Constellation ShortList Sales Force Automation

About This Constellation ShortList™

This Constellation ShortList focuses on solutions that extend beyond the core SFA competencies (e.g., lead, contact, account, opportunity tracking) to extensibility, scalability, product vision and solutions that help with organizational usage and adoption.

SFA software enables companies to track, manage, and engage customers’ and prospects’ interactions. Already a mature market, the SFA vendors are upping the ante by incorporating new, richer functionality, such as advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data enrichment and new productivity tools, making this an exciting inflection point in the space.

Several developments have occurred since this Constellation ShortList was first published. This update considered the growing prominence of AI for automated insights into customer interaction and engagement, opportunity progression, and sales productivity. Vendor AI advancements include Microsoft’s Dynamics 365’s Relationship Insights, Oracle’s Adaptive Intelligence, Salesforce’s Einstein, and SugarCRM’s Sugar Intelligence Services.

One of the key challenges of SFA solutions has nothing to do with system functionality but in ensuring system usage and adoption. The trend in obtaining greater insight and analytics into opportunities and customer behavior is useless without accurate data logged and captured. Vendors providing convenient, automated, mobile-enabled solutions to reduce manual data entry will be welcomed by sellers.

Threshold Criteria

Constellation considers the following criteria for these offerings:

  • Ease of use, user interface
  • Ability to track prospects and customers through sales cycle
  • Marketing integration for full prospect engagement visibility
  • Customer support visibility and management post sale
  • Extensibility through ecosystem of third-party integration apps
  • Productivity tools and extensions to increase usage and adoption
  • Focus on mobility and collaboration
  • Advanced analytics and role-based reporting
  • Product vision and roadmap
  • Pricing packages
  • Post-sale support and community

The Constellation ShortList

Constellation evaluates over 70 solutions categorized in this particular market. This Constellation ShortList is determined by client inquiries, partner conversations, customer references, vendor selection projects, market share, and internal research. Constellation also considered client company size and marketing resources to recommend solutions suitable for enterprises and small-to-medium businesses (SMB).

Enterprise Solutions

The enterprise category is defined as companies with a broad geographical reach, multiple lines of business, and/or over 5000 employees. These are the best-of-breed vendors that provide application and services without bundling into another platform (in alphabetical order):

  • Microsoft Dynamics 365
  • Oracle Sales Cloud
  • Salesforce Sales Cloud
  • SugarCRM

SMB Solutions

SMBs have limited resources and budget, which is factored into the selection criteria. As SMBs grow, the solution needs to have the ability to scale accordingly. These are the best-of-breed vendors that provide applications and services without bundling into another platform (in alphabetical order):

  • Bpm’online
  • Freshsales
  • HubSpot CRM
  • Zoho CRM

Frequency of Evaluation

Each Constellation ShortList evaluation will be updated every 180 days as needed.

Evaluation Services

Constellation clients may work with the analyst and research team to conduct a more thorough discussion of this ShortList. Constellation can also provide guidance in vendor selection and contract negotiation.

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