I've recently had a lot of questions about the difference between CRM and SFA and which one is right for your company. "CRM" is so broadly used these days it's really hard to completely wrap your head around it.
Let's start with a couple of basic definitions:
CRM - Customer Relationship Management is about finding, getting, and retaining customer relationships.
SFA - Sales Force Automation is about managing and supporting sales reps. Generally consists of contact management, opportunity management, and pipeline management.
CRM is more centered around the customer and consists of modules to handle tracking customer support issues, order tracking and datawarehousing. Customer focus can be used to describe most parts of a CRM system. Some examples of data collected by CRM systems include:
1) Campaign tracking
2) Purchase history
3) Shipping history
4) Account data
5) Sales data
SFA is more centered around making sales, sales people, improving close rates and managing the day-to-day of getting sales done. SFA is included in CRM in a lot of cases and since SFA usually handles much of the same data collection that a CRM system would, it makes sense to purchase a CRM system rather than a standalone SFA solution.
Companies like Siebel or Salesforce.com offer excellent hosted CRM solutions with feature-rich functionality well within your budget (starting around $65/user/month).
For more information about CRM, visit: http://crm.blogs.com/crm/what_is_crm/