Sales is part art and part science. It balances a charisma, careful relationship-building, and gut feelings with refined processes, clear metrics, and data-backed decisions.
It's a balancing act. And sales can feel even more complex because it's a function without a clear start and stop. Sales teams are responsible for nurturing and converting leads but also retaining and even upgrading existing customers.
Needless to say, any sales professional will readily admit that there are a lot of moving parts — and that's exactly why a sales tracker can be so beneficial.
What is a sales tracker?
As the name implies, a sales tracker is a tool or database that stores, organizes, and manages all of the information and updates that are relevant to your sales process.
While you might readily think of keeping track of any sales your team makes, a sales tracker is far more comprehensive than simply logging your closed deals. It should also house things like:
- Contact information
- Leads and opportunities
- Conversations and outreach
- Lead and customer history
- Sales goals and success metrics
Put simply, your sales tracker is the single resource where your entire team will record, conduct, and maintain all of your different sales activities.
Who uses a sales tracker?
Hear the term "sales tracker" and the answer to this question seems pretty straightforward: the sales team.
Of course, the people on your sales team will do the bulk of the day-to-day work with your sales activity tracker. They'll use it to set goals, monitor performance, and manage their daily tasks. But this tool is far-reaching and offers benefits for other people and departments, such as:
- Leadership can use the sales tracker to understand performance, make projections, and set realistic organizational goals
- Marketing can use the sales tracker to understand the sales process and how they can better support lead conversion and customer retention
- Customer support can use the sales tracker to understand how they can provide better service and minimize objections during the sales process
So, while a sales team will be the ones who are in the weeds with a sales tracking platform on a daily basis, they certainly aren't the only ones who will benefit from it. In fact, sales trackers are most advantageous when they're shared across the organization so everybody can understand what it takes to get new customers to come (and stay) onboard.
How to Train Your Team to Use a Sales Tracker
Implementing a sales tracker tool is a significant step towards streamlining your sales process. However, its success largely depends on how effectively your team can use it. Here are some steps to ensure your team is well-equipped to use the sales tracker:
- Start with an Introduction: Begin by explaining what a sales tracker is, its benefits, and why the company has chosen to implement it. Highlight how it can make their work easier and more efficient.
- Detailed Demonstration: Conduct a step-by-step walkthrough of the sales tracker. Show them how to log in, update information, track progress, generate reports, and use any other key features of the tool.
- Hands-On Training: Allow your team members to explore the tool hands-on. This could involve creating dummy data for them to play around with, or real-life scenarios to practice on.
- Provide User Manuals and Guides: Create detailed user manuals and guides that team members can refer to when they need help. These resources should be easily accessible.
- Regular Follow-Ups and Support: Conduct regular check-ins to address any issues or challenges your team may be facing. Encourage them to share their experiences and provide necessary support and solutions.
- Continuous Learning: As the tool gets updated or new features are added, ensure to update your training materials and conduct refresher training sessions.
Remember, the goal is to make your team comfortable and proficient with the sales tracker. This not only requires initial training but also ongoing support and learning.
Why is sales tracking important?
Perhaps you and your team have been making things work without a unified sales activity tracker. Why bother going through the work of pulling everything into one place?
Having a centralized spot to manage all of the stages and tasks in your sales process does more than help you figure out how to keep track of sales. It offers a number of other distinct advantages, including:
- Organize and centralize your information: You might be able to limp along with scattered spreadsheets and siloed email threads, but it's definitely not the most efficient or effective way to get things done. A sales tracker offers a single source of truth that people can reference for any sales activity — whether it's finding a customer's contact information or understanding the last time anybody touched base with a lead.
- Increase visibility: Related to the above, sales really is a team function. While individual salespeople are undoubtedly pursuing their own quotas, ultimately the whole team is working toward a broader goal of making as many sales as possible. What happens if somebody is on vacation? Or goes out on leave? Or leaves the company entirely? A sales tracker gives everybody the context they need about relationships with various leads and customers – so they can step in seamlessly without missing a beat (or an opportunity). Plus, leadership has instant and easy visibility into what the team is doing and how they're performing.
- Identify opportunities for improvement: A sales tracker boosts visibility across the team and the entire organization, but it also gives you better insight into the various phases of your sales process and pipeline. Is it taking you too long to touch base with qualified leads? Are people losing interest during a particular point in the process? Are certain salespeople way outperforming others? Your sales activity tracker empowers you with the information you need to further refine your sales processes.
- Close more deals: Combine all of the above and you get the biggest perk of all: a better sales process that helps you close more deals. Salespeople aren't spending as much time searching for information or getting up to speed on a lead's relationship. That means they can channel more time and energy into nurturing that relationship and converting the lead. It's little wonder why 54% of sales professionals say technology is a great resource for building stronger relationships with buyers. The same report found that 54% of sales representatives also say that digital sales tools help them win over more prospects.
Making sales is one of the biggest driving forces behind your organization's success — and it deserves more than random spreadsheets, disparate dashboards, and dated Rolodexes. With a sales activity tracker, you and your team readily have the information you need to pursue your ultimate goal: closing more deals.
What makes a good sales tracking platform?
You're convinced that a sales tracker is a resource your team can't go without any longer. How do you get started?
There are plenty of sales and operations teams that opt to track sales and all related activities in a centralized Excel spreadsheet. Here are a few popular sales tracker templates:
However, spreadsheets do have some pitfalls — particularly since they require manual updates and lack a lot of the time-saving integrations and automations you'll find in dedicated sales tracking or work management platforms.
