Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation
Sales force automation applications enable B2B organizations to automate sales activities, processes and administrative responsibilities for sales professionals. Gartner's 2012 Magic Quadrant for SFA has new Leaders and product entrants, and one product offering has been dropped.
Sales force automation (SFA) applications support the automation of sales activities, processes and administrative responsibilities for B2B organizations' sales professionals. Core functionalities include account, contact and opportunity management. Additional add-on capabilities focus on improving the sales effectiveness of salespeople, such as sales configuration, guided selling, proposal generation and content management, and sales performance management support, including incentive compensation, quota, sales coaching and territory management.
Source: Gartner (July 2012)
Pivotal was making great strides in the market; however, it was plagued by financial issues unrelated to the business performance of its product. In 2011, then parent company CDC Software filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy to protect itself over investor dispute (see "CDC Software: Update on Impact of Its Parent Company Filing for Chapter 11 Protection Under U.S. Bankruptcy Laws"). In April 2012, Vista Partner purchased CDC Software, which will help stabilize CDC's uncertain financial position. Pivotal's offering remains a sound technical alternative for companies that are Microsoft-centric.
- CDC's primary technical value proposition is its integration with the Microsoft software infrastructures and applications, with a focus on areas such as embedded Microsoft SharePoint technology. The form design component of Visual Studio is embedded, and Visual Studio is used to author and modify .NET code-based business workflow.
- The use of Microsoft Outlook as the primary activity management environment is compelling for Microsoft-centric organizations.
- The product provides core opportunity, activity, pipeline, account and contact management for sales, and a broader footprint from some marketing (lead management) and customer service functionalities, such as issue management and tracking.
- CDC's bankruptcy situation has caused uncertainty during the past 12 months; however, Pivotal is CDC's top-performing business asset, and the acquisition by Vista Partners should stabilize its corporate business position.
- CDC is not as good a fit for non-Microsoft-centric IT organizations, due to its focus on Microsoft technology.
- CDC lacks complementary software partners to fill current functional gaps, such as incentive compensation or pricing applications.
To appeal to more non-Windows mobile users, Microsoft Dynamics CRM's will expand platform support for mobile devices, and will include native deployments for non-Windows mobile devices and non-Internet Explorer browsers. These will be significant advances that will increase the pool of sales organizations that will consider Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The top three reasons organizations consider Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-premises is the potential for more-attractive total cost of ownership versus cloud based offerings, integration with Microsoft Outlook and leverage of the Microsoft technology stack, such as SharePoint and SQL Server.
- Integration with the Microsoft technology stack assets, such as Microsoft SharePoint for collaboration and content management, Microsoft Lync for Presence and Instant Messaging and Microsoft Visual Studio for extended customization, enables customers to leverage their Microsoft investments.
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides accessibility for Microsoft Outlook clients.
- A broad partner delivery network provides a breadth of application add-ons, industry vertical expertise and implementation capabilities.
- Microsoft's strategy to increase mobile platform and browser support for Microsoft Dynamics CRM will improve accessibility and usability for Microsoft Dynamics CRM users on non-Windows platforms.
- Available in Microsoft Dynamics 2Q12 Service Update, Power View is an extension of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, and contains good reporting capabilities, specifically data visualization and presentation.
- The vendor relies on solution providers to furnish a complete solution (e.g., incentive compensation, sales configuration and pricing management); users need to do their own vetting of providers, and should not assume that Microsoft has vetted them.
- Non-Microsoft IT organizations need to invest to improve their Microsoft technical stack capabilities.
- Microsoft provides a good technical vision, but needs to incorporate more vision on the business of selling to help guide selling organizations.
- Although Microsoft provides a native Outlook Client for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, for direct server-to-server integration, customers must use partner solutions for Microsoft Exchange Server to Microsoft Dynamics CRM server synchronization to handle tasks, calendar appointments and contacts.
- New Multidevice Mobile Solution is a cloud service only and has an incremental list price cost of $30 per user; if a sales organizations wants to have a multidevice solution on-premises, it will require a partner solution.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online has made significant strides in 2011, as evidenced by the increased number of Gartner customer inquiries and an approximately 10-fold increase in new customers. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is relatively low priced at $44 per user per month.
- There is interoperability with other Microsoft products, such as SharePoint, Lync, and Windows Azure.
