Home > Blog > What is Sales Force Automation (SFA) : A Definitive Guide

What is Sales Force Automation (SFA) : A Definitive Guide

Your sales force is the primary driver of post-manufacturing operations. The endgame all business processes aspire towards is getting their products to the consumers; a sales force is the primary differentiator between a sales strategy that works and one that doesn’t. Managing your sales force is, therefore, of paramount importance to the success and growth of your brand. You must ensure that your sales reps, managers, merchandisers, product promoters, and everyone else in your sales force know their role and fulfil it efficiently.

The best tool to help you do this is not just a tried-and-tested sales force automation (SFA) software that automates repetitive and critical tasks but something that goes beyond this expectation. In fact, a genuinely great tool is capable of doing all of the above while also driving forward your brand goals to effect maximum sales capacity. 

We break down everything below.

What is Sales Force Automation?

As the name suggests, sales force automation automates your sales force, utilising software to eliminate manual action from various sales processes. An ideal SFA tool provides efficient workflows focused on streamlining sales and managing the performance of your sales force, managing leads, assisting managers with smart AI, and helping with forecast generation. But that’s not all as some latest SFA tools are capable of enabling total collaboration between a brand and its channel partners to effect quicker response, faster resolution, and a more streamlined route to market.

Importance of Sales Force Automation

B2B Customers such as retailers are more demanding than ever today in the face of dozens of brands promoting their product to them. You need to go above and beyond simple tracking activities, sales force monitoring, and workflows to make an impact with your pitch. A big part of that impact is your sales force; the brand with the most passionate, goal-oriented and well-trained sales force will almost always come out on top because their actions majorly contribute to sales success or the lack thereof.

Therefore, to become a revenue generating enterprise, your brand must be able to effectively incorporate a sales force management plan. Today, this requires the use of a highly reliable sales force automation tool that allows you to not only automate and implement highly successful workflows but also allows you to establish your objectives on the tool/platform. This leads to all-round collaboration between you and all your channel partners that elevate your efforts towards your goal. 

As a brand, you must also enable and inspire your sales force’s peak operational capability via effective supervision, targeted training, and input-based gamification. A sales force must not only be motivated but must also be knowledgeable about their brand. It can’t just be about sales performance but also the secondary aspects to it such as visual merchandising audits or feedback entry. Every effort they make must be in line with the brand’s unique strategy and sales force automation is all about ensuring that your sales reps, managers and everyone else involved in sales come together to generate maximum sales with minimum setbacks.

SFA leads to promising sales by: 

  • Improving sales behaviour of your sales force 
  • Empowering them with efficient workflows
  • Quickly identifying and resolving sales execution challenges
  • Facilitating effective collaboration within your sales team and with distributors and retailers
  • Taking care of the administrative and repetitive tasks for sales teams to focus on what’s more important
  • Optimising sales for a streamlined sales process to allow the development of useful strategies
  • Helping the brand and sales managers make adjustments to sales strategies by keeping them informed on what works and what doesn’t

Why Brands Should Use Sales Force Automation

Sales force automation (SFA) is technology that automates business processes and tasks in sales and subsequent customer servicing. An example would be email follow ups while pursuing leads. Although we say automation, it is potentially much more, such as defining your goals on one platform to align all stakeholders to come together to achieve them.

The purpose is to combine automation and collaboration to reduce repetition, enhance visibility, and work towards brand objectives, thereby raising productivity levels. Without such a tool, brands would be left with issues ranging from behavioural such as carelessness on the part of sales reps to procedural such as planogram compliance.  

We elaborate on why you should incorporate SFA into your sales processes. 

Get more work done

SFA provides sales teams with the ability to sell better by making them more efficient. Your sales force will also be able to find problems and resolve them faster, which is good for both the brand and the retailer/dealer. As automation saves more time and reduces human errors on the job, your sales force can focus more on actual sales than administration, and in the process, close deals faster. Automating your sales force helps you manage your leads much more efficiently from prospect stage all the way to the customer. Sales reps meet or interact with customers faster while unqualified leads are filtered out.

Reduce load

A brand reduces its work by setting up automated processes. This reduces expenses, workload, and eases the pressure on employees, making them more capable of handling challenges without burning out.

Satisfy your customers

Customers gain access to important services more easily and enjoy seamless order placement, processing, and deliveries. This elevates customer service as they are more satisfied with prompt deliveries and timely updates.

Informational transparency

Sales force automation enables brands and their sales force to have easy access to information that gives them the insights to make intelligent decisions, generate and pursue more leads and close deals more successfully. When sales reps are able to access customer data on the go, it helps them prepare better for their tasks.


Brands are able to define their brand objectives in the SFA tool to ensure that everyone with access to the tool works towards the same goals. Without an SFA tool that allows collaboration on this scale, there are significant chances of miscommunication, delays, and errors, leading to a botched route to market and ultimately, underwhelming sales.

How Does Sales Force Automation Work

Step 1: Categorise information

The foremost thing to do before you can implement a sales force automation strategy or tool is to note down all the activities of your sales force. Focus on automating only those activities that are repetitive or extensive. Just like zero automation is primitive, over-automating can overwhelm the usage capabilities of your sales force.

Step 2: Identify critical brand data to train SFA system 

Once categorisation is complete, identify actions that you want to automate and then determine how that information is going to be utilised. As much of this information may currently be unavailable on your existing data bank or systems, it can be a bit time intensive to complete this step.

