Why Sales Tracking Matters and How to Do It Right
Is your sales training program making a meaningful difference in the performance of your reps? What about your CRM, sales dashboard, and other tools?
You don’t want to guess at the answers to such important questions, and you don’t have to. Sales tracking is a vital ingredient in the success recipe of the modern sales team, and today’s tools make data collection easier than ever.
The benefits of data tracking reach far beyond sales.
Personal trainers, for example, routinely have clients record what they eat, and take regular photos to track the gains made through training. If you’re working on a new personal budget, you track how much you’re spending, and where you’re spending it. It’s the only way to truly capture whether your process is delivering results, and why.
Here’s why sales tracking matters and how to find a process that works for your team.
Sales Tracking Delivers Team-Wide Benefits
You invest heavily in training and sales tools because you want to give your team the best chance to win deals.
Data tracking allows you to accurately measure the performance of your reps, and how the tools you provide influence that performance. That means analyzing the negative, but also looking at the positive. If your team shows a sudden boost in performance, you want to know if it’s sustainable, and why it happened.
Accuracy and consistency are the keys to successful sales tracking.
You need to commit to the process, and that requires more than just having the right tools.
Your CRM and sales dashboard likely provide tools for collecting and analyzing quantitative data, but what about the wealth of qualitative data that comes with every impact interaction and phone call?
- Collecting quantitative data shouldn’t take up much time, as your sales tools likely collect relevant data automatically. Analyzing quantitative data is generally pretty straightforward, too. If a given tool doesn’t deliver the reports you need, you can create a report in your CRM to sort through the data.
- Qualitative data is tougher to collect, but just as valuable. What objections come up most frequently from prospects? How does a prospect respond to a specific message? How well does a rep feel they performed on a sales call? Answering these questions after key sales activities can help you identify problems, solutions, and trends.
- Collecting and analyzing qualitative data requires commitment from your reps. You need a structured plan for what data is collected, and when to collect it.
Putting Sales Tracking to Work for Your Team
Successful sales tracking requires a sensible, repeatable data collection cadence, since collecting qualitative data depends largely on the memory of your reps.
You’re collecting complex, strategic data, so ideally you don’t want to put too much time between the activity being tracked, and the recording of data. As your team gets more familiar with what data you track and how you record it, they’ll become more comfortable remembering key data to record.
Whenever possible, set aside about thirty minutes for data collection after each high impact sales conversation.
The same concept holds for anything worth tracking. Thirty minutes may sound like a lot, but your reps will need the time to ensure that the information they collect is accurate and complete.
Realistically, you won’t be able to set aside thirty minutes after every high impact conversation. There will be times when your reps move right from one high impact conversation to the next, without the luxury of time in between. That’s okay. If a rep can’t record data immediately following a conversation, they should simply aim to do so as soon as their schedule permits.
Set Standards and Expectations
Your sales team should come together to set standards for the frequency of updating sales data.
Updating daily is ideal, and should be manageable for your reps. Ask your reps to have all data updated by the end of the workday, with wiggle room for reps who have high impact sales activities planned for the end of a day.
Taking accurate notes is time-consuming, but there are tools available to ease the burden.
Krista Caldwell uses Google Forms, while Salesforce and InsightSquared also offer popular tools. Salesforce allows custom fields, and InsightSquared is perfect for pulling together data from disparate sources.
Understanding performance is the first step to improving it, and sales tracking is the best way to get an accurate picture of your team’s performance.
It takes commitment from management and full buy-in from your team, but the results are more than worth the effort.
Want to know if the investments you make in your team are paying off?
Start collecting accurate data consistently, and find out firsthand whether the return justifies your investment.
Jon Yu has helped grow early-stage technology startups in customer-centric roles at Clearspring (now AddThis) and Bodymedia (acquired by Jawbone). With over 5 years of B2C sales experience, Jon was responsible for the sales efforts at Nestle Nespresso in the Greater DC area where he generated $2MM in new annual accounts. He holds a BS in Computer Science and Economics from University of Maryland and a MS in Information Networking from Carnegie Mellon University.