Many Sales Reps have a hard time adopting a CRM solution.  Sales Rep CRM Quick Tips are short tips that help reps to adopt key pieces of CRM one step at a time.

If you’ve started to track contacts, accounts and your pipeline in CRM, then you’re ready to start tracking activities too.  Most CRM solutions provide a way to track activities such as calls, appointments, emails and tasks.  Right now, we’re only talking about tracking things as they happen – we’ll talk about planning future activities in another tip.

There’s really only one thing to remember when tracking activities … track only what you need to remember.

Some folks are activity pack-rats.  They track every single thing that they do in CRM.  Their activity list may look like this: plan prospect call, call prospect, leave message, call again, schedule meeting, meet, write quote, present quote, get quote revisions, submit revisions to quote, submit revised quote for approval, deliver approved quote to inside sales, thank client.  That’s maybe 12 activities that have been tracked – but only 1 or 2 of them may have relevant information.  Not only did you take a lot of extra time to track all that information, but you’ve also made it a lot more difficult to find the important stuff later on.

What is important to track?  Here are a few ideas:

  1. Communications that you need to remember.  If a client communicated a preference, an important date or other relevant information, then you will want to track that so you can refer to it later.

  2. Information for follow-up.  If you plan to spend a day making phone calls, it is easy to spend the morning making calls, go to lunch and, upon returning, forget who you’ve called.  No one is going to return your call if you leave a voice mail at 10:30, and then call and leave another voice mail it 1:45!  If you need to remember that you left a message in the morning, then make sure you capture that.  And, a related hint: it may not be important to remember that you left a message and then tried again in the afternoon and just hung up – so you only need one activity for this.

  3. Things that count.  Some organizations want to track activities so they can be sure that their sales team is remaining productive.  So make sure you’re following the rules to track the things that count.  But, if your organization wants to track every little thing, encourage them to consider how they do this (see idea #1) to make sure that they don’t create unnecessary clutter and work.

As busy Sales Reps, it can be easy to get in a hurry and forget these ideas.  Either you end up tracking everything, or nothing at all.  So, as you get started with activity tracking, expect to be very intentional about it.  Think through every activity and decide if it deserves to be tracked or not.  Things will go slower at first.  But once you’ve practiced this for several weeks, the “muscle memory” will kick in and you will intuitively know what to track.

Want to go a step further?  Many people use Microsoft Outlook as their main activity management tool.  If that’s you, and you want more tips on how to manage activities using Outlook, check out this blog: click here