Some 67% of buyers interested in sales force automation software are evaluating solutions for the first time, according to a recent report from Software Advice.

Many respondents who do not use specialized sales software currently rely on spreadsheets (24% of buyers) or email clients (21%) to manage contacts and track leads, the study based on interviews with 385 prospective buyers found. A large number (22%) have no real system at all in place and use methods such as pen and paper to keep track.

Of those potential buyers who do have a software solution, 17% use commercial customer relationship management (CRM) software, 8% industry-specific software, and 3% software developed in-house.

Below, additional key findings from the report.

Reasons for Evaluating Solutions 

  • 62% of prospective sales force automation (SFA) software buyers say their top reason for evaluating solutions is to improve organization and increase efficiency.
  • 26% of prospective buyers at smaller businesses and 33% at larger businesses say they are dissatisfied with their current sales management system (or lack of a system).

Top Requested Features

  • Nearly all (93%) of the prospective buyers interviewed want some form of contact management feature to be included in their sales software.
  • 65% want a note-taking feature to keep records of interactions with contacts.
  • 54% want lead management features to help track opportunities across every stage of the sales process.
  • Only 25% of all respondents cite sales reporting/forecasting as a desired feature, though 56% of those at larger companies want that functionality.

Cloud Preferred

Of those potential sales software buyers who have a deployment preference, most (96%) prefer a cloud-based solution, with only 4% explicitly asking to evaluate on-premises software.

About the research: The report was based on interviews with 385 prospective buyers of new sales force automation software.

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What Buyers Look for in Sales Software

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a writer, editor, and a content strategist. He is a co-founder of ICW Media and a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji