Sales Execution

Sales Email Logging vs. Email Tracking

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Photograph of a sales leader with a laptop
Photograph of a sales leader with a laptop

Sales email logging and email tracking data, when combined effectively, can provide critical insights that sales teams can leverage to better engage with their prospects and close more deals. While the two terms may sound similar, the kind of data each one provides is quite different. Email tracking is primarily used by sales representatives to understand when and how prospects are engaging with sales messaging in real-time. Email logging, however, provides a historical record of every interaction with the prospect, and that perspective benefits both sales representatives and their managers. Email logging provides sales representatives valuable context that allows them to have more informed conversations, while managers glean insights into how current opportunities are being engaged.

The combined data offered through email logging and email tracking tells a more complete story—not only about how the lead or account is engaging, but what the organization is doing in response to those interactions. By leveraging these two important capabilities, reps and managers can understand how sales engagement is feeding into the overall revenue strategy.

This article takes a deep dive into email tracking, email logging, and how they are both important to sales teams.

Sales email tracking defined

Email tracking is a popular capability offered by sales engagement platforms that enables sales representatives to know when and how prospects are engaging with their messages. When a rep sends an email with sales email tracking enabled, the rep can see the number of clicks, opens, replies, and location data for each message they send to prospects.

Screenshot of sales notifications in Groove product

Imagine sending a buying committee an email with a link to a proposal and being able to see if the email was opened, how many times, when, where, and by whom, as well as whether or not they clicked on the proposal. If there are no opens and clicks, you may want to find a different way to reach out. If there is a flurry of activity by multiple members on the thread, you know there is substantial interest in your proposal.

As you can see, the insight provided by email tracking data can be an excellent barometer of engagement. However, email tracking is more about tracking real-time engagement. Things get even more interesting when you combine it with email logging.

Sales email logging defined

Email logging provides insights into outreach efforts as the lead moves down the funnel. The history of interactions furnishes reps with the necessary context to effectively engage with the lead, while simultaneously providing sales leaders with insights into how reps are engaging with key accounts. Done properly, email logging ensures that every engagement is saved and properly associated with the correct contact, lead, account, and opportunity in their CRM.

Email logging benefits for reps

Once the data is saved in Salesforce or another CRM, the same rep, or even a different one, can quickly reference previous interactions to get the context they need before reaching out to a contact or lead. For example, a rep can quickly review the lastest onversations and search for discussions of pricing, challenges, and potential pitfalls to avoid.

Email logging benefits for managers

From a sales management perspective, looking at what is happening at the account level is critical to understanding where an account stands and the next steps to take. Margaret McCarthy, Manager of Commercial Sales at Groove, put it this way: "Without the relevant account information provided by email logging, it's really hard to understand what's happening on the account level. Are the reps actually sending these emails and making those phone calls that they're saying that they are?"

Measuring the amount of effort individual reps are putting into engaging each of their accounts is an important metric for managing sales teams. But it's more than just keeping track of rep performance. Email logging data often holds crucial information to ensure that opportunities aren't slipping through the cracks. It also helps managers coach reps to help them prioritize and optimize their effort on accounts that matter.

Email logging benefits for system administrations and revenue operations

Front-line reps and sales managers aren't the only roles interested in the benefits of email logging. IT departments have invested heavily in CRM systems like Salesforce, and email logging ensures that those systems are populated with the kind of data that makes them useful to other parts of the organization. The more useful and accurate information that there is in Salesforce, the more that sales and other revenue teams will trust and ultimately use it.

CRM adoption is also important for system administrations and revenue operations teams, but it's not the only benefit. When done properly, email logging can improve data quality and data hygiene, which ultimately enables revenue teams to improve reporting and forecasting.

A deeper dive into email logging: limitations

While there are numerous benefits to email logging, there are limitations to consider, depending on how it is implemented within your organization. Ideally, email logging should happen automatically in the background without the need for reps to lift a finger to manually input anything. But not all email logging solutions have this level of automation.

BCC'ing to Salesforce

If your sales organization is requiring reps to BCC emails to Salesforce or manually log and associate engagement with the appropriate records in the CRM, there are going to be omissions and errors. A manual process means that some engagement will be forgotten or neglected to be logged. And if it is logged, it may be done incorrectly due to human error.

Cut and paste to Salesforce

Errors can become even more pronounced when reps are required to cut and paste information into Salesforce. Aamir Peeran, a staff software engineer at Groove, explained the process this way: "In a scenario without a sales engagement platform to automate email logging, after every email a rep would send, they would need to go into Salesforce to create a new activity and associate that manually and basically copy and paste that email into the description or body of that activity."

Automatic email logging

Fortunately, the rise of automatic syncing is becoming more prevalent in the industry. However, even with automatic logging, there are limitations to watch out for. Peeran continued, "Some email logging solutions are able to capture the lead or contact, but not always the correct opportunity or account." That's why it's important to understand the capabilities of any email logging tool you're considering, whether it's a stand-alone solution or part of a sales engagement platform.

Screenshot of Groove product in Gmail

Groove solves this challenge with proprietary business logic that matches the most relevant account, opportunity, and/or case so that every email you send or receive is automatically logged and associated with all the correct records in Salesforce.

Additionally, because Groove is Salesforce-native, background syncing is constantly updating, ensuring the contacts in the CRM are up to date. From a data hygiene perspective, this makes everyone's lives easier. With everyone looking at the same automatically refreshing data, there is no confusion, unnecessary duplication, or gaps to fill. The faster teams get on the same page, the easier it is to change course if a particular revenue strategy is not working.

Best practices for improving communication among sales teams

Email logging can build a positive feedback loop for account executives looking to both improve their performance and also get a deeper and more comprehensive look at the accounts they manage. They can do so without the incomplete history of sales communications that can sometimes happen when accounts are transferred or reassigned.

Kyle Scott, manager of sales strategy and technology at TIBCO, a San Francisco-based enterprise data company, said that a great way to teach account executives is to show the overall history of the logs so that the executive taking control of the account can see where the conversation last left off.

"If you can tie data to each email conversation, it just adds additional context," he said. For example, if an email was supposed to receive a response, and hasn't yet, then that unanswered email is either evaluated in one of two ways: either the account executive isn't keeping on top of that conversation thread or they've prioritized other accounts. Either way, email logging can show where that conversation trailed off and can point to where to pick up the thread again or to shift it to another level of prioritization.

Scott also emphasized the importance of data being first and foremost in the conversation surrounding accounts, not just for meeting internal sales goals but to keep up in an industry that is rapidly evolving as digital transformation continues apace.

"Every industry in the world is digitally transforming, and I think sales organizations have fallen behind," Scott continued. "And so the first step to embarking on digital transformation is being data-driven. And if you don't have the best data, how can you make your next best decision?"

Email logging's ability to present a complete picture—whether it's syncing with data on the backend or powering sales team decisions on the frontend—is invaluable to both revenue operations and sales teams. Any sales team that wishes to keep up with the myriad changes in a data-driven world should consider adding email logging capabilities to their revenue strategy.

Learn more

If you’re interested in learning more about email logging and tracking, please drop us a line. We'd love to help.

Check out our Definitive Guide to Sales Engagement Platforms for more information on sales dialers, call tracking, and other complementary sales tools typically found in an enterprise platform.