Leading research and analytics company, Gartner, has released its Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation Platforms in 2022.
As the sales and customer journey landscape grows increasingly complex, automation tools have become an increasingly popular option for businesses to empower and support their distributed teams. Via Sales Force automation solutions, companies can minimize the repetitive tasks consuming the time of their crucial workers and enhance productivity.
However, choosing the right Sales Force Automation platforms can be complex, particularly with so many options on the market. Luckily, Gartner’s Magic Quadrant report helps, listing 14 companies and isolating three market leaders in this year’s report.
The Definition of a Sales Force Automation Platform
Gartner has made significant changes to its definition, scoring criteria, and the critical capabilities required for a Sales Force Automation (SFA) platform in 2022.
According to the analyst, leading vendors have begun adding new capabilities, such as collaboration, bot capabilities, proposal and quote systems, and more.
Today, Gartner defines SFA platforms as tools that natively support:
- The dissemination of action-oriented insights for improving contact management, sales, opportunity management, pipeline management, and forecasting process execution.
- The initiation, capture, and engagement of buyer-seller interactions using multi-experience devices and channels.
- The automation and capture of interactions and sales activities with clients, processes, and administrative requirements for sales professionals.
Gartner also now considers SFA platforms as a “foundational” technology required to automate core sales processes while enhancing the abilities of sales teams to engage with buyers through a range of touchpoints.
The core capabilities defined by Gartner for SFA platforms include:
- Lead, account, opportunity, and contact management
- Sales activity management
- Opportunity-guided selling
- Mobile, bot, and IoT (Internet of Things) capabilities
- Pipeline and forecast management
- Analytics and visualizations
- Partner Relationship Management tools
- Platform capabilities and composition
- Quote and proposal building
Using this new definition and list of focused feature requirements, Gartner has divided each vendor in the Magic Quadrant into four segments: Leaders, Challenges, Visionaries, and Niche Players. Here, we review each entrant on the 2022 list.
Leaders in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation Platforms demonstrate a complete “ability to execute” through impressive business results, excellent products, and deep services. These vendors also have a track record of delivering worldwide enterprise deployments across various industries. They also boast above-average product execution, sales execution, and CX scores.
The leaders for 2022 include:
Salesforce excels in its market responsiveness and scalability. Indeed, The Salesforce Sales Cloud is defined by Gartner as suitable for all company sizes, segments, and geographies, from APAC to North America. Gartner also draws attention to its extensive feature range, which includes pipeline inspection, improved conversation intelligence, and revenue intelligence. Salesforce also seems to lead the pack in innovation, market understanding, and sales strategy.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales suite is all-encompassing and relevant for organizations and industries of all sizes. Gartner also highlights the software’s recent developments, such as advanced Dynamics 365 and Teams collaboration integrations, an in-built sales accelerator, and a sales engagement system. Moreover, the analyst champions Microsoft for its powerful market strategy, activity management tools, and phenomenal marketing execution.
Oracle has achieved fantastic results with its Sales Force Automation platform this year. The solution is part of the company’s Advertising and Customer Experience Suite and focuses on the core competencies of SFA and adjacent areas. Oracle also offers access to sales performance management, revenue data solutions, and planning tools. The Sales ecosystem also delivers a streamlined and intuitive UI, which Gartner notes is “effective” at improving team productivity.
Gartner describes “Challengers” in the Magic Quadrant as companies larger than most Niche Players and capable of demonstrating a higher volume of new business opportunities. These companies are capable of competing worldwide and return above-average CX satisfaction scores. They also have a good technology vision and can understand the evolving needs of sales organizations but may not have the strongest completeness of vision.
The 2022 Challengers for the Sales Force Automation Magic Quadrant are:
Creatio boasts a no-code solution and flexible ecosystem that supports many sales processes and use cases across a diverse geography. Creatio recently upgraded its SFA platform’s UI/UX experience with the Freedom UI designer, which allows companies to customize their contact and opportunities lists, lead generation, and more. The vendor stands out in its commitment to innovation and has planned several upcoming features to thrive in the SFA space.
Sugar Sell targets the midmarket, though the company is beginning to appeal to more upper-midmarket brands. In the last year, SugarCRM enhanced its UI with new record views, administrative consoles, and dashboards. Plus, Sugar Sell expanded to include a new omnichannel tool called SugarLive, which uses Amazon Connect to enable chatting and calling with automated logging. SugarCRM also enhanced SugarPredict to deliver sentiment analysis on call transcripts.
Pega has invested heavily in enhancing the capabilities of its Sales Force Automation platform in the past year. The product targets mid-to-large global enterprises with specialist functionality for specific verticals. Recently, the brand added a conversational intelligence product, Voice AI, alongside a relationship intelligence tool to its platform. The all-in-one ecosystem provides insights into sales cadences and workflows to help sellers reach prospects and customers. Moreover, the service syncs with various tools, including Webex and Teams.
