One common complaint from sales managers is, “Why can’t I keep track of what my sales reps are doing compared to what they’re supposed to be doing?” At sales organizations large and small, it would be nigh impossible for a sales manager to constantly have eyes on all the activities of each sales rep, making it challenging to discern if reps are performing up to their goals and expectations or not. This is why the best sales managers should be taking advantage of the Task Type field in Salesforce.com, instead of relying on Salesforce reports that use the less reliable Subject field.
The Task Type option allows sales reps to schedule out and keep track of their behaviors, while giving sales managers a quick glance at the activities reps are doing, compared to what they’re supposed to be doing. On Salesforce.com, Subject Lines are an editable field, a box where reps can leave themselves subjective notes. For example, a rep might note that he or she made contact with the lead and had a promising conversation, with a vague promise of a follow-up call in a couple of weeks. This is great for the rep to take notes for their own references, but sales managers ultimately can’t get caught up in these nitty-gritty details.
Instead, sales managers need normalization in their lives – they need all reps to log certain information in the same way, providing them a quick snapshot of how their team is doing as a whole. The Task Type field does this. It is a hard-coded drop-down menu with a customizable picklist of what types of activities are in a rep’s repertoire.A manager can stipulate that all reps go through the same activities with their clients, and subsequently log those activities in this Task Type field. Giving reps a structured and defined list of activities – and subsequently, goals – can help streamline the sales process as well. Whether a rep has made a discovery call, sent an email, left a voicemail, scheduled a demo, kicked off a trial, signed a contract or suffered through a no-show, the manager will instantly know…if they have established a culture of logging these Task Types.
Without the use of a normalized system such as Task Type – for instance, solely relying on the subjectivity of Subject Lines – managers have to hope that everyone’s data quality is perfect. This is often not the case. Reps who are not trained in data analysis, sloppy with their activity logging, prone to producing typos or are even just plain lazy could mess up the Salesforce reporting system for the entire team, giving sales managers an imprecise look into the activities of their team.
On the other hand, a systematic approach to logging Task Types that is required of all team members and emphasized culturally can greatly improve organization and reporting. When the data quality of logged activities is at an impeccable level, managers can then use a third-party reporting product linked to their Salesforce data – such as InsightSquared – to produce clear visualizations of employee activities. The Activity Dashboard report provides a crystal-clear graphic that displays how many of each activity each rep has logged. Sales managers can also pull up reports that compare activities to goals, helping to keep the team on track. Subject Lines are great for adding personalized notes that can help jog a rep’s memory when connecting with the prospect at a later date. However, the normalization of Task Types is essential for producing the most useful Salesforce reports and for more efficient sales management of reps overall.