Table of contents
- What is SFA? ｜Purpose of introducing SFA
- Purpose of introducing SFA
- Three benefits of SFA
- Advantage 1. Sales activities can be visualized
- Advantage 2. You can standardize sales activities
- Advantage 3. You can streamline your sales activities
- Two merits of SFA seen from the sales floor
- Advantage 4. Close cooperation with sales managers
- Advantage 5. Effective utilization of accumulated know-how
- Two merits of SFA from the perspective of management
- Advantage 6. You can reduce education costs
- Merit 7. You can properly evaluate the sales manager
- Two disadvantages of SFA
- Disadvantage 1.Increased IT cost
- Disadvantage 2. Input work takes time
- Three points to avoid failure in introducing SFA
- Point 1. Share the purpose of introducing SFA with sales representatives
- Point 2. Choose an SFA considering compatibility with your company
- Point 3. Prepare an SFA operation system in-house
- [Must-see for beginners] SFA recommended books
- What every salesperson should know to maximize the effect of introducing SFA/CRM
- Clarify the purpose of introduction before introducing SFA
What is SFA? ｜Purpose of introducing SFA
“SFA” is an abbreviation for “Sales Force Automation” and is translated as a sales support system. In other words, it is a tool that “visualizes” sales activities .
Specifically, the role of SFA is to “visualize” the progress from the start of sales negotiations to the receipt of an order, and to manage these activities.
Purpose of introducing SFA
The primary purpose of introducing SFA is to increase sales .
With the introduction of SFA, sales activities can be analyzed in detail based on customer information, activity information, and project progress. As a result, problems in sales activities that have not been grasped until now become clear, reducing the number of business talks and projects that are missed, which leads to an increase in sales.
However, please note that SFA is only a tool for visualizing the progress of sales activities, so it will not necessarily increase sales if it is introduced. Click here if you want to know more about the purpose of introducing SFA
Three benefits of SFA
After understanding the purpose of introducing SFA, it will become clear whether it should be introduced or not by knowing what kind of benefits it actually has. This time, I will explain a total of 7 benefits.
First of all, I will introduce the three benefits of SFA that should be kept in mind first and their effects.
- Sales activities can be visualized
- Standardize sales activities
- You can streamline your sales activities
Advantage 1. Sales activities can be visualized
One of the merits of SFA is the ability to visualize sales activities. Below we will see what effect this has.
- Detailed data analysis enables optimal sales strategy
With the introduction of SFA, data can be aggregated and analyzed from various angles, such as by sales representative, by product, by project, by team, and by industry. As a result, it becomes easier to identify the points that salespeople are struggling with and the causes of lost orders, making it easier to formulate optimal strategies for solving problems .
- Easy to notice irregularities
When sales activities are visualized through the introduction of SFA, it becomes easier to notice irregularities. For example, there is a project that has not moved for 3 months, or there is a project whose expected order rank has changed from A to C.
If the sales manager notices irregularities early, they will be able to quickly analyze and improve the cause and minimize the impact.
Advantage 2. You can standardize sales activities
By introducing SFA, standardization of sales activities can be achieved. I will explain in detail below.
- Effective utilization of information assets
With the introduction of SFA, the information assets of sales activities (customer information, success stories, personal connections, etc.) that are scattered throughout the company can be consolidated and organized so that anyone can easily access them.
Therefore, it is possible to prevent the situation where the information assets of sales activities are not successfully handed over due to the transfer or retirement of the salesperson.
- Ability to accumulate knowledge and know-how
With the introduction of SFA, it will be possible to share customer information such as past visit records, proposal content, and business negotiation information. As a result, you can get hints when dealing with projects similar to past cases, and you can take a more accurate approach.
SFA can also extract best practices (the most effective sales techniques). For example, you can analyze the data of all projects that have led to orders and find the success formula from there. As a result, it will lead to improved skills of each salesperson and improved performance of the sales department as a whole.
Advantage 3. You can streamline your sales activities
By introducing SFA, you can streamline your sales activities. Below we will see what effect this has.
- Save time by entering information on the go
Since SFA can also be used from smartphones and tablets, you can enter sales activity information while on the move, regardless of time or place. And since the information is transmitted to the manager in real time, there is no need to go back to the office to report the situation or make time to meet the boss’s schedule.
- Strengthen your overall sales force
The new time created by improving the efficiency of sales activities allows sales representatives to focus on their original work, such as communicating with customers and developing new customers. As a result, it will lead to an increase in overall sales performance.
