Technology is rapidly changing the business world.
While it brings tremendous new possibilities for those that are quick to adapt, those that fail to do so risk falling short of their competition.
Companies need to keep track of their customers on every device, manage their customer service and sort through piles of paperwork that come from dealing with clients.
Technology has allowed sales and customer service teams to automate tasks that took up a lot of time. This means that they now have more time to provide better service to their clients.
But in order to reap the most benefits from this technology, it’s important to understand which solution is right for your business needs.
To do that, we must first understand what makes them different.
Sales Force Automation vs Customer Relationship Management
There are many similarities between CRM and sales force automation solutions. But there are key differences as well.
The reason why many people confuse the two is that they have quite a few overlapping functions, such as analytics and reporting tools, customer data profiles and sales tracking.
That said, that’s more or less where the similarities end.
To put it shortly, CRM is geared towards customer service, marketing and, to an extent, sales. SFA, on the other hand, is used exclusively by sales teams that focus at the front end of the sales process. This mostly involves prospecting, the initial contact with potential clients and everything leading up to the first sale.
From that moment, the nurturing of the client-company relationship takes over, which is where customer relationship management software takes over. At this point, the customers are transferred from the SFA database to be handled by the CRM solution. In short, one helps get clients on board and the other nurtures the relationship.
But while each system serves a separate function, they both play a vital role in the successful sales management process.
Some companies employ one of these solutions to cover the entire sales and customer relationship process. However, using them together produces the best results.
New sales management software such as the most cutting-edge SFA and CRM solutions allow sales reps to continuously evolve. When they do, they find better ways to create positive experiences for their clients, while simultaneously streamlining the sales process.
How Can Technology Improve Sales Management?
Here are just a few ways that technology is already changing the industry:
Artificial intelligence is already making a huge impact on the development of sales force automation software.
While the technology is just making its first steps into the world of sales management software, the potential that it poses is already getting companies excited. While it’s unlikely that artificial intelligence will ever take over the role of the salesperson, it could make the job a lot easier.
Today, only a few vendors utilize AI technology. But it’s just a matter of time until it becomes an essential piece of sales management software.
There are numerous ways that artificial intelligence can increase your sales. But the main benefit it provides is automating manual, time-consuming tasks. This leaves sellers more time to focus on their clients.
Another way that it can completely change how sellers operate is by providing intelligent recommendations on how best to engage specific customers based on data. By providing valuable insights, AI can help sellers engage prospects at the right time. It can also give them guidance on which potential clients are the most worthwhile to pursue.
As of today, however, AI only serves as a useful tool. Most of the work and decision-making still falls on the sales team. That being said, the implementation of artificial intelligence in sales management software makes progress each year. It can already make sales managers more productive and their jobs easier.
While the Internet of Things (IoT) may not seem to be directly related to sales management, it can help enhance the capabilities of SFA and CRM tools. Plus, it helps reach customers at a time when they’re most likely to respond positively.
How exactly can IoT help improve sales management?
Well, there are a few ways.
With the help of the Internet of Things, companies can receive real-time updates about product availability and adjust their pricing accordingly. This allows you to get the most out of your supply fluctuations by lowering prices when you need to let go of a surplus quickly. Alternatively, you can also increase them when you see your stock levels dropping faster than you can manage.
Another way that IoT helps with sales management is by getting ahead of numerous problems that relate to device malfunctions. Today, devices can actually inform you of any issues as soon as they happen. With this information, companies can get ahead of the problem, providing the best possible customer service experience to their clients.
IoT can not only help sales teams make smarter decisions and increase profits but can do so while simultaneously providing a better experience for customers.
Emphasis on Social Media
Social media is probably the most revolutionary technology trend of the past decade. It’s completely changed the way people interact online, influencing every part of our lives.
Not surprisingly, social media has become a cornerstone of every comprehensive customer service strategy.
According to a MarketingSherpa survey, 85% of U.S. consumers use social media. No matter the industry, most customers are active participants on social media platforms. Therefore, companies that want to reach them need to have a social media presence.
Social media can help both small businesses and larger enterprises engage their customers and provide better customer service. It can both develop a stronger bond with customers and form positive experiences around the brand.
Sales cloud vendors like Oracle and Salesforce utilize social selling, achieving great results for their clients. Social selling allows companies to engage with their audiences and with influencers in the industry, providing a valuable outreach tool.
But the benefits of social media don’t end there.
Social CRM systems allow companies to engage with their current and future customers, while also providing valuable insights into their online behavior. That means that companies gain a deeper understanding of their customers’ most common issues. When that happens, they can learn to solve these problems before they even occur.
What changes do you see happening to sales management software? Let us know below!