In the world today, technology has been recognized to contribute significantly to the development of a country, as it leads to the improvement of the performances of the company’s that carry out their transactions while using it. It also reduces the time lost due to slow manual methods that are outdated, hence increases the sales volume of a organization that has the technology installed in it.
It has been noted that without skilled and productive sale people within organizations then very few firms can survive in this competitive world we are living in.
Sales force automation refers to the activities that are undertaken by a prospect to the customers in order to provide services to them. The services that are provided are: automations of mailshots, proposal and quote generation, order taking facilities, remote configures to order, access to the corporate data such as pricing, designing determining the cost data and manufacturing of data.
There is software that is referred to as the sales force automation software that is used to automate the business tasks such as the control of inventory, processing of sales and tracking of the customers’ interactions as well as analyzing the company’s sales forecasts and performances.
The devices that are used together with the sales force software are the Interact Commerce and the Goldmine Software that facilitate the carrying out of the activities within the organization effectively.
The software consists of packages such the web-ready database, an e-mail package and the customizable template that enhance the software functionality to be effective. It also consists of the architecture that is referred to as three-tired architecture that is used to separate the database, server and the application so as to meet the needs of the programmer that is preparing the software.
The module-based design is used to reduce the programming tool that is used to meet the needs of the customers who require the software’s services (Lima, P. 1996).
It has been noted that the sales force automation systems can be used to improve on the rate in which the sales people perform their activities. The reason being that the sales people can be in a position to fill in the e-forms that can save on time ,instead of printing reports such as the sales reports, activity report and the call sheets that are submitted to the relevant authorities such as the sales manager to evaluate on the company’s performances.
The sales people can use the company’s intranets in order to transmit information from one place to another and to persons who are in different locations in the country where their businesses are carried out.
The sales force automation systems are the systems that are used to facilitate the activities of different departments within an organization such as the marketing and the management departments so as to automate sales and the sales management functions.
The systems such as :contact management system are used to keep track of the useful contacts that are to be given to the customers, and the implementation of follow ups that are used to ensure that the sales persons effort are rewarded effectively.
The system also consist of sales tracking systems that are used to list the number of the potential customers that are paid through systems such as the phone lists or the customers related products so as to keep proper records of the organization (Lima, P. 1996).
The sales force automation applications are used to enable the management of companies to effectively manage people and thus be in a position to make as many sales as possible.
It also enables the sales representatives to access relevant data using devices such as online, offline, and the mobile devices and also links them to tools that are referred to as the Microsoft office and outlook that enhance efficiency (Murray, P., Carter, L. 2005).
It also provides the management of the company with important opportunities to manage, to undertake other functions such as management, forecasting, reporting and customization capabilities that enable the sales managers to be confident enough while carrying out their duties and responsibilities.
It also provides the top executives with the opportunity to access accurate information that can lead to making of proper decisions for an organization and also be in a position to evaluate the company’s performance in order to ensure that the goal and the objectives of an organization are carried achieved within the stipulated financial period of a company.
The sales force automation allows the management of organizations to manage the entire selling process as the sales order entry, post-sale follow up and the support as well as the selling opportunities.
Advantages of sales force automation
The system allows the call center, field sales force and the marketing team to share valuable information to the central repository systems. It also enables the sales professionals to capture the lead and customer information in more efficient manner hence lead to quicker responses to issues that would be discussed within an organization.
The sales force also enables the sales professionals to respond to matters that require immediate response. It also improves on the communications systems through providing a unified, single view of the customers (Lima, P. 1996).
The other advantage of the sales force automation is that it enables sales professionals to participate in activities such as web-based transportation electronic commerce iniatities.It also assists organizations to implement team-based selling strategy using multiple channels so as to improve in the performance of the company.
It also provides one with the opportunity of accessing data at anytime during the day by utilizing devices such as the wireless and the remote channels that can facilitate easy access to the information that is relevant in improving the company’s performance.
Another advantage of the sales force automation is that one can sell products in any part of the world thus it leads to increased sales volume, profit and revenue for the organization. In other instances it provides platforms for the business intelligence and knowledge management tools that enable one to differentiate a company’s products from those of its competitors.
After the sales force automation is implemented within an organization it leads to proper means of planning, forecasting and budgeting of an organizations duties and responsibilities so that the activities of an organization are carried out effectively.
It enables the management of organizations to implement efficient methods that can be used to manage, organize and to create sales documents, customer quotes, proposals, letters, invitations and other correspondences that enable one to understand the organizations activities and also implement tools that can be used to carry the duties and responsibilities of an organization.
The sales force automation assists the sales professionals with the opportunity of increasing the sales revenue more profitably, predictably and quickly in order to provide the means in which to focus on the company’s selling opportunities at the right time and faster closures. It also leads to improved productivity levels of an organization that lead to increased sales volume for an organization (Lima, P. 1996).
The other advantages of the sales force automation is that it leads to speedy and hassle free launching of the sales team in an organized and efficient manner, while at the same time helps the managers of organizations to oversee their workforce performances, solve potential problems that may exist within an organization.
On the other hand, the sales professionals can effectively implement speedy developments that may make it easy for the management to keep track of orders, proposals and clients in order to increase the volume for the organization.
Disadvantages of sales force automation
The implementation of the system within the organization may face various problems such as: The Company may incur additional expenses such as purchase of software and the computer network in order to enhance its functionality.
Even though the system is used to help the employees to identify the customers, sell goods or services they can enjoy more time so that the information can be entered into the company’s system with ease, although that may not happen due to fact that the employees may not appreciate the work that is done by the system since that would lead to loss of their employment opportunity (Moenaert, R., and Souder, W. 1990).
Since the system leads to the automation of decisions and tasks, there would be no human interaction since all activities in the business are automated as it can lead to dehumanization as the sales venture is known to revolve around with the humans that is sales interacting amongst themselves.
The implementation of the sales force automation leads to better, more copious amount of sales data that is used for analysis purposes, though the idea can be effectively implemented, the software may at times not have the ability to enable the employees of an organization to enter sales and the customer data due obsolescence of the software and lack of knowledge on the part of the employees, hence may lead to less information for an organization.
The other disadvantage of sales force automation is that it requires continuous maintenance, information updating and also system upgrading which is expensive .This comes about when there is additional information about a client that is to be made, the expenses that include professional technicians who are called in to assist in maintaining the systems that need to be employed within the organization.
There also some difficulties that result from firms that integrates with other management information system that may not be compatible hence leads to delays while making decisions. Since information that is fed is basically about the sales, it becomes difficult to combine with other management information system. Information is stored differently so as not to bring information mix up.