How to track Sales Deals Effectively
Hi, Hope you are doing great. In this post, I wanted to bring out a list of most important items to track for effective Sales Deal tracking.

To meet Sales Quota, Your Sales persons should follow a well defined sales process to efficiently close deals at the fastest pace possible. But very often even with a good sales process, teams might miss hitting targets. One of the obvious reason is lack of effective tracking. Sales Management is no less than Project Management and effective Project Management is all about timely tracking.

Let's us take a look at some of key things you should track to meet your sales targets always.


1. Age of the Deal.
If you have been keeping a deal open for long time, chances may arise wherein your client would have already found another vendor to get his job done. So try to quickly close the deals by doing regular weekly review of Age of open deals and take necessary corrective actions wherever possible.

2. Ratio of Open Deals in Sales funnel or pipeline
To stay sustainable in the business, you need to keep winning deals continuously month over month. This requires that you have a steady pipeline of deals flowing through each stage of your sales funnel. If you have got 10 deals in final winning stage, but no deals in previous stages like prospecting or demo or negotiation stage, it is highly likely that this month you may hit your sales quota, but the very next month you shall run out of leads to meet monthly quota. So every week, try to review that you are maintaining a steady ratio of prospective deals in the pipeline in each of the stages of the sales funnel. 

3. Deal win probability.
If you are using a good CRM, it would definitely tell you about the chances of winning that deal by providing a deal winning probability score. Always do a weekly or more frequent review of the deals with high winning probability and try to keep your sales persons actively engaged on those deals. Working with 80-20 rule does help you in meeting your sales targets which are necessary to enable your business to meet at least its operating expenses by trying to quickly grab the low hanging fruits.

4. Maintain notes of Customer Conversation regularly.
Educate your sales persons to make it a habit to key-in the summary or important points of their discussion with client onto the CRM, so that they don't have to keep running here and there searching for information in their diary pages, emails, ppts, old chat conversation just before calling the client for follow-up. This shall free up the sales executives' mind of clutter and help him focus on doing things that matter, i.e. Closing deals. Check for some parameters like "last updated date" for the deals so that you know your team is religiously making use of your CRM investment.


There are many other metrics to track, but for a starter Sales team, if you just religiously track above metrics, you would definitely reap the benefits in shortest possible time.

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Calculate your budget for buying a Sales CRM Software
Have you been lately trying to finalize a CRM software for your team but unable to figure out how much should you be spending for CRM?

As Businesses differ in size and type of deal value they deal in, It is complex for you to figure out the exact numeric estimate of how much of your allocated budget you must spend for taking up a CRM. Market is filled with CRM which charges from 9 USD per month per user to 500 USD per month per user based on the feature complexity of the Software and Value add provided by the service as per the needs of the Sales Team.

But How much should you as a Sales Manager be allocating your budget for CRM Implementation within your organization?

The answer is difficult and complex! 



But Let us try to find a simple solution to it.

Get an Estimate of Cost incurred by Sales Executive doing Non-revenue generating task:

  • Get an estimated figure of the amount you spend paying your Sales Executive's Annual Salary.
  • With that, try to find your hourly cost rate of your executives.
  • Guess the average amount of time each Sales team member spends in a day doing manual entry of his sales figures into an Excel file to be shared to his Manager or to Reporting analyst who will consolidate it further for the whole team. This could be roughly around 30 minutes a day out of 8 working hours of the resource.
  • Guess the average amount of time each Sales team member spends in a day trying to search or recall or figure out some of the past conversation history with some Client documented in some random email or document which is important for his follow up call. This could again be roughly around 30 minutes to 1 hour per day.
  • Sum up both the time.

Get an Estimate of Cost incurred by Reporting Analysts doing Non-revenue generating tasks:

  • Sales Reporting Analysts doing the task of Reporting and Measurement Analyst is redundant and detrimental for their career. Most of the time these resources are over burdened with the dirty work of following up with each sales executive and getting the sales figures, plugging it in spreadsheet application and drawing pivot tables, bar charts, pie charts, line chart etc and prepare a dashboard for the Senior Management. 
  • By the time Analysts complete this task for a particular week, the next week very soon arrives and his task keeps repeating week over week without an end. This is unproductive since Sales Analysts should be spending time trying to get important insights from Sales numbers which can help them beat revenue targets instead of trying to become a data gathering guy of the Sales Team.
  • Now get an estimated figure of the Salary you pay to your Sales Reporting Analyst annually.
  • Note: Do this step only if your team's sales analyst is involved with the above non-revenue generating activities. If your Sales Analyst is involved with other productive work, you may skip this step, or try to find the hours spent by him doing these non-productive tasks and get estimated Salary getting spend on that part.

