Quote tracking for (not so) dummies

There’s more to tracking quotes than just “sent” and “signed.” Here are the three timeframes successful businesses follow closely when using quote tracking software:

  1. Start

  2. Finish

  3. Every step in between


Tracking quotes before they’re quotes

Are you using a CRM to track sales interactions, opportunities, and accounts? Yes? Good. Because the whole point(s) of a customer relationship management solution is 1) to track the business you have underway, and 2) to forecast the business you’re trying to build.

Where does tracking quotes figure into this? It’s simply a matter of percentages.

Say you know that 25% of the sales proposals you send end up driving new business. And say you also know that about 25% of the business opportunities you create in your CRM end up being “quote worthy.” And say you also know (part two) that out of every 200 leads you get from a 3rd party email blast, about 20 become opportunities.

With this data, you can predict what’s happening in the present, near future, and as far down the road as you’d like to look. Now, before moving on to how we track “every step in between,” let’s skip to the “finish.”


When the tracking’s over

There’s no such thing as a bad sales quote. (Ok, maybe there is if you’re still using Word or Excel to create and track proposals… but let’s not go there now.)

Because even your “closed/lost” quotes provide valuable info to you regarding what worked, what didn’t, and why — never, ever hesitate to ask a prospect why they passed on your proposal. Most every time, they’ll volunteer some details that will help you in your next go ‘round.

And your closed/won quotes? Those become your baseline, your “control” (as they call it in direct marketing), your template for quotes going forward. Every sales proposal automation worth its salt will give you the ability to store and “templatize” your winning quotes, giving you a repeatable, winning process.

Remember: it’s never just closed / won or closed / lost. It’s closed / won / REPEAT and closed / lost / LEARN.


Every step your quote takes, you’ll be watching it

We started off by saying it’s never just sent and signed that you’re tracking because there’s so much that happens in between: emails, revisions, details, and tasks in the dozens.

And tracking these steps manually seems impossible… because it is. Well, impossible to do right, anyway. This is where quote tracking software does the heavy lifting for you. Not only does it track each of these steps, but the best configure, price, quote solutions out there can automate many of them as well.

Tracking the so-called minutiae is actually one of the best ways to spot improvements because the devil is always in the details.

If you were tracking every response and saw that your leading rep’s “day three reply” had the best open rates of all emails sent by all reps during the closing process, you could quickly share that winning interaction across the enterprise.

And if you saw that closing rates dropped when more than five reminders to a client were sent, that’s another “micro learning” that can make a “macro difference".

Summation: don’t track some of your quotes — track all of them. And don’t track some of the steps — track all of them. Because one small fix can make a major impact, but you’ll never know until you track.