The advantages and benefits of SFA software

Why adopt SFA software?

Corentin Malissin
24 December 2021 - 6 min reading
Updated December 5, 2023

What's the most common difference between an excellent salesperson and an average salesperson?‍ It's their organization, their ability to reproduce intense sales efforts with regularity.

‍To do this, he structures his activity so as not to waste time on tasks that don't add value to sales.

And the grail is to transmit this state of mind to your entire sales team so as to explode your performance. An SFA, or Sales Force Automation, will help you do just that.

So, what is it? How can this tool help you increase your market share? Why adopt SFA software? Answers with Sidely!

What is SFA software?

SFA software - an acronym for Sales Force Automation - is a technological solution designed to automate and optimize sales processes and activities.

The main aim of SFA software is to maximize the efficiency of sales teams by reducing the time spent on administrative tasks and improving the management of customer interactions.

  • SFA software automates sales processes and repetitive tasks such as data entry, order tracking, appointment scheduling and lead management. This frees up time for field sales staff, enabling them to concentrate on value-added activities such as negotiating and developing customer relationships;
  • An SFA tool helps to manage customer relations. It provides an overview of the history of interactions with each customer, enabling personalized follow-up and a better understanding of customer needs and preferences;
  • It provides analysis and reporting tools that help evaluate sales performance, identify market trends, and adjust sales strategies accordingly;
  • With SFA software, area managers have real-time access to important information such as stock levels, product information and customer data, facilitating decision-making;
  • Designed for use on the move, SFA software is generally accessible on mobile devices, enabling sales teams to manage their sales activities wherever they are;

What are the benefits of an SFA?

The SFA is a tool that simplifies the life of your sales force by:

  • with all your sales tools: CRM, email, tour planner, calendar management, document management, order taking, attendance or merchandising reports...‍‍
  • consolidating the activities of your sales force into a single work environment. SFAs centralize existing workflows, information and tools.

Theresult is that when faced with a lack of organisation, an oversight or an unforeseen event, the sales force can remain organised and focused on their objectives.

Having an SFA has become a key factor in the success of sales forces, and one that is growing over time. And with good reason.

  • Improving customer satisfaction;
  • Streamlining business activities;
  • Increasing the number of visits ;
  • Route optimization ;
  • Real-time synchronization;
  • Reduced human error (data entry, readings, etc.);
  • Accelerating the sales cycle;

And all this increases sales while reducing costs: a virtuous circle!

‍Inshort, SFA boosts the performance of your teams, empowering them and supporting them in their success. Another strong point: It enables ****more reliable data collection, and in fine more reliable analyses, to better steer your growth.

optimizing your retail sales in 2024

SFA and CRM: what are the differences?

CRM(Customer Relationship Management) and SFA are two crucial tools for managing customer relationships and optimizing sales processes.

The SFA is not just a component to be grafted onto a CRM, or a simple collaborative tool to streamline exchanges. The two tools are often used together and complement each other, with distinct functions that meet specific needs.

CRM focuses on global customer relationship management, while SFA concentrates on the efficiency and automation of sales activities. Together, they form a powerful duo to maximize sales performance and enhance the customer experience:

The differences between CRM and SFA
CRM SFA
Main objective Manage and improve customer relations by centralizing customer information and managing interactions across the entire customer journey. Automate and optimize sales processes, focusing on sales force efficiency, lead management and sales activities.
Key features Contact management, customer interaction tracking, marketing campaign management, customer service and support, customer data analysis. Automate sales tasks, manage leads and opportunities, plan and optimize visits, track sales targets.
Benefits CRM enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty, provides a better understanding of customer needs, and promotes targeted communications and interactions. SFA increases sales productivity, reduces time spent on administrative tasks, and improves the follow-up and management of sales opportunities.
Applications CRM is used by sales, marketing and customer service teams to provide a complete view of customer relations. SFA is mainly used by sales teams to efficiently manage day-to-day sales processes and field activities.
Integrations CRM is often integrated with SFA tools to enhance sales capabilities. Complementary to CRM, SFA focuses on automating specific sales tasks, and is often integrated into existing CRM systems.

What issues does SFA software address? ‍

This sounds good, but how do you know if your team really needs it?

Anyone looking to improve the performance and efficiency of their sales team while delivering an enhanced customer experience can benefit from such a solution.

