Sales Force Automation: Structure, Structure, Structure!

October 16th, 2009 by

By Pat Hinds

The majority of companies that I work with start using Sales Force Automation as a contact manager, task manager, and sometimes to track funnel activity. SFA tools work well for these tasks, but this structure does not give companies the competitive advantage in the “new normal” business environment that is more competitive, there is pressure on margins, and customers are more demanding. If companies are to be successful they need to adopt a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) approach to the deployment of SFA tools. I have been reading a book called, The Ultimate CRM, by John G. Freeland; in the book he speaks to strategies on how to set-up a CRM application to drive customer loyalty and profitability. I have taken a few points from the book that I would like to share; I recommend you use books on CRM to help guide you through the process of setting up your SFA.

Success Factors for a CRM Project
1.Get the segmentation right from the start.
2.Keep the end in mind.
3.Plan the journey.
4.Define performance metrics

Comment: Most companies launch SFA applications with minimal thought on market segmentation. Without structuring the data within the CRM you are unable to measure your progress and without measurement you lack productivity.

Principle CRM Project Problem Areas
1.Failure to obtain and maintain executive support
2.Failure to align key internal functions
3.Inability to link CRM to higher level strategy
4.Focus on capability building instead of ROI

Comment: The implementation of a SFA application is an extension of the company’s business plan and processes; it should be the tool that aligns senior management, marketing, and sales while providing direction and measuring progress.

Defining Data Requirements
1.Start with what you know.
2.Define what you want to do with the information you gather.
3.Define what you need to know.

Comment: A winning SFA implementation benefits the sales person, management and the customer. It is important to implement data that will help the sales rep be more productive and obtain a better understanding of his or her customer; in turn, the sales person will be able to collect information about the customer that will help management to make better decisions.

Topics: CRM