Sales Force Automation Software Buyer's Guide
When it comes to Sales Force Automation software, companies have a lot to choose from. In addition, choices about sales force automation take place in a much greater context, where firms are also choosing many other kinds of enterprise software. Deciphering some of the contrasts between SFA vendors often requires quite a bit of research into how different enterprise offerings work.
What is SFA Software?
Sales Force Automation software is a particular kind of enterprise software aimed at supporting sales teams. But the market sometimes suffers from a little ambiguity.
A lot of times, Sales Force Automation gets lumped into the category of Customer Relationship Management. Buyers might get SFA tools as part of a greater CRM suite of software applications. But SFA and CRM actually do different things. Customer Relationship Management software is primarily aimed at understanding the client, and developing software for every step of the contact chain between the initial encounter, and conversion or purchase.
See how the top 10 Sales Force Automation Software leaders fare against the most common key requirements
By contrast, Sales Force Automation software is aimed at sales management. Its primary purpose is to help sales teams to understand their processes, and to automate parts of a deal-making process. So there will also be some overlap between SFA and CRM, but they're not the same. However, purchasers may encounter SFA in a CRM product, or as a stand-alone product. They also might see SFA applications folded into an Enterprise Resource Planning product suite.
Things That SFA Software Does
Sales Force Automation software analyzes sales processes in detail. An SFA tool might monitor a sales pipeline, map out a sales funnel, or manage different ‘silos’ of customers. These tools might look at call center analytics, or track other kinds of contact with customers. They may be deeply tied into the CRM tools that help tie the company to its customer base, but they’ll also be integrated back into business intelligence tools that serves the sales teams well. So how do you evaluate Sales Force Automation software?
Match SFA Tools to a Company’s Needs
One of the big steps in choosing SFA software is to choose solutions that match the company's model. For example, many companies are classified as “direct sell” companies. They use sales teams in the field, or call centers, or both. These companies benefit from specifically constructed SFA tools that track these contact points well, and provide excellent orienting information and metadata about these person-to-person processes. Other companies do a lot of selling through specialized networks, e-commerce portals, shopping carts etc. Here, there is more of a focus on developing analytics for online processes and tracking sales outlooks according to the portal and process that is used. Then there are the large companies that do all of the above. They may need more elaborate and sophisticated multi-segmented SFA solutions. One other class of buyer could be called a “small-business” SFA buyer. Many of these businesses use a central customer relationship management tool as its own kind of platform for business intelligence, and it makes sense to fold SFA into that.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top Sales Force Automation Software
Choose a Connection Model
Another big consideration is the ways in which SFA software will connect workers to information. There is a big trend towards Software as a Service or SaaS, where data is located in the cloud and gets delivered to businesses over the web. Part of the appeal of this is its scalability and flexibility, as well as the ability to easily port data streams where they need to go. There is also a trend towards mobile-first platforms -- companies that endow each salesperson with a dedicated smartphone or device may want these types of solutions so that professionals can access information primarily from mobile, rather than breaking out laptop or desktop computers. There is also the drive toward integrated social media, where more of what's happening in sales takes place on big platforms like this.
Look for the Functionality
The bottom line is that businesses must choose SFA systems that offer them the features that will do what they want SFA to do -- whether that means decreasing costs, developing robust lead platforms, or just learning more about the ways that salespeople connect with customers. In a practical sense, buyers will be comparing features like tracking metrics, secure communications channels and visual dashboards to understand what type of SFA product is best for their offices. Try to take an SFA product for a test drive, and delve into the available features to understand how they'll help salespeople and sales managers out in the real world.
Salesforce delivers an end-to-end suite of products for managing customer interactions no matter what stage they occur in. With a dozen individual products that can be deployed alone or as part of an integrated environment, it offers extensive flexibility based on business needs. Prominent applications include Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud and Commerce Cloud.
Infusionsoft by Keap is a comprehensive software platform designed to help small businesses save time and grow revenue. Rated as a top sales product for SMBs in 2019, this vendor brings automation and organization to sales and marketing activities. The available toolkit allows small businesses to gain extensive control over their efforts to help form personal, lasting connections with their customers. This product is suitable for individual business owners or small teams looking to scale and handle an increasing task load. The implementation includes a required kickstart package (available in three different price tiers) that helps users get set up with the program and positions them for success.
Pipedrive is specifically designed to support sales professionals in their daily activities. It helps manage every phase of the sales process, from lead generation to contact management. Forecasting enables sales reps to close more deals, and visual pipelines simplify the process of pipeline management, so it's always clear what stage a lead is at and what action is required. Users can simplify and streamline tasks by leveraging automation and AI capabilities. It offers integrations and an open API so companies can plug in third-party apps or further extend its capabilities.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly known as Microsoft Dynamics CRM) offers a suite of customer-focused tools with capabilities to facilitate marketing, sales and customer service activities. Organizations can implement the products separately for specific business cases or together for a unified ecosystem. Field service and project service automation can be included if desired. It includes social media features, an onboarding dashboard and APIs that support modifying campaign elements. Visual editors enable creating and deploying mobile and web apps without the need for code. It’s available both in the cloud and on-premise. Features like Power BI and PowerApps are included only in the cloud version.