Additionally, sales is an important function with tons of different aspects. You need a solution that can manage and monitor them all, which means you might quickly outgrow a spreadsheet (or run the risk of it becoming too large and unruly to easily reference and use).
Fortunately, other technology steps in where spreadsheets fall short. There are other options (like Wrike!) that can help you manage your sales process and avoid the drawbacks of traditional spreadsheets. Here's what to look for as you figure out what sales tracking platform is best for you and your team.
You don't just need to make sales — you need to estimate how many deals you'll close in a given time period. This isn't about shaking a Magic 8 Ball or pulling a random number out of a hat. You need to base your forecast in data and history.
That's hard to do if you don't have a place where you can access your past performance. Your sales tracker should display all of that relevant data — how many leads you converted, how many customers churned, the average size of each deal, and more — so that you can better estimate your projected revenue moving forward.
Beyond informing your projections, your sales tracker should also have a place where you can store your estimates and even use them to establish success metrics that will help you monitor your team's progress.
New lead tracking
Marketing teams know that lead generation is a relentless challenge. But when you finally have those qualified leads in the pipeline, the hard work isn't over.
In fact, research shows that many sales teams struggle with nurturing leads, which is arguably one of the most crucial parts in the sales process. When asked about their greatest challenges to lead conversion:
- 43% of companies say they struggle to collect enough data on leads
- 41% of companies say they struggle to follow up with leads quickly
- 39% of companies say they struggle to make initial contact with leads
- 35% of companies say they struggle to maintain contact with leads
- 29% of companies say they struggle to filter and funnel leads
- 25% of companies say they struggle to set appointments with leads
A sales tracker can help with all of these. It pulls all of your leads into one place and also stores all of the must-know information about them. Plus, a sales tracking platform will nudge the process along with features like clear task assignments, reminders for when it's time to check in, and tags so everybody can quickly see what step of the process a lead has reached.
Less leads getting lost in the shuffle means more revenue on your team and company's balance sheet.
Has anybody reached out to that customer about upgrading their account yet? When's the last time somebody got in touch with this super qualified lead? Who's generating your sales report this month?
Sales teams are spinning a lot of plates. It can be tough to keep track of what you need to do on your own — let alone everything that the entire team is working on.
Needing to check disparate spreadsheets and platforms wastes time and also leaves too much room for errors. Team members could step on others' toes or, potentially even worse, let an important task or lead slip through the cracks.
A sales activity tracker brings some order and visibility to everything that the entire team is doing so that your sales operation can run like a well-oiled machine. Most platforms will include:
- Clear task assignments
- Due dates
- Status updates
No more guessing about who's doing what (and when). Your sales tracker will spell it all out for you so that you can boost productivity and performance.
Staring at seemingly endless rows of digits and dates is enough to make anyone's eyes glaze over — especially if you're searching that spreadsheet for one number or piece of information.
That's why it's important to look for a sales tracking platform that has data visualization features. This will break your complex rows of data into more digestible and actionable charts and graphs.
Whether you need to get a grasp on your revenue, number of leads, average deal size, or any other sales-pertinent metric, your sales tracker will quickly and painlessly get you the information you need — without having to comb through daunting spreadsheets.
Plus, data visualization makes it far faster and easier to create any important sales reports and prove your value to other departments and company decision makers.
Future Trends in Sales Tracking
Sales tracking is an evolving field, with new technologies and methodologies constantly emerging. Here are some trends to look out for in the near future:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): AI and ML are set to revolutionize sales tracking. They can analyze past data to identify patterns and predict future outcomes, helping sales teams to make more informed decisions. Additionally, AI can automate routine tasks, freeing up time for salespeople to focus on more strategic activities.
- Predictive Analytics: Predictive analytics tools will become more sophisticated, enabling sales teams to forecast sales trends more accurately and plan their strategies accordingly.
- Integration with Other Tools: Sales trackers will increasingly integrate with other tools such as CRM, marketing automation, and customer service platforms. This will provide a more holistic view of the customer journey, enabling sales teams to tailor their strategies more effectively.
- Mobile Sales Tracking: With the rise of remote work, mobile sales tracking will become more prevalent. Sales teams will be able to update and access sales data on the go, making them more agile and responsive.
- Real-Time Reporting: Real-time reporting will become a standard feature of sales trackers. This will provide sales teams with up-to-the-minute data, helping them to respond quickly to changing sales trends.
These trends represent exciting opportunities for sales teams. By staying ahead of these trends, sales teams can leverage the latest technologies and methodologies to improve their performance and drive sales growth.
Step up your sales efforts with Wrike
Whether it's art, science, or a little bit of both, sales is one of your company's most important functions — it has a direct and undeniable impact on your growth and your bottom line.
That means it's worthy of some careful planning, strategy, and organization. Siloed spreadsheets and sticky notes aren't going to cut it when it comes to a winning sales process.
Ready to get started with sales tracking software that helps you close more deals (with less stress)? Wrike has tons of features to level-up your efforts, including:
- Automations to streamline your entire sales process
- Easy and intuitive lead organization
- Tailor-made blueprints and checklists for lead tracking
- Real-time communication tools
- Reports to analyze performance, find patterns, and refine your sales techniques
- Integrations with other popular sales apps
- Customizable sales templates to save you time
Don't leave your organization's sales success up to chance (or spreadsheets). Get the order and organization your sales team deserves. Get started with a free trial of Wrike today.