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What is cloud-based SFA? Benefits and 5 points of comparison!

There are many SFA tools that support sales activities. Therefore, some people may not know which service to use.

This time, we will introduce the difference between “cloud type” and “on-premise type” in SFA tools, and the points when comparing tools. It also introduces SFA, which is free to use.

Table of Contents 

  • What is SFA
  • Characteristics of cloud-based SFA
    • 3 benefits
    • 2 disadvantages
  • Three differences from on-premise SFA
    • (1) No difficulty in securing human resources
    • 2) No need to purchase your own server
    • (3) Easy to update
  • 3 benefits of introducing SFA
    • (1) Realization of telework
    • (2) Efficient data sharing
    • (3) Data can be accumulated
  • 5 points to compare SFA tools
    • (1) Ease of use
    • ② Security
    • ③Cost performance
    • ④ Support system
    • ⑤ Ease of access
  • 6 SFA tools
    • Paid service
    • Free service
  • summary

What is SFA

“SFA” is an abbreviation for “Sales Force Automation”. In Japanese, it means “sales automation” and refers to sales support services.

An SFA tool is a tool that can accumulate and analyze data related to a company’s sales . It is mainly used in sales activities, aiming to improve business efficiency and increase profits.

With the introduction of SFA tools, you can manage the behavior of your sales reps. Therefore, it will be possible to share information between the management side and the field side. .

Characteristics of cloud-based SFA

There are two main types of SFA. One is cloud type and the other is on premise type .

This time, we will mainly focus on the cloud type.

3 benefits

Here are the three advantages of cloud computing:

  1. easy to get started
  2. Accessible with internet connection
  3. It can be handled even if there are few IT personnel

I will explain each.

① Easy to start

The big advantage of cloud computing is that it is easy to get started . Many cloud-based SFAs can be tried for free, and multiple services can be compared before full-scale introduction .

In addition, the initial cost can be reduced because it uses already completed software. It will be relatively easy to use because it will save you the trouble of maintenance and updates.

(2) Accessible as long as you have an internet environment

Cloud-based SFA stores data in the cloud, so it can be used anywhere with an internet environment . It can be accessed not only from PCs, but also from smartphones and tablet terminals.

In addition, since employees from multiple departments can access it at the same time, they can work together after sharing data. Since data can be shared quickly , it is also useful for promoting telework. .

③It can be handled even if there are few IT human resources

In the case of the cloud type, even if there is an abnormality in the software, the person in charge at the subcontractor will respond. Therefore, SFA can be introduced even if there are few IT personnel in the company .

As long as you install software, maintenance and updates are essential. However, with the cloud type, there is no need to do them yourself. Isn’t this a huge advantage?

In addition, there is no need to hire new IT personnel, so recruitment costs can be reduced. It can be said that cost performance is high because it can reduce costs and improve business efficiency .

2 disadvantages

What are the disadvantages of cloud-based SFA? There are two drawbacks that I would like to highlight here:

  1. difficult to customize
  2. Security measures required

1) Difficult to customize

With the cloud type, what can be done is decided in advance, so it is difficult to customize the tool according to changes in the company’s situation . Therefore, when introducing a tool, it is necessary to consider multiple services and select the service that is more suitable for the company.

(2) Security measures are required

Unlike the on-premise type, which stores data on its own server, the cloud type stores data on the server of the vendor of the tool, so there are some security issues.

However, the security safety in the cloud type is gradually improving. Use trusted tools to protect your company’s data 

Three differences from on-premise SFA

I will introduce three differences between the cloud type and the on-premise type.

  1. No difficulty in securing human resources
  2. No need to buy your own server
  3. Easy to update

(1) No difficulty in securing human resources

Since the cloud type uses the services of other companies, SFA can be introduced even if there are few IT personnel in the company. You don’t have to hire new staff, which saves you money.

In the case of the on-premise type, human resources such as engineers are required in-house. By having IT personnel in-house, you can reflect your aspirations for SFA, but it takes time and money to secure personnel.

2) No need to purchase your own server

If you use the on-premises type, you must purchase new servers and IT equipment on your own. This incurs an initial cost.

However, in the case of the cloud type, it can be introduced as long as there is an Internet environment . Data is stored in the cloud, so there is no need to purchase a server.

In addition, many cloud-based SFA services are billed, so it is easy to stop using them. There is no need to worry about wasting newly purchased servers and IT equipment.

(3) Easy to update

Updates are essential when using software. In the case of the on-premises type, it is necessary for in-house personnel to maintain and update the system as appropriate.

However, if it is a cloud type, updates will be performed automatically for free. We will be able to respond quickly to any legislative changes.

3 benefits of introducing SFA

What are the advantages of using SFA? This time, we will introduce the following three advantages.