Get the Total Estimate:

Total Yearly CRM Budget (Annual Salary of Sales Executive * (Total Time Spent per day doing Unproductive work/ 8 hours per day) *  Total Number of Sales Executives in team) (Annual Salary of Reporting Analysts * Total Number of Reporting Analysts in your team)


The above amount would be the yearly estimate of how much should you be spending on your CRM which is going waste in the Salary of resources doing non-revenue generating tasks.

How much should you be spending monthly per sales staff?

CRM Budget per User per Month = Total Yearly CRM Budget / (12 Months * Total Number of Sales Executives) 

This figure would give you a rough estimate of how much should you be ideally spending per team member on a CRM.

Let me know your thoughts on this.
What is Topline and Bottomline in Sales?
Hey friends, If you recently took up a role in Sales, then you would have frequently heard the two terms Topline and Bottomline from your executive level bosses. If you want know what are those, you have come to the right place.

These two Business Jargons have simpler meaning than they appear to be. Let me tell you what do they mean.

In any business, while you are doing sales, you would make revenue by selling something. Obviously, Once you sell the products or services, you cannot keep the whole revenue with yourself or organization. Major chunk of that revenue goes towards meeting the cost of making the product, income taxes, hr and administration costs involved in managing staff, etc. After deducting all these operating expenses and taxes, what we are left with is the net profit or net income which we can keep which belongs to shareholders and if they wish to, can be invested further into the business.

In this case, the revenue which you generate on making sales is called Topline and the net profit or net income which you generated after deducting all operating expenses and taxes from the revenue is what is known as Bottomline.

Whenever business executives discuss their financials, they monitor these two numbers very closely. Increasing Topline is one of the priority for them to increase the organization growth. However, with this they cannot ignore Bottomline growth because, if they are not left with enough cash after selling products and services, the business cannot survive for long and is not sustainable for long. 

Hence both the metrics should be monitored together since both go hand in hand for a sustainable growth of business.
3 Traits of Successful Sales Managers
Often you would observe the best salesperson when promoted to Sales Manager would sometimes fail to become a good at it and sometimes you might also find few instances where an average sales person went on to become a good Sales Manager.

Why is that so?

This is because of certain fundamental differences in the work performed by Sales Person and Sales Manager. The former is a individual contributor role while the later is the management role where the sales manager has to take the whole team into picture and think of every team member's growth in order to achieve the sales targets of the whole sales team.

Leading Sales teams towards team goals



Let us look at 3 key traits every Sales Manager should possess to be super successful in his profession.

1. He looks at the bigger picture instead of focusing on a few team members.

Often Sales Manager's tend to focus on a few top performing sales persons for achieving the team's sales quota rather than working with all the team members. This behavior usually leads to unhappiness among the other team members, who would start feeling alienated. This impacts their performance and ultimately makes it difficult for sales managers to achieve team's goals with a handful of top performers. Top performers should be given preference in giving costly and big deals, but it shouldn't become the case that a sales manager start becoming over dependent on those team members to cover his complete team's quota.


2. Sales Manager should mentor and guide the newer folks.

The Manager should not look only at the short term picture where his only goal is to extract out revenue from his folks. Often sales team would have a range of members with varied sales experience each having his own strengths and weakness. The Manager should identify those gaps and try to mentor the team members and help them overcome their shortcomings which in turn would help the team achieve revenue targets. This would also help boost self esteem of the team member and hence he would like to work within your organization for longer rather than planning for a job switch.


