First, it was CRM. Then, aspiring entrepreneurs were urged to acquire BPM and marketing automation as well. Now, experts are talking about another solution – SFA. Short for sales force automation, this software covers a comprehensive range of tools for sales process management, including inventory control, invoicing, field sales, and forecasting.
Here’s what to ask your provider before investing in one.
Are SFA and CRM the Same Thing?
Instead of sales force automation, many companies use customer relationship management. The two are not exactly interchangeable – though both use customer data and contribute to faster conversions, SFA and CRM are marketed and sold as separate systems.
Will SFA Fit Your Organization’s Needs?
If your sales team is still small, and works hand in hand with your marketing experts and customer support reps, then CRM system might be a better choice. SFA is fully focused on managing sales; its features are amazing and numerous, but they’ll hardly be used by anyone but your salespeople.
How Much Time and Effort Does It Require?
The entire point of automation systems is to increase productivity of those who use them. If SFA is too difficult to master, it is only going to waste more of your salespeople’s time and effort. Ease of use is still one of the most important factors for choosing the best business tool, so make sure to test it.
Are Help and Support Available 24/7?
For the same reason, and that is seamless adoption and effortless use, don’t forget to ask your provider about whether or not 24/7 customer support is included in the package. Though you probably won’t need it at all if your SFA is on cloud, having a system expert on hand is always a good thing.
Can It Be Integrated with Other Tools?
The best SFA providers offer at least some integration possibilities, whether it comes to your existing applications or other essential business tools. Bpm’online is certainly among them; multiple options for fast synchronization and integration are presented on their site, so start your search there.
Whether or not you actually need a SFA system is determined in accordance to your specific requirements. Unlike CRMs, which offer a little bit of something for every department, niche, and industry, SFAs are developed to serve a very specific purpose – to help dedicated sales teams be more effective, to boost their conversion rates, and consequently, to drive the entire business forward.