Sales Process – What Can You Automate?

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In the current complex and competitive market, managing the sales
process is an important factor for most businesses. By automating a
company’s sales process and efforts, one can increase its productivity.

Sales
Force Automation, or SFA, is a technique used in marketing and business
that automates the business tasks of sales. Sales tasks that can be
automated might include contact management, order taking and
fulfillment, information sharing, inventory monitoring, sales forecast
analysis, and employees’ performance evaluations. Using SFA improves
the efficiency and effectiveness of a sales team by streamlining and
speeding up processes and eliminating errors. Through this technology,
a sales force can have access to the latest information regarding
customers’ accounts and pricing.

SFA is almost like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) which
covers a vast array of topics, including areas of sales effectiveness,
customer service, and marketing management. Certainly in business, each
second is valuable and you can’t waste it searching for information.
You can save time and money as Sales Force Automation provides
optimized communication services. You also get complete management
capabilities for applications and users. SFA helps you in improving
customer satisfaction and it also increases sales force productivity.

Currently
there are a number of SFA software solutions on the market. These
software solutions help sales people take better care of their
customers. They change routine aspects of sales and marketing functions
such as lead assignment, contact follow-up, and opportunity reporting.
Good SFA electronically manages all sales activities within a company.
It is a methodology that enables sales personnel to concentrate on
selling by providing tools to obtain very efficient information
exchange in the sales cycle. Earlier sales force automation software
installations were designed for the desktop or laptop and were not
easily accessible by hand held devices. With the advancement in web
based SFA technology, sales representatives can use Pocket PCs to
record orders on the spot. These order details can be sent back to the
system in real time over a network such as GPRS.

SFA can help
sales people to manage customer interaction throughout the sales cycle,
from primary contact through post-sale service. SFA applications serve
two different users within a company, sales managers and sales
representatives, who have changeable requirements. Sale force
automation is essential in those industries where the direct field
sales force tends to be high and account management is important.
Pharmaceutical companies and manufacturing industries have obtained
significant returns on sales force automation investments.

Before
opting for any SFA software, research your options. A good sales force
automation solution should have features such as multiple sales
processing options and the ability to use multiple information sources.
It should help in providing automation of customer assignments and
field accessed decision support.

A sales force automation
solution that is web enabled is at a huge advantage to those that are
not. Web capability allows access to information and forms anywhere,
anytime and also tools for accurate sales and demand forecasting. There
must be strong security and flexibility to support new data and
functionality without a large scale redesign of the system.

When
choosing a sales force automation solution, keep in mind your clients
and your sales force. Without flexibility to meet their needs
precisely, you are likely to lose efficiency in the sales process.
Choosing a flexible option will ensure your system will grow with your
company.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Halstatt_Pires

1 thought on “Sales Process – What Can You Automate?”

  1. The whole purpose behind implementing Sales Force Automation (SFA) is to minimize the time that sales representatives need to spend on each phase of the sales process. This allows sales representatives to pursue more clients in a shorter amount of time than would otherwise be possible. The goal at the end of the day for those in sales is always the same thing, to close the deal, regardless of which CRM solution you are referring to. Since we are talking about pursuing more clients through a more efficient system, let’s not forget about implementing other automated items such as a product configurator and guided selling tools which allows sales reps to work through a variety of different CRM systems to assist companies in selling complex products/solutions. A configurator is a software tool used to create, develop and maintain a product that fits specific parameters within specific guidelines (variations, options, etc.). Product configuration allows for the customer to quickly and automatically configure, price and quote a complex product/solution – often in just minutes. This type of solution empowers sales organizations to be able to offer items or packages to their consumer base that correspond with exactly what they are looking for. The results not only lead to increased sales, but fewer losses due to returns, as well as more repeat business thanks to customer satisfaction and receiving exactly the product or service needed without errors. Now this might just be CRM at its finest!
    By : Sylvie Rougé Senior Vice President Product Marketing

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