Sales opportunity tracking allows you to manage and streamline your pipeline so that you can focus on scaling your profitability. In this article, we show you how to track and measure your sales opportunities and demonstrate your impact on revenue more effectively.
Not all leads will land on your website Monday and convert by Friday. For some, the sales process can be a lot longer and usually involves more touchpoints to get potential buyers over the line.
For low-cost deals, a B2B sales cycle can take up to three months to close. Whereas B2B sales cycles for higher value deals can fall anywhere between six to nine months.
With sales opportunity tracking, marketers can gain a holistic view of what’s working and uncover crucial insights to convert more opportunities into paying customers.
For this article, we’ll discuss:
- What is sales opportunity tracking
- Why sales opportunity tracking matters
- How to get started with tracking opportunities
Without further ado, let’s jump right in.
First, what is sales opportunity tracking
When a lead is qualified and moves down the pipeline, it often becomes a sales opportunity. As the name suggests, a sales opportunity is a qualified prospect who has shown some commitment to working with your business and has a high probability of converting into a deal or customer. Sales opportunity tracking and management provides full visibility of the sales process and allows businesses to track all opportunities across the entire pipeline more effectively.
Why does sales opportunity tracking matter?
Opportunity tracking, or management, is the core of any successful sales operation. With effective opportunity tracking, company executives can see exactly how prospects are converting into customers and empower teams to focus on higher-value activities that help move the needle.
To demonstrate the importance of opportunity tracking it helps if we use an example. Let’s say that you work at a marketing agency and use the following five stages in your sales process:
- Lead Acquired: You first capture contact information of a potential customer via lead form, phone call or live chat enquiry.
- Lead Qualification: At this stage, leads don’t know much about your company. Your sales team follows up to determine whether or not the prospect is a good fit.
- Meeting Scheduled: Once qualified, you arrange a meeting to introduce your company and services, plus gain a deeper understanding of the prospects’ needs.
- Contract Sent: If the meeting went well, the buyer will then view a proposal or contract which includes your solution and a breakdown of your services and prices.
- Closed Deal: This is the last stage in your sales process, and the prospect has become a paying customer.
Let’s say you convert ten leads on your website. You follow up with all your leads, and seven decide to schedule a meeting to learn more about your services. After you’ve sat all your meetings, three prospects request a proposal from you, and one accepts and converts into a paying customer.
To bring on one new customer, you would need to capture at least ten leads at the point of conversion. Sounds simple enough, right? However, without opportunity tracking it would be nearly impossible to sum this up.
How to track your sales opportunities
Studies have shown that opportunity tracking can increase your sales up by 29%. Effective sales opportunity tracking can help you close more deals with less effort by allowing you to understand:
- Why prospects drop out of the funnel and fail to purchase.
- At which stages of the sales pipeline do the majority of sales opportunities get stuck.
- Plus, which stages of the pipeline have the lowest conversion rates.
Proper sales and opportunity tracking is a must-have solution for almost any business. Without the right strategy and tools in place, however, it can get overwhelming. With that in mind, we’ve listed four steps below to help you get started.
1. Outline the pipeline stages in your sales process
To get started with opportunity management and tracking you must first define and agree on the stages in your sales process.
The foundation of any successful sales operation is an established, well-structured sales pipeline. Simply put, a sales pipeline is a series of steps that allow businesses to guide prospects from the initial touchpoint to close. Below are some of the most traditional stages you’d see in a sales pipeline.
Appointment Scheduled, Qualified to Buy, Meeting Scheduled, Contract Sent, Closed Won, and Closed Lost.
Related article: 22 Sales Pipeline Metrics To Track In 2021 (Advice from 40+ Experts)
No business is the same. Therefore, every sales pipeline is unique. Some organisations may opt for a 7-stage pipeline. Whereas organisations with longer sales cycles may require more steps to ensure prospects reach the purchasing decision.
Your sales pipeline is like a well-lit road. Each lamppost represents a stage in your pipeline. Without these lampposts, the road goes dark, and you lose complete visibility. The same goes for your sales pipeline.
Without the right pipeline stages, your leads will enter the sales cycle, and eventually, you will lose track of their whereabouts.
2. Store lead, opportunity and sales data from multiple sources in a single platform
Next, you need to make sure that your leads and customer data are stored in one place so that you can effectively manage every interaction along the path to purchase.
CRMs are a popular choice, as they essentially offer a central place where businesses can store opportunity data, track customer interactions and share key information with stakeholders.
Related article: The shifting role of the CRM in marketing: what the experts say
Most CRMs have dedicated tools that make the process of building your sales pipeline a whole lot easier.
3. Segment your leads, opportunities and sales by source
Your sales opportunities will likely come from many directions and sources. Capturing data from multiple marketing sources in your CRM will help you identify which channels drive the most qualified sales leads.
You can then make smarter decisions about the top of your funnel and focus on the marketing sources that you know will result in downstream activity. Although seemingly straightforward, the process of tracking lead sources in your CRM and making sense of it all can be overwhelming without the right processes in place.
Related Article: How to track marketing lead source data (+ attribute revenue)
Using an attribution tool like Ruler Analytics, you can match leads with their marketing touchpoints and automatically send this data to your CRM. You can populate your pipeline with both conversion and marketing data, and definitely prove your impact on downstream activity.
Editor’s note: Download the closed-loop marketing attribution eBook and see exactly how Ruler Analytics tracks customer touchpoints and connects the dots between marketing and sales.
4. Feed won/closed data into the tools you use everyday and demonstrate your impact
When an opportunity is won, you need to find a way to connect this information with other applications, so that you can visualise the impact of your marketing efforts on wider company objectives.
For example, at Ruler Analytics, we use our platform and revenue management system, ChartMogul, to track and report on revenue driven by our marketing activities.
In ChartMogul, we’ve set up custom fields and marketing source data is passed from our attribution solution and CRM so that we can see more than which campaigns generated the most qualified leads.
ChartMogul also connects directly with our payment processor. So, every month, the revenue we are generating from each customer gets attributed back to all of the data we have, allowing us to track and report on subsequent sales.
How to track opportunities with longer sales cycles?
The nature of lengthy sales cycles, unfortunately, means businesses don’t get a true reflection of how well a campaign performed until weeks, months, or even years after the initial lead.
A lot of customers use Ruler Analytics to evidence the effectiveness of their campaigns, specifically for products and services that tend to see long sales cycles.
With Ruler’s opportunity stage report, you can analyse the effectiveness of campaigns at every stage of your sales pipeline, and can:
- Attribute revenue to channels and keyword at each opportunity stage
- Identify what happens to leads post-MQL stage
- Assess which opportunity stages may require further attention/nurturing
- Where specific campaigns fall short from converting
Further support documentation on the opportunity stage can be found here.
Track your opportunities and demonstrate your impact
With effective opportunity tracking and management, you can prove the effectiveness of your marketing and establish yourself as a valued member of the team.
Using a tool like Ruler Analytics, you can combine marketing with pipeline activity to track every touchpoint that a user engages with across multiple channels and campaigns before converting into a sale—and beyond.
How do you track your sales opportunities? Reach out and let us know. Or, for more information about Ruler’s opportunity attribution, book a demo with one of our sales reps.