If you own or run a small business, you know that sales consistency can be hard to achieve. You may thrive one month, then struggle the next. Implementing a sales tracking strategy is a fantastic way to discover and recognize sales patterns that you may not have noticed otherwise. Once you’re able to forecast future sales with some degree of accuracy, you can plan accordingly and make the most of your resources while smoothing out choppy sales patterns.
Why Use a Future-Oriented Tracking System?
If you don’t know what to expect, it’s difficult to make plans. Say you’re planning your order fulfillment for the coming months. Future-oriented sales tracking helps you to determine an accurate amount of products to order or manufacture, ensuring that your customers receive their orders on time without leaving you with too much overstock.
Future-oriented sales tracking also helps you plan your strategy regarding your approach to sales. For example, if your tracking system shows that your sales are going to be lower than usual in the coming months, you may want to hire additional salespeople or boost your marketing. Instead of just riding out the rough seas blindly, you can map out incoming storms as well as calm waters. Naturally, this approach improves your preparation, making for a smoother overall voyage.
How to Track Future Sales
It’s impossible to predict the future, but you can improve your odds by crunching some figures. Start by documenting your sales process in detail. For instance, you could start by listing your channels. If you sell to other businesses and direct to customers, those would be two unique channels. Next analyze the sales process. Do you sell your products online, or do you meet with potential clients in person? Defining your sales system adds clarity to the data you generate through future-oriented sales tracking.
Next, use a spreadsheet or sales tracking software to track the number and dollar value of your warm sales leads and sales quotes. QuickBooks is a fantastic option, offering all of the tools you need to accomplish this quickly, easily, and intuitively. Be sure to include any customers you anticipate doing steady business with. Of course, those figures won’t always be entirely accurate, but over time the growing data should still show clear patterns in spite of any mild inaccuracies. Now you want to estimate when your potential sales are going to close. Try to predict a reasonable date for both new and existing accounts.
Monitor the Results
Now that you’ve compiled data on roughly how much revenue you can expect from warm leads and sales quotes, as well as when you can expect that revenue to flow in, it’s time to monitor your progress and see how accurate the results are. Over time, you should start to see emerging patterns that help you to determine if your predictions were accurate or if they need to be adjusted.
Be sure to track data through all of your individual sales channels, as the numbers may vary depending on which sales systems you’re analyzing. For example, you might notice that 75 percent of your warm leads convert to sales and an average sale takes a month to complete. With that information, you can plan ahead with more confidence than if you were just guessing based on intuition or past sales records alone. Future-oriented sales tracking can take some time before it really begins to show consistent patterns, so don’t wait to get started. Empower your small business to make informed decisions with this simple yet surprisingly effective sales tracking method.