Pros and Cons of Sales Force Automation

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SALES FORCE AUTOMATION
PROS AND CONS

Table of ContentsPage
1Abstract3
2Introduction4
3Integration of Information5
4Sales Force Automation6
5Advantages of SFA7
6Shortcomings of SFA10
7Conclusion10
8Bibliography11

1Abstract
Customer satisfaction is topmost on the minds of all companies and for this they choose the use of Sales Force Automation. The system, its uses, advantages and disadvantages have been discussed in this paper and the conclusion is that when used along with Integration of all data within the Enterprise, it will indeed serve its purpose. It will further enhance the capabilities of both the Sales and Marketing departments and will also result in better co-ordination of all activities in the company. The only daunting aspect is its Implementation which will be successful only if there is unqualified commitment from top management.

2Introduction
In modern Business Organization it is well understood that customer satisfaction guarantees the health of a company. This can be achieved only by awareness of customer needs and being able to fulfil them both within time and the acceptable price and quality parameters. The big question is how to be able to obtain this awareness and further how to make the sales force or the marketing people understand the vital role this plays in the ultimate performance of the company. The firs exercise to apply the control approaches to the sales force was made by Anderson and Oliver (1987). A few tests of the performance of the sales force control system was conducted by Challagala et al (1996). Cravens et al (1993), Oliver and Anderson (1994 & 1995). It is only recently that this has taken shape as SFA.

It is fortunate that Information Technology is here to assist businesses across board with a multitude of solutions that can help them to tackle this issue. There are many Sales Force Automation Systems that are based on Information systems and are used in marketing. These are automated solutions that combine the marketing management functions and the customer relationship management systems.

The aim is to gather information of each individual customer’s behavioural pattern. The purchases they make, the brand and quality preference. The price ranges they accept, the ratio of purchase within seasons, schedules and the variances in selection of products etc. The list goes on depending on the product type and the location and other circumstantial factors. A pattern emerges which can then become predictive and the solution can then forecast the possibility of a sale at a particular time or when a suitable product is available. It also has inbuilt interactive features which can encourage a customer to engage in a dialogue and offer a direct lead to the sales or marketing people to carry on the transaction.

The way to achieving efficiencies and utilizing installed capacities lies in Technology upgradation. This is the most important, yet the weakest of all our resources. To overcome this issue it is imperative to have an integrated ERP solution. This will result in seamless flow of data from point to point and instant information will be available. This will enable marketing department and the sales force in making fact based decisions.

3Integration of Information
Availability of solutions has lead many a company to customize a solution for its specific needs and to train its sales force around it for maximum results. In such a case the ideal solution will combine the features of marketing, delivery, customer information with his various preferences in order of his choice by priority and the production schedules. This will involve integrating many a department in order to be really workable and useful.

It means that before embarking on a SFA programme, the company should first incorporate a culture of laying down a system for its own functioning which can then give correct and useful...
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