- There is a common data model with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-premises offering.
- Microsoft's strategy to increase mobile platform and browser support for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online will improve accessibility and usability for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online users on non-Windows platforms.
- Microsoft's adding custom workflow entities to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online eliminates a major source of incompatibility with Microsoft Dynamics on-premises deployments. Customers with more complex requirements can now leverage a hybrid delivery deployment by starting with software as a service (SaaS) and moving to on-premises.
- Microsoft does not provide a development sandbox, which is a problem for customers that want to test development or configuration changes prior to production in the cloud. The vendor does offer the ability to develop locally, on-premises. Then, through Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online solution management capabilities, users can move the on-premises configuration and customization changes to the online environment.
- Although Microsoft states that it provides vertical industry templates and partner application add-ons, it has no stated plans to add industry functionality to the core product.
- Unlike the Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-premises version, there are few live customers with more than 700 users; Gartner expects that to change in 2012.
- The new CRM analytics in the Microsoft Dynamics 2Q12 Service Update has no impact on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online; however, it offers enhanced data analytics for Microsoft Dynamics CRM deployed on-premises. Given the effort Microsoft has put behind marketing Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, some users and prospects will be disappointed that the new business intelligence feature in Microsoft Dynamics 2Q12 Service Update known as Power View is available only to on-premises users. Power View is an extension of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, and contains good reporting capabilities, specifically data visualization and presentation.
NetSuite had a breakout 2011 in corporate business performance. NetSuite ended the year with $236 million in revenue. However, NetSuite's "sweet spot" continues to be financial accounting and ERP functions. Its SFA module continues to be an attractive option for those organizations also implementing the rest of the ERP suite, but we have yet to see NetSuite show strong market presence in SFA-only evaluations.
- NetSuite continues to focus on small and midsize businesses (SMBs); however, it is moving up to large midmarket companies, due to its success with its financial management and e-commerce applications.
- The broad SFA functional footprint (e.g., sales compensation, e-commerce, opportunity management, quoting and order management) is appealing for SMBs, but functions other than e-commerce and financial accounting lack best-of-breed depth.
- The "unlimited" bundling simplifies product and pricing options for customers and prospects that require a large user count (about 500 users), multiple modules and support for multiple interfaces between NetSuite and other systems.
- Strong business growth and public company status provide business model transparency.
- NetSuite has a good understanding of how SFA integrates with other ERP functions, it supports end-to-end business processes (e.g., lead to cash) and provides a more complete view of the customer; however, NetSuite needs to increase its vision on technology to transform selling processes.
- Prepare for the possibility of early challenges if you are interested in leveraging some of NetSuite's latest large-enterprise independent software vendor (ISV), system integrator (SI; e.g., Accenture and Deloitte), and professional services partnerships. Some are still early in their partnerships. As NetSuite moves into larger enterprises and new alliances emerge and mature, there will be an inevitable learning curve.
- Customers continue to state that negotiating SLAs with NetSuite is a challenge.
- Market focus and sweet spot are financial accounting and other ERP-related processes, not CRM.
With few exceptions, Oracle has instructed its sales force to lead SFA prospects to Oracle Fusion CRM, which is available for SaaS and on-premises (see "What You Need to Know About Oracle Fusion CRM"). We expect Oracle Fusion to be included in a number of shortlists this year, due to Oracle's history and track record selling other CRM products, such as Oracle Siebel and Oracle CRM On Demand. There are a number of promising new features specifically for analytics-based territory management and the Application Extensibility Framework. Clients now entering into discussions with Oracle regarding SFA should insist that their Oracle sales teams include the Oracle Fusion CRM solution in their proposals.
- The release of Oracle Fusion CRM with embedded analytics expands the territory management capabilities of sales operations managers.
- Oracle CRM Desktop enables salespeople to interact with Oracle Fusion CRM directly from the Microsoft Outlook Client.
- Oracle Fusion CRM's Application Extensibility Framework will improve configuration and customization over Oracle Sales offerings: Oracle Siebel and Oracle CRM On Demand.
- Early customer references regarding Oracle Fusion CRM have been positive, especially concerning territory management and the application extensibility framework.
- As is the case with any new product, there are fewer customers than there are for established products. Although we have spoken with four references, the product still needs time in the market to become fully validated.
