Yes yes, we know what “sales tracking” sounds like. It just means you’re keeping track of numbers, right? But it’s so much more than that.
Sales tracking is monitoring and analyzing all the different parts of your sales process so you can make them better.
This includes how deals are flowing through the pipeline, sales cycle length, win rate, how many leads are being followed up with… basically all the factors that come into play when trying to close a deal.
The idea behind sales tracking is to look at the smaller individual components of the sales process in order to understand how each one affects the bigger picture. It’s a big idea (and big task) expressed in two short words, and when done correctly, sales tracking can dramatically and continuously improve your sales process.
Keep reading to learn why sales tracking is such a big deal, the benefits of doing it right, and how to best implement it in your day-to-day workflow (spoiler alert: it involves CRM).
Why is sales tracking important?
Well for starters, because you need to make sure you’re closing enough sales to make your company money (and get paid).
But there are a number of other perks to sales tracking that benefit both sales managers and sales reps.
Sales tracking gives you real-time sales insights.
Sales tracking will also give you an up-to-date view on key stats like earned revenue, won and lost opportunities, the average time it takes to close a deal, and more. Having easy access to this information also means you can forecast sales based on real-time data, not assumptions.
A good CRM will let you see your pipeline’s health at a glance.
Sales tracking lets you recognize problems before they become bigger problems.
With an effective sales tracking process, you can see how your opportunities are doing in real time—anytime, anywhere. This empowers sales managers to alleviate potential issues before they have a chance to turn into larger ones.
For example, say you have your CRM dashboard set up to show you what your sales funnel looks like at a glance, and you notice there’s a drastic decrease in incoming leads. From this data, you can infer there might be a problem with an ad that was supposed to be running or a there might be a broken webpage that had a lead-gen form on it.
Whatever the reason, you’ll be able to let your marketing team know about this right away so you can get those leads flowing again.
Speed up the process.
Learn how to speed up the sales process in this webinar with DocuSign.
Sales tracking lets you see how all your reps are doing at a glance.
When your company tracks its sales activity, sales managers are able to get real-time updates on how everyone is performing.
So, they know when individual sales reps are doing really well and when someone needs a little bit of a push. Similar to the previous point, this knowledge can let you catch potential issues before they get serious.
For example, if all but one sales rep are keeping up with their quotas, you’ll be able to look directly into the tracked data to find out where in the sales process the one rep is struggling and help them overcome that obstacle.
Sales tracking with CRM can show you how each of your reps is doing what your total sales are during any given period of time.
Sales tracking helps reps stay on top of their opportunities.
Having a strong sales tracking process in place is also super beneficial for your reps because it can help them manage all their leads, tasks, and other sales activities to stay on top of their opportunities.
Sales tracking makes decision-making easy.
Knowing which activities are outstanding will help sales reps prioritize their tasks accordingly and ensure no activities in the funnel are being neglected.
For example, some sales reps tend to focus on the bottom of the funnel (arguably the most exciting part, since that’s where the deals get closed). By doing so, however, they might be forgetting about crucial top-of-funnel activities such as lead prospecting.
With sales tracking, no activity gets left behind.
Sales tracking lets you know exactly what you need to do to reach your goals.
Not only does sales tracking ensure reps give their attention to the sales activities at all stages of the funnel, but it tells them how much work is left to do at each stage of the funnel too if they want to reach their goal. It’ll even tell them when they’re falling behind and how to catch up again.
Seal the deal.
Learn how to close sales efficiently, from overcoming objections to persuading prospects to take action, with this free handbook.
Which metrics should sales teams track?
Like we mentioned earlier, you should be tracking all the activities involved in closing a sale. So, depending on what your sales process looks like, exactly what you track could vary.
In general though, we can break down the metrics you should be tracking into three categories:
1. The sales activities fully within your control:
- Number of calls made
- Number of email proposals sent
- Number of responses
- Number of follow-ups
2. The sales activities within your indirect control:
- Average length of sales cycle
- Win rate
- Total open/closed opportunities
- Time spent on data entry
- Time spent lead prospecting
3. The sales activities not in your control (with Marketing, for example):
- Amount of leads added to the pipeline
- Percentage of qualified leads
CRM is a sales manager’s BFF.
If the thought of tracking all this data has you thinking, “that’s way too much work,” something isn’t right with the way you’re managing yours.
What you use to manage your data should be relieving stress, not inducing it. With the right sales tracking tool, this doesn’t need to be hard.
If you’re currently manually entering your data into a spreadsheet, then yeah, we get it. That sucks. If you’re thinking of all the data you need to import into your CRM… then you have it slightly better than the Excel bunch—but only very slightly.
Your CRM should be making your life easier, not harder. Almost like a virtual assistant, it should be taking your data, arranging it in a way that makes sense, then making it available to you to track your sales data at any given time.
Our advice? Get you a CRM with a visual sales pipeline.
With a visual sales pipeline, you can see what’s working and what isn’t so much at a glance.
A good CRM will automate your sales tracking for you, meaning all your data will always be just a few clicks away. No Excel formulas or manual cell updates required.
The point is: having a strong sales tracking process in place will give you an upper hand over your competitors who might simply be counting the amount of calls and emails completed in a day and inputting it into a spreadsheet.
The additional data you collect through sales tracking—which ideally is sitting pretty, neat and organized in your CRM—can help get your sales team that much closer to reaching their goals.
Learn how to use a CRM to be more efficient with your spreadsheet data + workflows with this webinar.
I got the data. Now what?
So, to recap, sales tracking means monitoring all the different actions that make up your sales process. Having this data alone isn’t the most helpful thing in the world. But having it arranged into an easy-to-understand dashboard (aka. in a good CRM)—now that’s a huge step in the right direction.
After all, you could be tracking all the data in the world, but if you’re not applying it, what’s the point? Learn how to create an effective sales process.