CRM vs SFA – What’s the Difference?

I’ve recently had a lot of questions about the difference between CRM and SFA and which one is right for your company. "CRM" is so broadly used these days it’s really hard to completely wrap your head around it.

Let’s start with a couple of basic definitions:

  • CRMCustomer Relationship Management is about finding, getting, and retaining customer relationships.
  • SFA Sales Force Automation is about managing and supporting sales reps. Generally consists of contact management, opportunity management, and pipeline management.

CRM is more centered around the customer and consists of modules to handle tracking customer support issues, order tracking and datawarehousing. Customer focus can be used to describe most parts of a CRM system. Some examples of data collected by CRM systems include:

  1. Campaign tracking
  2. Purchase history
  3. Shipping history
  4. Account data
  5. Sales data

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CRM Clash – When Marketing is from Venus and IT is from Mars

CrmInherent tensions exist between marketing and IT. This is often compounded by lots of cross-talk, with each function on different channels. When tension becomes unresolved conflict, CRM strategy is impossible to execute. To avoid clashes, it helps to understand that CRM is not just about the exchange of information, it’s about the exchange of relationships. And every effective relationship includes a fair amount of conflict. The key is in how you handle it.

Conflict as a Catalyst
Conflict is a fact of work life. It can be especially pronounced when the two parties involved see the world from different lenses, as is often the case with marketing and IT. Conflict can be the catalyst for creativity resulting in innovative, productive teams. It can also be the catalyst for emotionality, polarizing people and generating counter-productive behavior. Let’s look at the following scenario to see how conflicts can be managed.

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CRM For Beginners – Customer Relationship Management Basics

In order to maintain a successful business, the business must understand and maintain a positive relationship with its customers. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the process of bringing the customer and the company closer together. There are many different areas in which Customer Relationship Management can be implemented. The goal of CRM is to help a company maintain current customers, as well as gain new customers.

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The Disciplines of CRM

The total Customer Relationship Management (CRM) market will reach $18.1 billion by 2006, representing an annual growth rate of 29.9 percent, according to the 2005 CRM Market Forecast and Analysis prepared by IDC, the world’s leading provider of information technology data and analysis. It is highly unlikely, however, that the CRM market will reach the level of growth predicted. A recent study by the Gartner Group concluded that, "Most CRM initiatives fail to deliver the expected value because enterprises have not mastered this rapidly evolving business competency at a strategic level." reported in 2004 that in 85 percent of all cases, CRM users could not show any quantifiable results and 12 percent of all installations were complete failures. CRM is extremely challenging and to justify the multi-billion dollar price tag, companies must use it as both a discipline and as a predictive tool.

Because of its customer-centered approach and its dependence on data instead of intuition, CRM can be considered a first cousin to Six Sigma. CRM systems provide quality professionals, as well as the sales department, with the opportunity to better understand customer wants and needs.

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Secret of My CRM Success

M&As left remote access provider Tarantella in an information silo trance; a new CEO called on a CRM solution to cast a customer-centricity spell.

Why CRM?
The new CEO who took over our company a little over a year ago decided the way we were doing things was too scattered and that a CRM application was needed. He felt a CRM solution would help solve the problem–in particular, Best Software’s SalesLogix, which he had used at previous companies.

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Twelve Steps to CRM Success

Who better to ask about customer relationship management than users who have been through a CRM rollout? Executives share their advice for a thriving CRM rollout.

To share some real-world experiences, we talked to three IT executives who have successfully implemented CRM software: Craig Berkson, CIO of Thomson Financial’s Portfolio Solutions Group; Ned Liddell, vice president of business applications at; and Christopher Akin, manager of e-commerce at University of South Florida (USF).

Here is their advice for breeding CRM success:

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Hosted or On-Premise CRM? (Part II)

You’ve already decided to implement CRM but you still dont know which flavor suits your needs. An on-premise solution with CRM or another vendor, or perhaps a hosted CRM service. How do you select the best deployment method?

Is a hosted solution the best option?
Its true, hosted solutions offer a fast deployment, but where they really add the most value is after deployment.

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How Do You Want Your CRM?

CRM buyers, already burdened by understanding the differences in functionality between applications, the complexity of integration requirements and the various costs associated with the product are now facing another variable — how they purchase the software.

Traditionally purchased in bulk licenses with maintenance and support costs added on from year to year, CRM has also been available for several years as a utility where companies pay for the software on a per user per month basis. And last month, Sage Software, a subsidiary of the London-based Sage Group plc, spiced up the selection process when it unveiled a rent-to-own option. The program rebates users 50% of their hosted subscription fees if they move from Sage’s hosted software to one of its on-premise suites within 12 months.

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CRM Integration is Integral

Everyone will have to integrate
"If there’s an enterprise-level strategy in place, then there is going to be integration," Greenberg says. The only alternative is throwing out everything, which is highly unlikely given the money companies have invested in legacy systems.

Integration is necessary whenever a newer system is fed data from these older systems — in other words, almost all the time. It may come as a surprise to some, but even sales force automation requires integration because its success can be dependent on data from financials, inventory management, billing and procurement applications.

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Five Key Steps to Increase CRM User Adoption

The best-designed CRM system in the world is useless if you can’t get your employees to actually use it. And yet companies routinely underestimate the time and expense that this crucial step to CRM success requires. In fact, AMR Research senior analyst Louis Columbus says that if you broke out a pie chart for the average CRM effort, you’d see that at least 70% is spent on change management and 30% is spent on software.

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