- Gartner has not seen vertical-industry-specific versions of the Oracle Fusion CRM for Sales product. The product lacks an integrated customer service application on the same platform. This may require sales managers to continue to consider Oracle Siebel and Oracle CRM On Demand for new deployments. Oracle has stated that vertical capabilities will be added to Oracle Fusion CRM for Sales.
- Life sciences customers should evaluate Oracle CRM On Demand.
- On-premises customers with consumer packaged goods (CPG), retail/travel and transportation, and/or public sector requirements should consider Oracle Siebel.
- Although Oracle-centric IT departments see the value of the technology advances implemented in Oracle Fusion CRM, Oracle has yet to capture the "hearts and minds" of line-of-business buyers with its long-term CRM vision.
Contrary to the market perception, Oracle Siebel CRM will continue to be a viable option for complex on-premises deployments for the foreseeable future. Oracle Siebel CRM continues to have the broadest set of functional footprints for SFA. However, Oracle will lead with Oracle CRM Fusion for most new customer situations, rather than Oracle Siebel CRM. Oracle will continue to invest in Oracle Siebel CRM and offer what Oracle calls Oracle Fusion Modules as add-ons. For example, the Oracle CRM Desktop is an attractive module for Siebel users who want to access Oracle Siebel CRM from the Outlook user interface (UI). We expect new Siebel customer sales to decline as Oracle Fusion CRM gets more of a foothold in the market. There is no current functional reason for Siebel customers to migrate from Siebel to Oracle Fusion CRM, if their existing deployment is working properly.
- A proven, deep and broad sales functionality (e.g., order management, sales configuration, pricing) is offered in multiple vertical industries for large enterprises.
- This product offers flexibility, configuration and customization.
- The offering makes good use of Oracle infrastructure and middleware, such as Application Integration Architecture and Oracle Business Intelligence.
- It remains one of the few on-premises software options for large-enterprise, large-scale deployments.
- Interesting enough, customers have said that Oracle integration with non-Oracle applications was easier to manage than existing Oracle applications. This is because, when integrating using Oracle Process Integration Packs (PIPs), it is important to make sure all applications using the PIPs are on the same patch and version level. If they are, the integration works fine.
- Deployment complexity is associated with enterprise-class applications.
- Siebel territory management is rule-based and can be difficult to manage for some customers. Oracle states that it will enable Siebel users to use Oracle Fusion territory management module, which has improved usability and planning capabilities. Gartner has not spoken to any customers that have taken this approach.
Salesforce.com continues to lead the SFA market, as demonstrated by its business growth and innovation; however, it remains expensive. The main reasons customers choose salesforce.com is strong brand, innovation and proven track record. Salesforce.com has a strong ecosystem of ISVs; however, adding multiple solutions to fill salesforce.com's functional "white space" can be expensive. Salesforce.com has customers in all regions of the world, but it needs to continue to increase its geographic support outside its core strength in North America.
- Salesforce.com continues to push innovation by increasing the breadth and capabilities available for social media technology, Chatter and mobile offerings, such as the iPad.
- Salesforce.com offers improved application agility, due to the ease of use of the Force.com platform, which is usable by technically sophisticated business analysts.
- Salesforce.com offers integrated sales and customer service on the same platform.
- The vendor offers a proven infrastructure and reliability.
- Salesforce.com offers good usability.
- The salesforce.com Unlimited Edition is expensive; evaluate the lower-end editions before committing to the Unlimited Edition.
- Small businesses that find salesforce.com's price for the Enterprise Edition high will find sufficient lower-price alternatives in the market. Small businesses should also measure lower-price alternatives against salesforce.com's Group Edition and Professional Edition.
- Salesforce.com's Social Enterprise License agreement represents an opportunity for customers who will experience large subscriber growth and leverage the entire salesforce.com suite; however, companies should be careful not to overbuy subscriptions and functionality they will not need.
- Simple, real-time reports and dashboards for business users are easy to create, but more in-depth analytics will require an AppExchange partner.
- Salesforce.com relies heavily on AppExchange vendors to provide a complete solution (e.g., lead management, incentive compensation, sales configuration and pricing management); users need to do their own analyses of AppExchange providers, and should not assume that salesforce.com has vetted them.
