Sales Force Automation: Sales Process, Activity, Contact, Lead and Knowledge Management

SFA were originally meant to improve sales force productivity and encourage salespeople to document and communicate their field activities. They are becoming increasingly focused on cultivating customer relationships and improving customer satisfaction.

SFA software is a type of program that automates business tasks such as:

  • Inventory control
  • Sales processing
  • Tracking of customer interactions
  • Analyzing sales forecasts and performance

Benefit of Sales Force Automation

  • The first major benefit of Sales Force Automation is having sales information captured and available to every member of the sales team in one real-time data repository. This eliminates individualized Excel spreadsheet lead lists and pipelines, and errors of omitence.
  • It organizes a sales team’s efforts as almost all SFA software on the market today interfaces with Microsoft Office. Almost all also have the capabilities of designing and utilizing templates, such as form letters for email campaigns that can be merged with individual contacts.
  • Automating activities such as the dialing of telephone calls, merging of template letters, and automated generation of sales quotes have two major benefits for a salesperson. First, it increases individual productivity and efficiency. Second, it makes reporting easy.
  • SFA can increase productivity as the whole team can easily spot busy and available times. For individual account management, scheduling automatic notifications for selling opportunities can improve time management and ultimately increase recurring sales.
  • SFA helps automated repeat selling include the renewals, replenishment or supplies that clients need regularly. Internet firms, in particular, have this fulfillment down to a fine art.
  • By sharing information, a salesperson can discuss all kind of sale opportunities with peers and managers. Defining and automating the stages of a sale allows calculation of closing statistics based on previous, similar opportunities, and results in more accurate sales close rates within specific timeframes.
  • Relieved of tedious repetitive tasks, a salesperson can focus more time on managing the sales process and moving it closer to a win.
  • One of the capabilities of a Sales Force Automation system is the ability to categorize the stages of a sale from prospect to close. A salesperson can then prioritize and focus on the most winnable sale opportunities.

Contact Management

A Contact Management System (CMS) is an integrated office solution that allows organizations and individuals to record relationships and interactions with customers and suppliers. This information includes all emails, documents, jobs, faxes, calendar and more.

Subset of sales force automation that deals with organizing and managing data across and within a company’s client and prospect organization

  • Software can contain various modules for maintaining local client databases, displaying updated organization charts, and allowing salespeople to maintain notes on specific clients or prospects.
  • Many software programs allow users to query remote databases for supplementary information or to synchronize laptop local data with a corporate customer database.

Lead Management

Lead generation is the process by which a company finds prospective customers for its product offerings.

  • Prospects can come in the form of names and addresses, names and phone numbers, email addresses and fax numbers.
  • Lead Management aims to provide foolproof sales strategies so no sales task, document, or communication falls through the cracks
  • Sales people follow a defined approach to turning opportunities into deals.

Lead management encompasses:

  • Lead acquisition and data capture
  • Data cleansing and lead import
  • Lead distribution
  • Lead assignment rules
  • Lead scoring and prioritization
  • Lead list management
  • Qualification and conversion or nurturing

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