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Best Practices in Sales Force Automation

ID: SM-116


12 Info Graphics

17 Data Graphics

79 Best Practices

Pages: 83

Published: Pre-2018

Delivery Format: Shipped


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Select, design, and implement automated systems to enhance sales force productivity and effectiveness.
This Best Practices Benchmarking® Report profiles a diverse group of companies that have demonstrated effective operating practices and winning strategies in the area of Sales Force Automation.

Industries Profiled:
Manufacturing; Medical Device; Pharmaceutical; Telecommunications; Financial Services; Consumer Products; Consulting; Professional Services; Aerospace; Energy; Computer Software; Computer Hardware; Insurance; Health Care; Distribution; Utilities; Office Equipment; Computers; High Tech; Banking; Electronics; Biotech; Chemical; Retail; Internet

Companies Profiled:
3M; Sanofi-aventis; Accu-Tech Corp; American Express; Aramark; Armstrong Building Products; Astea; Aurum; British Airways; Chevron; Cincom; Clarify; CogniTech; Compaq; Concentra; Corel; CWC; Dendrite; Distribution Services; East Ohio Gas; Firstwave; FleetBoston Financial; Gateway Systems; Goldmine; Haworth; Hewlett-Packard; IBM; IntellAgent Control; Interact Commerce; Iomega; Janna Systems; KeyCorp; Market Power; Matlack Inc; Maximizer Technologies; Mehta; Meloche Monnex; Metropolitan Life; MEI; MFJ International; Mirror Software; Molson; National Bank; National Semiconductor; New Horizon Development Group; NMS; Novell; over 30; ONYX; ON!contact; Organon; partners; Panasonic; PegaSystems; Pfizer; Pivotal; PowerCerv; Price Waterhouse; Prudential; Rohm and Haas; Sage U.S.; SaleMaker; Sales Kit; Sales Technologies; Saratoga Systems; Scopus; Sears; Siebel Systems; Simonds Industries; Skyline; SoftAd; Software of the Future; Starfish; Symantec; TIAA-CREF; Trilogy; Valic; Vantive; Whirlpool

Study Snapshot

This Best Practices Benchmarking® Report's findings are designed to serve as a guideline for the selection, design and implementation of a Sales Force Automation (SFA) system. These findings summarize the lessons learned, key practices, and implementation methods of a group of excellent SFA companies in a variety of industries, including a concentration in the financial services industry. The report also profiles the SFA strategies of more than 30 companies across 12 industries. These benchmark profiles detail the diverse and innovative approaches taken by companies turning to Sales Force Automation as a means to grow sales, reduce costs, improve profits and enhance productivity.

For this project, Best Practices, LLC performed a Technology Integration and Implementation Assessment of 45 companies in 12 industries. The Assessment consisted of a multi-indusry review of SFA Applications, key SFA vendors and top companies effectively using SFA applications.  The study focused on the high impact areas identified by benchmark partners and Best Practices, LLC team members.

After reading this report, you will understand how world-class companies have captured and shared their corporate knowledge in the area of sales force management.

Benefits of improved Sales Force Automation include 

  • improved customer management; 
  • rapid, accurate and inexpensive communication among field reps, sales managers and the corporate office; 
  • easier database access; 
  • reduced errors and cycle time; 
  • improved sales call planning, reporting, and scheduling; and 
  • superior growth – both at the corporate level and in the sales force.

Key Findings

The Best Practices, LLC team interviewed SFA executives at 18 top-performing companies in 9 industries — each of which employs Sales Force Automation as a key component in its sales and service business model.

These companies were identified using our proprietary benchmark class selection methodology and engaged as benchmark partners in this Knowledge Exchange. The findings in this report detail the SFA system selection and implementation methodology employed by companies that use Sales Force Automation as a key component of their growth strategies.

In addition to the report’s strategic focus, it also provides hard data about the specific technology profiles, training methodologies and remote connection capabilities in use at each of the benchmark companies.

Best Practices, LLC has also developed Case Studies and Vendor Profiles that capture the SFA experiences of more than 30 companies, detail the solutions those companies selected, and summarize the results of their SFA implementation efforts. Case studies include: (a) a profile of the company's sales force, (b) the "challenge" or operational need that prompted each company to pursue and SFA solution, (c) the solution chosen, (d) the areas of each company's sales process that the solution addressed, and (e) the implementation results. Case study companies identified many similar goals driving their need to implement a Sales Force Automation system. Additionally, the report includes detailed vendor profiles from an elite group of 42 software vendors.

The project’s findings are organized into an executive summary and five sections:

Executive Summary — The first chart in the executive summary outlines the five top "Lessons Learned," as identified by benchmark partners and Best Practices, LLC team members, for the entire project. Studying these lessons learned will assist you frame your overall thinking about SFA decisions.

Lessons Learned, Key Trends and Top Challenges Critical — Offers high level strategic learning identified by benchmark partners. Each of these three sections begins with a summary table that crystallizes benchmark partners’ thinking. The extended tables that follow illustrate the actual lessons learned, top challenges, or key trends identified by each company.

Best Practices in Sales Force Automation —- A collection of field-tested, superior techniques in each focus area of the study as identified by benchmark partners.

Project Data — The findings identified in this section are consolidated in the executive summary. In this chapter, charts illustrate the overall percentage of benchmark partners that have a certain technology or policy in place. Findings are broken down into the benchmark class as a whole and the financial services industry when relevant. Includes project findings on SFA technology specifications, remote connection implementation, SFA software functions, data back up and recovery usage, etc.

Case Studies — Captures the SFA experiences of 30 companies, details the solutions those companies selected, and summarizes the results of their SFA implementation efforts.

Vendor Profiles — Includes detailed profiles of an elite group of 42 software vendors that offer products and services designed to assist companies in automating their sales, marketing, and customer service processes. Each profile offers detailed product descriptions, major product functions, and system requirements.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary
Project Background
Project Findings
Benchmark Class
Summary of Findings
Next Steps
Project Map

Chapter 1 - Lessons Learned, Top Challenges, Key Trends
Lessons Learned
Top Challenges
Key Trends

Chapter II - Best Practices in Sales Force Automation
Building Corporate Buy-In
Ensuring Business Alignment
Optimizing Systems Design
Managing Implementation & Utilization
Managing Continuous Improvement

Chapter III - Project Data
Analysis Charts

Chapter IV - Case Studies
Case Studies

Chapter 5 - Vendor Profiles 
Vendor Profiles

List of Charts & Exhibits

Prioritization & Planning Meeting
Project Key Lessons Learned
Summary of Findings
Sales Force Automation Project Map
Lessons Learned
Top Challenges
Key Trends
SFA Budgeting
SFA Purchase vs. Lease
SFA Systems Functionality
Primary Software Functionality
Operating Systems
Primary Software Program
Other Software Programs
SFA Hardware Profiles
Technology "Tool Kit"
Wireless Technology Usage
Standard Configuration
Restrictions on Modifications
Initial Technology Training
Sales Force Automation Support
Complaints about SFA Systems
Requiring Data Backup
Back up Hardware
Remote Access
Remote Functionality
Percentage of Remote Users
Case Study Matrix