Thursday, April 10, 2014

MR Reporting software, fmcg software for sales, customized ERP -SFA: How to Get A Jump Start

Sales force automation (SFA) allows companies to manage business along with data and relationships associated with them. In SFA companies can store prospect, contact, account, lead and opportunity among other sales related information. The information is centralized and accessible to the sales, marketing and other teams within the company. As SFA is build around people and relationships it is very valuable for any fast growing business.

When a company starts to sell its products or services it connects with people who need its product or service. As the company grows these relationship also grows, then you have not only buyer seller relationship but multiple new relationships - there are multiple people in your company who will have relationship with multiple people in the buying company. Over time this becomes complex and you as a company would definitely like to share the relationship and interactions with others within your organization who are connecting to customers. This is where SFA can help maintain and share information with the people in your organization easily.

 To reap the benefits of SFA, companies need good data in terms of potential, existing customers and relationships. Before companies start to use SFA concerted effort should be put to get the data in SFA. Couple of ways to get this information :
 Existing Data: Most companies should already have data which can be ported into SFA. This data may be in different systems - database, excel, note sheets or employees phone/memory. This data can be scattered within the organization from various units / departments like sales, marketing, product groups to human resource or finance. Data load templates can be used to collect data from various sources so that this important information is not lost. Data entry is possible on templates and then loaded into SFA or directly on SFA so that data is ready for users whenever they get on it.

 Third Party Data: With the rise of social networking and internet lot of data is available at company's disposal which can be fed into SFA. Linkedin, facebook, twitter already have wealth of information which can be funneled into SFA as prospects and contacts. Then there are posts, blogs, discussions, articles and posts from companies, government filing information, job postings and updates on websites etc. All this data is available on the web and anyone can use this. Companies need to figure out how to extract useful information and leave junk data behind. One way to do this is by monitoring on a regular basis and feed into SFA so that it creates prospects and opportunities. Monitoring can be done automatically by web crawlers (or manually if company has time and resources) intelligently so that only relevant information is brought back into SFA.

 Starting from a clean slate and building data in SFA can be frustrating for the users - no one likes to see blank in prospect list. If companies can work to get existing data and relevant third party data within SFA it can potentially jump start sales efforts.

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