Sales force automation, or SFA, is a term that refers at its most basic to automating critical sales functions like lead and account management. Sales force automation uses software to automate sales tasks like order processing, lead generation, information sharing, contact management, customer management, and employee evaluation.
It also keeps track of customer preferences, buying habits, demographics, and performance management. Sales force automation tools improve field sales productivity and open whole new realms of possibility for companies. With an on-demand architecture that allows effective sales force management and CRM, managing sales information is easy on even the largest scales. Essentially, customers and sales employees can manage and share any type of information.
There are a number of benefits and features that come with sales force automation technology, and these features comprise the backbone of the SFA system. They include:
Lead management allows companies to keep better track of leads by ensuring they donâ€™t get cold. This can reduce or eliminate the need for manual routing and lead assignment duplication, clearly defines opportunity assignments, and is able to automatically assign leads to the correct individual based on territory, product expertise or user-defined rules. Thus SFA allows for automatic load leveling across sales territories, and better relationships between team members.
For example, with automatic lead management, you can set security controls that ensure teams or partners can access only their own leads, increase lead conversion rates and improve sales response times.
Opportunity management allows sales teams to work better as units by standardizing sales methods and systems, identifying bottlenecks, and tracking deal closures. It also allows employees to focus their resources on strengthening key partnerships and dominating key competitors instead of competing with each other. More organized sales teams allow managers to delegate tasks and set up automatic reminder emails for themselves and their team.
Most importantly, the opportunity management feature allows companies to centrally track custom information like partner and customer communications and milestones while simultaneously monitoring myriad sales processes like sales channels, service effectiveness or product lines.
An account management system ensures that your company is able to attain full knowledge of your customer accounts. Accurate knowledge of customer account equals better collaboration amongst your sales teams and retains lasting customer relationships. Additionally, account management allows a company to defines and evaluate all those involved with the account, from the project manager to the executive sponsor.
With account management, you can set up online access to all customer account information, like organization charts and current partners-across the entire company. No one is left in the dark and everyone knows the account status and history.
On-demand, advanced territory management capabilities allow you to adjust to rapid changes within your company. An easy point-and-click interface ensures your company can automatically route accounts and opportunities to the correct territories.
A solid territory management system also decreases lag time in lead assignments by ensuring a lead never gets cold; lead assignments are easily queued and automatically sent to the correct territory. In essence, territory management allows companies to easily monitor, set up, gather, transfer, assign, re-assign, and change accounts across territories.
Contract management is another integral feature in sales force automation. Essentially, it allows companies to manage a contractâ€™s lifespan by shortening approval cycles for contracts, renewing contracts sooner, and reducing administrative costs.
This SFA feature improves tracking and management of contract information, such as value, conditions, terms, evaluations, and more.
Traditionally, most companies have had to build, buy and sustain an IT software system all on their own; however, this leads to extremely high maintenance fees and myriad other costs. Today, the advent of automated sales force technology allows businesses to subscribe to already built, on-demand, customizable services that provide everything a traditional IT software does and more.
The architecture of sales force automation allows for a decrease in the total cost of ownership, reduction of risk factors, a decrease in wasted time, and a new focus on business and management rather than technology.