Points to consider when comparing SFA (sales support systems)

 What is SFA? Check what it can mainly do

SFA (Sales Force Automation) is a tool that streamlines and automates sales activities, case management, customer management, etc., in order to strengthen sales capabilities. It is often referred to as a  https://slimtime.co.jp/  "sales support system.

In the conventional sales method, there are cases where managers are unable to grasp the progress of business negotiations, forecast and actual results, customer information, etc., and thus are unable to formulate effective sales strategies. In addition, since sales information and know-how are not accumulated, the transfer or resignation of a sales representative can have a significant impact on sales.

With the introduction of SFA, we can quantitatively grasp the behavior of our sales representatives and the progress of business negotiations, and we can improve sales by discovering areas for improvement and implementing the PDCA cycle. In fact, SFA is most effective for sales departments that face the following issues.

I don't know how far we've gotten with our projects.

"I don't know how many orders I'm going to get this month.

I don't know how many orders I'm going to get this month" "I'm behind on my sales actions"

"Negotiations are haphazard and we're not approaching our priority customers.

"I can't keep track of what kind of sales I've done with which customers.

SFA makes it easier for managers to identify problems and areas for improvement by understanding the behavior of sales representatives and visualizing their processes. In addition, by centrally managing the information of each sales representative, which tends to be impersonal, managers can provide appropriate guidance and advice at the right time.

On the other hand, it also has a great benefit for sales representatives. By automating reporting tasks such as daily reports, which tend to be routine, salespeople can focus on approaching potential customers with a high degree of accuracy.

What SFA can do for you

The main functions of SFA include customer information management, case management, forecasting and forecasting, negotiation management, sales behavior management, task management, and daily and weekly reporting. For example, if you have a problem that you don't know how far a project is progressing, you can use the project management function of SFA to centrally manage information such as the progress of the project, expected orders, and sales amount, and share it with your team. You will also be able to follow up even when the person in charge of the case is not available, preventing lost opportunities.

Differences from CRM and MA

MA (Marketing Automation) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) are tools that can be easily confused with SFA. MA refers mainly to tools for automating marketing activities. MA is mainly a tool to automate marketing activities, such as sending out accurate information to target potential customers and grasping the degree of potential in real time. CRM, on the other hand, is a tool that can be translated as "customer relationship management," and is mainly used to centrally manage individual customer information and strengthen the relationship between the company and its customers.

Each tool has its own area of expertise: SFA is for streamlining sales activities, MA is for nurturing potential customers, and CRM is for building relationships with existing customers. On the other hand, SFA and CRM have many functions in common, and since both are often used by sales departments, there is an aspect of similarity.

Types of SFA (sales support tools)

SFA can be classified into four main types: "highly functional and general-purpose type," "type with strengths in collaboration with related operations," "type suitable for on-site operations," and "type suitable for those who want to start easily. Let's take a look at the features of each type.

Highly functional and general-purpose type

This type supports a wide range of sales activities with a variety of functions such as management of customer information, actions, and progress of negotiations, sales forecasting, creation of quotations and daily reports, analysis reports, and multi-device support. It is also effective when you want to review your sales methods and work on a more sophisticated process.

Sales Cloud (salesforce.com, Inc.), a representative service, is a CRM/SFA platform that can realize everything from setting sales quotas to territory management and sales forecasting. Based on "The Model" proposed by Salesforce.com, it applies the processes of "marketing," "inside sales," "outside sales," and "retention support," and is suitable for organizations that want to manage KPIs in collaboration with each department. It should be noted that the price is relatively expensive due to its high functionality.

Types with strengths in collaboration with related operations

An SFA that can easily collaborate with marketing, customer success, and other sales-related departments to streamline each operation. This type of SFA can be integrated with business card exchange to acquire customer information, and nurturing, such as email distribution and web visit history analysis, which are generally performed using MA tools. This is appropriate when you want to proceed from nurturing prospective customers to business negotiations as a one-stop service, or when you want to refine the process from marketing to closing. For example, "Hot Profile (Hammock, Inc.)" features a single tool for acquiring prospective customers, cultivating, finding, and obtaining appointments, as well as negotiating and closing deals.

Type suitable for on-site operations

This type of system is based on the use of smartphones and tablet devices, and allows information to be entered immediately in the sales field. This type of system is suitable for sales activities such as route sales and maintenance work, which require a lot of on-site visits and reporting. cyzen (Red Fox Co., Ltd.) is equipped with a number of functions that are ideal for outside sales activities, such as the ability to keep a history of GPS-backed customer visits and maintenance work records.

Type suitable for a quick start

A highly functional and general-purpose SFA will cost more than 10,000 yen per user per month. If you have 10 sales representatives, the monthly cost will be over 100,000 yen, which is not a small cost burden. If you don't need a variety of functions and want to keep the price low and the operation simple, one option is to introduce a tool with only the minimum functions. The kintone (Cybozu, Inc.) sales support pack and Chikyu (Genie, Inc.) are low-cost tools with limited functions that allow for simple operation.

Key points for SFA comparison

So, how can you choose the right SFA for your company among the various types available? Here are some points for comparison when considering SFA from different companies.

Compatibility with your company's sales system and operations

The first point to consider when comparing SFA is the position of the sales department in the company as a whole and its compatibility with the contents of the business.

For example, if your goal is to increase customer satisfaction as well as sales productivity, Sales Cloud is a good candidate in terms of utilizing know-how such as The Model. On the other hand, if your business is mainly field sales, "cyzen" that specializes in inputting data on smartphones and tablet devices is a good choice.

If your sales organization is still in the growth stage and you want to set up a system from now on, an SFA that is inexpensive and easy to start is a good choice. If you are still in the growth stage of your sales organization and want to set up a system, an inexpensive and easy to start SFA is a good choice.

However, when introducing SFA, it is better to make a decision from the perspective that you will use it for at least several years, because SFA is highly effective when it accumulates customer information in general over the medium to long term. Even though data can be imported and exported, the data format is likely to differ from SFA to SFA, and if you switch to a different SFA, the data migration process will be a big burden. When introducing SFA, it is essential to have a long-term perspective and not just focus on short-term costs.

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