- The vendor provides a basic Master Services Agreement; however, it continues to lag in its ability to provide a strong SLA, including penalties with its customers.
Sage ACT continues to be a good offering for the individual and small companies looking for a low-cost, on-premises alternative for contact management or basic SFA functionality. The UI continues to be one of the more intuitive for the functionality Sage ACT provides.
- This product continues to be a low-cost, on-premises software alternative.
- It is optimized for contact management processes.
- Sage ACT remains an attractive UI for salespeople.
- Sage ACT has one of the largest installed bases (more than 2.8 million users and 56,000 companies) of small businesses and salespeople (the average deployment is for fewer than 20 users) in the industry.
- Its ease of use and simplicity for selling means that it requires limited cross-functional collaboration, enabling a highly independent selling approach.
- Sage ACT is unsuitable for companies with complex business process automation or broad sales functional footprint requirements (e.g., sales configurator, sales analytics and quotations). Gartner has not seen the product considered for these types of deployments.
- Sage ACT is not conducive to large enterprises with team selling models and complex selling models.
- The core SFA application lacks a SaaS option; however, Sage does offer a Sage ACT Hosted program, in which Sage ACT can be hosted externally.
Sage CRM is somewhat of a hidden secret in the marketplace. On one hand, it's a SaaS offering with good opportunity management functionality, an intuitive UI and a valued pricing approach; however, it continues to be plagued by limited market visibility. Sales organizations will find Sage CRM to be an attractive alternative for organizations looking for a lower-cost SaaS solution, versus some of the more-well-known SaaS SFA providers. Sage CRM is primarily focused on SMB organizations.
- Sage CRM's core opportunity management functionality is an asset.
- The offering is a good economical solution for Sage ERP customers, due to Sage CRM's integration focus on enabling end-to-end business process support, such as opportunity to cash.
- It features end-user usability and good customer references.
- Sage CRM's customization environment is user-friendly.
- The vendor's vision for mobility on smartphones is an asset.
- The sales functional footprint, and partnerships for functional support for capabilities such as sales configuration and incentive compensation, are limited.
- Based on Gartner SFA inquiries from customers creating shortlists, there is limited market awareness.
- Sage CRM has limited ISV partnerships to fill in functional white space.
Sage SalesLogix has improved its mobility and analytics capabilities in newer versions of its product. Gartner has also seen an increase in the number of Sage SalesLogix customers that have heavily customized older versions of Sage SalesLogix that are either off maintenance and/or not upgraded in a three to five years. Rather than opt into an entirely new vendor evaluation process, these customers should first consider Sage SalesLogix's newest offering and try to negotiate favorable terms with Sage to identify an ideal migration to the latest version of Sage SalesLogix. This may include leveraging Sage SalesLogix Cloud.
- Although not specifically cited as a separate profile on the SFA Magic Quadrant, Sage North America's use of Amazon's public cloud infrastructure provides a SaaS alternative to deploying SalesLogix on-premises. During the past year, there have been a modest number of customers using this model.
- SalesLogix has good extensibility and flexibility.
- SalesLogix has good reporting and analytics.
- The product is most appropriate for organizations with as many as 750 users, and for midmarket and upper-midmarket companies and divisions of large enterprises. The vendor claims that its largest deployment involves 4,500 users.
- Sage has a good vision for mobility on smartphone devices, such as the BlackBerry and iPhone.
- The functional footprint is focused more on core opportunity management, rather than capabilities such as sales configuration, pricing management, incentive compensation or performance management functionality.
- SalesLogix customers considering upgrading from an older release to the version 7.5 Web client should plan carefully and work with Sage and its partners to prioritize and safeguard customizations that may require a reimplementation. The upgrade process may represent an opportunity to eliminate customization that was required with version 7.5 that is no longer needed in the latest release. Another upgrade challenge includes merging customer-written custom code with upgrades, hot fixes and service packs.
- The vendor has a large implementation partner network, but a limited ecosystem of ISV partners building add-ons to SalesLogix.
SAP enters the Leaders quadrant for the first time. The basis for this entry is strong business results, integration with SAP ERP, increased mobile vision and eventual leverage of Hana real-time analytics. SAP still has difficulty in the field providing a vision for sales organizations; however, the product marketing group has demonstrated an understanding of the important components needed for most sales organizations. Sales organizations may be challenged to win the "mind share" of their IT departments to get their SFA projects high priority.
