What are the key points in choosing an SFA?

 If you are involved in web marketing, you hear "SFA" and "CRM" on a daily basis. Some of you may have a vague understanding of the difference between the two, as they are similar but not the same thing.

In this article, we have summarized the differences and similarities between SFA and CRM, as well as the points and cautions to consider when choosing one to implement  https://slimtime.co.jp/  in your company. We have also included a "function comparison chart" that allows you to easily compare the functions of each, so please take advantage of it.

Differences and features between SFA and CRM

First, let's take a look at the differences and features between SFA and CRM.

What is the difference in the meaning of the words?

SFA and CRM are both words that originated in the United States in the 1990s, but their meanings are very different.

SFA is an abbreviation for "Sales Force Automation", which can be translated into Japanese as "sales support system". SFA is a tool that provides detailed sales support, such as teaching sales staff what action to take next by inputting the status of their daily activities, and is expected to improve sales efficiency and productivity.

CRM, on the other hand, is an abbreviation for "Customer Relationship Management," which in Japanese means "customer relationship management" or "customer management.

Originally, the name referred to a method, but nowadays it is more commonly used to refer to the IT tools used to manage customers. CRM as a tool manages, accumulates, and analyzes customer information such as names, attributes, and purchase/inquiry history, and by utilizing this information, it is expected to provide products and services that customers want and build good relationships with them.

As you can see, SFA and CRM are different in their usage and purpose. Next, let's check out the background of SFA and CRM, and the differences in their functions in detail.

Background of SFA

Before the advent of SFA, sales activities were based on the personal experience and knowledge of each salesperson. Before the advent of SFA, many salespeople based their sales activities on their personal experience and knowledge. In Europe and the United States, the problem was that customer information that belonged to salespeople was lost when the salespeople left the company.

What was required was to consolidate the information held by each sales representative.

In addition, the idea of using data to streamline sales operations and implement them in a smarter way, rather than relying on the abilities of specific salespeople, was also introduced. This led to the birth of SFA tools that allow all salespeople to manage and share information.

Information managed by SFA

With the background described above, SFA has the character of "managing and sharing customer information and sales know-how held by sales representatives.

For this reason, SFA manages basic customer information such as the name, title, company name, contact information, and the name of the department to which the customer belongs, as well as detailed negotiation information such as the contents of the case, the customer's issues and interests, and information on business negotiations. These accumulated and managed data can be linked to sales forecasts.

Advantages of SFA

The first advantage of SFA is that it can visualize sales activities and know-how.

In the past, sales activities tended to become a black box, with each sales representative managing customer information and know-how in an individual manner, making it difficult for necessary information to be shared across the board.

However, with the introduction of SFA and the centralized management of customer information and know-how, the way of interacting with customers and the progress of projects can be visualized, and the accumulated and analyzed information can be utilized for sales forecasting, making it possible to improve and increase the operational efficiency of the sales department.

In addition, the accumulation and analysis of top-class sales know-how can be used for human resource development even if a talented employee leaves the company due to job change or retirement.

In addition, SFA can be entrusted with tasks that used to take a lot of time and effort, such as preparing daily sales reports, negotiation lists, and quotations, and it is also a reliable way to improve business operations by freeing sales representatives from detailed tasks. As a result, salespeople can concentrate more on their own activities, which can be expected to improve sales efficiency and increase sales.

Background of CRM

Like SFA, CRM was also influenced by the trends of the times.

The reason for this was that mass marketing, which had dominated the world until then, was no longer very effective. This led to a rise in attention to 1 to 1 marketing, which deals with each customer individually, rather than the traditional approach of reaching out to many customers in the same way, and led to the development of CRM tools.

Information managed by CRM

Based on the above background, CRM manages "information to realize marketing that suits each individual customer.

In addition to basic information such as the customer's name, gender, company name, contact information, and department name, it also handles information that shows the interests and inclinations of each customer, such as questionnaire and inquiry history, and purchase and usage history of products and services. By utilizing this information, you can tailor your approach to each customer and increase their satisfaction.

Advantages of CRM

As with SFA, one of the benefits of CRM is the visualization of information.

When CRM is implemented, customer information (not only basic information, but also purchasing preferences, results, and potential purchases), which used to be managed separately by each person, department, or division, can be centrally managed and analyzed.

By quickly grasping customer information in a multifaceted manner, it is possible to take a more precise approach to each customer, leading to improved customer satisfaction. If you are able to grasp the needs of your customers, you can expect up-selling and cross-selling.

Disadvantages of SFA/CRM

While SFA and CRM have their own advantages, they also have disadvantages in that it is difficult to measure how effective they actually are after implementation.

Also, if the purpose of implementing SFA/CRM is not clear, or if the definition of what information is needed is not clearly determined, the following problems may occur.

The tools are not easy to use and require a lot of time and effort.

The accuracy of the entered information will be low due to many omissions and thin content.

Use of the tool does not take root.

The use of the tool does not take root.

The result of such a situation is that the information is not updated and no one wants to use the tool, which may lead to the unfortunate result that the tool is not utilized at all.

As we will discuss later in the chapter on points to consider when selecting a tool, it is a good idea to focus on "whether the tool is easy to use" when selecting a tool. Even more fundamentally, it is essential to introduce a tool with a sense of purpose.

What is the difference between SFA and CRM functions?

The differences between SFA and CRM can be better understood by focusing on the differences in their functions.

The functions of SFA can be broadly divided into case management functions and sales efficiency functions.

In the case management function, it is possible to manage the progress of business negotiations, such as "which products and services were proposed to whom, when, and at what price," report on closed deals, and check the target achievement rate for the entire sales department. Based on this information, it is also possible to predict how much sales can be achieved. In addition, sales efficiency functions can be used to support the daily work of salespeople, such as creating daily sales reports and quotations.

On the other hand, CRM functions can be broadly divided into customer data management, promotion, and customer support functions.

The customer data management function allows you to manage and analyze customer attributes and behavioral history, while the promotion function can be used to approach customers through promotional campaigns and email distribution. The customer support function can be used for various tasks related to customer surveys and holding seminars and events.

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