Perfecting your business’s sales process takes time. You need to ensure that each and every part of your sales process is optimized to achieve maximum revenue. Sales tracking helps you identify and analyze all of the moving parts within your sales process to help you uncover your successes and failures, as well as opportunities for improvement.
In this article, we’ll help you learn what sales tracking is and how to successfully implement sales tracking software to track the activities and performance of your sales and sales team—we even have some free sales tracking spreadsheets to get you started.
Table of contents:
What is sales tracking and why is it important?
Sales tracking is the process of monitoring and analyzing different parts of your sales process to glean insights and opportunities for future improvements. It involves keeping track of each and every sales activity and understanding how they contribute to the overall success of your business.
There are several key benefits of sales tracking software:
- Accurate sales forecasts. By tracking the right sales metrics, you can take a closer look at your current sales processes and make data-driven decisions for the future. Accurate sales forecasting can help you predict future revenue and profitability and make more informed decisions about your team’s overall structure.
- Sales team management. Tracking sales activities can show you how well your reps are doing. Are they completing the tasks assigned to them? Who is making the most sales and who is lagging behind? What are the successful reps doing differently? You can use this information to guide your reps on how they can improve their future activities.
- Streamline sales processes. Regularly keeping a check on all the different parts of your sales process makes it easier to catch issues before they turn into bigger problems. As you grow, the most efficient way to track sales processes is through a customer relationship management or CRM sales tracking software that allows you to not only monitor performance but also to automate tasks to free up time.
It may be tempting to stick with free sales tracking spreadsheets, but the right CRM sales tracking software will pay for itself in revenue and efficiency.
Now that you’re aware of the many benefits of sales tracking, it’s time to decide what sales metrics you should be tracking for your sales team.
To help you implement sales tracking for your own team, we’ve broken down the sales process into four different parts, each with its own set of KPIs
Manage leads and deals
Generating leads and monitoring them as they progress through the sales pipeline is a key component of sales tracking.
Having an organized pipeline management system in place allows both you and your reps to track your leads at every step of the sales funnel. This makes it much easier to figure out exactly when to reach out to prospects with the right message at the right time.
It also helps you identify who your leads are, where they're coming from and where exactly they lie in your sales pipeline, all of which help salespeople to make informed decisions.
Here are some key metrics involving leads and deals that sales managers should be tracking.
Effective lead management starts with knowing exactly who you’re dealing with. The first part of your sales tracker should contain basic information about your lead.
Whenever a prospect shows interest in your business, such as by registering for a webinar or subscribing to your newsletter, make sure you get some basic information that you can use to get in touch with them at a later stage.
This may include:
- Contact name
- Email address
- Company name
- Job title
Most companies only ask for a name, email address and company name in their opt-in forms. But you can also use additional fields to gather more detailed information that helps you further qualify sales leads.
In your sales tracking spreadsheet, you should also be able to record the acquisition channel, or source, of each lead.
Here are some major lead sources that may be applicable to your business:
- Website. Most organic leads are generated from a company’s website. Make sure your website has high-quality content that clearly communicates your features and solutions, customer testimonials and contact information.
Example: If a potential customer is searching for a solution, finds your website and decides to get in touch through the contact form, then the lead source is your website. You may also have a chatbot to capture leads, like Pipedrive’s LeadBooster.
- Social media. Leads coming in from social media are usually in an early stage of the customer journey. They’re either browsing to see what others say about your business or want to know how your solution can help them.
Example: If a lead interacts with your company’s link on their social media to download an eBook, then the lead source is social media.
- Referrals. Potential customers may hear about you from other websites or your previous clients and get in touch to find out more. Referrals are the best source for high-quality sales leads as they already have some level of trust in your business.
Example: If a lead interacts with your business through a link on another company’s website, then the lead source is a referral.
If your business uses multiple channels for sales opportunities, this information can help your sales team identify the most effective and ineffective sources.
For instance, you may realize that you’re spending a chunk of your budget on paid search ads, but acquiring most of your leads through Facebook and LinkedIn. In this case, you may want to modify your budget and strategy to focus more on social media than paid search ads.
While managing your leads and deals, it’s also important to keep track of where a prospect lies in the sales pipeline.
Here are a few lead statuses that may be applicable to your business and what they indicate:
- Open. New leads who have yet to be contacted.
- Attempting contact. A rep has done their research and is in the process of getting in touch with the lead.
- Contacted. A sales rep has had a conversation with the lead.
- Working on a new opportunity. A new opportunity with a lead has been identified and is being worked on.
- Closing. Leads engaged in final negotiations.
- Deal won. Leads who have successfully converted into customers.
- Deal lost. Leads who have rejected your product due to some reason, such as price, lack of features, etc. (try to tackle these sales objections before you get to a late stage so you don’t waste time on potential customers you will lose regardless)
- Disqualified leads. Leads who are never going to make a purchase because they do not fall into your target audience.
Monitoring the updated status of each lead helps salespeople organize and adapt their long-term strategies as well as day-to-day sales activities.
Salespeople should also keep track of the deal size so they’re aware of how valuable each lead is to the company. It can help you identify and distinguish high-value clients from the rest, so that you can adjust your focus and message accordingly.
It can also help you monitor the performance of your reps, especially if the deal size they land largely depends on their selling skill and technique.
