Sales tracking vs sales activity meaning
Software backed by artificial intelligence (AI) enhances both sales tracking and sales activities. By using AI-enabled tools to track sales activities in real time, sales organizations get fast insights that enable them to quickly adjust the sales pipeline to ease the customer journey and increase revenue.
What is sales tracking?
Sales tracking is the record-keeping and documentation practices of how each deal moves through the pipeline. In modern B2B sales, that means tracking the behaviors, preferences, and needs of six to 10 buyer stakeholders who must come to a consensus about the purchase.
But the number of buyers in any given B2B sales deal is just the beginning of the complexity. Each stakeholder is on a unique fact-finding mission, with concerns, questions, and assumptions that must be addressed before they buy. Unfortunately, the buyers won’t always connect with the seller directly to resolve those issues. Gartner found that 27% of each B2B buyer group’s time is spent doing independent online research, while another 18% is spent doing independent offline research.
B2B buying groups also spend 22% of their time meeting about the buying decision, helping each other feel confident about choosing a solution. According to Gartner, there are six high-level “jobs” that each stakeholder must complete for a deal to close:
- Problem identification: Recognizing and agreeing on the need that must be solved
- Solution exploration: Exploring potential solutions to the problem
- Requirements building: Outlining what their ideal solution would look like
- Supplier selection: Identifying the vendors and partners available to help solve the problem
- Validation: Confirming their instinct that a specific vendor partner is the right choice
- Consensus creation: Getting the other stakeholders to agree that a specific vendor partner is the right choice
Sales tracking in the modern era of digital sales reveals a nonlinear customer journey in which the members of the buyer group revisit various stages of the sales process rather than progress through them chronologically. Barriers come up for B2B buying teams, especially as they research independently and talk among themselves.
So how does sales tracking help a business? Based on the insights from sales activity tracking, a sales organization may even unify or reorganize some of the stages of the sales pipeline to better reflect the buyer’s journey. AI-enabled sales tracking provides sellers with real-time insights that empower them to take action on a deal, meeting each stakeholder where they are to dismantle barriers and address hesitations.
For instance, Collective[i]’s IntelligenceTM network collects third-party buyer behavior data, such as average timeline to close; then Intelligent InsightsTM analyzes that data as well as a company’s own data to share opportunity odds, recommended buyers, risk alerts, and more, sending sellers recommendations for sales activities that move the needle.
Sales activity examples
Sales activities are the actions sellers take to move prospective customers through the stages of the buyer’s journey to a purchase decision. Here are examples of some sales activities that are commonly monitored and analyzed by sales tracking:
- Calls made: Inbound and outbound calls as well as product demos or service consultations conducted by each seller.
- Emails sent: This metric is best tracked in collaboration with marketing. A company should also examine the overall email open rate, click-through behaviors, and other engagement with emails from the seller.
- Meetings scheduled: This includes meetings with legal and product teams, as well as demos and other meetings during customer onboarding.
Tracking these sales activities helps sales organizations understand not just what sellers are doing but also what they are doing that works. If the data shows that email is best for helping buyers build a consensus and that written case studies work better for the validation phase, that’s information sellers can use to close deals. These insights also facilitate collaboration between sales and marketing so those teams can create marketing content that also serves as a sales enablement tool. Gartner research found that customers who received information from sellers that helped them advance their buying “jobs” were 2.8 times more likely to experience a high degree of purchase ease.
Since buyers are spending so much time self-educating online, a company’s digital presence through content marketing greatly influences the success of sales activities. If what a seller is saying conflicts with information being shared by marketing, that misalignment can be enough to send the buyer elsewhere. According to the LinkedIn 2021 State of Sales report, 48% of buyers will not buy from sellers who provide misleading information. In fact, the same report found that 89% of buyers describe their sales reps as “trusted advisors.” That means sellers need to be in alignment with other departments about the value the product or service delivers. Departmental alignment also helps teams better identify customers’ emerging needs, which represent opportunities to upsell.
Winning customer trust and confidence, even across the digital divide, is a main goal of sales activities today. Sales tracking enables companies to learn how to create better-timed and more personalized sales activities that speak to the needs of the buyer and help sales teams win customer trust.
Sales tracking system
The sales tracking technology used to monitor and analyze the success of sales activities can increase efficiency. Historically, sales tracking with Excel has been the industry standard, and today, sellers still often refer to a sales activity tracking spreadsheet to update the CRM. However, intelligent tools, such as Collective[i]’s AI-enabled sales activity tracking and analytics platform, are faster and more reliable. Intelligent WriteBackTM automates CRM data capture from sources such as email, social media, and internal communication tools. This gives sales teams a productivity boost of up to 15% to 20% and keeps the CRM current.
Sales organizations without the right software are unable to track sales activities in real time, instead relying on data from the previous quarter to inform sales activities.
A sales tracking system should ultimately help sales managers monitor sales metrics, including the following:
- Sales cycle length: The time it takes the average deal to close for your sales organization
- Total open opportunities: The total number of prospects in the pipeline
- Win rate: The number of opportunities that have closed compared to the total number of leads
- Total closed opportunities: The total number of closed opportunities, including achieved deals and those that did not convert.
Using intelligent sales tracking systems such as Collective[i], sellers act on relevant information in a timely manner while keeping information organized at the same time. For example, Predictive PipelinesTM learns from each sales organization’s unique pipeline as well as third-party data about buyer behavior to make informed predictions about which deals are more likely to close.
Explore Collective[i] for yourself to see how it elevates B2B sales enablement by enhancing sales tracking and optimizing your sales activities.Explore Collective[i]