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Your Complete Guide to Sales Tracking

July 9, 2020

Are you using data to drive your sales strategy?

If not, you could be missing out on the secret to hitting your sales goals and delighting your customers. Structured data plays an important role not only in the marketing department, but also during the decision making and the creation of strategy for the business in general. It’s one of the key pillars which determine the success of the companies.

The benefits of sales tracking is obvious: better processes, quicker turnaround time, and more effective workflows. Those things might not matter to you on the surface but they should. All of the things we listed above impact the customer experience.

If you think delighting the customer isn’t as important as a bulletproof sales strategy, you’re wrong. According to Iron Paper, 65% of customers are lost in the sales pipeline because of indifference, not because of mistakes.

This is why it’s important to have a sales tracking system in place. By tracking the process your team takes to close deals and find new leads, you can pinpoint exactly where in the process your team is crushing it and where you can improve. This will ultimately help you build an authentic, emotional connection with your customers.

Why is sales tracking important? 

Besides previously mentioned impact effects of the right sales tracking software on your business, it’s worth pointing out also other ways how this decision can bring fruitful results.

Offers real time insights

Knowledge is power. And so is data. When you have access to information about your customer’s behaviors, you’ll be able to effectively recognize patterns and predict their decisions and needs.

For example, if you notice that your customers are using your product less frequently, it could mean that they’re no longer meeting their business goals, and therefore your product is losing value in their eyes. As such, an actionable insight would be to schedule a one on one meeting with your client, and re-engage them.

Showcase and educate them on new features, offer training, or simply ask them what you can do to help. In many cases, reaching out to churning clients early can salvage the relationship, and even open up new possibilities of upselling or cross selling.

Helps you recognize problems early on 

As mentioned above, data analysis helps you recognize and tackle problems head on. Remember, the more proactive you are (and less reactive) the better. Customers want to be taken care of at all times, not only when they’re experiencing struggles with your product. 

Thus, it’s important to assign a designated CSM (customer success manager) to each of your clients that can periodically review their data data and check in as needed. Being more proactive when it comes to taking care of your customers is an absolute must to keep your customers happy and your business growing.

Remember, happy customers have a higher lifetime value and churn less. By taking care of them, you won’t have to worry about cash flow issues that are one of the  direct results of customer churn.

Shows rep performance

Reviewing data is the perfect opportunity to improve your service and review best practices when it comes to sales, marketing, and support. By gaining insight into what is engaging for your customers and what isn’t, you can quickly identify and bridge the gaps between the service you want to provide and the service you’re actually providing.

For example, if you notice that certain sales or support reps are outperforming others, it might indicate that other reps are less educated about the ins and outs of your product. As such, it might be beneficial to re-educate your staff about your product, best practices, and internal processes and guidelines.

In addition to improving your staff’s performance, this data can also help you reward those that are excelling. Reward individuals that are going above and beyond for your customers (and your business) with financial bonuses, promotions, or public praise to keep them motivated.

Improves resource allocation

Proper and smart resource allocation is the process of planning, scheduling and assigning currently available resources in the most efficient and economic way taking into consideration current performance of your business, time and the availability of your workers.

Knowing when to initiate which task or use which resource is crucial for the proper customer management and the general well being of the company. In order to collect this kind of information it is usually recommended to implement proper tracking software. Most of the time it gives you the output in a form of several trend reports, charts or prognosis for the upcoming period. Algorithms have an irreplaceable role here.

Enhances customer service skills 

Vast and complex research usually precedes the moment your customer decides to go for your product or service. This research consists most of the times of several visits to your website, looking for information on search engines or forums or reading reviews on review portals.

With G2 buyer intent data, your sales team can actually see which prospects are looking at your reviews – and which competitors they are comparing you against.

Tailored and personalized customer service has significant impact as it drives customer loyalty, increases the chance of good brand advocacy and your overall NPS. Offering this kind of support through availability on live chats, voice support or good old ticketing can really make your business shine and stand out.