- This product features real-time integration between SAP CRM and SAP ERP.
- This product has good integration with other SAP applications (product configurator) and infrastructures (NetWeaver, SAP Business Warehouse), and it enables support for complex, end-to-end, industry-specific business processes, such as order-to-cash on an integrated platform.
- Integrated analytics with SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence and SAP BusinessObjects is offered.
- Future releases will offer the vision of leveraging Hana real-time analytics and mobility.
- Broad CRM includes a marketing, customer service and sales functional footprint.
- The Microsoft Outlook integration needs to become more reliable; multiple users continue to not recommend client-side integration. Server-side integration is functional, but it also needs more bidirectional behavior.
- Managing the cost and complexity of enterprise applications and dependencies on other SAP middleware is a challenge.
- SAP has made some progress getting its message out to sales organizations, but it hasn't broken through as a "top of mind" solution with vice presidents of sales.
- Better clarity of SAP's mobile strategy for SAP current customers is needed. Current customers are unclear how to take advantage of new mobile device alternatives, such as how current customizations and configurations will work.
SugarCRM has undergone a business resurgence that began two years ago. Gartner has seen a significant increase in customer inquiries due to improved sales execution, and, in 2011, SugarCRM had the largest win in the company's history (IBM 75,000 users). SugarCRM continues to leverage its open-source heritage for product development and is a value option as it relates to its competitive price point.
- The Community Edition (free download) continues to be a viable alternative for attaining basic functionality for less capital expenditure.
- A cloud-neutral strategy enables customers to run SugarCRM on a variety of cloud infrastructures, including Amazon and IBM Cloud.
- A flexible customization environment that leverages PHP, combined with an innovative, open-source CRM model and community, enables collaborative, customer-driven enhancements. The open-source community develops and refines capabilities, then SugarCRM takes these capabilities and productizes enhancements in commercial releases of SugarCRM software.
- SugarCRM provides an attractive, easy-to-understand pricing model; customers pay the same subscription price, regardless of model.
- The IBM partnership provides improved delivery services and market reach; for those companies that have adopted an IBM technical stack, such as Lotus Notes, there is a CRM option.
- Although it signed a large deal with IBM in 2011 (75,000 users), SugarCRM is primarily focused on SMBs and is in the process of expanding direct sales and partnerships to support larger SFA implementations.
- SugarCRM is in the process of ramping up its direct sales organization for larger named accounts that will improve its ability to sell to larger accounts.
- SugarCRM does not have a strong ecosystem of traditional ISV partners to fill in functional white space of products. SugarCRM does have an emerging marketplace of ISVs called SugarExchange.com and offers Sugarforge.com, which is an open-source community.
- One subscription price, regardless of delivery model, is easy for customers to understand, however, some customers question why they would not get a price break if they are taking on the operational burden of running software on-premises.
Zoho's market focus is to be a low-cost provider for SFA. Zoho is attractive to SMBs, which tend to be more cost-conscious.
- The vendor offers a low-cost solution — Professional Edition is $12 per user per month, and Enterprise Edition is $25 per user per month.
- There is a broad suite of business application functionality, but it will not have the depth required for large, complex installations.
- This vendor's solution is attractive for SMBs looking for value.
- With no direct sales, Zoho relies on a pull model and advertising for customers to discover its products.
- There is a lack of integrated ISV partners to fill functional white space.
- Customers report that Zoho needs to spend more time on quality assurance before releasing new versions.
We review and adjust our inclusion criteria for Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes as markets change. As a result of these adjustments, the mix of vendors in any Magic Quadrant or MarketScope may change over time. A vendor appearing in a Magic Quadrant or MarketScope one year and not the next does not necessarily indicate that we have changed our opinion of that vendor. This may be a reflection of a change in the market and, therefore, changed evaluation criteria, or a change of focus by a vendor.
Oracle Fusion Sales
Oracle CRM On Demand has been eliminated; Oracle Fusion Sales is now the lead product for Oracle for both on-premises and SaaS. Oracle CRM On Demand is only targeted at existing Oracle CRM On Demand customers and new customers in the life sciences industry.
