Sales Force Automation Diagnostic Question #1


If you want to get to the bottom of something…start at the bottom.

Before shaving the bear, it might be a good idea to find out when the last time it ate was, or if it even feels particularly warm and would like a trim.  When you want to properly diagnose and solve problems with SFA systems, you need to start at the bottom.  One way to do this is to ask, “Is the ‘sales’ or ‘customer relationship management’ process you want to emulate with your SFA/CRM system well defined?”

As I’ve indicated in other posts, everything starts with “Sales Process.”  This is the foundation on which you have to build.  When the foundation is shaky, the SFA or CRM system you put in place to model the process is going to be shaky.  So the key questions in assessing the strength of this building block are:

  1. Do we even have a sales process that’s reproducible?
  2. Do we have multiple processes… for example, one for direct sales, one for partner sales and one for post sales and service?
  3. Which ones do we want to model in our SFA?
  4. Have we done this?  Or are we expecting one size to fit all?

90% of most SFA implementations go awry at this point.  Often in the haste of resource or time crunches to install a new SFA system, these questions are ignored.  When the system gets up and running, it’s no wonder it doesn’t do exactly what we want.  The key to success is rigorously documenting each of the sales processes you wish to implement.

(Please note, as a corollary, very few senior managers are willing to admit they don’t have a sales process.)


  1. Jeff

    The next question really ought to be…what does a ‘real’ sales process look like? Everyone has a process, it may be ad-hoc or impossible to name so if the process is so important can we all agree on what makes a process ‘real’?

    Interesting question, I’m going to have to see if I can write that answer.

    1. Prairie Sky Group

      Jeff, I agree that everyone has a process. The measure of whether that process is working is whether “stuff” is getting sold. So the term “effective” might be a better wrod thatn “real”.

      In my view the problem occurs for SFA when everyone in an organization has a completely different sales process. This makes it more difficult to set up the SFA so that it works for everyone.

      Talking about sales process and SFA process can trend to what I call “process bigotry”. I’ve given that up long ago. It’s the results that count.


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