#thinkSFAthinkFA 09 Jan 19 Paramdeep Singh

It’s probably safe to say that if you’ve come across this article, you’re likely looking for an alternative to your current SFA app or are looking to get started on SFA. You’re in good company, because with the increase in technological advances and ever growing Indian FMCG market, the search for the right SFA partner can be quite daunting. For companies looking to adapt sales force automation software, the options can be confusing and time consuming; not just because of the number of vendors out there, but also to find the best fit in terms of scalability and budget.

The sales force automation app can be used by companies spanning across different sizes as well industries. The needs for each company varies, both in terms of functionality as well as adaptability. There’s a few things to be kept in mind when finding the right SFA partner.

Determine your companies needs and objectives

Why did you consider a sales force automation software in the first place? Was it to optimize field sales operations or was it to get better insights to grow business or both? Since every company varies, important consideration should be given to factors such as company structure, number of employees, culture, growth potential and lots more. It’s also extremely important to be mindful of the processes and compliances in place for a particular kind of industry/organization and adhere to the same. For example, a company located in a more rural part of India vs one in a metropolitan will adapt to SFA differently. Similarly, a more recently opened organization will have very different goals than a company that has been in business for over 20 years. It’s important to be cognizant of how the employees, especially the on ground salesmen will accept and adapt to a completely new method of their day to day activities.

Determine what you are willing to spend (and possibly the ROI)

With innumerable SFA vendors offering a wide range of automation tools at different prices, it can be overwhelming to determine which one would work best for your organization. Keep in mind factors such as how much it would cost to maintain serviceability in different outlets, analyze the retailer database, number of SKUs involved, number of field sales personnel. Factoring all of these before purchasing a sales force automation software will help optimize ROI.

Be mindful of future expansion plans

Since making a shift to sales force automation software is invariably a long time commitment, make sure to keep in mind any future plans that the organization might have. Making sure that your SFA can meet not just present operational needs, but needs a few years in the future is important. Just as the advances in technology and consumerism have prompted organizations to make the shift to the sfa app, changes in an organization’s plans and structure can be better catered to with a planned approach to the future. Having a sales force automation software that is more flexible and adaptable will allow for a smoother transition when the organization is faced with any changes.

Training

One of the most important aspects of partnering with the right SFA is the training. It’s important that your SFA partner accurately identifies the aspects of training that your organization requires. The more customized training that your SFA partner can provide, the better your organization will utilize SFA as a whole. For example, training for a biscuit manufacturer in a small town in Madhya Pradesh will be a lot different than training the field sales in an MNC located in the capital city of New Delhi. Similarly, the kind of questions asked during training can vary from extremely technical ones to something as simple as, “Oh, but what if my phone dies?”. The process of training does not just end once the initial set up is done, it’s important to continually hand hold an organization through its initial stages of SFA installation to make the switch as smooth as possible. In addition to the initial training and hand holding, efficient customer support is also key to SFA success.

Conclusion

The decision to switch to a sales force automation software, while an extremely important one, is not easy. It involves a lot of aspects that need to be catered to, from the size and culture of the organization to the number of SKUs, expansion plans and lots more.

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Paramdeep Singh

Param is the CEO at FieldAssist. He brings over 12 years of extensive entrepreneurial experience. He is extremely passionate for the FMCG Industry with a focus on technological innovation to drive consumer business outfits, skilfully integrating traditional retail channels with technology solutions that is transforming the face of Sales Force Automation industry in India. He is well known and recognised for leveraged collaborative and distinctive leadership skills.

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