Sales force automation (SFA) technology has become an indispensable tool for businesses to increase the efficiency of their sales forces. Apart from improving salesperson productivity, SFA applications promise to deliver increased effectiveness of sales functions. Increased adoption and usage of handheld devices by salespeople will unlock the true potential of SFA investments and will prove to be a key factor contributing to the sustained growth of the Mobile SFA market. "Mobile SFA not only delivers sound ROI, but also extends the life and ROI of initial SFA investments," says Fred Landis, Program Leader of Frost's CRM Growth Opportunities program.

New strategic analysis service deliverable from Frost & Sullivan, Mobile Sales Force Automation Markets, predicts CRM license revenue from mobile SFA applications to grow from $169 million in 2004 to $293 million by 2008. Its fastest growing segment, wireless SFA, is projected to grow from $20 Million in 2004 to $115 Million in 2008.

While mobile SFA applications post impressive rates of adoption in industry verticals such as pharmaceuticals, financial services, hi-tech and consumer packaged goods (CPG), vendors also need to deal with certain misgivings on the part of end users. These include apprehension about ROI, TCO, integration complexity and security issues.

"Mobile SFA is not a one-size fits all affair -- specific sales business processes determine the scope and structure of each solution," said Ashwin Iyer, Frost and Sullivan industry analyst. CRM and SFA vendors can enable easier justification of ROI by providing solutions that align with the sales processes in the respective industries. Such tools grow in importance as sales organizations are increasingly becoming disparate.

"SFA vendors will do well to identify niche market areas, recognize current and future selling processes that customers deploy, and tailor their mobile offerings accordingly," Iyer said. "They can also leverage on improving IT budgets, which are promoting investments in new technologies such as wireless SFA."

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