3. He should be a team contributor instead of Individual contributor.

Third and most important as I already wrote in the beginning, an individual contributor sales person is not a good fit for becoming a sales manager. This is where I mentioned if a top performer sales person is given a responsibility of becoming a sales manager, he should also start working with the whole team for their development in addition to his own individual performance in sales closures. Individual contributor should start empathizing with other folks and work with them to achieve the whole team's sales quota. If this is not the case, then manager would sometime get frustrated and would think that he himself can complete the quota alone rather than guiding the team members. This would ultimately lead to disaster because the ultimate purpose of sales management is actually to manage bigger sales teams, not doing everything alone. Sales Manager's job is to focus on bigger things rather than doing the sale himself.

Hope you would have liked this post. Do comment your opinions and let me know.
3 Price Negotiation Mistakes every Salesperson should avoid
Often, Salespersons tend to make mistakes during their Sales Negotiation conversations and tend to lose out on the sales wondering what exactly happened. The lead which they have been following up for many month now is lost just at the last phase of the sales cycle at the time of Sales Negotiation. These are the 3 expensive mistakes which every sales person should avoid at the time of negotiation.


1. Price Negotiation on High Cost Products


Avoid negotiation with Customers for reducing the price of high cost products. Always try to negotiate with customers only for the low cost products having a high perceived value in the minds of the customers. If you reduce the price of High Cost Products, then customers would expect that every time they buy from you. This is detrimental for your business growth since you would find it difficult to run your business on thin margin for a prolonged period of time.


2. Not knowing the Urgency for Customers


As a Salesperson, you would stand good at negotiating position if you are aware of the extent of urgency of the customer who wants to buy from you. If they are having less time and the purchase of the product you are selling is urgent for them, then you stand a better chance. In this kind of situation, you have more chances to crack the sales deal with lesser amount of negotiation with the customer. This is because since customer doesn’t have much time to search for another vendor, they would happily agree with your price. 


3. Starting Negotiation without understanding the needs of the customer



You should never start sales negotiation at the start of the sales cycle even without understanding the needs of the customer in the discovery phases of the sales cycle. The more questions you ask to your customer during the Need Discovery phases of the sales cycle, the more information you will get on the needs and requirements of the customers. This will help you set the expectations of the customers and would help you negotiate better. The more you know about the expectations of the client, the more you would be able to point out those facts during your sales negotiation conversations and hence customers would be willing to pay a higher price if their expectations are met.

What is RFI, RFP and RFQ in B2B Sales
Often, Sales Professionals in B2B Direct Sales would come across these 3 important sales terminologies.

1. RFI
2. RFP
3. RFQ



In this post, Let’s go through each of these sales terms.

1. RFI

RFI is the first step in B2B purchase step. This acronym stands for “Request for Information”. As the name suggests, the client who is looking for purchasing a solution is looking for some information from the vendors. Usually, Purchaser would float a “Request for Information” from the available vendors when it is new in that particular product’s market. For. e.g. A company might be looking for a solution for improving sales productivity but might be lacking much information in that area or domain. So they would seek RFI from multiple vendors seeking information on the available solutions and problems those solutions can tackle.


2. RFP

RFP is ideally the next step after RFI. This acronym stands for “Request for Proposal”. In this step, the client who is looking for purchasing a solution floats a RFP from vendors asking them to propose for a solution to the problems of the vendor. In this, the purchaser usually mentions specific problems which it is facing and would like to have an answer or solution to those specific problems. For E.g. A company might be looking for CRM solution, but it might be specifically interested in solving its problem of managing customer contacts. In that case, the buyer would be specifically interested in getting proposal for vendors for solving the problem of managing or organizing customer contacts. In this step, sometimes buyer also expects a high level overview of the cost for the proposed solution from the vendor. 


3. RFQ

RFQ is ideally the next step after RFP provided the purchaser doesn’t mix it up in the RFP stage. RFQ stands for “Request for Quotation”. If the purchaser had not asked for detailed costs for each solution item in RFP stage, then they would float a request for quotation asking the vendors to provide detailed cost structure for their proposed solution. Sometimes, purchasers who are directly looking for a list of goods with certain predefined specifications instead of solutions provided by the vendors would directly jump to RFQ stage without even floating any RFP. In this case they are looking for commodity type of goods with industry standard specification rather than looking for any consulting support from vendor on these.


I hope you found the explanation of these 3 terms to be useful. Do comment below and let me know your thoughts.