In developing countries, the demarcation between traditional CRM and Sales Force automation (SFA) would continue to be significant, given the high volume in B2C type of business (a fragmented market spread thin and distributed across a vast country, with diverse potential for business and transactions of lower value) compared to institutionalized low volume, high value B2B sales, in industries such as pharma and FMCG/CPG for example. SFA may be the need of the hour to empower the field Sales team while CRM functionalities cannot be ignored for long term benefits.
Products that maintain this balance of today's requirements against long term benefits with understanding of specific industry requirements would help businesses realize benefits better and faster.
In the pharma industry, the doctor is the customer and opinion leader whose pulse is key to sense the market. An effective mobile enabled SFA tool will go a long way for the thousands of Medical Reps who need to be in constant touch with the doctors. Starting from the monthly target setting and planning to daily planning and the dynamics of it, sharing of product information with doctors electronically in the few minutes of face-to-face interaction they get, maintaining the comprehensive history of interactions with the doctor (profile, feedback for products, their opinions, requirements) plus productivity tools such as alerts, reporting and work flows should be possible from a mobile device - feature phone or a smart phone, offline or online.
In the FMCG/CPG industry, the growth of social networks has led to instantaneous spread of opinions and recommendations about products, leading to low consumer loyalty and huge variations in demand for products. A Sales team member out in the field would be in a better position to sense the market at the retail outlets when armed with a SFA tool with a mobile device on hand. This could lead to quick feedback for new products, cross selling, dynamic pricing, supply chain visibility - all leading to improved turn over and improved quality of product master data. Order fulfillment in terms of fill rates and field presence in terms of '% of bills through mobility' can go up.
In developed economies, B2B may offer a significant portion of the total top line and SFA may not be significant, given the high penetration of smart devices and high bandwidth networks. But in developing economies, an effective SFA as part of the overall CRM suite of application can be a differentiating factor, plus the additional understanding of specific industry dynamics. There are niche players for some industries and there are global players offering end-to-end full blown CRM applications with bells and whistles. The two applications cannot be separate leading to a possible siloed approach and a need to integrate them today and merge them in future. Who makes more impact in CRM implementation could well be a question of who understands the business needs across the time horizon quickly and translates it into a feasible implementation road map with the technology available.