So much of the debate in social media and “best practice” forums about sales force automation (SFA) focuses internally. For example, there are reams written about how to get sales people to love and adopt CRM systems.
Boujena et al (2009) produced a very useful insight into how customer’s see SFA, which gives a very valuable alternative viewpoint to this debate. Their well grounded research showed four main benefits that customers recognised: Salesperson professionalism, Customer interaction frequency, sales person responsiveness and salesperson-customer relationship quality. Typically what they found was that because sales persons had accurate, timely, relevant data at their fingertips, they were perceived to be of higher value to customers. Sales people could more quickly help with enquiries, delivery updates and so forth.
Because so much of the debate focuses on internal compliance, and trying to sell the benefits of internal management reporting, then is it any wonder that sales people aren’t motivated by pleas to complete records and enter data?
If systems are designed with the customer perspective and sense of value fully in mind, two benefits are likely to flow. Firstly, customer will have a better relationship with the sales person, ultimately resulting in higher retention / new business. Secondly, sales people for sure will be motivated to comply, because they are most acutely tuned in to customer needs and the need to be accepted / valued by customers.