Key points for selecting SFA

With the various types of SFA available, how can you choose the right one for your company? Here are some points to compare when considering SFA from different companies.

Compatibility with your company's sales system and operations

The first point to consider when comparing SFA is the position of the sales department in the company as a whole and its compatibility with the contents of the business.

For example, if your goal is to increase customer satisfaction as well as sales productivity, Sales Cloud is a good candidate in terms of utilizing know-how such as The Model. On the other hand, if your business is mainly field sales, "cyzen" that specializes in inputting data on smartphones and tablet devices is a good choice.

If your sales organization is still in the growth stage and you want to set up a system from now on, an SFA that is inexpensive and easy to start is a good choice. If you are still in the growth stage of your sales organization and want to set up a system, an inexpensive and easy to start SFA is a good choice.

However, when introducing SFA, it is better to make a decision from the perspective that you will use it for at least several years, because SFA is highly effective when it accumulates customer information in general over the medium to long term. Even though data can be imported and exported, the data format is likely to differ from SFA to SFA, and if you switch to a different SFA, the data migration process will be a big burden. When introducing an SFA, it is essential to have a long-term perspective, and not be limited by short-term costs.

Enhanced efficiency of data entry

When SFA is introduced, customer information, case information, status, tasks, ToDo, and other information must be entered each time to accumulate customer information, and in some cases, daily data entry work becomes a burden for sales staff. It is important to be careful when sales representatives put off entering information or when there are no set rules for entering information. When insufficient information is available, managers may not be able to accurately grasp the actions and progress, and performance may decline. As a result, the SFA that was supposed to be introduced is not used in the field, leaving only significant operational costs.

There is an SFA that solves such problems. Knowledge Suite (Knowledge Suite Co., Ltd.) is an example of such a system, which is based on the concept that reporting can be done anytime, anywhere, without hassle and without fail by using automated functions.

Data connectivity and API support

Another key point is whether the software can be linked to other tools such as business card management tools, MA, and CRM. Let's say you have converted business cards into data from a business card management software and imported the customer information. If you want to import that customer information into distribution lists and history information for MA tools, and link sales and billing information with each tool, you need to check if such functions are included as standard or if they can be linked using APIs.

SFA has functions that are effective in improving performance in each phase of sales activities. Broadly speaking, there are functions for customer management, deal management, negotiation management, action management, out-of-office support, and forecast management, which can support the activities of sales managers and individual salespeople.

The customer management functions in particular are sometimes included in other systems such as CRM. In order to choose the right system for your company, it is important to select the functions you need according to your company's issues, so make sure you understand the functions of SFA before choosing a product.

SFA pricing plans include initial and monthly fees, but there are many that offer no initial fees.

The monthly fee alone ranges from a few hundred yen to several tens of thousands of yen.

There are also free trials that allow you to try out the system for 14 days to a month for free.

It is wise to choose a system that fits your budget and offers a free trial to try out a few of them.

In terms of functionality, there are a wide variety of systems, from simple ones with only SFA functions to those with CRM functions, which are customer management functions directly related to SFA, and those that can be linked to in-house groupware.

If you carefully identify the problems you want to solve within your company and then select the system with the functions you need, you will be able to use the system effectively in more departments than just for sales support.

There are two main types of operation systems: cloud-based and on-premise.

Cloud-based systems, which can be accessed from anywhere, are more suitable for companies that adopt remote work.

However, please keep in mind that cloud-based systems need to be secured.

The best SFA is one that can be accessed from as many devices as possible, especially for sales departments that are frequently on the road or on the move.

Be sure to check whether it can be used on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones that can be used on the go, and whether it is compatible with iOS or Android.

For SFA, it is best to use a simple pull-down input system rather than a solid input system, so that busy salespeople can easily input data with less man-hours.

In addition, for companies that have not implemented a system, the key point is whether or not the man-hours can be reduced in the subsequent flow of business, since entering SFA is one more man-hour.

Be sure to review your workflow and check in advance if the introduction of SFA will result in a reduction of man-hours on the user side.

Once you have a rough outline of your SFA implementation, you can begin to consider the specifics of each system.

Advantages of implementing SFA

Easier to collaborate within the company

By implementing SFA, you will be able to view specific business progress and task management status within the company, and share information without having to report every single detail.

In addition, salespeople can input the progress status even when they are out of the office, which will speed up the work and improve the work efficiency for the members who are doing the related work inside the company.

Know-how and data can be used for sales strategy

Another attractive feature of SFA tools is that they allow you to accumulate the know-how and data necessary to formulate sales strategies.

The data entered by salespeople in the field can be checked and analyzed by superiors and upper management, and can be used as a material for reviewing sales plans.

By sharing the data, even inexperienced salespeople will be able to work more efficiently.

Disadvantages of implementing SFA


Keep in mind that when you introduce SFA, you will have to pay an initial fee plus a monthly fee ranging from 700 yen to 30,000 yen per user, depending on the system.

As a fixed cost, you will need to pay a certain amount every month and the cost performance of the actual operation should always be verified after implementation.

For example, if you have a small number of salespeople, and Excel is sufficient for sharing information within the company! For example, if you have a small number of salespeople, and the information sharing within the company is sufficient in Excel, you may not need to introduce SFA.

Increased man-hours for system input

SFA can be seen as a negative aspect for salespeople who have never used a system before, as it increases their workflow until they get used to it.

When selecting a system, it is best to choose one that is as simple as possible to input data and can be used anytime and anywhere.

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