Allows you to create tailored product offerings

You’ve experienced a tailored product offering before. Whether purchasing from Amazon or eBay, e-commerce sites have mastered the art of learning your preferences and offering deals you can refuse.

Powerful sales tracking software knows which complementary products are the best fit for you. Looking for a new smartwatch? Amazon automatically predicts you might be interested in the protection glass. They know your preferences very well and carefully track every step you make on their website. They can even determine and predict your future purchases and this way offer you products you are most likely to buy.

Sales tracking software allows you to harness that same powerful data for your own customer outreach and sales plan. By tracking where in the sales pipeline you lose a lead or close a deal, your team can learn what to offer on the fence customers to help close deals.

How to set up a sales tracking process

After the process of drafting and adjusting your vision is done and your business is set up, it’s time to move on to the sales funnel and start to focus on customers.

Knowing where your customers come from is as equally important as knowing how they behave during the process of selecting your product or service. Sales tracking should be extremely important for you as it helps you to identify your future leads, focus on them and interact with them in any of the sales funnel stages.

In this article, we’ll review the best tips and tricks for creating a sales tracking program the right way. We’ll also dive into how to use sales tracking to delight and retain your customers. Let’s jump in.

1. Find the right data to track

The first step to building a sales tracking program is to gain a clear understanding on what data you need to track in the first place. 

Businesses usually gather data from multiple sources to gain a bigger picture of what is working for them and what is not. These include data from help desk software, email marketing, and automation platforms or social media channels to name just a few. These and plenty of other data are than thanks to data mining parsed into logical chunks. It helps with data analytics and overall pattern recognition in them.

Focusing on the existing strengths and perfecting them can result in increased sales, improved ROI and last, but not least more loyal customers. On the other hand, working on weaknesses can give you better market presence and more qualified leads. They again, can impact your business in the field of higher volume of sales.

Implementing the right sales tracking software can help you to fine-touch, or even create when it’s needed, the proper sales process. The gathered data and insights should help you determine which parts are performing better than the other.

2. Share the plan

After you’ve collected your data, it’s important to share it with the other departments within your business. Customer success teams, sales, marketing, and even developers can benefit from the insights that are gathered. 

Because the data often indicates the health score of your customers, and your business, it’s essential to use it to create engaging campaigns and product updates that align with your business goals and sales strategy. 

When important data like this is shared transparently company wide, all teams and departments can align their KPI’s with the company’s goals. As such, the whole company is motivated to assist each other in reaching a common goal.

3. Use the data to make improvements 

As mentioned above, collecting data is valuable because it gives you actionable insights. For example, when you notice that your NPS score is dropping, and that your customers are close to churning, you can ask them why. 

When you ask your customers for feedback, they’ll likely tell you how you can improve your product or service.  Either your product was missing core features that your customers needed to meet their business goals, and thus they didn’t see the value in it, or the support they received wasn’t proactive, but rather reactive.

As such, insights from your customers and collected data can help you continuously improve your customer support processes, marketing or sales strategies, and even your product. The more you strive to improve, the higher valued your product will be.

Sales tracking metrics

Sales tracking metrics indicate how well your business is performing in terms of sales progression and future growth. Some of the most important metrics include sales KPIs (used for measuring company wide performance), activity sales metrics, pipeline metrics, outreach metrics, and sales productivity metrics. 

Sales activity metrics

  • Calls made. Measure the number of inbound and outbound calls, demos, and 1 on 1 training sessions to see how things are moving along in your sales funnel.
  • Emails sent. Monitor customer engagement by tracking email open rates, CTR, responses, conversations, and conversions.
  • Meetings scheduled. Get an overview of how proactive your sales team is by tracking the number of scheduled meetings, demos, or follow up calls with potential customers.

Sales pipeline metrics

  • Sales cycle length. Measure your sales cycle length to make accurate sales forecasting. Using this sales metric, you can predict how your revenue stream and cash flow will look like in the next few weeks and months.
  • Win rate. Calculate your win rate to compare your improvement or decline in sales over time. Win rates can be segmented by product, sales team, marketing campaign, or competitor to gain insights from performance variations. 
  • Total open opportunities. By measuring the total number of open opportunities you can find out how many new sales opportunities have been added to your pipeline, and how many opportunities your sales reps have to work on to convert.
  • Total closed opportunities - The total closed opportunities metric measures the total number of opportunities closed, regardless of being won or lost. Measuring this metric will enable you to evaluate and compare your sales team's performance over time.