Chance of sale
As you make progress with a lead, you’ll gradually learn how likely they are to make a purchase.
For example, there's a higher chance that you’ll end up making a sale if the decision-maker in a business has shown interest in your product or service. However, your chances may be thin if your point-of-contact is not the decision-maker and has to consult their boss to make a purchase.
It’s a good idea to mention the chance of sale, or probability, as a percentage. This helps you identify leads who are most likely to convert and keeps you from wasting time on leads who might never buy from you.
Forecast close date
Adding the estimated close date for each lead helps your sales reps stay focused and stick to a timeline. Ideally, reps should work on a deal for only a specified amount of time—as close to the average time it takes your team to close a deal as possible.
If the deal fails to go through, they should put it on pause and make a note to strategically follow up as needed. You should make this decision with your reps, as some deals that are more complex naturally take longer than others and will vary on a case by case basis.
Adding forecasted close dates to deals before assigning them can also help you keep track of your reps’ performance.
Sales reps usually deal with multiple clients at the same time, which is why they need to have a system in place to track and organize all of their communications.
Tracking communications can help your sales team:
- Organize lead information
- Identify the last time a lead was contacted
- Follow up on a previous conversation
- Transfer a client from one rep to another
Tracking communications with sales tracking software can also help you to monitor the performance of your reps, both individually and teamwide. If you're setting up sales communication tracking for your own business, make sure it can track the following.
Most business communication is done through email, which is why you should always keep a backup of your message history with clients.
The right email tracking tool will show reps when they reached out to a prospect, how they responded and where exactly the deal closed or went cold. Your reps can use all of this information to improve their future communications, follow-ups and sales pitches.
Reps can also see exactly when a prospect opens an email in real-time and clicks a link inside it. This information helps them to strategize the best time to follow up and also provides insight into whether or not their email messaging is effective.
As a sales manager, keeping a check on all the emails your reps are sending out allows you to monitor their performance and guide them on how to improve their efforts.
Phone calls and meetings
Once you’ve qualified a lead, there’s a high chance that your communication with them will move from email to either a face-to-face meeting or a phone call.
This is where reps need to keep an updated call log so they reach out to clients at proper intervals and don’t end up overstepping with too many or ill-timed calls.
It’s also a good idea for reps to record all client calls in case they want to revisit them. Recorded calls can also help you to spot any issues and advise reps on how to improve.
A sales activity is any action that you or your sales reps take in order to move deals towards closing. Since there are so many sales activities going on at any given time in a business, there is a need to track and maintain a schedule for each activity.
One of the most effective ways to ensure the successful completion of sales activities is to create a sales activity calendar.
You can use it to organize:
- Phone calls
- Attachments sent
- Marketing campaigns
Creating an activity calendar will not only help record sales activities but also make it easy for managers to assign work to their reps.
It’ll benefit your sales reps too, as they’ll be able to prioritize assigned activities, take better actions to close deals and it’ll help them never miss a task.
Try using Pipedrive’s activity calendar to organize all of your sales activities.
Reporting and analysis
What good is data if you’re not able to analyze it and use it to make better future decisions?
This is exactly why reporting and analysis is a necessary part of your sales tracking activities. Generating tailored reports can help you track the right metrics, visualize data and understand sales trends, customer behavior and more.
Below is a three-step process for effective sales reporting and analysis.
Step 1: Set goals
Before you begin gathering sales data or creating reports, you need to have set goals in mind and ensure that your sales team has a clear understanding of these goals. Goals could include a certain number of generated leads, deals won and revenue earned for a specified week, month or year.
Once you’ve assigned a goal to a sales rep or team, you should schedule time to talk through their progress and get a status update. Do this in both teamwide and individual meetings to ensure you’re providing the support your reps need to reach their goals.
Step 2: Generate reports
Once you’ve set specific and trackable goals, you can now generate custom reports to visualize data and metrics that are most relevant.
Creating reports can help you uncover sales trends and identify successful reps and the activities and methods they’re using to nurture prospects and close deals.
Here are some useful sales reports to generate for your own company:
- Deal reports. These reports dive deep into sales reps performance. They help you identify how many deals they won and lost and, most importantly, why.
- Revenue forecast reports. These reports help salespeople understand current sales trends and predict future turnover and growth.
- Activity reports. These reports help track specific sales activities, such as the average number of emails sent to new leads. These are ideal for uncovering flaws in the current sales process so your team can improve in the future.
- Leads reports. These reports help you learn where your leads are coming from and their respective volume.
You can create reports on practically anything, but to make that happen, you must set goals and record relevant metrics first.
Reports are also useful for sharing your sales team’s progress with upper management. Not only does it help your team look professional, but it shows that you have a complete understanding of what is working well, or not, and why.
Step 3: Analyze data
Analyzing data is just as important as collecting it because it helps give meaning to those numbers.
Use data visualization to help make sense of your data. For example, you can use charts and graphs to illustrate deal success rate. Using visuals helps better identify patterns, understand sales trends and make future decisions.
Free sales tracking spreadsheet
Sales tracking and analysis is integral in helping you make data-driven decisions, allowing salespeople to stay informed on the impact of their day-to-day, as well as their long-term activities.
Use Pipedrive’s free sales tracking spreadsheet to organize and monitor all your sales data in one place.