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4 Tips for Buying the Right SFA Software

Buying a sales force automation (SFA) software solution can be a challenging process. There are hundreds of vendors to evaluate, and thousands of features and functions to choose from. Here are some quick tips to help you select the SFA software package that will best meet the needs of your business – without breaking your budget.

Build a SFA Software Requirements List

Outline the problems you are trying to solve or the goals you are trying to reach with your SFA software, and ask your primary user base – your sales staff – what tools they need to perform their jobs more effectively.
This will help you better understand your requirements, so you can determine which features must be included in the solution you choose.

Find and Evaluate the Right SFA Software Vendors

Asking pointed, detailed questions about products and their capabilities during your initial vendor interviews can help you quickly weed out those SFA software applications that don’t offer what you need. The providers that do meet your criteria should be asked to conduct an in-depth demonstration, preferably a customized one to illustrate how the solution will support your specific sales processes.

Additionally, the SFA software vendors on your “short list” should be subject to a more stringent background check that includes a thorough review of financial history, and discussions with some customer references.

Test the SFA Software in Your Own Environment

Demos provide only a small piece of the overall picture. In order to understand how a SFA software solution will really work, you’ll need to try it out for yourself. Ask the vendor to let you install and use the application for two or three months, so you can get a feel for how it will operate within your environment. Involve your users and solicit their feedback throughout the trial. Although this won’t guarantee success once you go into production, it will be far more telling than a demo alone.

Negotiate Your Price

Negotiating a huge discount on your SFA software package will not be easy. But, there are plenty of ways to make sure you get the most value for your money. For example:

  • Ignore the list price. Most vendors inflate their list prices to leave themselves some negotiating room, then offer a small standard discount to all new customers to make it appear as though they are being flexible. Insist on starting your negotiations at the discounted price.
  • Make the vendor believe that price will play a big role in your decision, and that you are still considering other SFA software solutions.
  • Unless the vendor is offering add-ons that you really need, don’t take free features or modules in lieu of a price cut.
  • Agree to participate in sales calls, success stories, and other types of testimonials. Vendors are usually willing to give more to those customers who serve as references.
  • If the vendor won’t budge on the price of the SFA software, look for potential savings in other areas, such as service or training.
  • Monthly fees for hosted or on-demand SFA software solutions aren’t set in stone, either, so don’t be afraid to negotiate with your service provider. If you’re willing to commit to a longer contract term, there may be plenty of room for savings.

It’s important to remember that while price is important, the number one priority is to find a SFA software solution that includes the features your company needs. Even though it is a time consuming process, the right SFA software can really boost your sales processes. To find out more about SFA products be sure to check out our Top 10 Sales Force Automation software report.