Sales Force Automation (SFA) Benefits For Sales Managers

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For Sales Managers, nothing increases team productivity as much as sales process visibility. Real-time viewing of neglected sale opportunities, stalled sales, lost sales or a trend showing the sales team spending less time selling over multiple periods can trigger action which remedies missteps or behaviors before they compound and become visible in the profit and loss statement. A quality CRM solution, with a strong Sales Force Automation (SFA) component, can dramatically increase the ability of Sales Managers to see into sales person processes, response times and efficiencies and provide immediate sales coaching where it is needed and while it can still have a measurable impact.

Sales cycle processes, account activities, sale opportunities, sale strategies, competitive intelligence, quota performance, sales conversion rates and other key performance indicators are typically displayed as online dashboards, pre-configured queries and reports which offer flexible sorting, filtering and drill-down to source transactions.

Depending upon the CRM or SFA software system, sales managers may be able to apply basic or complex sales strategies to automated sales processes and view progress or deviations via real-time and trending reports.

Common sales strategies focus first on two primary sources for revenue:

  1. Existing clients – Every Sales Manager knows the easiest and most cost effective source of new revenues is existing clients. Earning customer trust and being perceived as a high value supplier requires intelligent and immediate response to client requests. In addition to using an SFA application to respond intelligently to client inquiries, analysis of the data can reveal customer preferences and reveal customer insight which can then be applied to proactive reach out or marketing campaign assignment. Customer relationship history can be used to craft highly personalized sales strategies which deliver high conversion rates and increased Return on Effort (ROE).
  2. New clients. Leads cost money and qualified leads cost a lot of money. However, without leads deal flow comes to a crawl. Today’s Sales Manager has a variety of lead sources and cost structures to choose from. It is not enough to choose which venue or method works, but which one(s) work best from a perspective of ROI and ROE. SFA applications pinpoint lead sources and grant sales and marketing managers the visibility to quantify ROI and ROE by campaign as well as salesperson, territory and other criteria. This facilitates a better marketing budget ROI and a direct link between acquired leads and subsequent sales performance for those leads.

More efficient lead acquisition, sales performance and increased customer share all speak to a synergistic advance in sales force management. Further, if done primarily with information systems automation it also frees up the sales manager’s time. Sales Managers cannot afford to “ride herd” on their staff 24/7. Aside from degrading productivity of the staff, it takes away from their own creative time. SFA automation systems deliver the time they need to analyze performance, pinpoint problems, modify behaviors and revise strategies in order to keep pace with changing market dynamics and meet the company’s goals and objectives.

Marketing campaigns are increasingly going online. For example, a hypothetical company sells indoor air quality systems and services. The company faces stiff competition and sales are steady, but not rising. The company traditionally has relied on networking for its marketing but has determined that it must do something different. The Sales Manager wants to try seminars, using newspaper advertising for an adjunct and notification process. The SFA system has shown them the cost effectiveness of networking already. The company places advertisements in local papers, giving both a phone number and web address for replies. At the web address, when a prospect enters his/her information, the SFA logs the information the same way the call center attendant would. Each bit of information goes into appropriate databases.

The Sales Manager knows on a daily bases and cumulative how many new prospects were generated, where they came from, if they actually attended the seminar, if they became a new account, if they are an open or closed opportunity, revenue generated and or expected, sales cycle time, how many sales calls were made to the prospect and total sales calls for the campaign. The Manager also sees which sales people responded, how quickly, the closing rate per call and per prospect. All of this is made available to the manager as totals or individual information. A few weeks after the seminar, the Sales Manager knows exactly how much the campaign cost in terms of salesforce time, support time, cost of advertising and cost of location. The Manager also knows the per-lead cost and return on cost per lead per salesperson and can compare that with the networking campaign. Future seminars, if any, can be assigned to those who work best in that campaign and networking to those who produce better results with that campaign.

All of the analysis is done automatically. Reports are given as results saving time and also dramatically decreasing errors. This makes it easy to try other modes of advertising or other forms of sales presentations for ROI and ROE comparison.

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