What Is Sales Force Automation All About?
Sales is the core of any business and if you deal with a large client base, automation can do wonders for your business. Sales force automation also referred to as SFA, is the process of employing technologies to handle important business tasks that involve sales, directly or indirectly. So, what is sales force automation?
Essentially, SFA is the utilisation of software that allows the automation of various sales-related functions such as data analysis, collection and even distribution.
SFA aims to keep a track of all the stages that are involved in the sales process in a business. The best thing about this system is that it can be used across devices such as laptops, computers, smartphones and tablets.
In a competitive environment, sales representative do not have the time to do manual or administrative tasks and also pursue clients and hold meetings. There is a need for automation so as to free the salesperson and give him/her the time to look for better leads and more business opportunities.
What is the purpose and objective behind SFA?
● To use resources effectively
● To bring down the number of administrative or manual tasks
● Automate tasks usually performed by sales representatives
Benefits of SFA:
● Helps sales team work more effectively
● Helps identify interested clients
● Helps prioritise tasks
● Data about customer history can be obtained
● Sales managers can keep track of customer orders and shipment status
How does it work?
● Through automated alerts:
Sales force automation can help in simple ways. For example, a sales representative will be able to receive an alert when a potential client visits the company website or makes an enquiry.
● Automated email alerts:
When an enquiry is made, an automated email will be sent to the prospective customer with all the necessary details.
● Data collection:
Information about the sales activity can be stored and the same can be used to make marketing campaigns. Managers and senior managers can also obtain data about productivity and performance activities of sales representatives.
● During field visits:
Ideally, a salesperson will be on field trips to visit clients or potential customers. During such visits, the sales rep will explain the product and its features. In such a scenario a sales force automation tool can be used effectively to segregate customers according to geographical location and priority.
● Order tracking:
SFA software will be equipped to store information about customer orders and help those involved in the process to keep track of the progress and shipment details in an accurate and effective manner.
● Additional functions:
There are many added advantages of using a streamlined sales force automation system. The software can also be used to prepare inventory reports, sales reports, track customer data and even get information about competitive factors in the market.
What are the areas where automation is used?
Replying to a huge number of emails is practically impossible on a daily basis, and this is where automation will help immensely. In fact, automation tools now help salesforce employees track if their emails have been read by the recipient. Apart from this, automatic replies are also sent out.
Smartphones can prove to be an extremely useful tool in managing data. In fact, it can act like a ‘mini office’, using which, calls can be logged, sales performance can be tracked and leads can be traced.
3. Making appointments:
Taking an appointment can be a tedious process and the use of scheduling platforms allows sales reps to schedule and track their appointments more effectively. This way, automated reminder emails and SMSes are sent to customers.
4. Social media:
In a digital environment it is but inevitable to use social media platforms for lead generation. SFA tools help do the same.
5. Lead generation:
The process of lead automation has numerous advantages because it eliminates manual processes. Instead many advanced strategies such as content marketing, email marketing and social media marketing is adopted. Apart from this, the system allows sales reps to identify qualified leads that lead to better sales numbers in the long run.
6. Customer Relationship Management (CRM):
CRM is the core of sales and in fact, it is the beginning point of the entire lifecycle of the sales process in any organisation.
7. Sales acceleration:
This is the process that helps a business spot qualified long-term and high-revenue generating leads. This can be done by using video conferencing or even online demonstration instead of making physical visits. The data insights gained can be effective tools for customer retention.
Given below are some of the tools that are often used for sales acceleration:
A. Analytics (predictive):
With predictive analysis, there is no need to make any guesses anymore. Data insights help managers and salesforce make better business decisions and take calls on crucial issues.
B. Performance enhancing tools:
The presence of digital tracking of data, competitions and performance-based rewards will help boost the overall productivity of the sales team in the long run.
C. Better contract management:
One of the other perks of having this type of automated system is an effective and fool-proof contract management system. This includes the sending of contracts, signing, and other documentation, which can be managed through a digital contract management tool.
D. Better identification of target customers:
Instead of wasting time on unsuccessful lead generation attempts, if data can be used to find an effective fool-proof base of target customers, one can increase the impact of SFA in the short-term and in the long-term, making the business avail more and more successful leads.
Does it lead to better lead generation? How?
● Through better customer service
● Helps save time
● Higher revenue models
● Better opportunity management
Sales force automation is a great tool and it offers a wide range of solutions to sales problems in today’s highly competitive and digitised world. What it does is also the cutting down of manhours, gives salespeople more time to focus on crucial issues that lead to higher lead generation.
The market for SFA is growing and so is the demand for the same. As the business environment is constantly evolving, so are business tools and strategies.