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Quantium Technology (founded in 1989) was an innovative technology company that provided computer hardware and software for large enterprises. It had grown to become a leading provider of enterprise servers and specialized workstations which were known for their reliability and security. Quantium was an enormous beneficiary of the dot-com boom, but struggled after the bust and the recession. In 2004, Anne Rothman was the new Executive Vice President of Global Sales and she felt that sales force automation was one of Quantium’s biggest challenges. There were numerous problems with the existing SFA software solution Siebel Sales. Sales representatives were abandoning the system, sales managers were complaining that the sales pipeline data was not accurate.
The system did not appear to be increasing win rates or shortening the sales cycle as expected. After the internet bust, competition had commoditized the server market by offering cheaper servers that were closing the performance gap. Quantium moved from being a product company to a solutions company. The sales reps had to adjust by focusing on business issues and business problems instead of technical features. Also the team selling approach was not quite successful. Sales managers and company executives complained that they did not have reliable information on the company sales pipeline. To rectify these problems, Rothman started interviewing the people associated with implementation of the SFA program. SFA was also the core of many CRM applications. The key SFA elements were opportunity management and sales forecasting. Siebel was selected as the SFA software to be implemented.
This was implemented with the help of IT specialists and assistance from IT consultants and system integrators. The IT team was pressured to deliver the best possible solution as there were differences as to whether to implement the standard product or its customized version. A training program was rolled out to get the entire sales reps and managers up to speed on the new SFA tool. As the system was being rolled out and put into operation, performance problems emerged from the field and it was associated with Quantium’s existing outdated technology infrastructure. The sales reps especially faced a lot of problems and were hesitant to use the system with a steep learning curve. Rothman went over the history of SFA implementation as well as the current status. She has identified the implementation mistakes and has to find a solution to make SFA work at Quantium.