Two merits of SFA seen from the sales floor
The introduction of SFA brings benefits to both the sales floor and management. Here we discuss two advantages:
- Close collaboration with sales manager
- Effective utilization of accumulated know-how
Advantage 4. Close cooperation with sales managers
When sales representatives enter information into SFA, sales managers can grasp the progress of negotiations and the achievement of targets in real time. As a result, sales managers can provide each sales rep with precise feedback on deals.
Advantage 5. Effective utilization of accumulated know-how
You can absorb know-how by checking past success stories and action processes of seniors in SFA. Therefore, you can effectively develop your sales skills.
For example, even a salesperson who joins a company as a new graduate can learn how to effectively conduct sales activities by looking at SFA, so they will be able to achieve results quickly.
Two merits of SFA from the perspective of management
I have introduced the benefits of SFA from the point of view of the sales floor, but what are the benefits for managers? Here we discuss two advantages:
- can reduce education costs
- Able to properly evaluate sales managers
Advantage 6. You can reduce education costs
With the introduction of SFA, anyone can easily check the sales know-how. Therefore, new employees can learn the rules of successful sales activities and past examples without having to ask seniors and superiors one by one, which leads to a reduction in training costs.
Merit 7. You can properly evaluate the sales manager
The SFA records all activities and results for each sales representative. We tend to think that results are everything in sales, but in reality there are fine plays that do not produce results.
Evaluation of such actions has the effect of increasing the motivation of sales representatives and presenting appropriate career advancement.
Two disadvantages of SFA
Many people may think, “I want to understand not only the merits of SFA, but also the demerits before deciding whether to introduce it or not.” Therefore, we will explain the typical disadvantages of SFA, ” increase of IT cost ” and ” time for input work “.
Disadvantage 1.Increased IT cost
One of the disadvantages of introducing SFA is the IT cost incurred. However, it is also true that the effect of introducing SFA is greater than the cost.
Therefore, as a countermeasure, it is important to identify your company’s issues before introducing SFA, decide the necessary functions, and then select a tool . This prevents you from paying a high price for an SFA tool with features you don’t need in-house.
Disadvantage 2. Input work takes time
A disadvantage of SFA is that it takes time to enter sales activities.
If you try to enter detailed information, it will take 10 minutes for each entry, and 1 hour for 6 sales. In particular, it takes time to get used to the SFA tool at the beginning of the introduction. Keep this in mind.
Three points to avoid failure in introducing SFA
There are probably many people who want to make the introduction of SFA as smooth and successful as possible. Therefore, we will explain the failure cases in the introduction of SFA and three points to prevent the introduction from failing.
- Share the purpose of SFA implementation with sales representatives
- Select SFA considering compatibility with your company
- Establish an in-house SFA operation system
Point 1. Share the purpose of introducing SFA with sales representatives
When introducing SFA, it is important to share the purpose of the introduction with the sales representative in advance .
This is because there are many cases where SFA is introduced with vague objectives and fails. Due to the increasing number of companies that have introduced SFA in recent years, there have been situations where SFA has been introduced somehow, and as a result, it has not been utilized within the company.
Therefore, let’s first understand the issues in the sales department of your company and clarify how you can solve them by introducing SFA . After that, don’t forget to share it with the sales reps who actually use the SFA tool.
Point 2. Choose an SFA considering compatibility with your company
Examples of common failures in introducing SFA include using only name recognition as a criterion for service selection, or choosing a service that has multiple functions. As a result, the introduced SFA does not match the needs of the site and is not used.
As a countermeasure, identify the functions that your company really needs, and consider the usability of the tool while referring to the opinions of the site . This will reduce the cost of introducing SFA tools with unnecessary functions and prevent mismatches with the site.
Point 3. Prepare an SFA operation system in-house
In order to successfully introduce SFA, it is essential to have an operational system in place. If there is no operational system in place, you will not know who to contact if you have any questions regarding the use of the SFA tool, which can cause great confusion in the field.
Therefore, if you set up a project team for the introduction of SFA and decide on a person in charge in advance, it will be easier to know who to contact within the company, and smooth operation will be achieved .
[Must-see for beginners] SFA recommended books
So far, I’ve explained the benefits of SFA and points to avoid failure, but books are recommended for those who want to gain deeper knowledge. Therefore, I will introduce one book that is easy to understand even for beginners.
What every salesperson should know to maximize the effect of introducing SFA/CRM
This book explains in an easy-to-understand manner what salespeople in the field should understand in order to successfully introduce SFA/CRM. It also introduces how to improve the information utilization ability of salespeople and companies.
Once you have decided to introduce SFA/CRM, this is a book that I would like salespeople to read first.
Clarify the purpose of introduction before introducing SFA
This time, I explained the advantages of SFA in an easy-to-understand manner for beginners. For reasons such as “many companies have introduced SFA”, it may not be used within the company after introduction, and the cost may be wasted.