Tracking your deals, regardless of where they are in the sales pipeline, is important. Sales tracking will help you make sure that as many potential deals as possible get from the beginning of the sales cycle and across the finish line.

If you track your deals by stage, it will help with workload planning, and forecasts will be much more accurate and more useable — by everyone in your company.

The accuracy of sales forecasting is important. It’s an area that’s not all that easy, though. By tracking sales stages you can get a better feel for the probability of closing deals and use this data to be more productive and effective.

Why Track Sales Stages?

Tracking your potential deals will help you see where you are at in terms of meeting and exceeding sales goals. Breaking possible deals down into stages (qualified, quoted, waiting for purchase order, etc) will help you see a more realistic picture of where things are in terms of potential revenue.

A snapshot of dollar value, timing, probability of closing, and number of deals on your plate will help you more effectively manage your workload.

Managing where deals are in your sales pipeline will help you reach your goals. The act of breaking potential deals down into stages will also help you see when you’re on track and when you need to hustle a little harder.

Data Helps the Whole Company

Forecasting or sales pipeline management tools do more than just help the salesperson. They help the entire company. Businesses often make major decisions based on a sales forecast. An effective forecasting method is important and an effective method of tracking where things are at on a regular basis can bring provide benefits to everyone involved.

The Problem with Manual Deal Tracking

Some salespeople simply keep a running list of what’s on their plate. This helps them see what doesn’t have a check-mark and they can then use that as a prompt to act or follow up. But this method of managing deals and leads isn’t very reliable and is difficult to share with a sales team.

Automated sales tracking tools that breaks the sales process into stages can help the salesperson and everyone else in the company in the following ways:

  • By seeing where things are in the sales cycle, you can better prioritize your workload, follow-up, and use information to spur action including prospecting activities.
  • By managing sales according to probability and timing, the rest of your company can get involved at the right time, too. This helps streamline planning of various departments that all contribute to helping salespeople deliver what the client has ordered. This can impact inventory planning and procurement, finance, and other areas of the business.
  • By splitting quotes and potential deals into various stages, you can get a better feel for the likelihood of a sale actually happening. The further the deal progresses along, the more likely it is for the deal to actually close.
  • Tracking deals by stages can also help you with strategic planning in the future. They can help you analyze historical data with post-mortem analysis and can help with determining future sales forecasts via run rate tracking and determining which phase of the sales stage most deals are lost at.

Defining stage names is going to be unique to your business model but here is a basic example of sales pipeline stages that might suit some companies:

Incoming -> Qualified -> Quote -> Closure

Data equals knowledge and knowledge gives you power. The right way of tracking and managing data gives you the power to grow your business.