When people hear or talk about CRM (customer relationship management), in most cases they think about sales and that this is what it’s all about. Subsequently, those same people also think about CRM when they hear about sales force automation. They think that these things are the same but they are not, and if you are one of those people, you’ve come to the right place.
When you look at these things more closely, you will realize that they are in fact related but they are not the same. Companies that implement CRM solutions can set up sales force automation, as this is one of their functions. Still, SFA is a separate thing and it doesn’t have to be necessarily done through a CRM. However, a comprehensive CRM solution can allow a business to perform SFA more easily.
Defining sales force automation and CRM
Sales force automation
This is a practice that includes turning all sales that a business makes into an automated process that is repeatable. You can look at it as an assembly line reserved specifically for sales.
There are specialized CRM solutions that can help set up sales force automation and help manage it to the fullest. On top of that, CRM also helps a business take care of other business processes related to sales force automation and helps get a better picture of how this aspect of your business is performing.
A CRM is a software solution which helps companies manage all aspects of their relationships with customers. CRM is a very broad term, and there are many different solutions that specialize in different categories in order to suit the needs of specific business types.
Understanding sales force automation
Simply put, the sales force automation approach consists of making an entire script where you outline how your sales process operates from beginning to end. After that is done, different employees or departments are assigned to execute certain parts of your script.
For example, one department will be tasked with making calls and gathering valuable leads. If they are able to catch leads, they will continue the sales process by handing them off to another department or individual whose task is to collect important information from those leads.
After that, the sales process continues to the next department or individual until the sale is done. This is what sales force automation is all about. This is why we compared it to an assembly line.
Now, a sales force automation CRM can be used by sales departments to help them store important contact information, provide targets and actionable goals for all members, record lead generation actions and cold calls, track and schedule important appointments, and manage workflows.
Should you implement sales force automation?
You can treat your sales process either as a science or as a form of art. We are not saying that any of these ways is better than the other but, in general, larger companies don’t have the time to dedicate themselves to each sale “personally”. In this case, sales force automation can be viewed as a scientific approach to sales.
For large companies, scaling is very important. Big businesses need a lot of salespeople, involve them in the whole process, and quickly find new ones when people leave. All people working in the sales process are an important cog in the machine and, when you have thousands of cogs, you need to make sure that all of them are working to perfection.
For smaller organizations, there is no big demand, and they emphasize on providing a unique personal experience to customers and that’s how they compete. This is why smaller organizations do not require this kind of approach.
In the end, if you have a larger business, make sure to find a good CRM solution that can help you take care of your sales force automation needs. If you need sales force automation, the best way to implement it is through a CRM and that’s why people mix these two up.