When you hear “sales force,” the first thing you may think of is Salesforce the company. While Salesforce is a top customer relationship management (CRM) software platform that can be used for sales force automation, in this article we cover sales force automation as a whole – how it works, its benefits, the sales activities you should automate, and the types of sales automation tools to consider.
As its name suggests, sales force automation, or SFA for short, is a function that automates various sales processes, made possible by software tools. SFA can be part of a CRM system or a function of separate tools that are specifically designed to automate select sales tasks.
SFA and CRM are not the same thing. A CRM is a tool to support sales and marketing efforts to track buyer journeys, identify revenue opportunities, provide customer support, and more. In other words, CRM software tracks, organizes, and nurtures leads and customers. Not every function of a CRM includes automation of tasks, though automation tools are usually available for certain tasks. The job of an SFA tool (or an SFA feature in a CRM) is strictly to automate tasks.
“The cost of acquiring new customers can be extremely high when companies use outdated sales processes to manage their sales channels,” said Oliver Andrews, owner of website design and SEO company OA Design Services. “Also, a salesperson may have to log in to various tools, including email marketing software, just to track the status of their reach with a potential customer.”
Sales force automation is part of that new technology that makes sales easier.
“It is difficult to track potential customer behavior without the help of integrated software,” Andrews told Business News Daily. “If you’re not tracking activity in real time, you may be missing out on potential sales. The longer you take to follow up on leads, the worse your sales team performs.”
In summary, the purpose of sales force automation is to save time and streamline sales processes, but it has even more benefits that can boost your bottom line:
If an automation tool can do a task just as well as or better than a human could do the task manually, you should automate the task. Using one integrated SFA tool instead of multiple tools, if your budget allows it, is ideal. Here are some of the sales activities that SFA technology can automate:
SFA works by offering you the option to automate various sales tasks. To help you get a better understanding of how sales force automation works, let’s break down two popular automation activities: workflows and reports.
You can create workflows with enrollment triggers to automatically email sales prospects. For example, a workflow for an online clothing store might look like this:
With a B2B business, a workflow might look like this:
Just imagine if you had to send all these emails manually; the tracking alone could take several hours.
Without SFA, your sales management data might be a bunch of overwhelming spreadsheets. As a sales manager, you need the ability to look at your numbers quickly and easily. Use SFA to receive visual reports as often as you like. Before scheduling reports, set up key performance indicators that you’d like the reports to show. Use these reports to identify trends and opportunities over time.
With dozens of SFA tools on the market, how do you choose one? The best way to determine which solution is ideal for your company is to learn as much about each tool as you can. When possible, schedule demos and take advantage of free trials.
HubSpot is a CRM and SFA all-in-one tool. You can track the status of your leads, use workflows to automate lead rotation or send sequence emails, streamline follow-ups, and more.
This communications platform has the capability to send transactional and marketing emails automatically. You can set automation triggers to send prospects personalized emails.
This all-in-one Twitter, LinkedIn, and email automation platform promises to be simple to use, safe, reliable, and a timesaver for sales teams. You can use it to create multiple campaign sequences and to engage prospects with connection requests, messages, profile views, and more.
With ConvertKit, you can build a path for your subscribers by sending them through more than one workflow at a time. You can also utilize visual automations and logic to determine the path your subscribers take.
Learn which visitors go to your website and what they look at when they do. With Leadfeeder, you can also get email notifications when your target clients visit your website. When a lead revisits your website, Leadfeeder will automatically update your CRM with that information.
Leadiro is a B2B customer data platform that’s best for automated lead generation, providing a regular source of qualified leads. You can filter the tool’s data for various metrics and see how to target leads that are relevant to your business.
Recently acquired by Salesforce, Slack routes communications to the right sales team members through automated forms, messages and more.
Which SFA tools are you considering?