“Visionaries” in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation are out-competing most other vendors in innovation and delivery models. These companies often focus on creating an exceptional vision and anticipating emerging sales and channel needs. They also boast a robust capability to assist in moving the market into new areas. Indeed, the analyst says they can influence the direction of the SFA space but may be limited in execution.
This year’s visionaries for the 2022 Magic Quadrant include:
With built-in CRM technology and collaboration features through Microsoft Teams, SAP delivers the SAP Sales Cloud to various industries worldwide. Recently, SAP upgraded its product offering with workflow integrations to Microsoft Teams, dynamic visit planning, and new guided selling solutions. The software also provides advanced engagement statistics and machine-learning-based activity recommendations. Gartner notes the company has an excellent market understanding and geographically-diverse operations.
Defined by Gartner as an “innovator” in the SFA market, Zoho CRM offers many tools to sales organizations. These focus on specific verticals like technology, financial services, healthcare, and professional services. In the last year, Zoho released various new capabilities, including a new UI/UX builder named Canvas, with enhanced Zone analytics for measuring sales performance and an integrated telephony offering. Zoho plans to implement new buyer and customer journey orchestration tools alongside mood analysis solutions.
CRMNEXT delivers a range of SFA and CRM technologies to companies, primarily in financial services. These go beyond the Gartner inclusion criteria for the Magic Quadrant, with additional features like sales performance management, social media integrations, and coaching tools. Last year, CRMNEXT launched a new Smart Relationship Management tool to provide sellers with better data to prioritize customer interactions and channel opportunities. Its roadmap includes the development of a microservices-driven architecture for more customization options.
Gartner defines Niche Players as companies offering solutions for the needs of specific sales organizations and use cases. These companies may not be able to handle the largest business deployments, even if they have robust base capabilities. They also tend to focus on more particular verticals while struggling to implement cross-sector requirements.
This year’s niche players for the 2022 Sales Force Automation Platform Magic Quadrant are:
Over the last 12 months, HubSpot has introduced various new features to its Sales Force Automation solution. The Sales Hub technology now has native conversational intelligence features, better UI customization options, an integrated payment system, and boosted administrative options. HubSpot mainly sells to SMBs in the US, as well as various locations around the world. Gartner commends its content tracking tools, built-in CRM suite, and flexible sales revenue models.
NeoCRM benefits from a strong understanding of its target market, based mainly in China, with a handful of implementations in other countries. The vendor supports companies of all sizes but primarily targets those with fewer than 1,000 employees. During the last year, the organization has increased its machine-learning-focused capabilities to assist companies in finding their next best customer. The updated solution also has an enhanced component library, a self-service ordering portal for channel partners, and intriguing visualization and analytics tools.
Aimed primarily at smaller organizations in a range of vertical industries such as professional services, technology, and retail, Freshworks has been making waves in the last year. The company reduced all of the prices of its product suite in 2021 and introduced a forever-free version to help attract a broader range of customers. Gartner also highlights the brand’s phenomenal geographic reach and excellent packaging options. Freshworks offers tools like diallers, chat, and predictive AI in even its primary package offering.
Zendesk enters the Magic Quadrant with its “Zendesk Sell” solution. Though the company has a high presence in various geographic regions, it primarily focuses on SMB sales groups in North America. Last year, Zendesk introduced new “Suggest People” AI capabilities to provide sellers with contact guidance. The Zendesk Custom Objects solution also helps customize Zendesk Sell’s data model and automation sequences for campaign tracking execution. The vendor also plans to launch Microsoft Teams and Slack integrations going forward.
Vtiger offers “Vtiger One” to SMBs across the B2B and B2C landscape. Gartner describes the solution as lightweight and versatile, with well-balanced features. The vendor recently introduced a low-code platform alongside a visual process designer and a deal room for buyer-seller collaboration. There are also enhanced integrations for bots and seller productivity. Going forward, the company will bolster its low-code capabilities and guided selling solutions while introducing gamification for sales learning and activities.
Looking Ahead to the Future of SFA
As Sales Force Automation software grows increasingly commonplace and crucial to modern business growth, expect fast innovation in this space.
Indeed, more companies will likely continue to implement innovative tools to assist companies in better understanding and speaking to their target audience.
There’s no doubt the leaders, challengers, niche players, and visionaries in this year’s Magic Quadrant will continue to pioneer new solutions for the future of sales as we move into 2023 and beyond.
The rapidly-changing ecosystem may even encourage Gartner to change its definition of the SFA platform market in future Magic Quadrants.
Eager to gain the Gartner perspective on other CX technologies? If so, check out some of our other rundowns of its Magic Quadrants, which include:
- Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms 2022
- Gartner Magic Quadrant for Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) 2022
- Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Conversational AI Platforms 2022