This WIKI article describe a basic sales management approach that use Contact Activities“Contact Activity” is the term used to describe all calls, meetings, appointments, and to do's performed by employees that are associated with prospects and customers. for sales tracking. This WIKI discusses features available in Control version 4.4 and later. Other articles cover more advances sales tracking processes.

The basic sales management approach discussed here relies on the following:

  1. Use of Activity Manager to schedule and record all sales activity
  2. Use of Contact Activity Sub-Types to track the types of calls made.
  3. Use of Contact Activity Results to track the results of each call.
  4. Use of Contact Activity Reporting to analyze the success or failure of each salesperson.

The specific approach you use may vary. Part of the power of Control is it's flexibility, but even if this approach doesn't work for you it may give you ideas of how to better utilize Control in your business.

Recording all of your calls in Control (or other contact management software) provides a level of integration that becomes more valuable over time and as your business grows. Cyrious lets you link every contact activity (a call, appointment, to do item, etc.) to a particular customer and contact, and when applicable a particular order or estimate. This allows you to access all of this information from any of the following ways:

  • An employee's Activity Manager calendar. This shows all the contact activities scheduled or completed for an employee in an easy to use calendar form. You can select to view a day, week, or month at a time or highlight a range of dates on the calendar and create your own views. You can also show other employees' calendars side-by-side by clicking on the left side of the screen and selecting other calendars to view.
  • An employee's Activity Manager list. This is similar to the calendar, but this tab lists all of your contact activities. Once the number of contact activities in a given day become large, the calendar view becomes more difficult to work with. Our experience is that when this happen salespeople prefer to work off the activity list view. Users can even make this tab their default view for Activity Manager.
  • The Activities tab in a Customer/Prospect. This shows all contact activities as well as order, estimate, and payment activities. You can customize what shows with the filters tab as well.
  • The Activities tab for an Order/Estimate. This shows all order/estimate activities as well as payment activities. You can customize what shows with the filters tab as well.
  • Exploring Activities. You can pull up an employees completed and/or planned activities under Activity Explorer. This is provides a few more search options not available in Activity Manager.
  • The Activity tab in the Employee Setup will list the activities for a specific employee. While this is here, I have always found the Activity Explorer more convenient for this purpose.

See sales_management_-_use_of_contact_activity_sub-types for more information on Contact Activity Sub-Types.

You can create Sub-Types for each type of Contact Activity in Control. For starter, Cyrious recommends that you use the same sub-types for all contact activity types. The following sub-types might be one starting point to consider (using OB for Outbound and IB for Inbound):

  • OB Cold Call
  • OB Warm Call
  • OB Quote Follow-up
  • OB A/R Call
  • OB Post-Sale Follow-up
  • OB Other
  • IB Status Request
  • IB Request for Quote
  • IB Personal Call
  • IB Other

Of course you can modify this list. I'm also not going to provide the meaning of each of these because, to the extent they are not self-evident to your process, you should rename them. If these are not absolutely clear to each of your employees, you won't get consistent use and your data will be only marginally helpful.

I would also recommend that (at least initially) you require an Activity Sub-Type. The WIKI page referenced above provides the information on where to setup this option.

See sales_management_-_use_of_contact_activity_results for more information on Contact Activity Sub-Types.

Where the Contact Activity Sub-Type is used as the input, the Results are used to classify the success or failure of the activity.

For starters, you might use the following Result categories:

  • Did not reach contact
  • Rejected
  • No meaningful discussion
  • Discussion, nothing tangible
  • Discussion, set follow-up
  • Quoted
  • Ordered!
  • Personal call

Of course you can modify this list to match your process. Again, I'm not going to provide the meaning of each of these because if any are not immediately clear you should rename them to something well understood in your business. I would also avoid having too many categories or it can become hard for users to classify which result is the “best” answer.

As with sub-types, you will probably also want to require Activity Results. The WIKI page referenced above provides the information on where to setup this option.

If you are using the Contact Activity Sub-Types and the Contact Activity Results, you are ready to use some of the built-in reporting for Control.

Contributor: Cyrious Software

Date: 12/2009

Version: Control 4.4+

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