To be included in this Magic Quadrant, a vendor must demonstrate that it:
- Has proven ability to deliver opportunity management systems with software released during the past 18 months; a new offering from an established vendor in this market will also be considered if it can be validated with customers.
- Has at least five new, named customers that have actively deployed opportunity management functionality during the past 12 months.
- Has customers using B2B opportunity management as the primary sales application in at least three industries.
- Has at least $15 million in annual company revenue.
- Has customer presence in more than one of the following regions: North America, EMEA, Latin America and the Asia/Pacific (APAC) region.
Product/Service: SFA applications include capabilities for opportunity management; sales-effectiveness applications, including guided selling, sales coaching, sales configuration, quotation management and content management; and sales performance management, including incentive compensation, quota management and territory (see "A Framework for Evaluating Sales Force Automation Application Functionality"). Different sales organizations require different levels of depth and complexity of capabilities. Vendors that support a wide range of complexity have greater market potential and are rated accordingly. This is a cross-industry Magic Quadrant; therefore, the evaluation of a provider's offering is focused on the ability to serve several distinct industry sectors, not to provide industry-specific solutions.
In many cases, an SFA application will combine several functional components, some of which require third-party vendors. A key evaluation criterion is how well an SFA application integrates with third-party products and customer data sources. This is measured primarily by the number and complexity of data and application integrations, as demonstrated by live customer deployments.
Key evaluation criteria also include salesperson technology access, Internet browser-based capabilities, a disconnected laptop (see "Use Sales Force Role Requirements to Choose Mobile Devices and Connectivity"), a personal mobile device (see "IT Must Factor Sales Culture Into Mobile SFA Device Selection" and "Evaluating SFA Functionality for Smartphones") or a media tablet (see "iPads: Customer-Facing Selling Will Drive iPad Use for Sales" and "iPads: Their Impact on the Top Six Sales Processes").
The overall vendor product/service functionality rating is developed by evaluating specific SFA functionality, including opportunity management, sales effectiveness, sales performance management, access and architecture (for example, openness, flexibility, usability and workflow), and sales reporting and analytics. Opportunity management capabilities are weighted more heavily than other SFA application building blocks. This reflects market demand for SFA functionality by sales organizations. The vendor must have a stable product development team for each product module it sells. Increased emphasis will also be placed on the value that SFA applications provide directly to salespeople (see "Toolkit Decision Framework: Top-Seven Features Salespeople Want in Their SFA Systems").
Overall Viability (Business Unit, Financial, Marketing Strategy, Organization): Key aspects of this criterion are the vendor's ability to ensure continued vitality of a product, including support of current and future releases, as well as a clear road map for the next three years. The vendor must have the cash on hand and consistent revenue growth during four quarters to fund current and future employee burn rates, and to generate profits. The vendor is also rated on its commitment and ability to generate revenue and profits, specifically in the SFA market.
Sales Execution/Pricing: The vendor must provide global sales and distribution coverage that aligns with its marketing messages. The provider must have specific experience and success selling SFA applications to sales buying centers (that is, the vice president of sales or sales operations).
Marketing Execution: The clarity, quality, creativity and efficacy of programs designed to deliver the vendor's message to influence the market, promote its brand and business, increase awareness of its products, and establish a positive identification with the product, brand or vendor with buyers. This mind share can be driven by a combination of publicity, promotions, thought leadership, word of mouth and sales activities.
Customer Experience: Feedback from active customers on generally available releases during the past 12 to 18 months is an important consideration. Sources of feedback include vendor-supplied references, Gartner inquiries and other customer-facing interactions, such as Gartner conferences. Customers' experiences are rated based on the vendor's ability to help customers achieve positive business value, as well as sustained user adoption, quality implementation and ongoing support.
Operations: The last criterion we evaluate in this category is the ability of the organization to meet its goals and commitments. Factors include the quality of the organizational structure — skills, experiences, programs, systems and other vehicles that enable the organization to operate effectively and efficiently on an ongoing basis (see Table 1).
Source: Gartner (July 2012)
Offering (Product) Strategy: The vendor should demonstrate a vision for new application functionality across the breadth and depth of product capabilities; this is critical to meeting the needs of a maturing market. Subcriteria include the vendor's vision for opportunity management; sales effectiveness capabilities, such as guided selling, sales coaching, sales configuration, quote management and content management; sales performance management, including incentive compensation, quota management and territory management; access and architecture (such as openness, flexibility, extensibility and usability); and sales reporting and analytics. The product strategy can be a combination of organic development, acquisition and/or ecosystems. However, for ecosystems, close attention is paid to the quality and support of third-party partners.
