Sales Force Automation Tools for Small Businesses
AbstractThe field salesperson is the small businesses' primary contact with customers and must be well-informed and responsive to customer needs. Information technology tools can help the salesperson meet these needs. However, the question of exactly which tools are instrumental in providing the salesperson sufficient levels of responsiveness needs to be answered. Given the investments associated with the various forms of software and hardware, firms need to know which forms will make a difference. Thus, this study compared users to nonusers of various forms of hardware and software. These results suggest investments in some software (such as e-mail faxing and e-catalogs) will be effective. Users of various forms of hardware, however, did not find their information system to be more effective. Future research efforts may find the explanation for this lack of effectiveness may rest with either the task performed (e.g., administrating the sales territory versus serving the customer) or the context (e.g., desk-based versus wireless mobile technology).
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