23 October 2018

Microsoft still leader in the category Sales Force Automation (SFA)

Gartner, a world leader in strategic consulting, research and analysis in the field of Information Technology, has once again placed Microsoft in the Leaders section of the 2017 Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation.

A 360° view and the ability to operate in the customer service market - these are the pillars on which Microsoft's leadership rests.

Gartner «continues to see product innovation from Sales Force Automation solution providers in relation to predictive opportunity analysis and process modeling and market segment specification capabilities. The latter are not yet basic sales force automation capabilities, but are likely to be in the next 2/5 years», says Gartner.

Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation

The sales force automation market has remained true to the latest trend, registering an increase of 15.7% over last year and reaching sales of up to $6.2 billion in 2017. Gartnerians" analysis and insight, a true litmus test for application leaders, helps them navigate the jungle of possible solutions to meet their sales execution needs.

Strategic Planning Assumption

15% of all technological sales expenditure will be applied to sales-enabling technology by 2021 (compared to 8.7% in 2016).

Market definition/description

Gartner defines sales force automation (SFA) «as systems that support the automation of sales activities, processes and administrative responsibilities for sales professionals in organizations».

Gartner considers the SFA to be a core technology, implemented to automate an organization's core sales processes.

The core capabilities of the sales force automation market include:

  • Managing Accounts, Contacts and Opportunities
  • Management of the sales activity
  • Sales forecast
  • Mobile applications
  • Reporting
  • Management of relations with partners (PRM)
  • Platform Capacity

There are additional technologies and aspects that contribute to improving the sales effectiveness of sales people, such as:

  • Sales activation
  • Relationship Intelligence
  • Lead management
  • Guided sale
  • Sales content management
  • CPQ Instruments

While these extensions are important, Gartner does not believe that they are fundamental to market definition. Gartner's analysis flows into the Magic Quadrant for the SFA.

Magic dial

Source: Gartner (July 2018)

Inclusion and exclusion criteria

To qualify for this Magic Quadrant, vendors must meet at least five of the following criteria:

  • Have a technology solution that automates the critical capabilities of the SFA: account and contact management, sales operations management, opportunity management, reporting and dashboards, mobile applications, PRM and API integrations. The solution must also provide sales forecasting and pipeline management capabilities.
  • Have at least 25 customers with active SFA implementations as of March 2018, covering at least three industry sectors cumulatively, in accordance with Gartner's industry definitions.
  • Have an average number of SFA users per customer (non-organization/instance) of at least 20 users by March 2018.
  • Receive revenue from SFA software and services of at least $10 million during 2017.
  • Have customers with real-time SFA implementations in at least three of the five use cases for critical SFA capabilities: long-cycle B2B sales, short-cycle B2B sales, long-cycle B2C sales, short-cycle B2C sales, and indirect sales.
  • It has achieved at least one major release with significant functional improvements in the 12 months from April 2017 to March 2018. A new or acquired offer from an established supplier in this market is also considered if Gartner has determined that the offer has been sold to customers.
  • SFA contracts closed with at least six new logos (not new contracts sold to an existing customer) during the 12 months from April 2017 to March 2018.

Assessment criteria

  • Execution Capability
  • Product or service
  • Overall vitality
  • Execution of sales/prices
  • Market reactivity and track record

Completeness of vision

Gartner analysts evaluate suppliers on «their ability to compellingly articulate logical statements. This includes the current and future direction of the market, innovation, customer needs and competitive forces, as well as their correspondence to Gartner's market vision».

A 360° vision goes through:

  • Market Understanding
  • Marketing strategy
  • Sales strategy
  • Offering strategy (product)
  • Sales enablement capabilities, such as content management and guided selling
  • Lead management
  • Ability to sales effectiveness, such as CPQ or order management
  • Ability to manage sales performance, such as land management and quota management
  • Platform capabilities, including interoperability, integration, API capabilities, flexibility, extensibility and usability.
  • Sales reports and analysis
  • Integration with third-party sales applications
  • Business model
  • Innovation
  • Geographical strategy

Suppliers included in the analysis: Aptean, Base, Bpm'online, CRMNEXT, Infor, Insightly, Microsoft, Oracle, Pegasystems, PipelineDeals, Salesforce, SAP, SugarCRM, Xiaoshouyi, Zoho.

The in-depth study of all these criteria, still positions Microsoft as a reference point in the industry, a constant now customary in recent years.

Microsoft is in the Leaders quadrant: those who show «the ability to realize their vision through solid and demonstrable products, services and business results in the form of revenues and earnings. Leaders have major successful implementations in North America, EMEA and APAC across a wide variety of industries and with multiple test points for implementations of more than 500 users. They demonstrate consistently above-average customer experience satisfaction. Leaders are often the suppliers against whom other suppliers in the marketplace are measured».

Leadership supported primarily by:

  • Quality of your product vision
  • Integration with other products
  • Execution of sales.

Microsoft continues to make progress both in the number of companies to which it sells and in the size of the companies themselves.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales is available as SaaS or on-premise, and there is a native mobile application that works offline on both mobile phones and tablets.

In 2017, Microsoft took charge of and "processed" customer concerns by updating the usability of the web browser user interface and released a new sales solution, Microsoft Relationship Sales, which combines Dynamics 365, Office 365 and LinkedIn Sales Navigator into a single SFA offering.

After a recent update, it now features a rebuilt lead management module and a feature for real-time updates on tracked accounts.


  • Marketing and sales execution

Based on conversations with Gartner customers, Microsoft is in larger and more complex SFA implementations than ever before.

The company is attracting the interest of potential customers in retail banking and retail banking - vertical customers who have complex business processes and important data integration requirements.

  • Product Vision for Sales Transformation

Microsoft has a particularly strong vision for how its sales technology relates to the B2C customer experience of businesses and digital transformation initiatives. Reference customers have positively noted his significant vision to support initiatives for better sales execution.

  • The range available offers a significant number of products

Microsoft offers a significant number of native SFA product capabilities, including the latest capabilities such as predictive analysis for lead scoring, customer drop-out indicators, and relationship health.

Gartner intercepted some customer comments and references to the Magic Quadrant on the speed and performance of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for sales in SaaS distributions.

The responsibility, as Microsoft itself has repeatedly pointed out and communicated, lies with the poor design of the implementation. Customers and prospective customers with complex process automation and large datasets should consult Microsoft product experts before planning implementation.

(Source >  https://www.gartner.com/doc/reprints?id=1-55USSVZ&ct=180709&st=sb)