Marketing Strategy: A clear, differentiated marketing strategy with a set of messages that appeals to selling organizations and is consistently communicated throughout the organization and externalized through the website, customer programs and positioning statements.
Sales Strategy: The strategy for selling SFA software that uses the appropriate network of direct and indirect sales, marketing, service, and communication affiliates that extend the scope and depth of market reach, skills, expertise, technologies, services and the customer base. Key elements of the strategy include a sales and distribution plan, internal investment priority and timing, and partner alliances.
Business Model: Vendors need to have clear business plans for how they will be successful in the SFA market. These business plans should include appropriate levels of investment to achieve profitability and healthy revenue growth during a three- to five-year period. Sales channel and partnership strategies are important components.
Innovation: Vendors must show a marshaling of resources, expertise or capital for competitive advantage or investments in new areas, such as social collaboration, cloud computing and SaaS, or new devices, such as the iPad.
Geographic Strategy: We examine the vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of regions outside the corporate headquarters' location, directly or through partners, channels and subsidiaries, as appropriate for that geography and market (see Table 2).
Source: Gartner (July 2012)
Leaders demonstrate a market-defining vision of how technology can help top sales executives achieve business objectives. Leaders have the ability to execute against that vision through products, services and demonstrated, solid business results in the form of revenue and earnings. Leaders have significant successful customer deployments in North America, EMEA and the APAC region in a wide variety of vertical industries, with multiple proof points above 500 users. Leaders are often what other providers in the market measure themselves against.
The vendors in the Challengers quadrant are often larger than most (but not all) vendors in the Niche Players quadrant, and demonstrate a higher volume of new business for SFA. These vendors have the size to compete worldwide; but, in some cases, they may not be able to execute equally well in all geographies. They understand the evolving needs of a sales organization, yet may not lead customers into new functional areas with their strong functional vision. Challengers tend to have a good technology vision for architecture and other IT organizational considerations, but have not won the hearts and minds of top sales executives.
Visionaries are ahead of most potential competitors in delivering innovative products and/or delivery models. They anticipate emerging/changing sales needs, and move the market ahead into areas where it hasn't yet been. They have a strong potential to influence the direction of the SFA market, but are limited in execution and/or demonstrated track record.
Niche Players offer products for SFA functionality, but may lack some functional components, may not show the ability to consistently handle deployments of more than 500 users across multiple geographies or may lack strong business execution in the SFA market. Niche Players may offer complete portfolios for a specific vertical, but demonstrate weaknesses in one or more important areas to support cross-industry requirements, such as complex forecasting or sales effectiveness. They may have an inconsistent implementation track record, or may lack the ability to support large-enterprise requirements. Despite the issues described, Niche Players, in many cases, can offer the best solutions to meet the needs of particular sales organizations, considering the price/value ratio for the solution.
All vendors included in the 2012 Magic Quadrant for SFA have customers that are successfully using their products and services; however, this is not an exhaustive list. Other regional and/or vertical industry SFA specialists did not meet our inclusion criteria. This Magic Quadrant encompasses a wide cross-section of vendors, including those that offer different delivery models (such as on-premises, hosted and SaaS), and differing levels of functional breadth and sophistication. Regardless of the provider you're considering, ask yourself, "Will this vendor help my sales organization sell more effectively?" In many cases, a sales organization must evaluate not just a vendor's suite of product offerings but also the ecosystem of providers that can fill in functional white space for capabilities the considered vendor on the Magic Quadrant may not offer.
Use this Magic Quadrant as a reference for evaluations, but explore the market further to qualify the capacity of each vendor to address your unique business problems and technical concerns. Depending on the complexity and scale of your requirements, your shortlist will be unique. The Magic Quadrant for SFA is not designed to be the sole tool for creating a vendor shortlist. Use it as part of your due diligence, and in conjunction with discussions with Gartner analysts.
Magic Quadrants are snapshots in time; to be fair and complete in the analysis, we need to stop data collection efforts at a consistent time. In this research, the cutoff date was 11 June 2012.
