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Advantage and Disadvantage of Sales Force Automation

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    Advantage and Disadvantage of Sales Force Automation. SFA is one of the applications of information technology to support the process in sale functions (Buttle. 2006). Managers and salespeople were require to use SFA technology in marketing actions such as use computer and telecommunication technology in their sale or promotion actions (Morgan et al. 2001). Some organizations believe the SFA means adding fax machines, automate the sales process by prepare the salesperson with a laptop, cell phones, and pagers, or sell products or services using the Internet.

    Many companies have incorporated one or more of these methods (Robert C. 2001). For example, five top ten global companies have been used high-tech firms such as Microsoft, IBM, GE, Intel, and Nokia. (others five global brands were Coca-Cola, Disney, McDonald’s, Marlboro, and Mercedes) such as those in computer hardware and software, telecommunications, consumer electronics, and information technology, other firms across a wide range of industries are increasingly relying and innovation on technology to deliver their value propositions (Mohr, Jakki. 003).

    The purpose of this essay are willing to discuss how Sales Force Automation have a good impact for business in the marketing process, as we know there are some good arising from the use of the SFA as a sales tool and try to describe the disadvantages of the use of SFA in an organization business. It has been argue that, Sales Force Automation (SFA) is the implementation of use sales force with high technology, and operated by salespeople or sales managers to work more effectively and efficiency (Hair, J. F. 2009. P. 17).

    In order to improve sales productivity in sales process, SFA can provide automated collection, absorption, analysis, and distribution of information with hardware and software (Morgan and Inks. 2001). Therefore, Managers can dramatically increase their salesperson’s productivity to be more successful in selling and would reduce the sales and marketing cost with SFA (Hair, J. F. 2009. p. 17).

    In fact, London-based consultancy data monitor was found that 60 percent of SFA system has impacted to the increasing of organizations efficiencies in sales cost (Voelker, 2000). For instance, Salespeople from Marriott, Marriott’s have more than one hotel brands like Ritz-Carlton, Courtyard, and Fairfield Inn and they have to selling the information about each brand and receive booking order for of all the brands.

    To increase the capability in receiving the booking order from different customer and different needs, company provide the technology that enable customer to book directly by using the internet or calling for one of the canters are managed by Marriott sales people inside company without visiting the salespeople, and salespeople does not necessary to send the booking paper for the customers, because customers have to print it out by them self (Ingram, 2006 p. 6).

    Its mean with the internet and telecommunication can help the Marriott salespeople to work more effective and efficient in selling time and it also able to reduce the printing cost for booking paper. By work effective and efficient salespeople can raise the value of communication, and improves the quality of all sales efforts by fast access to the relevant information in a timely manner (Jelinek et al. 2006). The second advantage is SFA can improve Communication Relationship Management (CRM) performance in order to develop a long-term relationship with customers and ensure their satisfaction with the purchases (Cooper, Marjorie J, 2005).

    Many organizations apply the collaboration between SFA and CRM tools in them activities. For example, service companies should have technology infrastructure like e-card members to track customer relationships, and to compete effectively in the retail market they must have an e-commerce infrastructure, and if traditional manufacturing want to stay abreast of market trends they must rely on technological innovation (Mohr, Jakki. 2003).

    The relationship in marketing is focus on the transaction like how to making a sale, following with the service, and service after the sale (Futrell. 001. p. 62), and SFA can help those transactions and give convenience for the customers needs. Furthermore, the important thing that manager have to know is SFA should be provided with the good human resources (Hair, 2009. p. 81). Salespeople who use SFA in their routine activities will having less time with paperwork’s, and can spent more time to build the relationship with customers (Ingram, 2006. p. 13), and “Sales force automation technologies are increasingly used to support customer relationship management strategies” (Speier, 2002).

    In the conclusion, Sales Force Automation purpose is how to integrated system of computer software and hardware to involve the performance of routine sales functions, also can reduce the marketing and sales cost; advertising, service, transportation, etc. (Hair, 2009. p. 74). On the other hand, it has been claimed that Sales Force Automation is high development cost especially for small business in the developing countries. There is have a substantial into research and development of organisation workflow before can be brought in (Baylus, 2012).

    Some previous research has learned how much money the company need to spend for adding technology in the sales process “SFA”, it was around $5,000 until $15,000 per salespeople depends on the high level of the technology wills implement (Hanaman, 2000). Some studied show the estimation cost for collected organizations in three countries USA, Germany, and England to implementing and maintaining sales force automation system (including project management workforce). USA were need US$ 15. million (over a five years period), Germany need less money with US$ 5 million (over a four years period), and England need more less than other around US$ 3. 5 million (over four years period).

    The total investment in all the three countries is US$ 24 million start from the beginning of system development to the end of this period. Average cost for maintenance by the countries for one years were (US$); USA $1,250,000, Germany $400,000, and England $250,000, or total $1,900,000 for three countries (Engle, Robert L. 000). Practically, to implementation SFA in one organisation required a large investment funds to build the technological, and not all businesses have the funds for it. The second disadvantage is salespeople need effective training methods to understanding how to use this system, older staff member probably unable to running and absorb this new technology “SFA” tools with effectively and harder for their duty (Mcelwee, Sharon. 2012).

    In conclusion, literature reviewed in this paper spoken about support for the SFA as an important consideration that must be taken into account by the business, endorsing to give careful consideration and implies in terms of tactical and strategic in marketing. Creation of value for customers is necessary to build good relationships with customers, because SFA was created to facilitate and provide for salespeople and customer satisfaction target.

    Indicators that can be used to determine how well the application of SFA is continue, although often the result is not like image the real targets. Once the process is fully institutionalized, they can be used to predict future results. Doing so helps to identify potential problems early enough to take protective or corrective action prior to this had taken (CJ Kurtz, 2007). In additional, SFA offers the ability to improve operational performance (cost / productivity), but more importantly the key applications can enable sales organizations to add value to the customer base.

    To take advantage of this capability, we must understand what customers’ value. Further, this application must be consistent with the strategic direction of the company, if not, the actions of salespeople will not align with the overall organization and the initiative will die. To address this strategic issue, it is recommended that companies take advantage of the value chain framework to identify opportunities to improve performance and innovation. (Petersen, Glen S. 2007).

    This paper provides some evidence that the SFA is very helpful in the process of marketing especially in the sales process is done salespeople, and customer strategic thinking needs to be developed for the precise assessment of the sales force automation and business results that impact on good relations between companies and customers. In fact, the technology that provided in SFA more and most significant shaping an organization’s marketing efforts.


    1. Buttle, Francis, Lawrence Ang, and Reiny Iriana. 006, “Sales Force Automation: Review, Critique, Research Agenda,” International Journal of Management Reviews: 213-231.
    2. Morgan, A. , and S. Inks. 2001, “Technology and the Sales Force”, Industrial Marketing Management 30: 463–72.
    3. Erffmeyer, Robert C. , Dale A. Johnson. 2001. An exploratory study of sales force automation practices: Expectations and realities.

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