Based in Chicago, Illinois, ActiveCampaign provides cloud-based marketing services. It’s ideal for businesses of any size, as it offers a flexible, device-agnostic deployment model. It also functions as a marketing-oriented CRM with different integrations and exporting options to assist sales.It provides machine learning that can be used on data including phone calls, emails and sales. Machine learning enables predicting win probability and using predictive sending. Customers can also take advantage of a consultant directory with certified consultants from different countries.
Seismic delivers a unified suite of solutions built to help enterprises facilitate sales enablement across the customer lifecycle. It supports the efforts of marketing, sales enablement, sales and channel teams.Users can leverage it to improve their selling process via digital content management. Features include automation, content delivery, sales analytics, training, engagement and channel sales analytics. It also offers dozens of popular integrations for extended functionality.
Bitrix24 facilitates the execution of the customer journey. It supplies organizations with tools for marketing, sales and customer service activities such as lead generation, marketing automation, campaign management and call center support.It comes with a free edition for companies with less advanced needs or a smaller budget. Deployment is available in the cloud and on-premise. It’s suitable for smaller businesses as well as enterprises with up to 50,000 employees.
Oracle's Complete CRM solutions offer the broadest and deepest capabilities that help organizations drive sales, marketing, loyalty, and service effectiveness. And in combination with Oracle's Commerce solutions, they deliver a unified cross-channel experience for consumers
Your challenge: your sales force is screaming for fast, easy sales applications that actually help them close business. You need new sales solutions designed for the way your sales people sell today – and are a breeze to use, affordable, and quickly integrate with your whole back-office operation. Designed from the ground up for salespeople like you. Work smarter. Sell better. Win more. It's that simple.
Ontraport provides a cloud-based set of solutions that help small businesses handle marketing and sales processes. Its all-in-one design allows users to seamlessly switch between tasks and access information from a central location.Users can leverage the capabilities to store and track contacts, send multichannel marketing messages, automate sales processes, create landing pages, analyze marketing metrics, engage in e-commerce activities and more.
NetSuite CRM is a cloud-based software offering a real-time, 360-degree view of customers. It ensures a continuous flow of information for opportunities, sales orders, fulfillment, renewal, upsell, cross-sell, and support. Some of its capabilities are sales force automation, marketing automation, partner relationship management, quotes and order management, and sales forecasting. It supports businesses of all sizes across a broad spectrum of industries. Integration with existing e-commerce and ERP offerings eliminates the costs of having multiple applications for each business unit.
SugarCRM is a comprehensive platform for effectively managing the customer lifecycle. A suite of modules provide the tools needed to support each stage of the funnel so your organization can locate prospects, nurture leads, close more deals and retain customers. The program’s capabilities include quote management, forecasting and campaign management.The software supports multiple currencies and 35 languages with the option to develop support for additional languages. The tool also offers a mobile app for phones and tablets. Mobile functionality includes filters, dynamic search, GPS mapping, click-to-text, click-to-call and offline sync for continued access without a network connection. The interface is customizable and the system can integrate with mobile device management solutions.
CRMnext believes that CRM is all about amazing customers and keeping them happy throughout their lifecycle. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is not only about physical software but also about strategy to solidify relationships with customers. With high impact CRM software solutions, organizations can align your strategy, processes and technology to manage customers and teams partners, efficiently and effectively.
SharpSpring touts itself as a simple, affordable marketing platform that automates various functions such as landing page creation and segmented email campaigns.Equipped with a number of standard and unique features, it offers marketing professionals variety and agility in their workflows.
Agile CRM is an all-in-one cloud platform that enables companies to handle all activities and tasks across the customer lifecycle. With integrated modules for marketing, sales and service, it provides capabilities such as contact management, a deal pipeline, lead scoring, project management, email marketing and campaigns, service automation, and live chat.Targeted primarily at small businesses, it allows users to maintain visibility into contacts, boost results with sales enablement, engage web users and deliver comprehensive support. Free and premium versions are available.
Designed to serve small and midsize businesses, PipelineDeals is equipped with sales-focused features, enabling sales teams to automate redundant tasks and nurture relationships with customers. With an intuitive user interface, it helps set up scalable processes, resulting in improved productivity and increased profitability. Deal management and sales acceleration tools expedite the sales cycle, and help set and track targets. A sales dashboard offers a 360-degree view of performance status, while lead management capabilities help streamline lead generation and nurturing. Customizations ensure enhanced experience and expanded functionality.
Designed to integrate with Gmail and other Google Apps, Copper (formerly ProsperWorks) is a comprehensive and easy-to-use platform. It helps small and medium-sized businesses automate core operations; manage leads, sources and opportunities; streamline sales processes; uncover actionable insights; and nurture customer relationships. It enables users to check email threads and past interactions. It also acts as an alternative for goal setting and forecast management, as it converts sales bottlenecks into visible opportunities.
