Customer Management vs. Sales Force Automation
By now you probably have noticed that your sales team needs some type of help to improve their efficiency, and you’ve probably heard about some tools that can help with that.
Some companies keep refusing to use technology because they consider it’s an unnecessary expense, but technical tools, and especially those developed to improve efficiency, should be considered an investment by everyone.
Besides, nowadays it’s risky to not invest in technology; most of the companies do, and we could become obsolete compared to our competitors if we didn’t.
However, there are many types of tools in the market, and not all of them do the same. To choose the most suitable one for your company you first have to define your needs and objectives; from there we can find the perfect tool for you.
CRMs and SFAs are probably the most famous types of software, and many sales directors doubt between acquiring one or the other. That’s why, in this article, we’ll try to explain the differences between them and what can they offer, so you can choose wisely.
Customer Relationship Management
A CRM or Customer Relationship Management tool is, as its name says an app that focuses on managing the relationship with each and every client.
Its main goal is to store as much information about a client as it’s possible, working kind of like a database, but with the objective of improving the treatment we give to each client. The bigger amount of data we have about a client, the easier it will be to anticipate his needs, problems or wishes.
How can this help improve the efficiency of our sales team? By having that much of an information and an updated record about a client, the treatment will be significantly better, and we will sell in a more customized way. This is especially useful when promoting our clients’ loyalty and when offering our post-sales service.
Not only it is useful for the sales department, but also for others such as marketing, as it allows you to segment and organize your customers.
Lastly, there are some CRMs that allow the clients to access their information, and this is convenient for them because they get to know what have they bought lately and use this information to take decisions internally.
Sales Force Automation
As we’ve mentioned, CRMs are more focused on clients. SFAs or Sales Force Automation tools have a wider objective, as their goal is to optimize the whole sales process.
What does this mean? SFAs take into account every step of the sales process, providing support in each of them, from the lead generation to the negotiation, until we finally reach the closing of the sale.
It’s normally a software that encompasses a record of each client, just like a CRM, but that also includes the rest of the information that is key to execute sales. An example? It has the company’s catalogue attached, so we can show our assortment to our client in situ, in the easiest way possible, through our Tablet or any other device. This is not only convenient, but it also helps the commercial agent suggest items to the retailer, items that he does not have in his shelves but may like to, therefore selling more.
It allows us to control the established prices and the promotions taking place at the moment, so we have full control over the whole situation. We can not only improve the client’s experience by having his historical with us, but also improve our sales team productivity by increasing sales. It’s automatic, that’s why it’s called sales automation, and this saves us time and effort.
By having everything under the same software, and by giving access to this information to every department in the company, it fosters team cohesion and it makes it easier to take decisions together. This software takes our goals and KPIs into account, analyzes our results and provides us with a complete report afterwards. This is one of its biggest advantages, because this comes handy when selling again.
What are the differences?
As we have mentioned, a CRM is way more focused on the client. It’s especially useful to maintain our contact list updated and organized, not only for the sales department but also for other areas like marketing or customer service, as it will allow them to give a more personalized treatment to each client.
CRMs can be useful when it comes to sales, but the truth is that, if your goal is to increase sales and improve your productivity, the most complete tool is an SFA. The sales automation tool takes care of the whole selling process, and it also offers the functionality of keeping a record of every client, just like a CRM. It’s an omnichannel tool, making information available for everybody, and the reports it generates with our results are relevant for the company as a whole.
Which one do I choose?
It depends on your goals and on the problems you identify in your company.
If you notice an organizational problem and you think that the treatment and post-sales service to your clients should improve, a CRM is a good option. If your main goal is to engage your already existent clients, do not hesitate.
However, take into account that sales force automation tools offer those functionalities as well. If you have organizational problems but you also need to increase sales and improve your team’s productivity, we can’t recommend an SFA enough: it will cover all your needs as a sales person and it will provide you with quality reports based on your results which will help you take better decisions.
If you have an unlimited budget, both tools can complement each other, but as it’s convenient to have everything under the same solution, we encourage you to contemplate the option of acquiring a sales force automation tool and taking advantage of its omnichannel feature; you will see everything quicker and easier.
We hope we’ve helped you decide!