Every day, more and more companies are discovering the importance and benefits that can be gained by applying technology to business processes. However, with all the various options and terminology being thrown around out there it’s hard to stay on top, to figure out what you need and whether it’s going to be useful for your business. The most common conundrum occurs when executives discuss Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Sale’s Force Automation (SFA). The misconception is that CRM and SFA are one and the same, but they’re not!

SO, WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

CRM software is built with a focus on customer satisfaction. It is designed to look after the client, once they become, a client, if you catch my drift? It will help manage the relationship between consumer and business by gathering and centralizing client data from: customer interactions (phone, email, and social media), complaints or queries, previous meetings and purchase history. By analysing this data, sales teams are able to customise their sales solutions based around existing client’s needs.

For example, client A recently called your customer complaints team regarding a faltering signal with your product (let’s say you’re selling wireless music speakers). They’re happy with the sound, just a little disappointed with its signal range. Armed with this knowledge, the next time you visit client A, you’ve already prepared some alternative products with a wider range of signal. Not only has the client seen you taken a genuine interest in their needs, but you’ve also given yourself the best possible chance of closing a sale.

SFA, on the other hand, focuses on the sales process – making it as efficient and transparent as possible. Generally, SFA software will consist of potential sales management and pipeline management tools, providing sales directors witha clear picture of future prospects, recent sales and past performance of their sales reps.

To simplify, CRM is post-sale software used to retain and satisfy current clients, while SFA is client acquisition software. In an effort to be an all-in-one solution, many CRM providers have added additional features such as SFA, integration and marketing automation. To be clear, SFA can be a stand-alone software or part of a CRM solution.

WHICH ONE DO I NEED?

The first step when considering the implementation of one of the applications is to truly understand your business’s needs. Some things you may want to think about are: is the business losing clients because of post-sales management? Are sales people asking for help? Is the business getting too big for Excel to handle the database? Are the sales people consistently out of the office?

 CRM SOLUTIONS WORK BEST WHEN YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS:

  • An overall picture of its activity
  • A full database
  • To process a lot of information
  • How to choose the right software
  • Automation of time-consuming manual processes
  • Improvement in customer service
  • To cross sell its clients
  • Optimization of its marketing

 AN SFA WORKS BEST WHEN THE BUSINESS NEEDS:

  • Increased sales
  • Automation of certain aspects of its sales process
  • Greater visibility of the sales team when they are out of the office
  • Sales team motivation
  • Transparency of its sales people and process

It is important to remember that although CRM and SFA are different, they can both complement each other and work well together for your business.

Want to know more? Then check out our eBook, which lays out a simple, step-by-step guide to help walk you through your decision-making process.

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