Sales productivity metrics 

  • Time spent on selling activities. Measuring the number of hours spent on selling activities gives you insights into your sales reps’ daily activities. If more time is spent on planning than selling, your sales reps will need to adjust their workflow.
  • Time spent on data entry. Tracking this metric gives you an idea of how much time is spent on transcribing sales data into your CRM. The higher the number, the more likely it is that your internal process or CRM tools are inefficient and need to be reviewed.

Sales tracking tips

By now, you understand the fundamentals of sales tracking and what it entails. In fact, we’ve previously covered the general introduction to sales tracking and laid down the framework of its importance to the sales funnel, decision-making processes, and the success of businesses in general. 

Now that we know the theoretical background, it’s time to move to practical tips and see the opportunities and improvement spaces for your business! Let’s get to the bottom of the sales funnel.  

1. Gather statistics into one place

Having one central hub for all of your data, statistics, and information about your business and customers is crucial in order to provide transparency and simplicity in your internal IT systems. An example of your potential data warehouse is the Grafana tool, an open platform for analytics and monitoring.

It has a powerful visualization tool, gives you the ability to set custom alerts and reminders, and also select metrics your decision makers care the most about. Since it is an open platform, the integration with your other internal tools is easy and convenient. Its power to unify all of your data acts as a must have for proper sales tracking.

2. Technology is secondary; business use case is more important

The technological advancements of humankind in the past few centuries played an essential role in the development of society, increased life expectancy, or in the effort to eradicate some of the worldwide spread diseases. Besides these positive effects, technology also made our life much easier; transportation and logistics are faster, communication between people in countries around the world is quicker, and the ability to stay in touch with customers is more convenient.

However, when it comes to the sales department of the businesses, technology should not be the main pillar of success. Yes, it helps to automate some of the tasks, gather and filter data or provide insights on how the customers behave.

Good, deeply crafted and detailed business use cases are essential for companies in order to be successful as it describes the situations and processes of a business and its interaction with several stakeholders, such as customers or other companies and entities. Its purpose is to primarily characterize how the products and services of the specific business are used by its customers.

Knowing how they behave, what they expect from the company and what are the desires can help you to identify potential future sales as well as improve the customer support. None of the companies can exist on the market without the customers nor this data.

3. Make sure you only collect data that matters

Why collecting data and keeping them in a single, centralized hub is beneficial for most of the companies was covered in the first point of our article. Our current focus is why you should do the analysis of which data you are willing to collect. Not every single piece of data is deadly-important for your business.

Overwhelming and overcomplicating won’t bring more sales, better conversion rates, or happier customers. Collecting non-necessary data will only reflect in the loss of financial resources and time. Which both could be invested into more important fields of business, such as customer care or support.

4. You can form decisions only from a reasonable amount of data

Never ever should decision makers in any company form the decisions based on minimal amounts of data. That is exactly where statistics from proper tracking software come in handy and can have a significant impact on the direction of the business. And no, we don’t mean the college course you did not like that much next to the math. Collecting and analyzing a broader amount of data from a larger scoop provides management better starting points and certainty.

The most important aspects of statistics that you should follow are: 

  • Focusing on the bigger picture
  • Proof and evidence that serve as the bulletproof confirmation for making the specific decision
  • Sustaining the quality of the outcome (products or services) 
  • Financial plans for the present and future
  • Shaping strategy for the upcoming long-term direction of the companies
  • Allocation enough resources to the specific departments 

5. The purchase process is always more complex than your data shows

Many of your customers can act outside of your regular customers habits. Even if it is important to have several marketing personas and try to fit the majority of them into common types, we recommend to also think outside of the box. The process of selecting your product or service for your customers is an important journey for them.

