9 Steps for Purchasing a Sales Force Automation Application
Sales force automation (SFA) products can boost a company’s sales team's efficiency and increase the number of sales. But all solutions are not created equal, and what may be the right SFA for one company may not be for another. If you’re in the market for an SFA solution this year, you must match your company’s needs with the most capable solution.
In a recent whitepaper, Sales Force Automation Buyer’s Guide, San Franciso-based business research provider Focus, operated by Tippit, offered nine steps marketers should take in purchasing an SFA solution.
1. Know your needs. Do you really need an SFA suite right now? If you’re missing sales opportunities because you can’t effectively manage data, by all means, you’re ready for SFA. If not, it may be best to hold off on investing in it.
2. Understand your sales staff. Speak to sales managers and reps to understand where their pain points are, where improvements can make a difference and what fears your staff may have about SFA.
3. Decide whether you’re an on-demand or on-premise organization. On-demand companies typically have limited capital budget, no internal IT infrastructure and few in-house IT experts while on-premise companies typically can afford to invest in IT and have internal resources to maintain and manage an SFA application. The two have different requirements of SFA, so make sure you know where you fall in the spectrum.
4. Determine how deeply your SFA must integrate with the rest of your company. Will your SFA tool be used and maintained solely by sales, or will it be integrated across departments to improve other functions?
5. Assemble a list of must-have and nice-to-have features. Things that address your immediate pain points are must-haves, making them essential elements for potential SFA tools. Those that have features you’d like to use but are not crucial now offer added value for long-term use.
6. Determine whether you’ll need to work through a third-party partner or professional services. Know whether your IT staff can implement SFA on its own or if you’ll need to use an outside vendor to avoid delays and problems in getting started.
7. Match vendor features with your critical needs.
8. Ask for demos to determine the best fit. That doesn’t mean a couple of screen shots—it calls for hands-on time to work with each solution to see if it meets your needs.
9. Determine the total cost of ownership. This includes subscriptions fees, support costs, internal IT investments, training expenses, etc. A solution with low up-front costs can become expensive if training is not included in the base price. By the same token, a solution with a high price tag can be a bargain if that price includes thorough support. Examine all the costs associated with SFA.
To get a copy of the full report, visit Focus Research.