  1. Realization of telework
  2. Efficient data sharing
  3. Enables data accumulation

(1) Realization of telework

Telework can be realized by digitizing customer data using SFA. In particular, cloud-based systems can be accessed from outside the company, making it easier to work from home.

At the stage of developing a sales strategy based on data, the frequency of coming to work can be reduced. It is also very useful when doing business online.

(2) Efficient data sharing

With the introduction of SFA, sales staff can immediately share the data they obtain on site with management. Since collaboration between the field side and the management side is essential in sales activities, let’s actively use SFA.

You can also share not only customer-related data, but also know-how in sales activities. If you share the data and know-how that each individual has, you will be able to achieve better sales activities.

(3) Data can be accumulated

As we steadily input data obtained through sales activities, we accumulate a huge amount of data
. By increasing the amount of data, more accurate analysis can be performed.

Accumulated data can continue to be shared within the company, so it can be used for a long time. The accumulated data and know-how will be a great asset for the company.

5 points to compare SFA tools

Here are 5 things to keep in mind when comparing SFA tools that you should implement.

  1. ease of use
  2. Security
  3. Cost performance
  4. support system
  5. Ease of access

(1) Ease of use

The most important thing is “ease of use”. If the person in charge of using the tool finds it difficult to use, it will not be effective.

Even paid SFA tools often offer a free trial version , so please actively use the trial version. Experimenting with multiple tools will help you find the one that works best for you.

② Security

Cloud-based SFA tools store customer data on the cloud provided by other companies, so it is necessary to use a system with complete security measures.

Find out if the source is trustworthy and whether there have been any incidents such as data breaches in the past. Since we handle a lot of personal information, security is essential .

③Cost performance

When introducing an SFA tool, if it is a cloud type, it will be charged and costly. If it is an on-premises type, in addition to the initial cost, costs will be incurred as necessary.

In order to improve cost performance, it is a good idea to choose a low-priced tool that has only the functions you really need for your company .

If you can’t afford it right away, use the free version of the sfa tool, which is also introduced below.

④ Support system

Regular maintenance is essential for using software. In addition, there is a possibility that failures such as system errors may occur.

Find out if you can receive prompt and courteous support when such an irregularity occurs. If an error occurs in the system, it is inevitable to stop the work, so speedy response should be emphasized .

⑤ Ease of access

Accumulating data is pointless if it is difficult to access. In particular, it would be better to be able to access from a smartphone or tablet terminal when using it in the middle of sales activities .

6 SFA tools

Here, we will introduce six SFA tools, divided into paid services and free services.

Paid service

The paid SFA tools introduced this time are the following three.

  1. Chikyu
  2. kintone

I will explain each.


“Chikyu” is an SFA tool made in Japan and already used by many companies such as OMRON and Sumitomo Realty & Development. The main features are as follows.

Despite its relatively low price, it has enough featuresEasy to use due to simple management screenEasy to set up and transfer data, so you can start using it right away

Prices are as follows.

Light plan: 1,480 yen per month
Standard plan: 2,980 yen per month
Pro plan: 4,980 yen per
month Enterprise plan: 9,800 yen per month

Detailed functions differ depending on the plan. If you are curious about the difference in features, try the free trial.


Kintone is a famous service used by about 20,000 companies. The main features are as follows.

Communication and data can be aggregated and visualized on one screenAdd and customize as many apps and communication spaces as you likeEasy to manage work progress

Prices are as follows.

Light course: 780 yen per month / 1 user
Standard course: 1500 yen per month / 1 user

Initial cost is free. If you’re interested, take advantage of the 30-day free trial.


JUST.SFA is a service that can be customized without programming knowledge. The main features are as follows.

SFA system can be built according to various sales systemsEquipped with an API that can be easily linked with external systems and servicesFull support system from introduction to operation

Please contact us for the price. A free trial is also available.

Free service

There are two free SFA tools that I will introduce this time.

  1. hubspot
  2. Zoho CRM


Hubspot is a free service provided by Hubspot Inc. The main features are as follows.

Free to use forever after registrationUnlimited user access despite being freeUpgrade to the paid version for even more features

Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM is a service specialized for customer management, but it can also be used as a sales support tool. The main features are as follows.

Free data storage availableCustomer information management and mail delivery are possiblePaid plans are also relatively inexpensive and data migration is easy

You can register for free, but you can use more enhanced functions by changing to a paid plan.

Standard Plan: ¥1,440/month
Professional Plan: ¥2,400/month
Enterprise Plan: ¥4,200/month
Ultimate Plan: ¥5,400/month


This time, we explained the features of the cloud-based SFA service and the differences from the on-premise type. Have you deepened your knowledge of the SFA system? Use this article as a reference to choose the best service for your company.


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