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Sales Force Automation (SFA) CRM System

SFA Vendor Selection for Book Fairs

ATIBA led the effort to select a CRM Sales Force Automation solution for a leading provider of children’s books that are distributed to children and teachers around the world. A key distribution vehicle for the organization is the 120,000+ book fairs that are conducted annually across the US; they introduce children to exciting and imaginative stories that peak interest, inspire students, put free books into teachers’ hands and help schools create a community culture of reading

The Process

To select the best solution possible, it was necessary to start by fully understanding the business model, sales process and detail components of marketing, selling, planning, coordinating and hosting book fairs. To obtain this knowledge, ATIBA interviewed staff throughout the organization including senior sales, marketing and IT executives, internal and field sales associates, administrative staff and distribution center personnel. A key component of this knowledge transfer was having a detailed understanding of the book selection, marketing materials and distribution process for book fairs.

An initial task was to clearly document the current-state process and all business requirements, which was used as input to the RFP; of additional importance was understanding the desired technology infrastructure and current pain-points that needed to be addressed.

The Vendors

Once requirements were understood and documented, ATIBA developed a comprehensive RFP and defined a vendor selection process that started with researching solutions, short-listing potential vendors, distributing the RFP, hosting a bidder’s conference and managing the vendors. The PM developed a scoring mechanism to be used during the proposal response review and assessment process and facilitated client meeting to review and score the RFP responses. Once individual scorecards were submitted by the management team, the PM rolled up the data to create a consolidated scorecard that provided a high-level accumulated view of vendor scores and a summary of the benefits and concerns of each vendor solution.

The nine vendor solutions initially considered included Applix, Oracle,, E.piphany, PeopleSoft, Siebel, JD Edwards, SalesLogix and Upshot.

The Selection

Once vendor responses were reviewed, assessed and scored, the field was narrowed down to PeopleSoft, Siebel and JD Edwards. Along with the RFP responses, detail cost proposals were received from each vendor; ATIBA assessed all information provided and created a comprehensive comparison report that enabled the client to focus on key features and gaps in each solution as well as long-term costs and benefits.

Each vendor was asked to create a custom demo that reflected the clients’ business requirements as defined in the RFP. The PM managed the ongoing process, and scheduled with each vendor organization to present their demo’s.

Ultimately, the client determined the SFA solution that best met their needs was the PeopleSoft solution.

The Implementation

The ATIBA project manager managed the CRM/SFA implementation process for the client to ensure contract commitments were met. Client IT team members worked side-by-side with vendor IT and configuration specialists to ensure a seamless technology knowledge transfer.

The PM worked with the developers and configuration specialists to ensure requirements were implemented in the solution and coordinated with the technical teams to perform system, integration and performance testing. The user community actively participated in user acceptance testing.

Training efforts were coordinated by the PM; customized user training was developed for administrative, sales, distribution center and field sales personnel to help ensure a smooth knowledge transfer, transition and roll-out.

The Results

Automation of the client’s unique sales process reduced the sales consultants planning process by 35%, providing them the ability to focus their time and effort on sales and customer service which increased overall customer satisfaction and resulted in increased sales.

The solution had an immediate positive impact on the end-to-end communication stream between the customers (schools), internal sales consultants, external field representatives, and senior management resulting in an increase in the accuracy of books delivered to the book fairs. That fact alone enabled many more children to obtain the books they wanted and put a bigger smile on the faces of many of the children who looked forward to the book fairs.

Once fully deployed, the PeopleSoft SFA system supported approximately 500 users, including distribution center personnel, internal sales consultants and field sales representatives in 17 locations across the US.

Industry: Education
Category: COTS, CRM, SFA, Workflow


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