It's nice to look at the number of closed deals at the end of the quarter, but do you know how your team got there? In order to achieve sustainable and predictable growth, sales managers need insights into everyday sales activity data so they can provide real-time coaching and identify patterns for success.
However, getting access to that sales activity data in an efficient and comprehensible way isn't always easy. And a lack of visibility into sales data doesn't just affect the sales org.
Sales, sales ops, and marketing teams are all accountable for driving revenue, yet each is hampered by the same core issue: The CRM is not consistently updated by sales reps, leaving critical processes perennially broken.
Relevant, up-to-date, clean data is critical to transparency, trust, and closing more deals.
So what exactly is sales activity data?
Sales activity data is every action that your sales and marketing team is making to close a deal and also the engagement coming from prospects. That can include:
- Attachments sent
- Phone calls
- Marketing campaigns, webinars, direct mails, ads etc.
Sales activity shows you what's actually happening in the days, weeks, and months leading up to a sale—and when it's properly tracked and analyzed, it can supercharge your entire revenue operations organization.
3 ways to use sales activity data for improved sales effectiveness
Sales activity not only provides you with a way to track rep productivity but it can also be used to strategically close more deals:
Avoid happy ears and sandbagging for better forecasting
Sales reps are only human, and when it comes to forecasting, they can be prone to human bias. Having the full picture of sales activity can make the forecasting process less so. When a rep makes their call, managers can use sales activity data to gut-check that call by seeing how the deals that make up the forecast are tracking, what's real, and what's not likely to close.
For example, if a rep moves a prospect from pipeline to commit, but there hasn't been any sales activity data in the last few months, they may be overly optimistic with that deal and you may need to bring them back to earth. Alternatively, if that rep moves an opportunity from commit to upside but through sales activity data you can see there is a lot of engagement, you may have a sandbagger, which is equally harmful to your forecast accuracy.
Having visibility into your team's sales activity gives you the full picture of how deals are being worked and where they really stand, taking some of the guesswork out of your forecast.
Identify opportunities that need love
Your 1:1s are critical moments with reps to make sure the quarter is on track and to address any risk for better opportunity management. When sales activity data is readily available and easily visualized, you can spend more time coaching through deals with less engaged prospects or deals that reps are not paying enough attention instead of wasting time going through every deal and getting up-to-date on the last actions taken.
Clari gives you clear visibility into rep activity to ensure adequate focus toward the right accounts and opportunities. In addition, data from email, meetings, attachments sent, and more are automatically tracked within the platform so that reps don't have to spend time manually entering data and managers don't have to worry if the data is up-to-date or accurate.
Create benchmarks for top sales reps
When you can see your entire team's sales activity data, it's easier to see what's working and what isn't. If your most successful reps send 60 emails a week and your least productive reps only send a dozen, the latter group may need some tools or coaching to increase their email cadence. Sales activity data gives you insight into what makes your most successful reps successful and how to replicate that throughout the organization.
Why tracking sales activity data is critical for your entire revenue operations team
The benefits of sales activity data go beyond the sales team too. For revenue operations teams, which includes sales, marketing, and customer success, sales activity data can provide insight into where the entire organization can provide additional support.
For revenue operations teams with an account-based marketing strategy, marketers can check how much sales activity certain accounts have. If high-value opportunities are showing signs of disengaging, the marketing team can implement targeted nurture campaigns to that account for air coverage.
Sales activity data empowers the entire revenue ops team to impact deals at the most critical time.
3 ways to track sales activity data
Getting clean, up-to-date, and accurate sales activity from reps has historically been a major challenge. It takes time, and it's not always intuitive. However, tracking that data is critical to organizational success. So, what are your options?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software
The CRM was designed to be the system of record, housing all of the activity data, but it requires a lot of manual data entry to keep up-to-date. Reps just don't have the time for the care and feeding of CRM, and let's be honest—you would rather they spend their time selling anyway.
Sales and marketing software has gotten much better about tracking sales analytics in recent years. Outreach provides data around how many emails each rep has sent, including open rates and clicks, and Marketo illustrates which accounts are engaging with your marketing campaigns. However, most systems don't talk to each other, leaving the data siloed. It will likely take some effort to sift through and synthesize disparate metrics for the full sales activity picture.
Clari automatically tracks sales activity from dozens of different systems in the customer stack, including marketing automation, CRM, email, calendaring, telephony, content management, conversations, and more, so your reps can spend more time selling and less time entering data.
Clari also synthesizes sales activity for you so you can drill down and see individual rep activity across their entire account base, identify which target accounts are being worked and which ones need more attention, and set benchmarks based on what successful reps are doing.