What is the difference between SFA and CRM?

SFA tool is an abbreviation for Sales Force Automation. Translated into Japanese, it means "sales force automation" https://slimtime.co.jp/ . In general, it is called a sales support system.

A sales force automation system is software that can store and analyze data on sales activities of a company. There are two main purposes of using SFA tools: the first is to visualize the process of sales activities, and the second is to manage the behavior of salespeople.

SFA tools specialize in streamlining and improving sales activities. Therefore, they are mainly used by the sales department of a company.

Functions of SFA tools

Here are the basic functions of SFA.

Customer management

You can input and manage basic information such as customer's company name, location, phone number, contact person, position, etc., as well as contact history with the customer.

Some of them can automatically import business cards, while others can be linked to business card management tools.

Sales Case Management

In order to convert inquiries from potential customers into orders, you can properly manage the information of sales proposals.

Management items include company, sales representative, proposed product/service, progress status, expected order (probability/rank), expected order date, and expected order amount.

Business Talk Management

Manage detailed information about business negotiations.

It contains items such as past negotiation history, purpose of the negotiation, time of the negotiation, negotiation partner (person in charge), settler, proposal, proposal amount, progress of the negotiation, and next action schedule.

Process management

All the actions and results of the salesperson are quantified and managed.

It includes items such as the number of tele-appointment calls, appointments, visits, number of proposed products, and order rate.

Sales forecast and forecast management

You can track sales by customer, product, service, etc., and manage progress by constantly comparing budget with actual results.

Schedule management

Manage the schedule of salespeople. Enter and check the schedule of actions. You can also refer to customer information. In addition, you can write down the results of sales activities and comments, and link proposals, quotations, and other documents.

Task Management

Lists the tasks of salespeople as tasks. By using this, you can track the progress and workload of your salespeople and manage labor across teams.


Notifies you of the timing of what you need to do next. You can prevent omissions and delays in response. You will be able to approach prospective customers at the optimal timing.

Daily and weekly reports

With the ability to create daily and weekly sales reports, you can reduce the amount of time spent on daily reports and quickly provide advice based on the daily reports, speeding up the process of sales improvement.

Quotation Creation and Workflow

The ability to create quotations and workflows eliminates the need to create, print, and modify documents from scratch.

Analysis and aggregate reports

You can check reports by sales representative, by product, by project, by order prospect, by area, etc. This allows you to review your sales style from a variety of perspectives.

(Mobile device support)

If the tool is equipped with mobile device support, you can manage sales from your cell phone, so you can fill out the form while you are out of the office.

Difference from CRM

CRM is an abbreviation for Customer Relationship Management. Translated into Japanese, it means "Customer Relationship Management". In general, it is called customer relationship management or customer management.

It is a management strategy and method that aims to increase sales and profitability by improving customer satisfaction and customer loyalty (the "trust" and "attachment" that customers feel toward a brand, product, or service. There are two main types of CRM.

There are two main types of CRMs: implementation CRMs and analytical CRMs. CRM tools not only improve sales efficiency, but can also be used for management and marketing through reporting and promotion functions.

The second type is analytical CRM.

Functions of CRM tools

Customer Database Management

The customer data handled here are as follows. There are three major categories.

Basic customer information

Name, date of birth, company name, department, position, contact information, contact method, contact availability, decision route, etc.

Information about the customer's purchase history

Date and time of purchase, products purchased, price, quantity, amount, discount, payment method, customer service representative, negotiation history, access records, seminar participation history, e-mail response, inquiry history, date and time of contact, etc.

Profitability information

Cumulative sales, cumulative profit, average purchase price, average purchase frequency, etc.

Promotion functions

This is a function to approach customers according to their attributes and consideration stage.

The timing and content can be tailored to the customer.

The main functions include e-mail distribution.

Report function

This is a function that extracts data registered in CRM such as prospective customers, existing customers, and business negotiations, and creates and aggregates reports on sales performance.

The automatic creation and aggregation of reports leads to time saving and business improvement.

Access Analysis

This function analyzes the number of clicks on your website and the emails you send. This is useful for improving the text of your website and e-mails.

Web Surveys

This function allows you to conduct market research and service improvement surveys on the web.

You can get opinions from customers about your products and services.

Now that I have explained SFA and CRM systems, I will now explain what is the difference between the two systems.

First of all, CRM and SFA have one thing in common: they are mainly customer information management systems. The difference is that CRM is a "system for management" and SFA is a "system for sales".

Advantages of SFA

Increase sales

From the data of business negotiations, it becomes easier to grasp the process of lost orders and orders. Therefore, finding and improving areas for improvement will increase the success rate of business negotiations and lead to increased sales.

Share sales knowledge, experiences, and examples

If you leave your sales points and other information in the memo section, others can refer to them.

If you are sharing verbally or on paper, you cannot share detailed information or in real time.

Visualize the progress of sales.

By being able to check the achievement level of individual sales, leaders can see which people are making progress in sales.

In addition, precise instructions and targeted guidance can be given in real time.

Manage sales activities

By centralizing the management of sales activities, progress management can be performed efficiently.

Reduce training costs

It is possible to share knowledge on how to conduct sales activities. This allows people to learn good proposal materials and behaviors without having to ask questions of others. This reduces the burden on those who teach.

Deciding whether SFA should be introduced

Is it a tool that allows for load-free input?

If a tool requires you to fill in the same thing every time you fill in a form, it will put a burden on the person filling in the form. A tool that requires you to fill out the same information every time you fill out a form is a burden to the person filling out the form.

It is preferable to use a tool where the items to be filled in are registered in advance. For example, a tool that can be completed by simply editing the schedule and business meeting information is preferable.

Also, choose a tool that allows you to select the required input items according to your own operation.

For example, it is time-consuming to enter the customer's name, address, and phone number from scratch.

Therefore, choose a tool that can automatically capture customer information.

Can you utilize the time when you are not in business?

By using a tool that supports multiple devices such as smartphones and tablets, you can fill in data when you are not in business.

This way, salespeople don't have to go back to the office to fill out the information, preventing them from having to spend time contacting customers.

Disadvantages of implementing this system

First, it costs money. While some can be started for free, others will cost you. So, research the initial cost and usage fees before considering the introduction. Also, it will take time to fill out the data in the SFA. So use SFA and estimate how much time it will take you to fill out the form.

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