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On The Importance Of Automation In Business

Aug 17, 2007
In today's world of automation can the sales process be far behind? Sales and how to manage it is so important in every business today and automating could just mean an increase in productivity.

How exactly does one automate a sales force? SFA or Sales Force Automation is a technique that is used to automate the business tasks of sales. These tasks would include order taking and fulfillment, information sharing, contact management, inventory monitoring, sales forecast analysis and employees' performance evaluations. SFA speeds up processes and makes them almost error-free. It also sees an improvement in the effectiveness and efficiency of the team because it streamlines all these functions. So any member of your sales team has constant access to the very latest information as far as the client is concerned, be it his pricing or his accounts.

It is in fact, very like CRM (Customer Relationship Management) which also includes sales effectiveness as well as marketing management and customer service. SFA optimizes communication services and saves time which is of great essence in a business where every second counts and could translate to money for the company. It also adds up to a complete management outlook rather than a piecemeal one because it has the whole picture at a glance. This increases the productivity of the sales force as well as improves customer satisfaction.

There are a number of SFA solutions floating around today. This software electronically keeps tabs of all the sales functions in a company. It's a great managing device and routine functions like contact follow-up, opportunity reporting and lead assignment are suddenly changed and more efficient. It basically provides the sales force with tools that help them sell better and retrieve information faster. The fact that it can be accessed on hand-held devices means that information is instant at the touch of a button, no matter in which corner of the country or the globe your personnel are in. Pocket PCs can be used to not only access information but also to take down orders which are transmitted instantly to the main office. It also helps centralize functions and make them more efficient.

It also means better management of customer interaction right from the first contact through to after-sales service. Many businesses, especially the pharmaceutical industry and manufacturing companies, have benefited hugely by installing this software. These applications are useful to two different kinds of sales personnel within the company - the sales representatives as well as the sales managers. Both have changeable requirements. This is especially of importance when the field force tends to be a large number. Then, management of personnel becomes quite easy with this software.

However, before you decide on SFA software, here are a few points to keep in mind. It should, first of all, be simple. It should have multiple sales processing options and it should be able to function with multiple information sources. It should ideally be web-enabled because this could be a huge advantage if not now, when you grow in future. It should also be secure and flexible to change. Remember that flexible software is efficient software.
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