Sales force automation (SFA) is the use of software to automate sales tasks, including sales activities, order processing, customer management, sales forecasting and analysis, sales force management, and information sharing. An SFA system is often part of an enterprise-wide information system that connects and integrates sales activities with the organization's other operations. Therefore, SFA software is not only a tool critical to the success of today's sales force, but is also vital to the entire organization. SFA has the potential to empower companies to more efficiently manage their sales force and sales processes, to automate and standardize sales activities, and to connect the sales force with the rest of the organization. The value of these potential benefits in terms of lower costs or increased revenues has encouraged businesses to adopt SFA. Once adopted, however, SFA systems often fail to deliver anticipated benefits. The leading cause of SFA failures has been revealed as low user acceptance, which can be attributed to such factors as the disruption of established sales routines, sales force perception of the system as a micromanagement tool, differences in sales force and managerial expectations for the system, and lack of managerial support for the system as perceived by the sales force. Given these circumstances, managers who are aware of the major issues surrounding user acceptance of SFA will be more successful in implementing such systems. This article explores the utilization of SFA, the benefits derived from these systems, and user acceptance issues. Herein, we offer suggestions that will help organizations succeed in adopting SFA systems.
Sales force automation User acceptance of technology Organizational change Information technology
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