Smartphones and iPads are preferred devices for mobile sales forces, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) continues to play a dominant role in sales force automation (SFA), according to the Gartner 2011 Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation.
Gartner has seen a 50 percent increase in vendor evaluations year over year compared to 2010. The focus of sales force automation deployments continues to be on core functional capabilities for accounts, contacts, opportunities, selling processes and sales operations.
According to the report, the primary objective for most sales organizations remains opportunity management, but a greater emphasis is being placed on sales effectiveness and sales performance-related applications. Mobility also continues to grow in importance for users with smartphones and iPads, the preferred devices for the mobile salesperson.
Making waves in the 2011 Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation are two vendors appearing for the first time – Microsoft and Zoho.
Sales Force Automation: The Niche Players
In the 2011 Sales Force Automation Magic Quadrant, Gartner evaluates vendors and grades them on whether they're market leaders, challengers, niche players or visionaries.
By Gartner definition, the niche players are the vendors that offer products for sales force automation functionality, but still lack some functional components or strong business execution in the SFA market.
New vendors on the Magic Quadrant list this year include Zoho, with its low-cost solution that Gartner says is attractive to SMB customers looking for value. Other Niche Players include NetSuite, Sage ACT, CDC Software, SageCRM and SugarCRM.
While SugarCRM has a limited number of professional services personnel, Gartner said the SugarCRM Community Edition (free download) continues to be a viable alternative as a way to get basic functionality for less capital expenditure.
Sales Force Automation Leaders
On the 2011 Sales Force Automation Magic Quadrant leader board are Microsoft, Oracle Siebel CRM, Oracle CRM On-Demand and Salesforce.com.
Microsoft has entered the Salesforce Automation Magic Quadrant for the first time with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Boasting more than 1.7 million users and a broad partner delivery network, Microsoft Dynamics is positioned as a Leader alongside its major competitors – Oracle and Salesforce.com.
In the report, Gartner said Salesforce.com continues to innovate by increasing the breadth and capabilities available for social media technology, Chatter and mobile offerings.
Oracle CRM on Demand has a competitive price point for the enterprise that provides an attractive cost/value proposition, Gartner said, and also offers solid integration with other Oracle applications, including the Oracle E-Business Suite and Oracle Siebel CRM.
SAP and Sage SalesLogix were listed as Challengers.