Complications can arise even in the beginning phase of consideration phase, since people will inevitably have questions. They will look for answers even on your support portal or get in touch with you via several available channels, let it be traditional mail, social networks, or calls. 

Once the customers put the checkmark to all of their questions and made the decision to purchase your products or services, the real fun begins. Implementation, testing, proper set up or even consultations arise, all of which make the process only more complex. 

6. Data is a good servant but a bad master 

Data can be a foundational piece of success for every business, since they provide bulletproof facts. They can and are a good servant as they help to make purposeful decisions that impact the business, its market share, and its profits or losses.

Wrongly interpreted data can result in a situation when companies go bankrupt. However, data is not always the only aspect that should be blamed. An extremely important factor of decision making is that humans are the ones who shape the business, create the vision and mission, come up with the best-in-class optimization or make the cognitive decisions based on the previous experiences and customer behavior patterns. 

For instance, Tesco heavily relied on the data in the past. This dependence on the data-driven behaviour resulted in the moment, when the company lost almost half of its market value. Even Warren Buffett reflected that Tesco was not a good choice: “I made a mistake on Tesco. That was a huge mistake by me," as his losses reached the level of more than 700 million dollars.

It is important to value the skills of the people and their contribution to the success of the company on all of the levels. It is humans who combine business model, previous experiences, emotions, and analytical models together.

7. You cannot automate everything, nor you should want to

Automation can save time and effort for most businesses. Deploying successful workflow and fine-tuning every single aspect of it can bring thousands in savings and help increase company productivity.

The ability to have talk to virtual assistants saves time and effort from looking for information online. The only requirements to have conversation with AI-powered voice assistants is the connection to the internet as well as owning a smartphone. 

According to research, the Google Assistant scored a perfect 100% on the ability to understand the customer queries and 92.9% on the ability to answer these queries, the highest from all the available assistants.

The opportunities for automation are almost endless and the implementation of them can bring fruitful results, but there are still some fields of businesses, that should not be fully “touched” by it, here is just a small portion of the ever-growing list: customer support, review management, and decision-making. 

Customer support

Customers are the most important asset of every business. Integrating chatbot into website can be helpful to quickly filter the requests or sort them to specific department of your business.

At the end of the day, current bots are no yet smart enough to solve all the issues - they could have problem with the understanding of the more complicating requests, they lack of empathy or the ability to naturally follow the flow of the conversation. That doesn't mean that providing customer support has to be pain. Relying on multichannel help desk solutions quickly brings many rewarding benefits, such as 20% increase in conversion rates, improved customer loyalty, or shorter resolve times. 

Review management

Collecting enough reviews on several review platforms brings many positive effects for most of the online-based companies that sell either some services or products. The importance of the reviews for the customers is significant, as more than 70% of them read reviews before they make that purchase decision.

Collecting reviews is only one part of the successful listing. The second half of review management comes after the review has been posted. Responding to them in personal way with empathy or even emoticons can improve your local SEO, according to Google.

Decision-making

The final decision can be preceded by automated data collection or filtered by artificial intelligence based on several conditions and rules. The last choice is still always made by the leaders, managers or directors as so far only they can take into consideration not only data but also the personal approach towards the company.

An example on how the humans are still needed when determining the win-win situation can be seen at Google’s AI technology, Duplex. In fact, 25% of calls made via Duplex are finished by humans. Humankind is not at the point where everything can be achieved using AI. Yet. 

8. Focus on a maximum of two data sources as your primary interest to track

Less is more, especially when it comes to the beginning phases of your business and tracking your prospects and orders. Overcomplicating the already difficult situation only means, that as the time will go, you will get lost in the amount of data and different sources. More data means more tools to handle and filter them and this means higher costs.

Your business should not have more than two primary data sources. Once you have established your tracking and fine crafted it with the help of guides or external partners, you can move on to the next step and add more sources to better profile your stakeholders. Your sales tracking can be often over complicated when trying to focus on too many KPIs and different metrics, therefore “Sic Parvis Magna," “Greatness from small beginnings”.

