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CRM Glossary

What is Sales Force Automation?

Sales Force Automation enables businesses to more effectively manage the entire sales cycle, from lead generation to post-sales service and support. It enables Sales teams to capture and maintain up-to-date business data that will impact the entire sales process and your company's bottom line.

Sales Force Automation is a best practices process that uses software to automate the business tasks of sales while providing sales agents with access to contact details, appointments, sales opportunities, customer purchase history, order management, territory overview, and much more, all in real time.

Sales Force Automation provides all members of a sales organization (field sales, inside sales, telemarketing, call center, managers, and executives) with a detailed view of each customer relationship, ensuring better overall decision making, greater customer satisfaction, and increased revenues.

By having all critical customer information in one area, Sales Force Automation facilitates agent collaboration, thereby increasing productivity and revenues while reducing business costs.

Sales Force Automation provides agents with the tools necessary for success. And by improving and facilitating sales team communications, companies using Sales Force Automation can provide the best sales and support environment possible.

The end result of a successful Sales Force Automation implementation can dramatically shorten the overall sales cycle and increase revenues while increasing staff productivity and improving customer satisfaction levels.

What can Sales Force Automation software do?

Sales Force automation software can streamline processes while providing a complete view of client and agent information, including:
  • Account Management
  • Activity Management
  • Collaborative Environment
  • Contact Management
  • Contract Management
  • Data Quality Management
  • Global Forecasting
  • Lead Management
  • Opportunity Management
  • Pipeline/Forecast Management
  • Sales Analytics/Reporting
  • Sales Forecasting
  • Territory Management

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What business problems can Sales Force Automation software solve?

A Start to Finish Solution
Streamlining processes, empowering employees, gaining business-specific insight, and giving management more business control become overriding factors that drive companies to implement a Sales Force Automation solution. And the fact that it can significantly impact a company's bottom line.

A functioning SFA solution can track sales activities through the entire pipeline, from lead opportunity to post sales service and support. This insight allows management to adjust the workforce, placing strategic personnel in critical positions as needed. It allows sales agents to respond to customer queries and issues in a timely manner across a variety of channels. SFA improves collaboration among sales divisions, enhances repeat sales opportunities, and provides management with a granular, real time view of ongoing sales activities, with a clear path to future opportunities. It allows a company to reduce the overall costs of acquiring, retaining, and growing its client base.

With an SFA solution, companies can optimize sales opportunities because leads are automatically routed to the most appropriate agent. (Companies can set up requirement fields, such as agent availability, experience, location, size of deal, etc.) Globally distributed sales teams work in collaboration, from one knowledge source, presenting one face to the client.

By implementing a Web portal as part of an overall business solution, companies have been able to greatly reduce response times and workloads, while adding volumes to their customer data repository. As with phone logs, all hits to the site are recorded and analyzed. Clients can access the company for information and product alerts at their convenience. Many time answers are found within the Web site. On many other occasions, the system either responds automatically (as with an email) or forwards the call to the appropriate agent. More costly and time-consuming human response is cut back significantly.

By consolidating response management across sales, service, and engineering, companies are able to generate guaranteed email responses, within a short time period. Customer satisfaction and retention rates go way up. Internal and external communications speak from one voice, helping with company messaging and branding. And productivity is improved without adding headcount.

Customer Oversight
A Sales Force Automation solution provides a central repository of data. Aside from helping the sales team sell, entering customer data one time into one place radically reduces workload and lessens the likelihood of data duplication and data errors. From this information, a SFA solution produces in-depth analytics and reports, allowing for constant oversight of the entire sales process.

In addition, SFA enables the tracking (logging) of all communications with each customer (calls, mail, Web, or e-mails) and automatically schedules dates for follow-up letters, renewals, phone calls, or client product updates. It also allows for better survey response rates and improved feedback management.

SFA allows for the creation of customized dashboards and personalized user interfaces. This leads to higher user adoption and utilization rates, requiring less change management, and once, again, positively impacts the bottom line.

By improving workflow automation, along with communications, both internal and external, companies can quantify overall efficiency increases. Significant overall cost savings are achieved by bringing in-house what was once was outsourced, including data management fees.

In general, with a Sales Force Automation solution, less time is spent on customer and administrative issues, thereby leaving more time for selling.

Benefits to any Business
By implementing a Sales Force Automation solution, companies move from an organizational focus to a customer-centric approach. By expanding sales access channels, such as phone, fax, email, chat rooms, message boards, and mobile communications, the staff performs more efficiently. With SFA, there is easier access to real time customer knowledge, such as purchasing behavior, buying patterns, and decision makers. Basic tasks, such as searching for information, performing rote and time-consuming administration details, like acknowledging receipt of email, require less time. With a better trained staff, fewer issues fall through cracks and this leads to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, while decreasing attrition.

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