In 2011, more than $5 billion was invested in sales applications. SFA deployments continue to focus on core functional capabilities for accounts, contacts, opportunities, selling processes and sales operations. SFA requirements are unique for each B2B sales organization, based on the maturity and culture of the organization in its use of technology, sophistication of sales practices and anticipated return on investment. Gartner sees an increase focused on sales performance management capabilities that augment core SFA initiatives. Smartphones and iPads continue to dominate the discussion to improve mobile accessibility.
Just as each sales organization is different, not all SFA systems are created equal. SFA has unique implications for each company, because factors such as selling style, organizational size, sales processes, integration demands, diversity of roles, number of users and organizational structures are unique to each company.
Product-driven transactional sales organizations will find value in basic lead and opportunity management capabilities to reduce sales cycles and improve sales management visibility.
Large, complex sales organizations that support multitier, matrixed sales teams require role-specific functionality for inside field and strategic account salespeople, as well as scalability and performance attributes to manage large volumes of data. Many vendors in our Niche Players quadrant have better price/value alternatives for less-complex uses.
Consultative solution selling will require rich-content process support to tie together proposals, bids, configurations and quotes with authorizations and order-capture systems.
A successful vendor selection strategy will assess providers that support data requirements, access modes and functionality for each sales role. The sales processes will dictate the functional components that best satisfy organizational and individual sales requirements.
Ability to Execute
Product/Service: Core goods and services offered by the vendor that compete in/serve the defined market. This includes current product/service capabilities, quality, feature sets and skills, whether offered natively or through OEM agreements/partnerships as defined in the market definition and detailed in the subcriteria.
Overall Viability (Business Unit, Financial, Strategy, Organization): Viability includes an assessment of the overall organization's financial health, the financial and practical success of the business unit, and the likelihood that the individual business unit will continue investing in the product, will continue offering the product and will advance the state of the art within the organization's portfolio of products.
Sales Execution/Pricing: The vendor's capabilities in all pre-sales activities and the structure that supports them. This includes deal management, pricing and negotiation, pre-sales support and the overall effectiveness of the sales channel.
Market Responsiveness and Track Record: Ability to respond, change direction, be flexible and achieve competitive success as opportunities develop, competitors act, customer needs evolve and market dynamics change. This criterion also considers the vendor's history of responsiveness.
Marketing Execution: The clarity, quality, creativity and efficacy of programs designed to deliver the organization's message to influence the market, promote the brand and business, increase awareness of the products, and establish a positive identification with the product/brand and organization in the minds of buyers. This "mind share" can be driven by a combination of publicity, promotional initiatives, thought leadership, word-of-mouth and sales activities.
Customer Experience: Relationships, products and services/programs that enable clients to be successful with the products evaluated. Specifically, this includes the ways customers receive technical support or account support. This can also include ancillary tools, customer support programs (and the quality thereof), availability of user groups, service-level agreements and so on.
Operations: The ability of the organization to meet its goals and commitments. Factors include the quality of the organizational structure, including skills, experiences, programs, systems and other vehicles that enable the organization to operate effectively and efficiently on an ongoing basis.
Completeness of Vision
Market Understanding: Ability of the vendor to understand buyers' wants and needs and to translate those into products and services. Vendors that show the highest degree of vision listen to and understand buyers' wants and needs, and can shape or enhance those with their added vision.
Marketing Strategy: A clear, differentiated set of messages consistently communicated throughout the organization and externalized through the website, advertising, customer programs and positioning statements.
Sales Strategy: The strategy for selling products that uses the appropriate network of direct and indirect sales, marketing, service and communication affiliates that extend the scope and depth of market reach, skills, expertise, technologies, services and the customer base.
Offering (Product) Strategy: The vendor's approach to product development and delivery that emphasizes differentiation, functionality, methodology and feature sets as they map to current and future requirements.
Business Model: The soundness and logic of the vendor's underlying business proposition.
Vertical/Industry Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of individual market segments, including vertical markets.
Innovation: Direct, related, complementary and synergistic layouts of resources, expertise or capital for investment, consolidation, defensive or pre-emptive purposes.
Geographic Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of geographies outside the "home" or native geography, either directly or through partners, channels and subsidiaries as appropriate for that geography and market.