What Are Sales Activities (and How Do They Improve Sales Performance)

Dec 3, 2020

There is one thing that all high-caliber sales teams have in common – they focus their efforts on the sales activities that drive the best results and do not waste their time on ones that do not add value.

A consistent pipeline that will fuel ongoing growth is built by sales reps and managers who know that every day they are performing the right activities. Unfortunately, for a large number of sales teams, the majority of reps’ time is spent on administrative tasks that take away from the time spent actually selling. This is a problem that simply comes down to not having a clearly defined sales process or, in today’s business environment, the necessary technology to execute it effectively.

In this article, we’ll break down what sales activities are, why they are so important, and how you can utilize them to improve your team’s sales performance.

So What Exactly Are Sales Activities?

Sales activities are all of the actions, sales practices, and strategies that sales reps and managers do daily to move prospects and customers through the sales process. All of these activities directly lead to deals being closed and sales goals being met (and exceeded).

To put it in more context, types of sales activities that sales reps do on a daily basis include:

  • Emails
  • Calls
  • Visits/Meetings

All of these key sales activities allow reps to approach, meet, and sell their product or service to prospects. They also set in motion other consequent and preparatory actions/activities that bring sales reps closer to closing a deal.

Once you get into sales activity management and you are tracking activities, these broad categories of activities can be broken down even further to gain more insight. For example, visits/meetings can be broken down to determine the number of visits that were first-time sales meetings with a prospect, or product demo meetings, or follow up visits with existing customers, etc.

There are also some things that sales reps spend their time on each day that would be considered sales activities, but they can only be measured by their result. One example would be prospecting. The effectiveness of a sales rep’s prospecting efforts is evident in the number of new leads that they are adding to the sales funnel. So, the leads themselves are not the sales activity, the prospecting is.

Where You’ll “See” Sales Activity

Knowing exactly where you’ll find and be able to view sales activities is the first step in understanding your team’s efforts and improving sales performance.

The first place to look for sales activities is in your company’s CRM (Customer relationship management) system. In all major sales CRMs, like Salesforce, for example, sales activities are tracked and used to measure performance. The CRM acts as a centralized hub not only for prospect and customer information but also for all of the individual activities involving each of those accounts.

There are also activity tracking software options that can integrate into your CRM and provide optimized tracking, management, and insight into the team’s sales activities. This type of software, like Map My Customers, for example, can also help to streamline, optimize, and even automate much of the daily activity. No matter if it is happening in the office or out in the field.

The Importance of Sales Activity

Any sales activity, whether it is an initial cold call, a lunch meeting, or a new product demo, plays an important part in moving the deal through the customer journey towards closing the deal. That is why it is so important to capture the outcome of every activity. Your team’s sales activities provide more context on where every deal is headed.

The outcome of sales activities also allows an opportunity to look at ways to streamline each activity as well as the consequent activities related to it.

For sales managers, sales activities, from a broad perspective, provide insight into how the sales team as a whole is doing, provide an overall picture of sales performance, offer a way to motivate the competitiveness of reps, and give insight into customer satisfaction.

It is important to understand that you have direct control over input from sales activities. The more you improve sales activities the more you will improve sales effectiveness.

Benefits of Sales Activities & Measuring Them

As we have touched on so far already, sales activities have many benefits within themselves that all impact your company’s bottom line. There are also significant benefits to tracking and measuring your sales activities. Let’s break down some of the benefits of the actual sales activities and some benefits of measuring them:

Determine the Course of the Customer Journey

Sales activities are the core factor in what determines the course (and speed) of every prospect and customer through the sales process. From the initial prospecting to an initial cold call to going over a final proposal, every single activity helps transform a lead to a prospect and finally to a customer.

Without sales activities, sales don’t happen.

Nurture Customer Relationships

According to a Bain Publications study, repeat customers spend an average of 67% more than new customers. They will also spend more at key times. That is why sales reps from the most successful sales teams hyper-focus on doing the things that nurture customer relationships. In doing this, they consistently drive repeat and ongoing sales.

Certain sales activities can help you do just that. Really learning the customer’s business, understanding their goals and their pain points, and making interactions about them and how you can help them are the best ways for sales reps to nurture customer relationships. In doing these things, the sales activities and the timing of them will then become customized to that particular customer.

An example of this, in a B2B environment, is taking the time to make a phone call or social media post when you become aware of a success that your customer’s company just had. This kind of action is a sales activity that helps the customer feel valued and can directly help drive repeat sales.

Insight Into the Efficiency of the Sales Team

You may have heard this before, but, you can not improve what you are not measuring. Tracking your team’s sales activities allows you to see the number of new leads coming into the pipeline, the number of prospect opportunities, the number of deals closed last quarter and their value, etc.

With this kind of data, you have a wealth of insight you can use to:

  • Evaluate the current efficiency of the sales team
  • Proactively handle bottlenecks in the sales cycle
  • Coach reps who may need help in a certain area
  • Forecast future revenue growth based on past sales performance

Understanding What Is Working

Not all sales activities are created equal. Significantly increasing the amount of activity does not automatically mean significant increases in results. Measuring sales activities and their results will allow you to understand what is working. When you understand which sales activities produce the strongest results, you can ensure your sales reps are making the most of their time.

When you and your reps know exactly what is working, they will be focused on the things that add value to your customers and increase sales. This means your sales team will be working smarter and not harder.

When you have a more in-depth understanding of your team’s daily sales activities, you can also make tweaks to what is working to improve them even more. This would mainly apply to the timing (or cadence) of your sales activities. Experimenting with exactly when reps are performing certain activities will help ensure every prospect and customer interaction is as effective as possible.

How to Measure & Improve Your Sales Activities

When trying to pinpoint the most important sales activities, one of the most critical gaps in information faced by sales managers is the lack of tracking and measuring sales activities. If your team doesn’t know exactly what they’re doing, then there is no way of knowing exactly which activities lead to closed deals.

As you can see, when you start tracking and measuring your team’s sales activity, you unlock a gold mine of data and insight you can use to improve the sales activities themselves. This will also improve the sales process as a whole.

Check out our Guide to Sales Activity Tracking & Reporting

As we mentioned earlier, one way to track, manage, and measure your team’s sales activities and unlock the insight within them is through your CRM. This system will help your team keep track of not only the activities but also accounts, contacts, and deals.

Once you and your reps start to utilize a CRM system on a day-to-day basis, that becomes a critical sales activity in and of itself.

Utilizing sales technology will help you improve your sales activity by shifting you and your team from reactionary to proactive. For example, instead of getting lost in the daily activities and not having much insight into what is working, team members will be able to proactively schedule follow-up activities to help drive more deals to close.

Use Sales Activities to Take Your Team’s Performance to the Next Level

Everything that is being done to close deals is what sales activities are. Understanding these sales activities, their importance, and how you can utilize them to drive growth is key to a business being successful. When the right salesforce activities are happening, attention is focused on the most effective things, and sales managers can concentrate on driving predictability and consistency throughout the sales team.

By taking advantage of smart technology and data-driven insights, sales managers and reps can uncover where and how time, energy, and resources can be allocated for the greatest impact. Thus maximizing sales performance.

Start focusing on and utilizing the power of your sales activity today. Through sales activity management, you’ll start to see improvements not only in your company’s sales process but your revenue as well.