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Introducing 7 functions of SFA|Explaining the difference between CRM and functions and points not to fail in introduction

Isn’t there a lot of people who want to know “functions” as part of collecting information on SFA?

Knowing the functions of SFA has the advantage of making it easier to persuade upper management and sales staff by clarifying the purpose of introduction .

Therefore, this time, we will introduce the functions of SFA by dividing them into “basic functions” and “convenient functions”. In addition, we will explain the functional differences between SFA and CRM, which are often confused with.

Table of Contents 

  • What is SFA? |Difference from CRM
    • Difference from CRM
  • List of SFA functions|5 basic functions
    • Basic function 1. Customer management
    • Basic function 2. Project management
    • Basic function 3. Opportunity management
    • Basic function 4. Process management (behavior management)
    • Basic function 5.Sales forecast/actual budget management
  • List of SFA functions | Useful functions
    • Convenient function 1. Schedule management
    • Convenient function 2. TODO management (task management)
    • Useful function 3. Alert
    • Convenient function 4. Activity reports such as daily and weekly reports
    • Useful function 5. Create quotation
    • Useful function 6. Analysis/aggregation report
    • Convenient function 7. Compatible with smartphones and tablets
  • List of specific feature differences between CRM and SFA
  • 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] Recommended books for SFA and CRM
    • What every salesperson should know to maximize the effect of introducing SFA/CRM
    • CRM basics
  • Let’s introduce SFA after collecting information properly

What is SFA? |Difference from CRM

“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

Difference from CRM

SFA and CRM are often confused, so I will briefly explain the difference.

First of all, CRM is an abbreviation of “Customer Relationship Management” and is translated as “customer relationship management”. SFA and CRM are the same in terms of tools for managing customer information, but the original purpose and output (output destination) of customer information are different .

The purpose of SFA and CRM is to:

Purpose of SFA: To manage and share customer information and sales know-how held by each sales representativePurpose of CRM: To realize marketing that suits each customer

In addition, the output destinations of customer information managed by SFA and CRM are as follows.

Output destination of customer information entered into SFA: Mainly sales departmentOutput destination of customer information entered into CRM: Not only the sales department, but also multiple departments such as the development department, information system department, and marketing department

In this way, you can see that SFA and CRM are tools with different characteristics if you look closely. One of the differences between SFA and CRM, “functions”, will be introduced later.

List of SFA functions|5 basic functions

Many people may be wondering what kind of functions SFA has. Therefore, here we introduce five basic functions of SFA.

  1. Customer management
  2. Project management
  3. Opportunity management
  4. Process management (behavior management)
  5. Sales forecast/actual budget management

Basic function 1. Customer management

The customer management function is a function that allows you to register detailed customer information and share it within the company .

Specific items of customer management range from basic information such as company name, address, phone number, person in charge, and job title to information such as contact history with customers.

With the customer management function, you will be able to deepen your understanding of customers before negotiations and proceed with negotiations in an advantageous manner.

Basic function 2. Project management

The project management function is a function that allows you to visualize and manage ongoing projects .

The specific items of project management are the target company, sales representative, proposed product, progress of sales, expected order, expected order date, and expected order amount.

With the project management function, the sales manager can grasp the detailed sales activities of each salesperson by looking at the project information in SFA. Therefore, feedback can be given to each salesperson at the appropriate time, leading to skill improvement of the salesperson.

Basic function 3. Opportunity management

The Opportunity Management function is a function that allows you to manage detailed information about the Opportunities .

Specific items of business negotiation management include past business negotiation history, purpose of business negotiation, negotiation time, business negotiation partner (person in charge), approver, proposal, proposal amount, progress of business negotiation, next action schedule, etc.

With the opportunity management function, sales managers can grasp the background and progress of individual negotiations, so they can give accurate instructions to win orders, such as adjusting the proposed amount and advising on the next action.

Basic function 4. Process management (behavior management)

The process management function is a function that manages the behavior of salespeople and improves productivity .

Specific items for process management include the number of tele appointment calls, the number of appointments, the number of visits, the number of proposed products, and the order rate.

With the process management function, you can quantify and compare the behavior of salespeople who are performing well and those who are struggling.

Basic function 5.Sales forecast/actual budget management

The forecast/actual management function is a function that converts sales forecasts and sales results into data and analyzes them.

With the budget and actual management function, you can grasp not only the sales of each salesperson and the sales of each department, but also the sales from various perspectives such as by customer and by product. So you can quickly take action to increase sales

List of SFA functions | Useful functions

I just introduced the basic functions of SFA, but SFA has various other functions.

Here are seven useful features of SFA.

  1. Schedule management
  2. TODO management (task management)
  3. Alert
  4. Activity reports such as daily and weekly reports
  5. Create a quote
  6. Analysis/aggregation report
  7. Compatible with smartphones and tablets

Convenient function 1. Schedule management

The schedule management function is a function that manages the schedules of salespeople .

Not only can you simply check the sales activity schedule of each salesperson, but you can also check the results of sales activities, write comments, and check proposals and quotations.

