What is Sales Force Automation?

By Kevin Stewart
Updated: April 29, 2011

Sales Force Automation (SFA) is the process of automating sales-related business tasks. These tasks include the following: contact management, order entry and tracking, inventory management, sales forecasting, and sales team member performance evaluation. Sales force automation formalizes and automates the sales process.

Managing Sales Contacts

A key part of the sales force automation process is managing contact data. When a salesperson calls on a prospect, they need the most up to date contact information. That contact information must also be organized and shared with other members of the sales team. This enables better contact with prospects and higher conversion rates.

Keeping in contact with prospects is an important aspect of building an order pipeline. As prospects are converted to customers, orders begin to flow into the sales force automation process.

Entering and Tracking Orders

Instead of taking notes on a pad or filling out a manual form, the SFA process makes order taking a simple task of filling-in an online form. These forms are pre-populated with all of the important customer information that is already stored in the system. All the order taker needs to do is add product details, quantity, and price information.

After a customer places an order, the order is tracked using an automated system. This allows the sales representative to answer customer questions and update orders in real time to reflect actual customer needs. This brings the sales process more in line with customer expectations and strengthens the relationship with the customer.

Forecasting Sales Activity

Maintaining an accurate record of past sales activity helps an organization generate better sales forecasts. Sales force automation collects all of the data for every member of a sales team and generates useful forecasts for each team member. Creating forecasts using reliable data eliminates much of the guesswork from the process.

Evaluating Sales Performance

Tracking performance of sales team members is an important benefit of sales force automation. Instead of tracking raw sales data, an SFA package tracks and manages sales data for each member of a sales organization. Using quotas or goals, performance can be judged against a set target. This promotes real performance gains for the sales team and for the organization as a whole.

Sales force automation uses the database technology and contact management tools of customer relationship management to bring advanced capabilities to sales teams. This helps organizations accurately measure and reward success, while also identifying and avoiding less successful sales activities.

 

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