If you’re a smart sales manager, tracking is in your blood:
You track the progress of each sales rep — who’s hitting quota, who’s not.
You track how long it takes to close each sale, from handshake to contract.
You track every dollar spent on lead generation, lunch and learns, and other prospecting activities.
And you track your quotes at the most detailed level possible: the day and time each was sent, the day and time and type (phone, email, etc.) of every follow-up activity, and when the next step needs to be taken.
For most of these tracking activities, your CRM will provide just about everything you need. But if you’re truly serious about tracking every step of every proposal in detail, you’ll need to invest in quote tracking software as an extension of your CRM platform.
way of life
(in the life of each quote)
A quick search on “tracking” reveals that almost every company there is — from book sellers to tech vendors to makers of locally sourced apple jellies — has a way to track customer orders. Because, after they place an order, every customer has only one question: “Where’s my stuff?”
Not to be too callous to the needs of a customer post-purchase, but if you’re in sales, that part of the customer experience is secondary to landing the customer in the first place: i.e., a sales rep’s equivalent of “Where’s my stuff?” is “Where’s that signed quote?”
For too long, too many sales teams have been relying on only the most basic quote tracking functionality: a check box that says it was sent, and another that says it was a quote that was won or lost.
But as anyone knows, life is about the journey, not the destination. If tracking is truly in your blood, then you’re tracking every step in the the life of that quote, finding the places in your process where quotes can get stuck and unsticking them, and finding the places where they move quickly and optimizing.
Tracking quotes is tracking business
Central to most every business success story is a repeatable process: find out what you did well, and do it again and again. The data delivered through your quote tracking software can help you uncover processes that can help you optimize across the enterprise. E.g., if one rep is closing quotes more quickly than the others, it’s time to for a deep dive into that rep’s processes, seeing what they might be doing that can be replicated in other reps’ processes.
Additionally, the more detail you have on every RFP response in circulation, the better you can actually become at the overall forecasting of your entire business. Because while there are always trends and mitigating factors, your closing rates are one of the best sales metrics for predicting future successes.
Determine the bright spots and black holes in your overall “proposal flow” (and exploit the former, while fixing the latter) and you can predict almost to the dollar how much business will come, and when, based on how many sales proposals you have out there.
Quote tracking software will never deliver the entirety of the reporting and analytics you need to succeed, but it will help deliver granular data on the most critical step in your sales processes. Add that data to your overall forecasting, and you’ll get a clearer vision of the big picture.