Here are 5 reasons why companies are taking the plunge:

1. Sales people do not spend enough time selling

Every day, a salesperson wastes time on tasks that have no impact on sales results. Administrative tasks are usually very time-consuming.

According to a study by Salesforce, most salespeople spend barely more than a third of their time on sales (planning their rounds, looking up information on dozens of Excel, travel times, etc...)‍. By the way, if you're still on Excel, here are 11 reasons why you should do without it.

The rest is mostly administrative work, but also training, services, business travel, internal meetings and breaks.

So, is it necessary to eradicate some of these stains?

Not really. On the contrary, the solution is to ensure that the sales force can devote time to what it does best: selling.

To achieve this, an SFA reduces and automates certain tasks. As a result, sales staff have more time to nurture their relationships with customers and prospects, and improve their results.


2. Juggling several tools creates information silos

The philosophy of IT tools has changed in just a few years. Before, they were very few in number, not always very functional and quite complex to use.

To alleviate this problem, very simple, specialized IT tools have taken over. Some are marketing tools, others are productivity tools. Then there's e-mail, calendars and so on.

However, the multiplication of these tools, which in theory improve sales productivity, does not produce the expected effects. They should complement each other, but in the end they are independent of each other. As a result, information is distributed in silos, complicating work processes. And, ultimately, this lack of coordination between sales and other departments can lead to a loss of efficiency.

So what's the solution? Integrate these different systems into a single one. In this way, the tool meets the needs of the teams concerned, without being a gas factory that's tricky to get to grips with. This is exactly the challenge that SFAs are taking up today: facilitating collaboration and communication by centralizing information.

3. When CRM rhymes with administrative phobia

While CRM and SFA share the objective of improving the efficiency and performance of the sales force, they address very different needs.

Most companies already use a CRM to consolidate the many points of contact with customers. CRM is a must-have tool for all customer-facing people: sales, marketing and customer support professionals. This tool collects and provides customer data throughout the sales cycle.

For its part, SFA reduces the silos between marketing and sales teams. It integrates with your CRM to centralize sales planning and management. CRM therefore complements SFA, but one does not replace the other!

Some tools, like Sidely, are both an SFA and a CRM. CRMs are obviously very useful: their success is confirmed year after year. However, they make salespeople's workloads heavier, as they require them to record every activity and every piece of customer data manually. On its own, this information-gathering tool remains insufficient to improve sales results and the commercial relationship.

So what are CRMs missing? An SFA, that famous automation and internal communication brick, that individual and collective support for commercial success, which, among other things, enables rapid reaction to market changes.

4. Personalized customer care

The sales profession is evolving rapidly, as are the tools that support it. As a result, personalizing customer relations to stand out from the crowd is more essential than ever to win over customers and win their loyalty.

Engaging your customers and prospects through dedicated platforms happens at every moment: emails, calls, instant messages, visits, etc.

Information is no longer collected a posteriori but at each interaction, in real time. All information is recorded in one place and has a direct impact on the daily life of sales staff.

In short, instead of being a time-consuming burden, the SFA is a tool for performance. So you might as well take advantage of it!


5. Lack of mobility

Lack of mobility and limited access to key information on the move is a major problem for sales teams.

Field sales staff often find themselves in a tricky situation when they can't instantly access crucial information on products, stores, customers (floor manager, sales manager...) or stock levels while out in the field.

This constraint reduces their responsiveness and their ability to make informed decisions, directly impacting their sales efficiency and performance.

Sales Force Automation (SFA) software is designed for total mobility and accessibility. They are accessible via mobile applications, ensuring that sales reps have the essential data they need, anytime, anywhere.


So why adopt CRM / SFA software?

Sales people spend too much time on time-consuming and worthless tasks. This makes everyone tense.

The SFA is often accompanied by a CRM and complements it. It reduces or automates time-consuming tasks, centralises all commercial data, collects customer information in real time and personalises the customer relationship.

Sidely is the CRM/SFA that accompanies sales representatives in the field and helps brands to better manage their physical distribution.

To achieve this, Sidely centralizes all data in a single point, reducing tour planning time, transforming information collection by sales staff, and all analyses to steer growth, all thanks to a web platform and mobile application.

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Ready to conquer the field? 
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