Welcome to the sales force automation (SFA) software product directory. This product directory contains basic...
information about SFA vendors and products in the SFA market. Use the directory to evaluate SFA software and find the best SFA solution for your organization. Listings include: Vendor information, product name and website, short and long product descriptions and pricing details.
Download the 2009 sales force automation software product directory
This interactive product directory is a great resource for SFA vendor and product information. Whether you're just beginning the SFA software evaluation process or looking to upgrade your SFA system, you'll find valuable information about on-premise and on-demand SFA software from a variety of vendors in the SFA market. The latest edition, updated for 2009, includes valuable advice and research from expert Jim Dickie of CSO Insights, who discusses the best way to evaluate SFA and how to choose the best software for your business needs.
Additional sales force automation software resources:
|Ask the Expert: Sales force automation help from Liz Roche||Find sales force automation software resources in SearchCRM.com's learning center|
|@59583 Our resident expert Liz Roche answers questions from readers on sales force automation software, and can help you evaluate SFA software for your organization. View Liz's answers or submit a question of your own.||This collection of SFA guides and quizzes will help you evaluate, implement and manage SFA technology. Take a quiz on sales compensation best practices, read about mobile CRM vendors and learn how to manage an effective sales force.|
|Visit SearchCRM.com's sales force automation topic section||Discuss sales force automation software with your peers on IT Knowledge Exchange|
|Our sales force automation topic section contains the latest news and information on SFA software and the SFA market. Find expert advice, news headlines, chapter downloads and more.||@59584 Visit IT Knowledge Exchange and meet other professionals who are in the process of evaluating, deploying or using sales force automation software. IT Knowledge Exchange lets you ask or answer questions in extensive, topic-based IT forums.|
We're planning to launch a product directory every year for each of the following markets:
- CRM software suite product directory
- Call center suite product directory
- Marketing automation product directory
- Online customer service product directory
- Speech analytics software product directory
- Sales force automation software product directory
- Workforce management software product directory
Choosing the best sales force automation (SFA) software for your organization
By Jim Dickie, President, CSO Insights
Sales force automation (SFA) is a subset of CRM that includes core sales functionality such as contact management, territory management, opportunity management, pipeline/forecast management and, often, some level of sales content and process management, to assist sales reps. Hitting sales and revenue targets in today's tight economy is more challenging than ever before. Only 58% of salespeople made their quotas in 2008, and many companies are looking for any advantage they can find to optimize sales performance. Leveraging SFA software is at the top of the list for many companies.
But how do you determine which products can help increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your sales teams? The task of evaluating SFA is more complex than might first meet the eye. CSO Insights recently completed our 2009 Sales Performance Optimization (SPO) study, and based on that data, I'd suggest that a contemporary "buyer's guide" for SFA, should really be called a "buy now, buy again, buy next guide."
Here is why. Of the 1,800+ firms we surveyed, 71.4% had already implemented SFA. Of the 28.6% of firms currently not utilizing SFA, 40.4% said they planned to implement a product in the next 12 months, so they need "buy now" advice. Of the large number of companies using SFA already, 13.0% said they plan to replace the system they are currently using, so they need "buy again" guidance. But another interesting trend is that once organizations have deployed an SFA system, they don't stop there. The following chart from our 2009 survey shows the additional capabilities that existing SFA users said they are adding into the technology framework to support their sales teams. So "buy next" advice can also be valuable for that group.
This article will serve to provide insights you can use whether you are buying SFA for the first or second time or are looking to enhance the SFA investments you have already made.
SFA requirements-gathering process
Gary W. Loveman of Harvard Business School once commented that, "Gains come not because of technology, but because it supports breakthrough ideas in business process." This is a key concept to consider as you start any type of SFA technology evaluation. The tools are an enabler, not a solution in and of themselves. So what are you looking to enable?
Requirements gathering starts with assessing what your organization needs to improve about the way it sells. To start to understand this, assemble a group of your salespeople and ask them one question: "Why can't I double your quota?" When you do this, be ready for some blank stares, or maybe a couple of people asking what you mean. But in a few minutes the dialogue will start, and they will tell you all the reasons it is hard to make the quota they already have, such as:
- The scope of products they have to sell is so vast they can't be experts on all of them.
- The complexity of the products is at the point where it takes way too much time to configure a solution or develop a proposal.
- They have inaccurate/incomplete information on the stakeholders you want them to sell to.
- The time required to roll up their forecast is way too long.
- The quality and quantity of the leads they are getting are way too poor, etc.
These become the problems that need to be addressed. Next, you need to understand the cause of each of these issues, and then prioritize them in terms of importance. In the end, you will have a list of process-focused objectives:
- Streamline the forecasting process.
- Help sales reps to more easily generate their own leads and research prospects.
- Enable sales reps to complete a client-needs analysis in a single call.
- Optimize access to sales training and support materials.
- Facilitate sales reps linking compensation directly to deals closed, etc.
There are also practical considerations to be addressed during the evaluation process:
- How much can you invest?
- What level of IT support is available?
- What levels of information security do you need to achieve?
- How soon do you need the system up and running?, etc.
Initially evaluating SFA vendors
Now you are ready to start to evaluate SFA vendors. In putting together your "long list" of vendors, I encourage you to take the time to go beyond the brand names of SFA to see whether there are some boutique solutions more focused for your needs. For example, we have found lesser-known vendors that are taking a vertical-industry approach to CRM, targeting the specific needs of reps selling pharmaceuticals, medical products, financial services and professional services. We even uncovered an SFA company dedicated specifically to yoga studios and health clubs. Here the Internet becomes invaluable. Google or Bing terms like "SFA" and "your industry" to discover some lesser-known options on the market. You might be tempted to send a requirements' request for information (RFI) next, but I would counsel against it...
Read the rest of Jim's advice by downloading the sales force automation software product directory.