Sales force automation (SFA) has been growing steadily over the past few years, and the folks at CRM Buyer predict that when the economy leaves its slump, SFA will surge.
Most apparently, SFA is making inroads with new price points and offerings for different verticals. Catering to specific industries is a smart move to stay competitive; the change in pricing was a bigger necessity. A Gartner analyst noted that many companies subscribing to SaaS SFA platforms are nearing the end of their contracts, and are both shopping around and negotiating lower prices for the service already in use. In addition, there’s been an emerging demand for role-based pricing.
Several CRM sectors have seen boosts with the downturn, and SFA is one of them—companies looking to do more with less money frequently turned to automated systems. However, the “more with less” motto is not a recession-era fad, as it’s always trendy to save money, so SFA is expected to do well after the economic decline.
With this expected increase in demand, new technologies are surfacing: Shadetree Technologies recently released an application that marries marketing automation and SFA. Whether or not more such apps emerge, SFA will likely see a boost through the purchase of marketing automation applications, as they work best in an SFA environment. And many SFA applications are getting service information integrations, which will help sales departments learn more about customers.
CRM Buyer did point out a slightly surprising absence: Facebook. While other enterprise systems are enjoying the information and opportunities created by social networking, SFA applications are eschewing them. LinkedIn still interests vendors because it maintains a professional tone throughout, but Facebook (and probably Twitter) are too unstructured and leisurely, and serve mostly as distraction.