Homer Simpson’s Guide to Xiaoshouyi (may be a cheaper choice for you) – the Chinese CRM vendor that appeared in Gartner SFA Magic Quadrant

Gartner, a market research firm, said in a report, “the sales force automation market grew 15.7% in 2017, to $6.7 billion. SFA vendors have made a significant move toward embedded predictive analytics.”

In some other analysis reports, the SFA market is expected to grow to $11.1 billion in 2019 from $8.8 billion. There is no doubt that the SFA market will see a big growth. The market is expected to reach $14.5 billion by 2025.

What is SFA?

What is the meaning of SFA or Sales Force Automation?

According to Gartner,

Sales force automation (SFA) applications automate the sales activities, processes and administrative responsibilities for an organization’s sales professionals. SFA is a foundational technology that provides core sales execution capabilities: account, contact and opportunity management, sales forecasting, reports and dashboards, and mobile applications. Additional noncore capabilities that are often part of SFA offerings include lead management, sales enablement (content management and guided selling), quote management, partner relationship management (PRM) and analytics. Because these noncore capabilities are so common to B2B and B2C selling, Gartner also evaluates vendors on these capabilities.

And according to “Customer Relationship Management: Concept, Strategy, and Tools” by by V. Kumar and Werner Reinartz,

The term SFA refers to any information technology applied to a sales situation with the goal of supporting the sales function. The variety of hard- and software capabilities in SFA technologies mean they can vary in terms of their complexity and the degree to which they should be integrated into the company’s organizational infrastructure (Speier & Venkatesh, 2002). Relevant technologies include, for example, electronic data interchange, databases, Internet, spreadsheets, sales forecasting tools, inventory management systems, contact management programs, e-mail programs, graphics and presentation software, laptops, cellular phones, and fax machines (Hunter & Perreault, 2007).

I will write an article to explaind the different and connection between CRM and SFA later.

Benefit of SFA

Back to Xiaoshouyi – the only one SFA vendor in Gartner SFA MQ

We all know that it is very hard to be listed in the Gartner’s MQ, but it is a very important step in the right direction. The MQ is a standard indicator of a technology’s maturity and reliability.

Why Xiaoshouyi can make it real?

Let’s have a look at Gartner’s MQ of SFA…

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation 2017

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation 2017

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation 2018

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation 2018

Then let’s have a look at Xiaoshouyi in Gartner’s MQ of SFA…

Xiaoshouyi in Gartner MQ for SFA 2017

Xiaoshouyi makes its debut in this Magic Quadrant as a Niche Player, based on its success selling SFA solutions in China and the scope of its CRM capabilities. Xiaoshouyi offers a mobile-first SFA system that provides core-native SFA capabilities such as account management, opportunity management and forecasting. It also offers near-core capabilities, such as content management, CPQ and order management. Like other leading SaaS providers, Xiaoshouyi has a platform-as-a-service solution, which provides capabilities for application development and customization. This vendor is notable for the success it has had selling to customers in China, where it has added over 2,000 clients and 50,000 end users during the past five years, primarily in the manufacturing and life sciences sectors.


  • Product offering: Xiaoshouyi offers an attractive set of SFA capabilities for B2B and B2C sales processes. It contains China’s leading firmographic datasets, and offers native integration with WeChat and Weibo, applications that are frequently used for B2C selling in China. Xiaoshouyi also offers a full CRM suite, spanning marketing and customer service functions.
  • Implementation: Reference customers gave Xiaoshouyi positive scores for its consultative approach during the sales process and for its commitment to partnership after implementation.
  • Market responsiveness: Reference customers gave Xiaoshouyi scores in the top 25% for market responsiveness, particularly its ability to deliver enhancements requested by clients.


  • Limited geographic reach: Xiaoshouyi markets and sells its services only in China at the time of writing.
  • Capability gaps: Xiaoshouyi lacks the forecasting capabilities and record-sharing rules that are common to the leading SFA vendors in this Magic Quadrant. In addition, it has not yet released predictive analytics for opportunity scoring. Its application supports multiple languages, but many system administrator functions are displayed in Chinese only.
  • Product quality: Reference customers for Xiaoshouyi expressed concern about system performance and issues with product quality.

Xiaoshouyi in Gartner MQ for SFA 2018

Xiaoshouyi continues as a Niche Player as it sells only to customers in China. The SFA product is well-suited for small to midsize businesses that have B2B and B2C sales processes. It supports Chinese companies with global operations, and has plans to move upmarket. Xiaoshouyi has had success with acquiring customers in the high-tech/software, manufacturing and professional services industries. It offers a free version and free trial versions, as well as Professional and Enterprise editions. Capabilities include core SFA functionality such as lead, territory, opportunity and account management as well as some near-core capabilities such as order management. It has native integration with Tencent’s QQ mail service.

Xiaoshouyi has a strong mobile application for iOS and Android, and communication with WeChat is natively embedded. It opened a North American product development office in 2017.


  • Service and support: Xiaoshouyi received high satisfaction scores for service and support from reference customers, who also stated that it is very customer-focused in service delivery.
  • Product enhancements: Xiaoshouyi has a mobile-first design that also features a developer platform and APIs. Reference customers stated that product enhancements come quickly, but often lack deep functionality in their first iterations.
  • Innovation: Xiaoshouyi’s graphical approach to relationship intelligence is not yet seen from other SFA vendors. This provides customers the ability to see via mobile and the web “who knows who”-type functions and notifications, enabling sales reps to be more effective.


  • Geographic presence: Xiaoshouyi focuses on the sale and support of its product for Chinabased organizations, although is supporting global operations at this time.
  • Functional depth: Some reference customers noted that some product capabilities lack depth. Gartner notes a lack of native integration with Microsoft Exchange and weaker analytics capabilities than the leaders in this Magic Quadrant have. Some admin functions are displayed in Chinese and utilize Google for translation.
  • Partners: Xiaoshouyi has not exhibited a global focus for marketing, social media or thought leadership. It has a lack of depth of SI and certified partner resources, which prospects should consider when discussing deployment and any follow-on services that might be required

Summary and suggestion

Seems that Xiaoshouyi is a cheaper and mobile-first SFA vendor, has some global operations and good at Chinese market. May be it will be a good choice for you, if you are interested in it, please feel free to contact me for further information.

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