Sales Force Automation (SFA) for 2023
What is Sales Force Automation? Discover how Sales Force Automation software can streamline your sales.
What does Sales Force Automation (SFA) mean?
Sales Force Automation (SFA) refers to software apps for sales management. SFA provides automated workflows that create a streamlined sales process to manage business leads, sales forecasts and team performance.
SFA may also be referred to as Salesforce Management.
Here’s what’s included in this guide:
What is Sales Force Automation?
What are the benefits of SFA?
Examples of SFA workflows
What are the features of Sales Force Automation?
What’s the difference between Sales Force Automation and CRM?
Why choose Really Simple Systems CRM?
What is Sales Force Automation (SFA)?
Sales Force Automation is a software functionality that automates the sales process to help manage and track sales opportunities and effectively prioritise the sales effort. Used by successful sales teams, sales force automation gives visibility of a sales team’s pipeline right through the sales process, from initial inquiry to closure, making sure nothing gets missed.
SFA is most commonly included in CRM software, but the two are not the same thing.
What are the benefits of SFA?
Sales force automation is all about creating efficiency and improving productivity for sales teams. It automates what would otherwise be repetitive manual tasks, allowing salespeople to get on with what they are best at - making sales.
Sales force automation allows salespeople to focus their effort on the activities that generate more sales. Instead of spending time on data entry and administration, their time is best spent calling prospects and closing deals.
SFA creates efficiency by streamlining the sales process and making sure nothing gets forgotten. It allows follow up tasks to be automatically set and emails sent, and for a record of what has occurred to be added to the CRM. Colleagues and managers will be able to see the latest communication with a contact, reducing duplication of effort and making more time to be spent selling.
Often overlooked, good sales force automation software should include tools for reporting and data analysis. This provides managers with effective insight for monitoring and forecasting that they can act on as needed. With firm knowledge of what is in their sales pipeline they can quickly take action to change strategy and increase sales.
Examples of SFA workflows
SFA can be used to automate what would otherwise be manual processes. Completing one task in the sales cycle will automatically trigger others, processing the lead through the stages.
For example, when a prospect completes an inquiry form on your website it can automatically create a new lead in your CRM. At the same time, SFA can trigger a task to be created for the sales team to follow up and for the lead to be added to an automated marketing campaign. You might also add workflows that assign the lead to different salespeople according to the lead’s geolocation or a demographic field on the inquiry form.
Depending upon your business, you might use automation to qualify the lead before your sales team does anything. For example, if you send an automated series of emails to follow up the inquiry you could switch them from one campaign to another based on their engagement and/or add lead scoring. This will help prioritise your leads and maximise your sales team’s productivity.
Further down the pipeline, you could create a trigger that notifies a manager if a salesperson needs authorisation on a discount, or maybe to create a task that is triggered when a deal is set to “won” to instruct your finance team to create an invoice.
What are the main features of Sales Force Automation?
The main features of a SFA system are Contact Management and Pipeline (or Opportunity) Management, together with Email Integration, Task Management and diary sharing.
Contact Management software lets you track your communication with your customers, building up a complete history of your interactions, sales and activities. Contact management systems usually include Task Management software that lets you create tasks, or reminders, to follow up your sales leads on a given date and can be linked with a calendar.
Pipeline Management software provides sales lead tracking from an initial inquiry through to a closed sale. It lets you track each sales opportunity through your pipeline, applying probability weighting and forecasting.
With SFA Task Management, when you create a task or reminder in the customer’s account it integrates with your calendar. So when you open the task all the customer’s data and past communications are there in front of you. Once the task is completed it is automatically added to the account record, creating a complete history of your interactions.
SFA is usually a part of a customer relationship management (CRM) system that automatically records all the stages in a sales process. The idea is to track all contact that’s been made with a customer, along with the purpose of the contact, and any follow up that may be needed. This might include phone calls, emails and meetings. Having this information at your fingertips means you’ll reduce the risk of irritating your customers as sales efforts are not duplicated.
Sales Force Automation has come into its own with the arrival of cloud technology. Accessing the CRM system through your internet browser means you can retrieve the data wherever you are, seeing the latest updates. You can have multiple users all accessing and editing a customer’s account at any one time, creating a central hub for your business.
This is particularly useful if you have a remote workforce. Sales professionals working from home or on the road can login and see the same information as their colleagues at head office. There’s no need to synchronise the data as everything is updated in real-time.
Cloud App Integration
The arrival of cloud computing has brought a number of advantages that have particularly benefited small businesses. Not only is it very affordable but it also means you can connect your various disparate systems. Cloud integration lets you automate the flow of data between the different systems you use, creating efficiency and increasing productivity.
Not only can you automate your sales processes but you can also create workflows for other manual processes. For example, you can integrate your project management, call centre, finance team, and marketing, creating a seamless transition to sales.
Sales Force Automation can be customised to reflect the processes of an individual organisation. It can run on laptops or smartphones and can be of quite a specialist design. For example, for pharmaceutical sales representatives or maybe for the collection of electricity or gas meter readings.
What’s the Difference Between Sales Force Automation and CRM?
Sales force automation and CRM are not the same thing, though a good CRM will usually include SFA. The primary difference between CRM and SFA is that the former is built with a focus on customer satisfaction and all the benefits of customer retention. It is designed to nurture relationships from their humble beginnings as a potential lead straight through to becoming a long-standing customer.
CRM manages these relationships between consumers and businesses by gathering and centralising client data from customer interactions (phone, email, and social media), complaints, queries, previous meetings, and purchase history. By analysing this data, sales and marketing teams can customise customer’s experiences by leveraging their existing client’s needs.
SFA, on the other hand, focuses on the sales process – making it as efficient and transparent as possible. Generally, SFA software will consist of potential sales management and pipeline management tools, providing sales directors with a clear picture of future prospects, recent sales, and past performance of their sales reps.
Why Choose Really Simple Systems CRM?
Really Simple Systems CRM is a powerful sales and marketing tool designed for growing teams working B2B. It includes everything you need to run your business at a very affordable price. Furthermore, it’s cloud-based, super-easy to set up and simple to use.
Our software includes all the features you’d expect to find in a CRM, along with a level of service you might only hope for!
Find every customer, contact and communication instantly, and share with your team. With a 360 degree view of all your interactions, you’ll improve your customer experience and engagement, building longer-lasting relationships.
Our task management software will help you organise your workload and make sure you never miss another sale. Keep track of every call, meeting and interaction with each contact and set alerts to follow up.
Effectively manage and track every sales opportunity through each stage of your sales process through to successful closure. Our Sales Force Automation tool means you get visibility of your sales team’s pipelines right through the sales process.
Create workflows across your business and automate repetitive tasks, freeing your team to focus on what really matters. Workflow automations help you streamline your business and improve productivity, minimising human error and increasing efficiency.
Our email integration creates a history of every interaction with your prospects and customers. The CRM automatically captures your incoming and outgoing emails and stores them in your account activities. This gives your team complete transparency of all correspondence, so you can see what’s been followed up and what was said.
Reports and Analysis
With our two powerful report writers included in our CRM software you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to generating management information and actionable insights.
Integrated Marketing Software
Our integrated Marketing solution means you can build campaigns and send newsletters directly from your CRM, using your data to personalise and target segments. New leads can be captured directly from your website and assigned to sales staff to follow up. Or you can add them directly to an automated marketing campaign, letting you work smarter.
To conclude, CRM is post-sale software used to retain and satisfy current clients, while SFA is client acquisition software. However, CRM systems are usually an all-in-one solution, by including additional features such as SFA, integrations and marketing automation.