Tuesday, July 26, 2011

At-A-Glance Information with Sales Force Automation

Sales force automation, or SFA, is the application of technologies in efforts to improve the management of sales and salespeople through careful analysis of data related to customers. SFA is often referred to as customer relationship management (CRM). While CRM comprises the major areas of marketing, service, and sales, businesses may utilize SFA applications separately. In this case, SFA cannot be used interchangeably with CRM.

The purpose of SFA is to provide applications which automate business tasks that may otherwise cause strain and drain on business managers as well as their sales representatives. Sales force automation is not simply the over-reliance on software programs to complete a job, but it is the use of technologies to provide salespeople with the ability to place their customers’ needs at the center of focus. In an organized manner, sales teams learn about potential sellers and sales techniques by making full use of technologies. The aim of sales automation is to provide efficiency of work flow and customer satisfaction, thereby increasing sales.

At the height of SFA applications is the ability to have a multiple perspective view of the customer. SFA tools allow sellers access to customer and account contact information. This information enables sellers to build relationships with customers and anticipate their specific needs. A multiple perspective view of the customer can help sales representatives to share customer insight with others, increasing the chances for customer satisfaction. Quick access to these records allows salespeople to spend more time with their customers, increasing productivity.

More than ever, people access online networking services to meet their communication needs. SFA Web-based contact management systems make full use of online networking programs such as Twitter and Facebook. These services provide businesses with the knowledge needed to maintain strong relationships with customers by quickly identifying their customers’ needs. Sales representatives identify improvements that can be made to their own practices by interacting with customers on the Web and by collaborating with colleagues. E-mailing access ensures that processes will occur in a timely manner. Business leaders of today use Web-based SFA services to properly assess customer complaints and alter sales approaches accordingly.

With a high percentage of sales leads lost because of poor management, a crucial part of sales force automation is providing the tools necessary for salespeople to effectively identify prospective buyers and companies, remain connected to prospects through consistent dialog based on the interests of the consumer, and distinguish profitable customers from others. SFA sales lead management services offer sales representatives and managers efficient control of leads by providing automated services which free up the time of the sales rep. Sales reps can easily correlate and organize their activities based on the needs of business leaders with the addition of activity management systems.

It is imperative for businesses to be provided with accurate data to forecast sales pipelines. SFA analytics and forecasting enable salespeople and businesses to make predictions regarding revenue, expenses, sales, and aims at higher profits. Businesses use these tools to generate reports that summarize these trends. With the application of data quality management systems, businesses can minimize the risk of errors in data.

SFA is a tool used at departmental level. Businesses need the flexibility to view the entire business productivity as a whole. As a Web-based tool, sales force automation can be integrated with other applications within the premise. In this way, data is in a constantly controlled environment as it is synchronized with other department applications. Information regrading customers is safely transferred and backed up with less cases of error.

SFA functions as a way salespeople can free up time and energy that would once be used finding leads, updating contacts, and managing paper work flow. With the customers’ needs at the center, SFA enables businesses to return to meet customer demands, limit the work-related stress many sales representatives have, save money, and increase sales.