Sales Force Automation Benefits

Although return on investment numbers are crucial to determining the success or failure of an SFA implementation, managers are looking harder at intangible benefits of SFA. They may be harder to measure, but intangible benefits are as important in the long run as readily quantifiable cost-benefit analyses.

Improvement in the bottom line is the ultimate goal of every sales force automation project. The intangible benefits of a well-done SFA project are just as much a part of the bottom line as the return on investment. Barton Goldenberg, president and founder of Information Systems Marketing, Inc., outlines five intangible benefits companies can expect to see from a successful SFA project:

  • Smoother operation all around. A well-done SFA implementation will smooth rough edges and streamline functions within a company. Such tedious tasks as searching for information, performing rote and time-consuming administration details are minimized. Automating sales and marketing should also help sales representatives accustom themselves to new territory more quickly and thoroughly.
  • Increased employee motivation and satisfaction. Employees who use sales and marketing automation tend to find their day to day tasks simpler and less time consuming when they use SFA applications. As a result, employees tend to spend less time bogged down doing the repetitious fill-in-the blank type work, and instead can focus on the work which they enjoy.
  • Better trained and more skilled sales and marketing personnel. Automating your sales and marketing operations gives sales people a lot of answers to questions about your products and services they either didn’t want to or didn’t know how to ask.
  • Improved use of field force equipment. Sales people are notorious technophobes, and any successful SFA project is one which results in increasing their comfort level with using technology.
  • Improved company image. Sales force automation shows your customers you’re serious about providing the best sales and marketing services possible.

As a way of understanding the success of SFA internally, Goldenberg suggests informally comparing feedback from employees who use sales and marketing automation with those who don’t. Another indicator is the job satisfaction of your employees – keeping track of turnover among automated and non-automated employees, is perhaps the best indicator.

To gain an outside perspective, Goldenberg recommends informally canvassing clients to get their input on how the change to using more SFA applications has affected their dealings with your company. Customer service is the most important indicator of how well your SFA campaign is going. He adds that in his experience successful SFA projects result in greater customer loyalty, as well as an improved customer perception of the company versus the competition.

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