Tracking your opportunities, deals, and sales inefficiently can add the work of a part-time project manager on top of your already full-time sales role. Ideally, your sales tracking workflow would fit seamlessly into your sales process to keep you informed and prepared for the next move to win more deals.
If you’ve struggled with tracking your sales or the activity of your sales team, this article is for you, because we cover sales tracking best practices, tips to evolve your processes, and more. But first, let’s make sure you’re tracking what we mean by “tracking sales.”
What is Sales Tracking?
Sales tracking is the process of increasing the organization, visibility, and accountability of the sales funnel, cycle, activities, and outcomes. Although tracking sales is an operating procedure, most sales teams leverage some form of sales tracker to help automate. Even so, many of the products available require manual effort on behalf of the user. Tracking sales consistently and uniformly is how everyone on your sales team can quickly get up-to-speed on a deal, ensure no opportunities are falling through the cracks, and measure performance to goal.
Sales tracking is most often done within a CRM, but even the most sophisticated CRMs have their bottlenecks and inefficiencies, whether it be a confusing user interface or otherwise relying on reps to manually update.
This is not meant to discourage you, however, because shortly we will provide tips for leveling up your current sales tracking system.
Why is Sales Tracking Important?
Sales tracking is beneficial from both the micro and macro perspectives. Reps must have a firm grasp on the deals that are most relevant and top of mind, as well as those that are still open but moving a bit more slowly. Managers and leaders must also be able to understand the team’s macro performance and how it can guide their sales planning, coaching, and reporting.
1. Rank Order Funnel Priorities and Next Steps
Having a single source of truth for how to move forward with each and every deal is the key to unlocking the value from tracking sales. The ability to move multiple deals through the funnel while managing each at their own pace is made more efficient through the sales tracking process, where otherwise it could feel like herding cats.
A formal tracking process, such as in a spreadsheet (like the example below from PeopleGlass), can highlight which deals should be prioritized and clear next steps to move the deal closer to won.
2. Monitor Team Performance and Coaching Opportunities
From a sales management perspective, sales tracking offers insight into pipeline risk, at-risk deals, and other performance issues that highlight coaching opportunities. This is particularly helpful when the sales tracking inputs are being automatically aggregated because it paints a more accurate picture of reality.
If your sales tracker relies on mostly manual inputs, your overview of pipeline and deals are more susceptible to sandbagging or worse, inflation to appear more competent and successful than they really are.
3. Measure Progress Towards Goals
Revenue is the KPI of every successful business. If you aren’t measuring the indicators that drive revenue then it’s impossible to know what actions must be taken to reach your goals. Having a centralized location to track performance and progress towards your revenue goals will make it easier to quantitatively measure and achieve more predictably.
4. Leverage Data in Account Planning
Don’t let your sales tracking process end when the deal is won. Instead, continue implementing the same processes to grow accounts. If reps put a pin in deals when they close, never to return, we miss those opportunities to grow incremental revenue.
Once deals are won, they should remain in the purview of reps and managers to understand where opportunities are for revenue growth. Not only can this semi-regular attention from reps increase customer satisfaction and retention, but also help keep relationships warm for upselling opportunities.
Sales managers should be tracking sales from start to finish (and beyond) to surface account engagement metrics and reassign accounts if necessary. If you don’t have a formal sales tracking process in place, you won’t know opportunities are slipping through the cracks until it’s too late.
5 Types of Sales Metrics to Track
Sales metrics are like the medical vital signs of the sales tracking world. We rely on them to understand whether or not our organization is healthy. Below are some sales metrics your team should be tracking:
1. Lead Sources
Understanding where leads are most effectively generated is where the sales tracking process originates. Through tracking sales enablement analytics, various lead capture sources, scoring, routing, and more.
Unsophisticated teams will capture leads from a download, sign-up, or social media engagement, but have no method or process for tracking, prioritizing, or nurturing these valuable leads.
Your lead gen engine should be as fine-tuned as any other high-performance engine. The modern car engine is made easier to understand, diagnose, and optimize through the integration of tracking sensors and through sales tracking technology, your lead gen efforts can be fast, efficient, and performant.
2. Activity Metrics
Tracking rep activities, such as emails, calls, meetings, proposals, demos, or other elements of your team’s sales process, can help surface signals that drive deal outcomes.
Positive signals are those that indicate an increase in the cause (i.e. more meetings), will have a positive impact on the effect (i.e. more sales). If your company discovers that reps who make a follow-up call one day after a first meeting close more deals, this is a positive signal for following up the day after the first meeting.
Activity metrics can also surface negative signals or those practices that don’t have a perceivable impact on closed-won deals and might even contribute more to lost deals.
3. Pipeline Coverage
Considering revenue is the KPI for most sales teams, having enough potential revenue in the pipeline is a crucial metric to track. Pipeline coverage simply means your team has enough opportunities in the pipeline to cover revenue goals if enough of the deals close.
Accuracy of information might be the most important component of pipeline coverage because any misleading data could result in overconfident revenue projections or underperforming outcomes.
4. Win Rate
The beauty of all this sales tracking is the macro perspective you get from looking at performance across all deals. Win rate is one such metric because when using it as your objective and key result (OKR), you can better understand how coaching initiatives and performance-enhancing integrations are driving actual results.
5. Churn Detection
It’s no secret that customer retention is one of the most important factors in customer lifetime value and that a good account planning strategy can help boost this number significantly.
Tracking sales performance beyond closed-won sounds counterintuitive at first, and many argue this should be passed on to the support team, but it’s a vital metric for top-line growth and performance.
After the deal is won, your reps should be looking for opportunities to further grow the account and prevent churn through increased attention and support. Churn detection and overall account engagement can help underscore where there are opportunities for expansion and further nurturing.
Sales Tracking Software Powered by AI
The process of tracking sales has gone from handwritten notes in one’s Rolodex to the modern digital CRM. Even now, sales tracking is undergoing another evolution as automation and predictive AI make the process even more seamless and supportive.
People.ai removes the manual work component that consumes millions of rep man-hours as well as the inconsistencies and ambiguities inherent in self-reporting. PeopleGlass from People.ai simplifies the sales tracking process even further by extracting the pertinent information from Salesforce into an easy-to-track and update spreadsheet view.