9. Read reviews carefully before choosing your preferred stack

We will go back to the reviews and give them a little bit of extra attention, this time from the different perspective. It is equally important to collect them for your business, rock that high score of the satisfaction and the amount of contributed testimonials as well as to read them before you make your own purchase decision.

Remember the last time you were planning your vacation abroad, what were the steps you had to go through? Besides selecting your dream destination, you also had to select your hotel, popular destinations to visit as well as interesting places to eat or enjoy a great drink. Interesting fact is, that outside of the recommendations of our friends, family members or acquaintances, we also rely on the opinions of total strangers.

We read them carefully and put (usually) a lot of trust into them, especially once we see they are on a high authority site, such as G2. This same situation is applicable also to your business as it can benefit from posted opinions and feedback.  Discover. Consider. Decide! 

Sales tracking software

Understanding what sales tracking software is covers the first part of the process: knowing which platform is right for you is a whole different game. This section will give a brief overview of the different types of sales tracking, as well as the best software solutions to manage everything.

Digital analytics software

Tracking your website data is the most common and fundamental part of sales tracking. There are many ways to track digital analytics, but the most popular among industry experts tends to be digital analytics software. These platforms helps you to collect anonymous streamlined data that enables to allocate your resources better.

These solution providers collect data from various sources such as extensions or IP addresses and pair them with their internal databases to give you relatively correct information of concrete company browsing your website. However, you have to be very careful to not overdo it.

It would be very inappropriate to start calling your website visitors right after they closed your website. Also these tracks are just another JavaScript code on your website and tend to slow your website. Use them wisely.

Tracking emails is one of the most common sales tracking techniques, because the barriers between business and prospect are removed. There are usually two types of email tracking software.

Business intelligence software

Business intelligence platforms, often called BI platforms, are complex dashboards that groups data from various sources to give better insights on overall performance. Nowadays, people are using different channels and devices to reach single business, therefore it’s necessary to connect these touch points.

Business intelligence platforms are perfect for sales tracking because they allow the user to collect and create internal analytics applications, create reports and visualizations in-platform, and consume data from any source through file uploads, database querying, and application connectors. It’s a true one-stop shop for sales tracking.

Sales activities tracking software

Sales activities tracking software helps businesses manage and track all aspects of the sales process. Find out how your team is doing in regards to new leads, sales progression, and closing activities segmented by time, channel, region, or sales rep.

Email tracking

First, there are email marketing and automation platforms that are suitable for sending emails to huge amount of contacts. Secondly, there is email tracking software that suits direct outreach and cold emailing better. Depending on your sales outreach style or end goal, one email system will work better for your team than the other. No matter which solution you choose, most email tracking systems work the same way.

Email tracking software is popular because they offer robust data points for your team to utilize. These software solutions allow users to schedule emails according to time constraints, geographic distribution of prospects, and prospect status. 

It also allows users to categorize inbound and outbound email communications according to tags, lists, and sales priorities, as well as delivering analytics on basic and advanced email use information to understand how emails are received. 

Inbound and outbound call tracking

Tracking inbound and outbound calls means monitoring the number of calls made and received over a certain period of time. Monitoring these metrics is important for every business, as it can give you an overview of your support team and sales team’s efforts. Based on the number of calls, their durations, and conversions made, you can analyze how effective your sales strategies and support guidelines are.

When it comes to choosing the right software for tracking inbound and outbound calls, it’s important to consider how in depth you want to go with your tracking and analysis. There are tons of solutions available on the market, however, they all provide slightly different functionalities. 

CRM

The final tracking option in this piece is probably the most popular among marketers and sales professionals. Customer relationship management software (CRM) helps businesses track and manage sales interactions in a single location. CRM software has the ability to track each and every touchpoint your customer has with your company throughout the sales journey.

Data driven sales is the future

Some may not like to hear it, but technology isn’t an option anymore. Your competitors are utilizing big data and complex software solutions to refine their sales funnel and create a better customer experience. If your company chooses not to innovate, you will fall behind. Invest in big data and use it to understand what your customers want and how you can give it to them.

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