Scheduling features make it easy for sales managers to check on the movement of their entire team. Therefore, you will be able to accurately grasp issues such as “the number of business negotiations is insufficient to achieve the goal” and “many wasted visits”, and you will be able to formulate appropriate countermeasures.

Convenient function 2. TODO management (task management)

The TODO management function is a function that allows you to list the work you should do now .

The TODO management function allows sales managers to check the priority of each salesperson’s work, enabling prompt feedback if the priority is not appropriate.

In addition, since salespeople can clarify what they need to do, they can carry out their sales activities efficiently.

Useful function 3. Alert

The alert function is a function that notifies you of the next action in sales activities .

The specific items that can be alerted range from neglected projects, large-scale projects, price changes, to preparing quotations and proposals before business negotiations.

The alert function not only prevents missed responses and delays, but also enables you to always approach prospective customers at the optimal time. As a result, you will be able to reduce the number of lost business negotiations and projects, which will lead to an increase in sales.

Convenient function 4. Activity reports such as daily and weekly reports

The activity report function is a function that allows you to easily create daily and weekly business reports .

With this function, sales managers can quickly grasp the actions and results of each salesperson, so they can give accurate advice immediately.

In addition, SFA daily and weekly reports can be entered with simple operations, reducing the burden of clerical work and enabling salespeople to focus on sales activities.

Useful function 5. Create quotation

The quotation creation function is a function that allows you to create quotations quickly and without mistakes by registering quotation templates in SFA .

With the quotation creation function, you can break away from the inefficient method of submitting a printed quotation to the sales manager and the manager stamping it with an approval stamp.

As a result, you can spend more time on sales activities, and you can expect an increase in sales.

Useful function 6. Analysis/aggregation report

The analysis/aggregation report function is a function that can automatically create an analysis/aggregation report of the sales activity status.

Specifically, reports can be checked by sales representative, product, project, order prospect, area, etc., enabling a multifaceted analysis of sales activities.

The analysis/aggregation report function has the advantage of making it 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. In addition, you can reduce the time it takes to create materials for sales meetings.

Convenient function 7. Compatible with smartphones and tablets

Cloud-based SFA can also be operated on smartphones and tablets. Therefore, regardless of the time or place, you can use your spare time such as while traveling to enter information for sales activities.

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 for the boss’s convenience.

List of specific feature differences between CRM and SFA

CRM is often confused with SFA. Therefore, I will explain the difference between CRM and SFA from a functional point of view.

[Customer information managed by CRM]Company nameName of person in chargecontact personPerson in charge Department/PositionCompany locationQuestionnaire results
[Customer information managed by SFA]Company nameName of person in chargecontact personPerson in charge Department/PositionCompany locationNegotiation history (date and time)Project detailsBusiness talk contentChallengesinterestComments from a salesperson

While SFA specializes in managing the activities of salespeople , CRM specializes in building relationships with customers and managing customer information . In addition, since SFA aims to accumulate sales know-how and improve the efficiency of sales activities, customer information can be managed in more detail than CRM.

However, keep in mind that there are items (survey results) that can only be managed by CRM.

[List of CRM functions]Customer information managementmail deliveryScenario settingform creationreminder emailsite creationQuestionnaire survey
[List of SFA functions]Customer information managementActivity reports such as daily and weekly reportsToDo management (task management)task distributionmake a quoteContract writingSales forecastProspect evaluationSales activity status analysis/aggregation reportDashboard

You will find that SFA has more features than CRM.

In addition, since the purpose of CRM is to “realize marketing that suits each customer,” functions such as questionnaire surveys and form creation are basic.

On the other hand, as mentioned above, SFA has a task management function and a sales activity reporting function because the purpose is to “manage and share customer information and sales know-how owned by each salesperson” .

Three points to avoid failure in introducing SFA

I think there are 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.

  1. Share the purpose of SFA implementation with sales representatives
  2. Select SFA considering compatibility with your company
  3. 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 used 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 people 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] Recommended books for SFA and CRM

So far, I have explained the functions of SFA and points to avoid failure, but for those who want to gain deeper knowledge, I recommend reading the book. 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.

Publisher: Cross Media PublishingRelease date: April 20, 2018Author: Keiichi Hayakawa

CRM basics

This book explains the necessity and specific methods of CRM, which are emphasized by giant companies such as Google and Amazon. Since you can learn the essential knowledge of CRM with this one book, we recommend that beginners read it once.

Publisher: Nippon Jitsugyo Publishing Co., Ltd.Release date : 2014/10/23Author: Masashi Sakamoto

Let’s introduce SFA after collecting information properly

This time, I explained the functions of SFA and the differences in functions from CRM, which is often confused with SFA. In recent years, the number of companies that have introduced SFA has increased, so the number of companies that have introduced it is also increasing.

However, if the purpose of introduction is vague, it may not be used well at the sales site, and costs may be wasted. Therefore, in addition to the SFA functions introduced this time, be sure to thoroughly research the merits and demerits of SFA in advance before introducing it.

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