02 March 2020
Sales Force Automation (SFA) is the practice of employing computer algorithms to perform routine sales tasks such as processing orders, contact management, inventory monitoring and control, order tracking, customer management, sales forecast analysis and preparation of sales quotes.
Much of a salesperson's activity is routine. Sales Force Automation seeks to employ software applications to perform repetitive template tasks thus improving response times and improving sales force productivity
Sales tasks are highly clerical and computers can be programmed to undertake many routine tasks, however that requires first that all sales processes are mapped and then strict business rules put in place to provide the programmer with the decision points and tasks that need to be automated.
Quote templates and pricing
A classic (and highly useful) SFA is to set-up quote and pricing templates to reduce the time needed to send out sales quotations.
Automation can also send out reminder emails to customers to follow-up in set time frames that are set to a default or input by the sales person at the time of quote preparation. Such systems deliver the following benefits...
Speed of preparation: Sales reps typically "futz" over formatting and every quote is unique. Desk top publishing is a waste and reduces consistency. A best quote template should be designed that is used by all sales people to suit most quoting circumstances.
Pricing accuracy and speed: The sales template should be linked to the inventory system and deliver the latest pricing. A huge amount of time is spent by sales teams searching for the latest pricing and often, without automated systems, out of date pricing is used.
Including important information: Important information such as terms and conditions should be automatically included in sales quotations for example "prices quoted are valid for 90 days" and a retention of title clause.
Automated follow-up: The simple process of calling a sales prospect who has received a quote and asking "are you ready to order" WILL increase closure rates. This process can be automated if only through having a system that produces a sales quote follow-up list that an assigned person can work through to make the calls.