Taking sales notes throughout the sales process is crucial. It allows you to gather all the information on prospects and their needs so that you have a better chance of closing a deal.
However, it’s common for a sales rep to take handwritten notes, use multiple platforms to store notes, or forget to add notes to the CRM. As a result, notes are scattered all over the place, making it hard to organize and use them whenever needed.
This quick guide gives you the five best practices for taking better sales notes. Additionally, several industry experts and sales professionals share their take on effective note-taking.
Let’s get started!
The importance of taking sales notes
Here’s why it’s crucial that sales reps take sales notes:
It helps you retain important information
Taking sales notes is crucial, especially in the discovery stage, when you’re trying to get a better understanding of the prospect and see whether your solution is a good fit for them.
During those calls, you exchange a lot of information. Thus, remembering everything is close to impossible. With strong sales notes in your CRM, you can retain and store important information such as prospects’ pain points, problems, economic impact, etc.
Then you can personalize your approach, build rapport and establish a strong relationship with prospects, increasing the odds of closing the deal. Taking sales notes also shows that you have a keen interest in the prospect and are actively listening to what they say.
It improves team collaboration
Remember that not only the sales team is interacting with customers. There are other departments involved in the process, such as marketing, customer support, etc. Sales notes allow other team members to jump in when needed, as well as enable sales managers to stay on top of deals.
Plus, a prospect goes down a long path before becoming a customer — the whole process can take weeks to months. This means you’re going to have a lot of meetings with the same prospect, and you need to collect all those crucial details and keep notes in one place so they’re easily accessible to other team members.
It ensures you can prepare for the next meeting with the prospect
Notes are also crucial when preparing for a sales meeting.
To ask the right questions and move the conversation forward, you should understand the prospect’s specific needs so that you’re able to highlight relevant product features and match them to the prospect’s requirements.
It improves your sales process
Good sales notes can be a goldmine for your entire sales team. You can keep track of successful sales calls, meetings, and customer interactions to understand which tactics are working and which are not.
You can also get better insights into prospects' pain points and build a better sales deck that directly speaks to customer needs.
Additionally, sales call notes can be used as a quality control measure to ensure your team doesn't make the same mistakes over and over.
Now that you understand the benefits of taking sales notes, let’s look at five effective note-taking practices to help you take better notes.
1. Include all relevant information in your sales notes
Make sure to store all key information about each customer interaction. If it’s a sales meeting, write down the questions that you asked the prospect. Then, briefly mention the answers or objections they had and decide what’s the next step.
For a cold call, make notes of this: How did they react to the call? Were they enthusiastic about your offering, or were they frustrated during the call? This is a crucial step to highlight their reactions as you’ll know how to approach them during the next meeting.
Or maybe you shouldn’t have a meeting with them again if they didn’t show any interest or your product was not a good fit for them.
Don’t forget to note the prospect’s readiness to buy and the time and outcome of the meeting.
2. Use note templates
Using note templates is a great way to ensure you get all the information you need from a prospect during a call or meeting. This is especially helpful during the discovery call and the lead qualification process.
Your sales note template should be well-structured and follow a consistent format.
If you use Salesforce CRM, Weflow gives you a way to streamline note creation through its note-taking and note templates features. Notes created with Weflow can be synced to Salesforce automatically, while note templates allow you to set up and reuse commonly used note formats.
Here’s how you can create notes in Weflow:
Start by clicking on the Notes menu item from the Weflow dashboard, and then click the New note button.
Alternatively, you can hover over an account, contact, or opportunity, and click the Create Note icon.
Next, add a title for your note, link it to a Salesforce record (if it’s not linked already), choose an activity type, and decide whether you want to make the note private.
You can then start typing your note from scratch or use a template by clicking the Use a template link.
To create a note template, click the Use template button in the upper right corner of the Notes page. Next, click on +New template in the pop-up window. Finally, add a name for your template, and fill out the note section.
Once you’re done, click the Use template button.
3. Make sure notes end up in your CRM
This one is crucial. If you keep taking notes using different tools or even in a physical notebook but then forget to add them to your CRM, then they’re useless. Every time you take a sales note, you need to make sure to add it to your CRM and associate it with the right contact, record, or opportunity.
Even though you were born with an excellent memory, you still have to transfer your handwritten notes to the CRM. If you’re using Weflow to create notes, you can sync them to Salesforce by clicking the Sync to Salesforce button. Alternatively, you can have the notes synced automatically by checking the Autosync checkbox.
Sales notes are critical for any business. They should be coherent and readable. Therefore, using a CRM is a better idea. It ensures that you do not misplace the information.
Besides, every sales note should have a date, time, and topic to help stay organized. In my opinion, sales notes should be brief, meaningful, and actionable. — Vladislav Podolyako, Founder and CEO of Folderly.
4. Keep it brief
This one might be obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. You shouldn’t write down every single word that the prospect says. Instead, focus on the conversation and extract only the most important information.
Be concise and clear. Otherwise, you’ll miss key information and lose control of the conversation while you’re busy with writing.
To make the process more effective, think about what questions you’re going to ask and which areas you should focus on. This will allow you to prepare beforehand and focus on what really matters.
Taking sales notes proficiently starts with understanding which information matters and why it should be captured. The simpler and more organized your sales notebook is, the easier it will be for you to find and reference important notes later on.
Also, whether you use a shared drive, a CRM, or a physical space in your office, you want to make the shared notes easily accessible for your team to avoid unnecessary bottlenecks.
As for the biggest mistakes to avoid, using an inconsistent format will always top my list. Clear and consistent formatting makes your sales notes easier to understand, both for you and for your sales teams — which is crucial for not losing any critical details about prospective buyers. — Kayela Young, Founder of Martal Group
5. Write notes with your team in mind
One thing that you should always keep in mind is that your sales notes are highly likely to be reviewed by your sales team or other colleagues from different departments. There might be cases when you need to substitute your colleagues if they’re on vacation or during a deal handover to customer success teams.
Your sales notes should be understandable and contain commonly known abbreviations and acronyms to avoid misunderstanding.
Take better sales notes this year
Taking sales notes can significantly improve your sales process and help you close more deals and increase sales revenue.
Follow the best practices discussed above, use tools to keep track of all your notes, and ensure that sales notes don’t cost you a deal.