What makes the difference between failure and success in implementing SFA in SMEs

 Some small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) think that SFA is not ready for them. On the contrary, there are many small and medium-sized companies that are operating SFA and getting results.

Do SMEs need SFA?

In today's article, I'll discuss some of the failures and tips on how to make SFA work  https://slimtime.co.jp/  for small businesses.

SMEs and SFA

Today, the birthrate is declining and the population is aging.

As the working population is decreasing, it is especially difficult for small and medium-sized companies to secure human resources, and they are struggling to maintain both the quality and quantity of their salespeople.

In order to increase sales in this environment, it is necessary to increase the productivity of each salesperson and conduct sales activities in an organized manner.

As a means of improving productivity and organizational sales, even small and medium-sized companies are required to use SFA for sales management.

SFA includes various management functions such as customer management, negotiation management, and process management, as well as analysis and aggregation functions to improve sales efficiency.

On the other hand, some of them are a bit more cumbersome to input than Excel management, and if you fail to use it, it can be said to be a tool that increases unnecessary work.

Let's take a look at some of the failures.

SFA implementation failure pattern 1: Not sharing the purpose

Small and medium-sized companies have the advantage of being able to make top-down decisions and implement them in a company-wide manner.

On the other hand, one of the most common failures is that SFA implementation is decided top-down without the frontline understanding.

Salespeople in the field don't know what SFA is for, don't know what to do, and do what they are told to do, but they don't know what to do.

If this is the case, the operation of SFA will not take root, and from the perspective of the frontline, it will only be a hindrance.

It is important for small and medium-sized companies, where the distance between top management and the front line is close, to share the purpose of introducing SFA throughout the company.

Also, if the results of the SFA are fed back to the frontline, it will motivate the frontline to use it.

It is important to share and provide feedback so as not to create a backlash in the field, and to create a company-wide awareness of the importance of using SFA.

SFA implementation failure pattern 2: Inability to use it properly

There are various SFA tools available from various companies, ranging from high-functional and high-priced tools to simple-functional and relatively inexpensive tools.

A common mistake is to think that installing a high-function SFA tool will solve everything.

In some large companies, there is a separate department for analysis from the sales department, and they are able to use almost all the functions of SFA.

On the other hand, in small and medium-sized companies, most of the sophisticated SFA tools have functions that are not used, and the price makes it difficult to use them.

Also, for advanced analysis, the number of items to be entered will definitely increase.

This means that the salesperson in the field will have to input more information.

However, if this does not happen, it means that the salesperson's sales efficiency has decreased due to the increased time and effort.

In order for small and medium-sized companies not to make mistakes in implementing SFA, it is important to clarify what are the minimum necessary functions and start with a simple one to get used to its operation, including the field.

Many functions that you may use in the future will not be used in the future. If you really need it, it is better to consider switching SFA at that time.

How to succeed in implementing SFA: Use cloud services and free trials

It takes a long time for large companies to approve the purchase of IT tools.

In addition, once an IT tool has been introduced and is in operation, it is very time-consuming to switch, so they may take time to select the right tool with an eye on the future.

Small and medium-sized companies, on the other hand, have the advantage of being able to implement IT tools on a case-by-case basis.

If you want to be successful in implementing SFA in small and medium-sized companies, it is recommended that you introduce SFA and operate it for a few months, and if it doesn't work, stop using it.

For example, if you choose one of the following, you can easily quit if it doesn't suit you.

SFA with the minimum necessary functions

Cloud services with no or low initial cost.

Cloud services with a short minimum usage period

If possible, a free trial should be available.

Because of the current labor shortage, small and medium-sized companies are also required to strengthen their sales force with SFA.

If SFA can be operated well, it will establish a sales style as an organization that does not depend on individual salespeople.

It will also lead to increased motivation of the salespeople themselves and improve the overall sales efficiency.

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