Sales Force Automation

1552 Words7 Pages
Advantage and disadvantage of Sales Force Automation

Before in the 1980s, salespersons worked in ‘local offices’ which were responsible for catering customers within a specific geographical region. The salesperson was the professional correspondent who met with key buyers within his jurisdiction and is the knowledgeable product expert who often traveled to meet with clients. However, as a salesperson is often only capable of being well versed with one product, multiple salesperson who are specialized in different products from the selling organization had to be deployed to meet various customer needs and demands which constitutes the sales force (Webster 1980, cited in Sharma 2007).

As computer hardware and software improvements gradually follow over the years, small and larger firms started to recognized that some amount of sales function can be made more efficient with sales force automation (Engle & Barnes 2000).

Sales force automation is the digitalizing of analogue sales through information technology (Rivers & Dart 1999). It is also used as a tool to implement a new marketing strategy known as customer relationship management (CRM) (Speier & Venkatesh 2002). However, sales force automation has brought its own advantages and disadvantages to the business at the same time.

Sales force automation has smoothen the interaction between the firm and customers with a smaller sales force. The customers can quickly access the product’s information through the firm’s website (Larpsiri & Speece 2004). When there is an enquiry about the product, the customers need not approach the salesperson in person, or even when they have enquiries about different products, they need not approach different salesperson. They just have to log on to the website and browse through for different product information at the same time. This has in turn reduced the number of salespersons. For example, a customer can visit Hewlett Packard’s website to check on different types of products such as desktops and printers from the website, they can compare the prices of different models. With the website, Hewlett Packard does not need to hire different salespeople for the different types of products to explain the advantages of the products to the customers one by one (Johnson & Bharadwaj 2005).

This form of sales force automation can improve customer service by providing more than just information about their products. Information can be provided specifically to answer the customer’s query (Sharma 2007). If customers have any doubts on a particular product, they can check on the frequently asked questions (FAQs).
Open Document