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This week’s entry comes to us from Lauren Carlson, a CRM analyst of SoftwareAdvice.com. We agree with Ms. Carlson’s talking points because any par or superstar embraced the tools of SFA. If you were subpar or not doing your job then maybe the case was you didn’t want to use anything.
The rate of adoption of sales force automation (SFA) software by B2B sales professionals has been traditionally low. Many reps viewed it as a way for management to play “Big Brother” and keep a close eye on the team’s activities. Additionally, the original SFA systems were burdensome, with poor user interfaces and data entry prcesses.
However, much of that has changed in the past 15-20 years. Many of today’s SFA solutions have a much sleeker look, can be deployed over the cloud and are flexible enough to match the individual’s needs instead of the other way around. Now, instead of being a kludgy pain in the sales person’s neck, SFA has become one of their most powerful tools. Lauren Carlson, a writer for the Software Advice website recently wrote an article about this. Below are the four high-level trends she says have driven acceptance and adoption of SFA software.
1. SaaS technology improved implementation. Traditional client/server systems required long implementation times, as well as a large investment in internal IT. Today, most SFA systems are deployed over the web, removing the need for IT involvement and a drawn-out installation.
2. Cloud increases accessibility. Many sales professionals are not operating from a single location. They are out on the road, meeting with clients, closing deals and finding new ones. Cloud technology has made it possible for these remote reps to take the power of the SFA system with them, no matter where they go. This increased accessibility means no duplicate data entry and easy access to vital client information.
3. Advanced analytics increases SFA’s value. In the past, SFA served primarily as a contact manager. Today’s systems are equipped with sophisticated analytics and third-party integration capabilities, resulting in a much more powerful tool. Now, users can access valuable information on the pipeline, quotas and opportunities that weren’t available before.
4. Improved processes compressed the sales cycle. The key to sales force automation is that last word — automation. Newer systems have process mapping capabilities and built-in best practices to not only automate your existing processes, but enhance and improve upon them. This results in a reduced sales cycle and higher win rates.
These are just a few high-level trends that have shaped adoption of SFA software. You can read about them in more depth on the Software Advice blog, SFA 15 Years Later Now Every Rep’s Best Friend.
by Lauren Carlson, CRM Analyst
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