The Sales Numbers You're not Seeing

If you are using a CRM system for managing sales that take longer than one day to close, then there is a very good chance your system is not set up correctly.

This is how most organizations have their system set up – to report the number of leads based on their status:

 
 

The problem is that it can only give you the current count of items at each stage of the pipeline for a given moment in time. If you have ever worked with financial statements, then you understand the concept that a balance sheet can give you the dollar amounts in each account for a given date, but it cannot tell you how many dollars moved from one account to another; this is why the accounting field has an income statement – to report on how much activity is happening between two dates. Strangely, most CRM systems do not have a mechanism to report this kind of activity. 

When I talk to my customers, they always ask for month-to-date or quarter-to-date figures. So how do you get those numbers? You could add date fields to the Opportunity record that keeps track of when the record changed from one status to the next, but chances are you are still losing information. What happens if an Opportunity gets a qualified status, then changes to quote status, then goes back to qualified several times? 

 
 

If you are not getting a report of all these activities, then you are missing out on the real “income statement” of your sales pipeline. Again, if you decided to have a date field for keeping track of each status reached in the process, it is inflexible and open to interpretation. Imagine that in January your sales team got 100 leads and they called and qualified them. Then in February some of them went to quote stage. How do you compare the number of opportunities that went from qualified to quote this quarter against last quarter, or the same quarter last year? What if they went straight from qualified to lost – how will you populate those date fields?

How do you fix your system? We recommend you use a “journal” to keep track of what changed on each date. The journal has the status ‘from’ and ‘to’ values for each date. Then you need a workflow that is triggered when the status changes and it writes the previous and new status out in a single record to the journal. Now you can report on how many opportunities moved from one status to another on any given date, and compare the volume of activity across periods. You do need to be mindful that if a salesperson is making a lot of status changes back and forth on the opportunity status that you will need to monitor the situation and potentially schedule some training on the correct usage of the status.

Not sure how to fix your system and looking for guidance?  Get in touch, our CRM experts are standing by and ready to help. 

Nelson JohnsonGDPR, ERP, CRM