What exactly does SFA mean?

 CRM stands for "Customer Relationship Management", which can be translated as "Customer Relationship Management". On the other hand, SFA stands for "Sales Force Automation", which translates to  https://slimtime.co.jp/  "Sales Force Automation".

The difference between the two terms is that CRM is a management concept of "customer relationship management" and a system to realize it, while SFA is a system or tool to streamline sales activities. Nowadays, however, CRM is mostly used to refer to systems as well.

CRM and SFA have one thing in common: they are both systems that mainly manage customer information. The difference is that the output (destination) of customer information is different. This is also the reason why CRM and SFA are confused.

The purpose of CRM is to manage all customer information in a database, so that not only the sales department, but also multiple departments such as the development department, information system department, and marketing department can check the customer information to formulate business strategies. In addition, many CRMs are equipped with marketing functions, such as simultaneous e-mail sending and survey functions, which are related to customer satisfaction. For this reason, CRM is often referred to as a "system for management.

On the other hand, the purpose of SFA to manage customer information is to accumulate sales know-how and streamline sales activities by inputting detailed information on deals, negotiations, and other information on negotiations with potential customers and clients. In Western countries, where SFA was first introduced, salespeople were very mobile, and there was a frequent problem of important customer information being lost as salespeople moved from one company to another, leaving the customer information they had acquired during their tenure at the company to become their own. This was a frequent problem. This is why the SFA system was created, which allows all salespeople to enter customer information into the same system and manage it as a corporate asset. This is why SFA is considered to be a "system for sales".

As you can see, although CRM and SFA are the same system for handling customer information, they were originally different because their original purpose and output were different. Recently, however, many products that integrate CRM and SFA have appeared, and the line between the two is becoming blurred. In the near future, it is possible that an era in which CRM and SFA are fully integrated will arrive.

Specific functional differences between CRM and SFA

Even though they are the same system for managing customer information, the scope and functions of management are different. First, let's check the differences between the information managed by CRM and SFA.

≪Customer information to be managed by CRM≫.

Company name

Contact person's name

Contact person's contact information

Contact person's department and position

Company Address

Survey results

≪Customer information to be managed by SFA≫.

Company name

Contact person's name

Contact person's contact information

Contact person's department and position

Company Address

Negotiation history (date and time)

Case details

Details of business negotiations

Issues you are facing


Salesman's comments

As you can see, SFA has the purpose of accumulating sales know-how and streamlining sales activities, so it can manage customer information to a deeper level than CRM. However, since there are some items that can only be managed by CRM, SFA is not generally superior as a customer information management tool. Next, let's take a look at the differences in functions.

≪Functions of CRM

Customer information management

Email delivery

Scenario setting

Form creation

Remind Email

Website Creation


≪SFA Functions

Customer Information Management

Daily sales report

To-Do management

Task Assignment

Quotation creation

Contract creation

Sales Forecasting

Prospective Customer Assessment



The difference is even clearer when you put the functions of CRM and SFA side by side. The output of customer information is clearly different.

Should I implement CRM or SFA?

If you have a question "Which is better for customer information management, CRM or SFA? As a customer information management system, many people may have the question, "Which is better, CRM or SFA? However, since CRM and SFA are essentially different systems, it is not possible to determine which is better in general. Therefore, if you clarify the purpose of customer information management, you will be able to see which system your company should implement.

For example, if you mainly want to manage customer information and utilize that information throughout the organization, CRM is probably the best choice. If you want to strengthen your marketing efforts, a CRM with marketing functions is recommended.

On the other hand, if you want to manage customer information, streamline sales activities, and consolidate personal customer information, SFA is the best choice.

It is important to note that, as mentioned earlier, many products that integrate CRM and SFA are now available. For example, Microsoft's Dynamics 365 is a product that integrates business applications; it provides CRM applications as well as SFA applications. This has the advantage that customer information can be shared and utilized in each system.

Many companies may eventually need both CRM and SFA functions. In such cases, an integrated system such as Dynamics 365 can meet their needs. In the end, the debate between CRM and SFA is meaningless, because the goal is to contribute to the business by improving sales performance and customer satisfaction.

The key to success is whether or not the system can take root.

So, what should we keep in mind for a successful implementation of either CRM or SFA? CRM is a system for management, and SFA is a system for sales. However, both systems have one thing in common: they cannot function without the input of information from the user department.

Many of the reasons why CRM and SFA implementations fail is because the system is not firmly established in the user department and the information input is not done properly. Further causes include system selection that ignores the actual business conditions.

If the information input to CRM and SFA is not done properly, the implementation becomes meaningless. Both of these systems are mainly for customer information management, so without accurate data, they will not only be ineffective, but will also cause confusion.

In order to avoid such problems, it is important to select a CRM and SFA system that matches the actual business conditions. For example, the person in charge of implementing the system should collaborate with the user department to clearly define the system requirements and then select the system. In addition, if the system can be introduced from the user's point of view, for example, by involving the user department and conducting a trial, it will be possible to establish the system after its introduction. From this point of view, it is most important that the system is easy to use for the sales staff.

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