to prevent unexpected surprises.

Track opportunities

Another important functionality of SFA is to track the opportunities during the extremely competitive times. It includes a competitive intelligence function which allows the companies to monitor the competitive threats and opportunities.

Effectively manage Sales team.

On the basis of real time information available to the sales team or the sales manager, they have access to each sales person’s activities, opportunities, sales figures, customer complaints and other metrics and as a result, they can act quickly when necessary based on real time information.  It also highlights the problematic areas such as underperforming sales persons and thereby allows one to make proactive adjustments early in the process.

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