As the saying goes, you can’t manage what you can’t measure.
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, how to keep track of your sales and which types of sales tracking software are best for monitoring and analyzing your sales activities and performance.
We’ll also share a free sales tracking template to get you started.
What is sales tracking and why is it important?
Sales tracking is the process of collecting and analyzing different parts of your sales process to glean insights and find opportunities for improvements. To be effective, you need to track every sales activity and understand how each contributes to the overall success of your business.
There are several key benefits of a sales tracking system:
Accurate sales forecasting. 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. Using the data to predict future revenue and profitability helps you 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 team members doing differently? You can use this information to guide your reps on how they can improve their future activities.
Streamlined sales processes. Regularly checking on all the different parts of your sales process makes it easier to catch issues before they turn into bigger problems.
Without these actionable insights and processes, you may be wasting your time with sales activities that don’t produce the best results. With better data and a dashboard to enable you to pinpoint high-return tactics, you can improve efficiency and sales.
What information should businesses capture for sales tracking?
Now that you’re aware of the benefits of sales tracking, it’s time to decide which data and sales metrics you should be tracking for your sales team.
The best sales trackers are like a sales dashboard showing information in real time. They give you a big-picture view of where your leads came from and where they might be headed. At a minimum, you should track:
Who your leads are
How to get in touch with them
Where they came from
Where they are in the pipeline
Potential close date and revenue
To help you see what information is relevant to your own team, we’ve broken these metrics down into the two phases of the sales process.
1. Lead generation
According to the Pipedrive State of Sales Report 2020-21, only 63% of salespeople report using technology or automation to generate and qualify leads. Those who do were 14% more likely to have hit their annual sales goals last year.
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 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.
When your business receives a new lead in your sales pipeline, it’s important to capture the lead’s contact details and lead source for efficient follow-up and marketing analysis of marketing successes.
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 you can use to research the company and get in touch.
. You can also use custom fields to gather more detailed information to further qualify sales leads. Helpful fields may include:
In your sales tracking spreadsheet, you should also record the acquisition channel, or source, of each lead. This allows you to analyze which lead sources are sending the best qualified leads and funnel more resources toward those channels.
Here are some sources to consider as you set up your lead tracking process:
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 the one available in Pipedrive’s LeadBooster add-on.
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.
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, consistent lead tracking can help your company focus your lead generation efforts.
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.
Assigned sales representative
It’s important to track which sales rep is responsible for reaching out to each new lead. Whether you assign leads by territory, industry or another method, all members of your sales team should be able to see at a glance who is responsible for follow-up.
2. Pipeline management
Once leads enter your pipeline, a sales tracking system will help you understand how many leads are at each phase in your pipeline and forecast your potential revenue.
Here are key metrics that will help you focus your sales activity and improve team performance.
While managing your leads and deals, it’s important to keep track of where a prospect is in the sales pipeline.
Here are a few lead statuses that may be applicable to your business and what they mean:
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 for reasons like price, lack of features etc.
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 deal size so they’re aware of how valuable each lead is to the company. Deal size 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.
We recommend recording the chance of sale, or probability, as a percentage. This helps you identify which leads are most likely to convert and keeps you from wasting time on leads who might never buy from you.
Forecasted 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 stalls, they can put it on pause and make a note to strategically follow up as needed. You should make this decision with your reps, as some more complex deals 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.
Weighted sales forecast
There are several ways you can forecast sales, but one simple way is to multiply the potential deal size by the probability of closing to get a weighted sales forecast. For instance, a potential deal of $100,000 x 30% chance of closing would give you a weighted sales forecast of $30,000.
Tally the total leads in your pipeline with similar estimated closing dates to get a good idea of how much business you may close by a certain day.
How reports and insights can transform your sales in 3 steps
The greatest benefit of using a sales tracking system is being able to analyze data to make better decisions.
Here are three steps you can take to drive more value and better results for your company with data.
Step 1: Set sales goals
Before you begin gathering sales data or creating reports, 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 or deals won and revenue earned for a specified week, month or year.
Once you’ve assigned a goal to a sales rep or team, schedule recurring times 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
Generate custom reports to visualize data and metrics that are most relevant to your sales goals.
Reports can help you uncover sales trends and identify successful reps so you can find the activities and methods they use 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 track specific sales activities like average number of emails sent to new leads. These are ideal for uncovering gaps in the current sales process so your team can improve in the future.
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 gives meaning to the numbers. Track KPIs across time, take note of trends and investigate causes behind surprising or concerning data.
Use data visualization to help make sense of your data and communicate it to leadership. For example, you can use charts and graphs to illustrate your deal success rate. Using visuals helps you identify patterns and sales trends so you can make better decisions.
What is the best way to track sales?
Now that you know what metrics to track and what value the data can offer, let’s examine the different sales tracking tools available.
According to the Pipedrive State of Sales Report, 4% of sales teams use pen and paper for sales tracking, 17% use spreadsheets and 79% use customer relationship management software, or a CRM. If you’re one of the 4% using pen and paper, you likely already know that you need an upgrade. Here are the advantages of using either of the more sophisticated methods.
Tracking sales with a spreadsheet
You can use Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to create a basic but functional sales tracker spreadsheet.
Download our sales tracker template below for a quick and easy example of how this works.
The benefit of this system is that the price is almost free (most businesses already own a spreadsheet license) and that it’s effortless to set up.
This is a great starting point for a small business tracking sales for the first time. The challenge with a spreadsheet sales tracker is the maintenance of the document and the limitations when it comes to scaling your measurements.
Your sales team will need to manually input all data in a spreadsheet tracker, increasing your administrative time and the probability of human error. Also, if you save your tracker as an Excel file on a shared drive, only one person will be able to edit it at a time.
Tracking sales with a CRM
While you can track this information on a spreadsheet, all the data points you should include in your sales tracker can quickly stack up and become difficult to manage.
Consider using sales tracker software to better manage this data instead. This can be a standalone product or part of a comprehensive CRM.
With dedicated basic sales tracker software, you can record all of the metrics mentioned above in an easy-to-use interface with capabilities integrated for workflows and reporting.
With a sales tracker app built into a CRM, you can track these sales metrics and access functionality for things like:
Enabling bulk communication with leads through email, SMS and chat
Showing you each lead’s contact history including email opens and call history
Automating sales activity workflows to save sales reps time
Managing sales, onboarding and customer support all in one platform
If you’re looking to upgrade your sales tracking system, first examine your pain points to find gaps in your knowledge, which information is critical for you to learn and which type of workflow will work for you. Answering these questions will help you determine which sales tracker app or system is best for your business.
As you grow, the most efficient way to track sales processes is through CRM sales tracking software that allows you not only to monitor performance but also to automate tasks to free up time.
Do your research to try out different templates and software, but choose wisely which to adopt. Salespeople who are happy with the tools at their disposal are 12% more likely to consider themselves successful at sales and 18% more likely to be satisfied in their current role.
It may be tempting to stick with free sales tracking spreadsheets, but the best sales tracking software will pay for itself in revenue and efficiency.