Sales activities

A business needs to ensure that its sales activities are evolving in tandem with the current market conditions and that these sales activities effectively address the demands of the modern B2B customer. This may sound like a daunting task, but the right technology can help teams easily identify which key sales activities they need to implement and track to stay ahead of the curve.

Read more about sales activities below.

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Sales activities

As the business world evolves to meet the demands of this fast-paced digital selling age, the importance of a sales activities plan and sales activity tracking cannot be underestimated. These rapid technological advances have made a profound impact on the way B2B sales function. According to Gartner, the rise in digital sales interactions will break traditional sales models: Gartner predicts that 80% of B2B sales interactions will occur through digital channels by 2025.

However, many sales teams are failing to rise to the occasion. A recent LinkedIn study revealed that only 49% of salespeople use data to assess their sales performance and generate new leads, both of which are key components to succeeding in a digitally dominated selling atmosphere. In today’s competitive climate, a business cannot meet its revenue generation goals without successfully leveraging data to inform its B2B sales forecast and process.

A business needs to ensure that its sales activities are evolving in tandem with the current market conditions and that these sales activities effectively address the demands of the modern B2B customer. This may sound like a daunting task, but the right technology can help teams easily identify which key sales activities they need to implement and track to stay ahead of the curve.

This article will define sales activities and discuss how the meaning of sales activities has changed in recent years. It will also cover why sales activity tracking is important and how new sales technology can support it to help businesses thrive.

What are sales activities?

Sales activities are the daily activities of a salesperson or a sales department or team. The broad term “sales activities” encompasses all of the actions, strategies, and practices implemented to move prospects through the sales process and close deals. Individual sales activities vary from organization to organization, but the end goals always remain the same. The basic goals of sales activities are threefold:

  1. Generate revenue: Every sales activity must serve every for-profit company’s end goal: making money.
  2. Nurture existing client relationships: Maintain existing customer relationships to ensure that the company’s network of clientele remains robust and strong.
  3. Identify prospects: Pursue new prospects to meet or exceed lead-generation goals.

What are examples of sales activities?

There are many types of sales activities, and each has varying levels of success depending on the service or product a business is selling. The usefulness of sales activities extends beyond the sales department into the marketing and customer success teams, driving revenue at every touchpoint. Here is a general sales activities list:

  • Cold calling
  • Product or service promotions
  • Email campaigns
  • Texting campaigns
  • One-on-one meetings
  • Follow-ups
  • Prospecting
  • Relationship management
  • Pitching products or services

B2B companies may be tempted to reuse the sales activities that have been successful in the past. But relying on the same sales activities over and over will not generate the same results; in fact, doing so will likely negatively impact a business. What worked for the buyers of the past simply might not work anymore.

This is because buyers’ expectations are rapidly increasing and virtual buying channels are becoming more popular. Many factors — marketing trends, industry trends, buyer preferences, new technology, etc. — influence whether a prospect converts into a loyal customer. Not only that, but these factors are continuously changing. Therefore, if a business wants to stay competitive, its sales activities must adapt to satisfy the needs and preferences of modern B2B consumers. So the “meaning” of sales activities is always in flux.

As a result, sellers need more than experience and intuition to stay competitive in the complex modern marketplace — they need dynamic, reliable data.

Successful sales activities are data-driven

Since the sales activities used in a successful sales management process are subject to change, collecting accurate and comprehensive data is critical to identifying which key sales activities are useful to push a business forward in today’s market. This is especially true when qualifying B2B sales activities. In fact, 89% of B2B professionals surveyed in Dun and Bradstreet’s 6th Annual B2B Marketing Data Report said that they believe that data is the driving force behind successful B2B sales and marketing campaigns. In truth, collecting high-quality and targeted data is beneficial for all types of selling since it gives businesses the insight they need to fully unlock the power of their team’s sales skills and abilities.

Data-enabled sales activity tracking

In the past, sales processes have been experience- and intuition-based rather than data-based. This worked in the past, when the world was not so virtually driven. Presently, companies need to collect data that clearly identifies and tracks the sales activities that allow them to stay competitive in the fast-paced modern age. In fact, 60% of B2B sales organizations will transition to a data-driven selling approach by 2025. Implementing data-driven sales activity tracking processes is the only way to do this right.

What is sales activity tracking?

In its most basic form, sales activity tracking is the method of collecting data from sales activities and using it to measure how each activity in the current sales process is performing.

Businesses use the data to observe the impact of individual activities on business outcomes. In addition, sales activity tracking identifies which areas of the sales process need to be improved and which activities are the most effective — i.e., which lead to closed deals, shorten the time to close deals, and maintain loyal customers. In short, sales activity tracking takes the guesswork out of sales.

Sales activity tracking examples

Like sales activities themselves, sales activity tracking varies depending on the goals and industry of the business using the method. However, sales activity tracking provides general insights that are applicable to all businesses. Here are a few examples:

  • Tracking the average amount of time spent pursuing individual leads
  • Calculating how many deals a team closed in a month, year, quarter, etc.
  • Identifying where leads are coming from
  • Tracking the average length of a sales cycle
  • Identifying the value of opportunity or prospecting
  • Using data-backed advice about when to contact a lead and what channel the lead prefers
  • Seeing how well individual sales reps and teams are performing
  • Cataloging client or customer objections and complaints
  • Predicting what might be delaying a deal
  • Gaining insights into new network connections
  • Identifying buyer behaviors that may signal a deal is dead

How do you track sales activities?

Two types of data matter when tracking sales activities: quantitative and qualitative. By tracking them both, businesses benefit from a holistic understanding of their sales process. It is important to understand the difference between these types of data to accurately track every aspect of the sales journey. Let’s dive into the details.

Quantitative data

Quantitative data is strictly numerical. This form of raw data can be pulled from a CRM platform, spreadsheet, or some other database. Quantitative data describes the “what” or “how many” aspects of a question, problem, or situation. An example of quantitative data as it relates to sales activities is “24% of buyers responded to an email campaign after receiving a cold call.”

Qualitative data

Qualitative data is based on human opinion or perspective and projects meaning onto raw quantitative data. Qualitative data describes the “why” behind the numbers listed in quantitative data sets. Here’s an example of qualitative data as it relates to sales activities tracking: “Customers reported being satisfied after they received a newsletter with a free downloadable PDF resource guide.”

In the past, qualitative data has been difficult to track and store. That has changed with recent advances in technology. Collective[i] offers intelligent CRM tracking software that automatically collects and analyzes both qualitative and quantitative sales activities data to drive useful insights.

Best practices in sales activity tracking

It is clear that collecting and effectively using customer and team sales data is imperative — but companies won’t benefit from it if the execution of the sales activity tracking process is faulty. Therefore, proactive measures should be taken to ensure that the data being collected is of the highest quality. Here are two examples of the best practices in using a sales activity tracking methodology.

Sales activity tracking accuracy

It is important to ensure that all data is entered correctly into the system. A strict data-entry process must be followed when dealing with any kind of data. The data recorded should also be as unbiased as possible — only recording positive interactions, for example, gives a false account of what is happening with a business. If an error is made in entering data, then that data will skew results. To combat inaccuracy and save sellers time, Collective[i]’s Intelligent WriteBackTM automates CRM data capture and eliminates the need for manual logging while ensuring that all collected data is clean and correct. Software that uses artificial intelligence (AI) analyzes raw data to generate reliable, accurate insights into multiple areas of the sales process and buyer’s journey. For example, Collective[i]’s Intelligent InsightsTM provides a list of recommended sales activities to ensure that the seller’s strategy is right on target.

Sales activity organizational alignment

It is vital that business leaders make sure all team members involved are educated and on the same page before putting any sales activity tracking processes into place. An AI sales activity tracking software helps with organization by streamlining communications between all parties in the sales process. For example, Collective[i]’s Virtual DealRoomsTM functions as a collaboration channel where every member of the selling team can review buyer activity to coordinate timely and effective responses together.

AI-enabled sales activity tracking platforms help reduce the risk of human error and simplify the sales activity tracking process.

Sales activity tracking technology

According to a LinkedIn study, 76% of sales professionals list sales technology as “critical” or “extremely critical” to closing deals. Once an organization’s sales data has been collected and organized in a CRM system, a sales activity tracking software application, such as Collective[i], analyzes and makes sense of it. It would be impossible for even a large revenue operations team to manually sift through all of the data collected by a CRM, not to mention the heightened potential for human error.

However, according to Dun and Bradstreet, 50% of B2B firms surveyed are not confident in the quality of their data. Sales activity tracking software can help there, too. This software provides reliable data that gives teams the business insights they need to improve productivity, generate more targeted leads, and minimize the pointless pursuit of dead-end deals.

Data-driven selling solutions are critical in today’s ever-changing market — therefore, businesses need technology that can keep up. Collective[i]'s network includes vast amounts of multisourced data and AI-enabled tools that help companies adapt as the meaning of sales activities evolves, and enhance their sales processes as a whole.

Learn more about how Collective[i] modernizes sales activities today.

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