What’s the difference between sales force automation and CRM?

man shrugging his shoulders and lifting his hands in confusion

Many business decision-makers wonder about the difference between Field Sales Automation – Sales Force Automation (SFA) – and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). What do they do? How do they complement each other?

One of the fundamental differences between SFA and CRM is that while SFA looks after the entire sales process and tracks the efforts of salespeople and their face-to-face relationships with customers, CRM is all about customer profiles, data tools, office sales, account management and communicating with clients from a distance ‒ from the office, for instance.

What is CRM software?

CRM is often described as a digital Rolodex full of important customer data. It’s a digital tool used to record interactions with customers right from their initial contact with your business until after the sale is made. CRM enables marketing teams to generate leads and interact with potential customers, run promotional campaigns, and keep track of the customer journey.

CRM data is used to segment your customer database according to relevant criteria, enabling focused messaging to specific customers. CRM also includes managing the initial customer funnel, following up on new prospects until they become part of the sales cycle.

CRM software has one significant limitation

A leading executive at the information tech research firm, Boomi, describes CRM’s limitation as follows: “The bottom line is your CRM and ERP don’t speak the same language. You can’t just use middleware to transfer financial data from one to another. It’s an extremely manual process.”

Sales, marketing, and finance teams work on different aspects of the business, have different touch points with customers along their journey, and use different software platforms to manage these interactions. When these platforms aren’t able to communicate in the same language, you’re more likely to find yourself in situations where orders are incorrectly processed, customers are billed incorrectly, and late deliveries or product returns occur too regularly.

CRM software only really contains accurate customer data if it captures all interactions between your outside sales teams and customers in real-time and has an updated view of their financial account status.

SFA software complements and completes CRM software

Compared to CRM, SFA software is used by sales managers to monitor the activities of sales staff, assign tasks, and analyze performance against goals and success growth targets. SFA software helps businesses manage and drive every aspect of the sales cycle from inquiries and orders, all the way to invoicing and payment: all in real time. CRM then continues the interaction with customers via marketing, general communication and promotions.

Skynamo’s all-in-one Field Sales Automation is a SFA that integrates directly into ERP financial platforms as well as CRM platforms. It has the unique ability to capture sales activity from on-the-ground daily sales flows and accurately supply this data to both your CRM and finance package (ERP). No manual process is required! All three software platforms can now do what they do best, in unison.


Learn more about Skynamo’s seamless ERP and accounting package integration here.

Skynamo’s software platform includes a mobile app that ensures that field sales representatives have access to tools and features that help them achieve their key performance sales goals while freeing up time to also grow customer relations and identify collateral sales opportunities with paying customers.

Skynamo helps businesses streamline, optimize and speed up the entire life cycle of product sales, ensuring that office-based staff and salespeople visiting customers on the outside, are all on the same page.