Pipeliner CRM is an application from Pipelinersales Inc. that helps organizations track leads, opportunities and deals. It also allows teams to perform account management tasks and view sales performance. The program presents a graphical overview of a company's pipeline to give sales and marketing professionals an up-to-date view of all current activities.The software includes modules for account management, contact management, lead management, opportunity management and activity management. Companies who want online access and regular updates can deploy the solution in the cloud. Those looking for offline access or advanced security can deploy the hybrid version of the product.
GreenRope CRM, a cloud-based software, consolidates and optimizes email marketing, social media, sales, event and project management simultaneously. It bridges the gap between sales and marketing to make data and processes easily accessible and transparent. Its all-in-one sales, marketing and operations modules simplify business processes to deliver optimized omnichannel customer experiences.
Cirrus Insight makes it easy for Salesforce users to manage all sales and marketing tasks on one single dashboard. Users can track emails, schedule meetings, set follow-ups and more from their inbox. Android and iOS apps enhance productivity. Users can create or update contact information, see email performance, check their inbox, mark meetings on calendars and view customer profiles.Salesforce integration provides additional functionality for sales professionals, and 16 certified Salesforce Admins are available to answer questions. An organization-wide deployment model helps align work for all users and teams.
Spiro is a set of apps built using AI technology that enables companies to proactively manage their relationships with leads and customers. It can be leveraged for common tasks like lead management and activity tracking. It also provides sales enablement and analytics capabilities.
Hatchbuck is a cloud-based product that helps users automate many of the processes surrounding their relationships with customers. Because of its affordable pricing model and its deployment availability, it’s best suited for small businesses.Its features span across easy email creation, drip campaigns and form building. Additional features such as analytics and contact importation help it stand out from its competitors.
Nutshell is a cloud-based platform that helps sales and marketing representatives by organizing their operations and reporting processes. It provides customization options that can cater to specific industry needs. The user-friendly interface allows users to make changes and adapt quickly irrespective of technical skill. Features include contact management, email campaigns, a mobile app, pipelines and unlimited storage.
amoCRM is a messenger-based multifunctional sales management solution. It helps users manage digital pipelines, keep leads engaged using behavioral triggers and streamline core processes like lead nurturing, task assignment, sales analytics, campaign and communication management and performance tracking.Available with cloud-based deployment and full-featured mobile access on iOS and Android, it enables fast deployment and on-the-go accessibility to build a powerful sales stack.
Creatio (formerly bpm’online) is the most agile platform for midsize and large enterprises to accelerate sales, marketing, service and operations. This platform helps to align data, processes, and teams enabling them to better connect with digital native customers and rapidly adapt. Provides its customers with comprehensive full-fledged applications that can be deployed as standalone products, or as a bundle on a single platform.
PlanPlus CRM is an all-in-one Business Software for Collaboration and Customer Relationship Management and includes modules for Sales Automation, Email Marketing, Customer Support, Project Management, Website Integration and Survey Builders.
Prophet Premium Edition gives you an easy contact and sales management system to grow your sales within the same email/calendar/contact manager you already use – Outlook. Tired of complex CRM systems that you won’t use. Get an easy intuitive CRM system that looks and feels like Outlook, add sales automation with automatic follow ups and start to close more deals right away.
Net-Results enables you to leverage all that your organization knows about a prospect, easily and quickly, to determine what to say next and how to say it. Net-Results is the world's first relevance platform, built from the ground up to help you leverage relevance at scale.
Manage your contacts, opportunities, tasks, and calendars while keeping your CRM data intact. Maintain the brilliant continuity and simplicity of Outlook, now configured to your on premise or cloud-based on-demand needs.
Unlike most CRM solutions, Pivotal is built on a flexible platform that gives you a customized CRM experience built around your business processes – not the other way around. Pivotal CRM is supported by a full continuum of services that are affordable, easy to use, and configure to any organization in any industry.
OnContact CRM is a full-featured, mid-market CRM application that delivers the power to cultivate and grow outstanding relationships. Offered as a cloud or on-premise deployment, our award-winning solution comes out of the box with our mobile app and comprehensive Sales, Marketing Automation, Marketing Management, Customer Service and Contact Center functionality for one simple price. No other CRM product on the market includes all this functionality at no additional charge
Suitable for companies of any size, Salesforce Sales Cloud delivers sales and customer service capabilities for both the B2B and B2C domains. It helps businesses work more efficiently, easily surface key metrics and share business data via integration. Capabilities include real-time tracking, visual workflows, forecasting, marketing tools and reports.Equipped with a mobile app for iOS and Android devices and deployed in the cloud, it enables unrestricted access so users can work from anywhere.
SalesJunction CRM exists for one purpose; to provide the very best web based CRM and Sales Force Automation systems for small businesses. Since 2003, we have been developing one of the most scalable and configurable small business CRM systems for service providers, manufacturers, distributors, developers, hotels, contractors, consultants, attorneys, creative firms and many others.
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