The Differences Between SFA & CRM

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are used to manage a company’s relationships and activities with current and potential customers. A CRM system is simply meant to improve business relationships by keeping companies connected to customers and end to end business operations. Companies are able to form individual relationships with customers and suppliers. They are also able to manage marketing campaigns, protect data privacy, and identify sales opportunities by anticipating the needs of their current and potential customers.

CRM applications have been shown to directly increase the sales productivity bottom line of businesses. They help to achieve better segmentation by sorting information into categories and criteria; this enhances the identification and the categorization of leads. High-quality customer support is one of the most common benefits of using CRM systems; sales agents are able to quickly provide answers to customers’ questions because they have records of previous interactions.  

Salesforce Automation (SFA) technology optimizes the interface between the customers and sales agents, the sales management process, and pipeline management. It helps to keep track of the entire sales process by managing the contacts, leads, and opportunities, giving the business owner a good perspective and complete control over the process. SFAs are used to automate the repetitive administrative tasks of sales, i.e information sharing, tracking of field sales agents, customer tracking, and order processing. They increase sales team management, by allowing sales managers to track the implementation of sales strategies by field agents and send real-time feedback. Data analysis and product inventory can also be tracked with SFAs. 

Due to the rapid technological advancement in the world, business owners are looking for opportunities to expand their services and to digitize their business activities. Technological solutions used to streamline business organizational processes such as CRMs and SFAs are often confused. SalesForce Automation is centered around the sales process of products/services to existing and prospective clients with the aim of increasing sales and improving interactions with customers, while Customer Relationship Management focuses mainly on managing customer relations with the aim of optimizing the relationship between the company and the customers. Though both systems are very similar, here are the major differences between both systems. 

Variations Between CRM and SFA Systems

Customer Base 

CRM focuses mainly on the customers and their decision-makers, while SFA focuses on the sales team and not an individual buyer. SFA is centered around Point of Sale companies who purchase products for the purpose of selling to customers. This makes SFAs more suitable for FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) suppliers than CRM because these suppliers are not individual customers. FMCG distributors will only enjoy the benefits of CRM systems if they incorporate direct e-marketing and social media tools. FMCG businesses use SFA tools to collect and interpret data, organize shelves in individual stores, overall retail execution, and the management of sales activities. 

On the SENRI software platform, the Visit Report, and the Product Report functions are used to interpret data. The Photo function can be used by merchandisers to take pictures of the shelf and aisle the arrangement of products in stores and the Activity Report page on the SENRI web is used by managers to track sales activity. 

Sales Team Activities

SFA is more suitable for field sales teams who make multiple visits daily while CRM is suitable for sales teams who work mostly from their offices and communicate with customers through phone calls and emails. Most businesses that use SFA systems sell products required for daily usage (e.g consumer goods) while businesses that use CRM systems tend to send nonessentials (e.g machinery). SFA enables sales managers to set targets for their teams, monitor the implementation of sales strategies, and track the performance of each salesperson remotely. The Target Market function on the SENRI system can help sales managers set targets for their teams, while the Product Report function can be used to get competitors’ product information from the sales reps on the field. Companies often use this information to modify their sales strategies. 

CRM systems are more suitable for customer profiling (i.e the tracking of the customers’ purchase history, demographic and the collection of behavioral data), monitoring individual customer interactions, and tracking responses to sales and marketing campaigns. SFA is better at scheduling appointments, recording cold calls, and lead generational activities. The Call log function on SENRI can be used to record cold calls and the meetings can be scheduled using the Schedule Function. 

Inventory & Opportunity Management

SFA is quite useful in inventory management and can be used to transfer products from different warehouses and purchase products from vendors. The sales team can easily find out the number of products available at all times. A good example of these functions can be found on the SENRI platform, the Main Inventory function helps to track the transfer of products between warehouses and vendors while the Sub-inventory function helps to know the number of products available at all times. CRM systems do not come with inbuilt inventory management, however, businesses can combine inventory management software with CRM. Due to its ability to analyze data, create sales reports, and give a sales forecast, SFA is more effective at spotting pipeline opportunities. However, CRM software can boost opportunity management by showing the effectiveness of tasks and opportunities within the pipeline, the priority of your opportunities, and the viability of each opportunity. 

In conclusion, businesses do not have to choose between both systems because they compliment each other. With the SENRI software, you have a perfect blend of the SFA and CRM systems (with various functions such as flexibility report format, call log function, and customer detail management embedded into it). This makes it possible to identify sales trends, trade promotion opportunities, improve relationships with customers, and in the long run, increase sales revenue. There will also be a seamless execution of all internal and distribution services (i.e order taking, inventory management, retail execution, and routine accounting).