Step 3: Define your strategy

The next step is for a brand to figure out how to incorporate your existing processes and customers in your SFA system. The strategy must be undeniably seamless for both your sales force and your customers to embrace. Consider factors such as the SFA provider, the features that would be most effective for your purposes, and how your existing processes will integrate with this new platform/software. Also think about defining your goals clearly on the platform and enabling managers to do a better job of managing their sales teams. When everyone is on the same page with your goals, it becomes easier to streamline operations, communications, and problem solving.

Step 4: Choose your SFA tool wisely

The final and most important step is to actually purchase or acquire the application to enhance your sales force. Keeping all the above steps in mind and remembering that one size doesn’t fit all, you must make the right choice to ensure not just automation but long term success.

It is important to not just have a tool, not just to have automation, but also something that is adaptable to the ever-changing requirements of an industry – scalability. A traditional or older platform would be rigid in terms of change and would fail to incorporate growing demands such as a larger retail network, bigger geographical areas, more workflows, etc. Scalability allows for efficient adaptation to what your particular brand needs as opposed to a standardised solution. Such incredible flexibility means you are always ready for challenges. 

Pros and Cons of SFA

Increased productivityPotentially time consuming data entry tasks
Cost, revenue, and market share advantagesAcclimatisation may take time
Seamless and on time sales information flowRegular system updates and maintenance might become tedious
Reduced response time leading to greater customer satisfactionUsers can run into compatibility issues when integrating the SFA system with existing systems 
Easily trackable customer recordsNon-scalable platforms will require expensive upgrades or modifications and expenses will skyrocket
Accurate sales forecast on the basis of historical data
Efficient resource utilisation
Faster report preparation by sales managers or area managers

An industry SaaS solution is the best response to all the above-mentioned cons as it boosts your sales force by elevating their performance levels while keeping multi-faceted collaboration at the front and centre of operations. 

With BeatRoute, we introduce a sales enablement solution that goes beyond simple automation. You get something that’s designed to be user-friendly and all your stakeholders, from sales reps to managers to retailers, will love it! Fast deployable and highly scalable, you can bid goodbye to all concerns regarding adaptability and support. The zero-code feature, easy integration with existing systems, and modularity are additional bonuses that make BeatRoute your go-to solution any day. 

CRM and SFA: Co-existing For Better Results

Although not mutually exclusive, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and SFA software have traditionally had certain defining features.

A CRM software is used after successful sales for customer retainment, management, and satisfaction. Customer information is collected and stored to be utilised towards long-term relationships and problem solving.

Sales Force Automation software, on the other hand, automates sales work to make things easier for your sales force, particularly the sales reps and managers. Cross-team collaboration and collaboration among all stakeholders on your supply chain are benefits that derive from an SFA tool, resulting in efficient workflows, rapid resolutions, and a seamless RTM strategy. An SFA software also documents information for forecasting, facilitating order placement, tracking orders till fulfilment, and more.

  • SFA helps sales reps achieve brand goals by driving efficiency through both automation and insights while CRM is primarily about customer relations. SFA considers changes in your sales force behaviour while CRM looks at customer behaviour, handling sales force efficiency and staying in tune with market demands respectively.
  • Sales force automation software is important for driving sales force productivity including features like tracking, performance insights, and keeping the sales reps focused on achieving their targets, ergo, brand goals. CRM is more focused on keeping customers happy via sustainable relationships. It uses data to determine what works and what doesn’t to enhance customer retention tactics.
  • SFA is operated by a brand’s sales force – sales reps and managers – and involves sales data while CRM data inputs are done by sales reps, retailers, dealers and even distributors. This may not be a hard and fast rule as many SFA platforms today incorporate CRM activities in them to become a holistic solution for all users.

Why Beatroute is the Best SFA Software For You

BeatRoute is a state-of-the-art sales force automation platform that is deployable out-of-the-box for your sales force. The potent amalgamation of simplistic UI and powerful features make BeatRoute a force to reckoned with in the sales arena. We believe that both automation and optimisation of existing sales processes go hand in hand with the ability to define your goals within our platform and effect supply-chain wide collaboration. With such measures, we make your workflows super easy to go through and error free. This boosts productivity and retail/dealer output. 

BeatRoute is also A.I. enabled that provides intelligent suggestions via our CuesBot feature that leads to more sales, larger order baskets, order patterns, and consumer trends analyses, while also reporting on missed opportunities and leads.

You can learn more with our free demo!

About the Author

Soham Chakraborty

Soham Chakraborty

Apart from being a Senior Content Writer at BeatRoute, Soham is an avid reader of science fiction and suspense novels. He also dabbles in historical narratives and wonders about our place in the universe. Cosmic viewpoints, Carl Sagan, and Neil deGrasse Tyson intrigues him. When not reading, he will watch a fulfilling movie with his family. His greatest dream is publishing his own novel someday!

About the Author

Soham Chakraborty

Soham Chakraborty

Apart from being a Senior Content Writer at BeatRoute, Soham is an avid reader of science fiction and suspense novels. He also dabbles in historical narratives and wonders about our place in the universe. Cosmic viewpoints, Carl Sagan, and Neil deGrasse Tyson intrigues him. When not reading, he will watch a fulfilling movie with his family. His greatest dream is publishing his own novel someday!

Retail Sales Guide

Download this free ebook now to learn 10 ways CPG brands can transform their retail Route-To-Market.

Get your free Copy with following details: