Sales activity tracking
When a business knows exactly how individual sales activities are performing, it can make consistent improvements to the sales process. When a sales pipeline isn’t driving as much revenue as was forecasted, businesses that understand their sales process to a tee can troubleshoot accordingly.
Read more below.
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Sales activity tracking
There’s no such thing as knowing too much about the sales process. When a business knows exactly how individual sales activities are performing, it can make consistent improvements to the sales process. When a sales pipeline isn’t driving as much revenue as was forecasted, businesses that understand their sales process to a tee can troubleshoot accordingly. This process has a name: sales activity tracking.
To be clear, we’re not tracking sales representatives here. This form of tracking doesn’t act as the Big Brother over their shoulder. This process tracks the activities that happen within the sales process to empower salespeople. Tracking sales activity is also important for maintaining and increasing customer satisfaction.
Picture this: The VP of sales told sales reps that they need to make $200,000 by the end of the sales quarter.
Sales reps could take on that challenge in hopes that pure hard work and determination will be enough to make them hit the quota. Or they could use the sales activity tracking process to pinpoint how many opportunities they would need to close — and whether that’s realistic — to reach the target goal.
Research from the Sales Health Alliance showed that out of 100 sales reps, 86% said that they often miss their sales targets. When asked how often targets are missed, 76% of sales reps said they sometimes miss their targets, 15% said never, 9% said often, and 1% said always. Sales activity tracking may give sellers the information they need to better hit their sales targets.
Tracking sales activity can also help maintain and increase customer satisfaction by showing which stages in the pipeline may be hindering a positive customer experience. According to research by McKinsey and Company, B2B companies that transformed their customer experience processes saw benefits similar to those seen by B2C companies, including a 10% to 15% revenue growth, higher client satisfaction scores, improved employee satisfaction, and a 10% to 20% reduction in operational costs.
This article is for those sales reps who want to stop relying on the hope that hard work and determination alone will be enough to reach their sales goals or improve their customer satisfaction, and instead want to work smarter — not harder — by using the sales activity tracking process.
What is sales activity tracking?
Starting with the basics, let’s cover the meaning of sales activities tracking. Simply stated, sales activity tracking is measuring how each component of the sales process is performing so businesses can see how it impacts the overall picture.
Sales tracking measures the success of current selling efforts and finds areas that can be improved. The benefits of sales tracking are obvious: simplified processes, quicker turnaround time, and more effective workflows. Those things may not seem as if they could significantly influence business outcomes, but they can. All of the things we listed above impact the customer experience.
Delighting the customer is the key priority in a strong sales strategy. Yet, according to Gallup, 60% of B2B companies’ customers are indifferent to their services, and only 46% strongly agree that the companies deliver on their promises.
This is why it’s important to have a sales tracking system in place. By tracking the process sales teams use to close deals and find new leads, businesses can pinpoint exactly where in the process the team is acing the game and where it can improve. Ultimately, sales tracking helps businesses to build a strong connection with customers and fully commit to delivering on promises.
Why is sales tracking important?
Tracking the process of a sales team is a powerful way to discern where the sales pipeline has room for improvement. The big picture of the sales pipeline can be too overwhelming to fix all at once, but an effective sales activity plan to track key elements will help dial in on the details. Individual sales rep performance, the number of prospects in the sales funnel, customer satisfaction, and daily tasks are all essential components of a successful sales strategy, and sales tracking can provide results that guide that strategy. Sales tracking may also:
Offer real-time insights
Knowledge is power and so is data. Businesses with access to information about customers’ behaviors can effectively recognize patterns and predict their decisions and needs.
Showcase and educate customers on new product features or offer training. In many cases, reaching out to churning clients early can salvage the relationship and even open up new possibilities of upselling or cross-selling.
Recognize problems early on
Data analysis helps teams recognize and tackle problems head-on. The more proactive a sales team is, the better it can protect the customer experience. Customers want to be taken care of at all times, not only when they’re struggling with the product.
Thus, it’s important to periodically review a customer’s data and check in as needed. Being more proactive when it comes to taking care of customers is key to keeping them happy and business growing.
Show performance of sales reps, marketing, and customer support
Analyzing data offers the opportunity to improve staff performance and service and review best practices for sales, marketing, and customer support. By gaining insight into what is and isn’t engaging for customers, businesses can quickly identify and bridge the gaps between the service they provide and the service they should provide.
Businesses can also use the insights into performance to reward individuals who are going above and beyond for customers with financial bonuses, promotions, or public praise to keep them motivated. Plus, analyzing the performance of sales reps shows who are the top sellers, which allows the whole team to learn the best practices and techniques of those top sellers. To do this, companies can take advantage of Collective[i]’s C[i] RecommendsTM , which studies top-performing sales professionals across its IntelligenceTM network to surface which activities are most likely to have an outsized impact on outcomes.
Improve resource allocation
Smart resource allocation is the process of planning, scheduling, and assigning currently available resources in the most efficient and economic way, taking into consideration the current performance of a business and the time and the availability of employees. Knowing when to initiate which task or use which resource is crucial for proper customer management and the general well-being of the company.
Businesses can collect this information by implementing tracking software. Most of the time it gives the output in the form of trend reports, charts, or prognoses for the upcoming period. Artificial intelligence (AI) has an irreplaceable role here.
What are the types of sales activities that can be tracked?
There are two types of activities that can be used in sales tracking: qualitative and quantitative. When a business tracks their qualitative and quantitative data, they get a comprehensive sales process story. Let’s take a closer look at these two types of data.
Quantitative activity data
Quantitative data is raw data that can be broken down into numbers and is unbiased. It explains the “what,” including:
The average amount of time spent per lead How many closes a team made in a month Where leads are coming from The average length of a sales cycle The value of opportunity by source
Qualitative data can be pulled from a CRM system and other sources.
Qualitative activity data
Qualitative data is subjective and therefore gives more meaning and context to the raw quantitative data. While qualitative data explains the “what,” quantitative data explains the “why” and the “how.” The catch is, it is much more difficult to collect than quantitative data is. A few examples include:
Why people want to buy the product How well sales reps are performing What clients are objecting to
Using both quantitative and qualitative data is an incredibly effective way to track sales activity. By doing so, the “what,” the “why,” and the “how” of every aspect of the sales journey can be tracked.
Historically, qualitative data can’t be pulled from a CRM as easily as quantitative data can. However, Collective[i] has revolutionized this area of sales activity tracking. We offer CRM activity tracking products that add a critical layer of intelligence to transform an everyday tracking tool into a state-of-the-art, agile, buyer-centric sales stack.
We pool sales activities from CRM, traditional work tools, and our vast network to provide teams with the highest-quality insights to drive sales. This way our software solutions can pull quantitative data from the qualitative data to give B2B businesses the edge they need to track their sales as they never could before.
Our products allow access to clean CRM data, instantly updated contacts, daily adaptive forecasts, opportunity odds, pipeline visibility, predictive leaderboards, risk alerts, the next and best actions sales reps may take, collaboration tools, and a referral network sourced from colleagues and professional connections. It’s all enhanced with the most sophisticated AI on the market.
Now that sales tracking has been defined, let’s jump into how it’s done.
How do you track sales activities?
There are four steps to ensuring a business is tracking its sales activities effectively:
1. Decide which activities need to be tracked
Make a list of the sales activities that lead to a won deal and map out all the steps and people involved in the journey to get there. Are leads generated by marketing, then passed to specialized sales reps depending on the traffic source or product? Or is the entire lead-gen process handled by sales from start to finish?
Once this process has been mapped out, list all the activities that each person would need to complete to get to the next step.
For example, the activities that fall to a sales rep may be prospecting, sending proposals, scheduling meetings, and holding sales-closing conversations.
2. Decide how to to track sales activity
Having a designated sales tracking app will help keep everyone up-to-date and aligned on the progress toward individual and team goals. Many businesses today use a CRM. Although not all CRMs are equal, more modern AI tools — such as Collective[i]’s technology — can make CRMs and sales activity tracking even more streamlined and accurate. Before CRMs became the standard tool, many businesses used a sales activity tracking spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are still the reality for some businesses, but they’re rarely reliable.
Consider the above examples of quantitative and qualitative data. Recording quantitative and qualitative data in a spreadsheet — if it’s all recorded successfully — would require sales reps to manually input the data from every interaction with every lead, then (hopefully) save it before moving on to the next one. That’s a lot of tedious work with a lot of room for error. In a 2015 study about spreadsheet errors by Raymond R. Panko, a professor at the University of Hawaii, 94% of the Excel spreadsheets examined in the study had errors.
Collective[i]’s modern CRM software uses intelligent AI to record quantitative and qualitative data automatically, consistently, and accurately. According to research by Zapier, 43% of individuals polled said automation software helps them complete tasks faster, and 44% said that they save time using automation software. AI tools increase automation in sales activity tracking and alert sales reps when they begin falling behind, giving them a chance to catch up before any real damage is done.
3. Share a plan with the sales team
After identifying the individual sales activities that make up the sales process, a company should share the process layout with the rest of the sales team, ensuring everyone agrees it is accurate. This process template is a great way to get everyone on the same page because it outlines exactly what salespeople need to do to hit their sales quota.
4. Use data to improve the sales process
After tracking sales activity for a while, a business can use the data collected to make improvements to the overall sales process. For example, if data is showing that more customers are likely to return and continue doing business with a company when the sales cycle is shortened from two months to four weeks, then the business can take actionable steps to shorten the sales cycle in the next quarter.
This is where Collective[i]’s intelligent CRM tools come in handy: It can give an in-depth view of a business’s strengths and weaknesses and how they improve over time.
What is a sales tracking system?
A sales activity tracking system enables a business to record and detail all aspects of its sales process. A CRM is a sales tracking system that can give all the benefits of tracking sales activities without using a spreadsheet. Collective[i]’s solutions take a sales tracker system to the next level using probabilistic unification, a machine learning approach to unifying data that is siloed in different applications. For instance, many organizations have so much data that it would take a lifetime to merge it all together manually. However, Collective[i]’s neural network can aggregate and organize both qualitative and quantitative data faster and more effectively, helping teams unite data sets from various systems. This capability ensures a clean CRM without duplicate contacts — and provides automatic updates.
Collective[i] supports the administration of data management and informs sellers when new data has changed predictions and other insights — or when it’s about to — through tools including Intelligent WriteBackTM and Intelligent InsightsTM. Intelligent WriteBackTM keeps CRM data current. The system automates CRM data capture from any tool sellers use, eliminating the need for manual logging. This data can even be sourced from other approved users outside sales, such as marketing, legal, customer success, or product resellers. Intelligent InsightsTM advises sellers of risk alerts and recommends buyers by collecting market information from several third-party sources. These insights give sellers time to act strategically and still close the deal, even when the buying team’s requirements, opinions, or timeline have shifted.
With the probabilistic unification power of Collective[i]’s neural network, it’s never been easier to keep CRM data clean and current, with advance insight into how the data is changing today.
Essentials to sales activity tracking
Sales tracking is a journey, and even with the know-how about the process, businesses should also keep in mind essential qualities to get the best results. These essentials can help convert leads, fill the sales funnel, and steer sales teams in the right direction.
When tracking sales activity within an organization, set a standard for the team. What data is being collected? How often is it updated? Recording consistent data frees up valuable time for sales reps to spend more time prospecting and less time feeling lost or overwhelmed.
Sales tracking data is only going to be as good as it is accurate. When data is correct and consistent, sales activity tracking can show where a business is thriving and where improvements need to be made. Sales reps used to have to set aside 30 minutes to record data after a pivotal sales conversation, but thanks to Collective[i]’s AI tools, this process can now be streamlined.
One of the most powerful things a business can do with its sales activity tracking data is to examine the data as if it were an outsider. Where are the wins? What are the pain points? Are there any areas where teams can be doing better? Many businesses get caught up in pulling what they want from their data because it makes them feel good. Know this: It is necessary to admit where an area is failing in order to take the appropriate steps to correct it.
Examples of sales activity tracking
Here are a few hypothetical examples of how teams can use sales tracking data to improve their business:
- According to data provided by Collective[i]’s Intelligent WriteBackTM, a sales team closes more deals via phone call than email. Based on this finding, Intelligent InsightsTM suggests the team implements the following action item to improve its sales process: phone more, email less. The goal of this change is to increase the win rate by 5%.
- Data insights have shown that a business’s pipeline is overflowing with leads, but alarmingly few of them are proceeding to the next stage of the sales funnel. A look into a few prospects’ profiles in the CRM shows that none of them responded to the initial contact email the sales team sent. Intelligent InsightsTM may suggest that the problem is in the sales team’s prospecting template. The action item here would then be to revise it to see if the movement in the sales funnel improves.
- Sales activity tracking results found that a large chunk of a business’s won opportunities happen after it sends at least five follow-up emails; however, many of the sales reps give up after three. The action item based on this data is to let salespeople know they should send at least five follow-up messages, with the goal of increasing the number of closed deals.
Once relevant data is collected, sales activity tracking can provide valuable insight into the sales process and the key metrics needed to help teams convert more leads. It’s important to understand not only what to record but also how to use the data that has been tracked. CRM and intelligent AI tools such as Collective[i]’s will provide relevant insights into what’s working and what’s not.
Explore Collective[i] to see how our intelligent AI features can help your organization achieve end-to-end digital transformation in sales activity tracking and beyond.