7 Tips to create winning sales reports
You’ve likely been in a meeting where the sales manager presents a sophisticated report. By the time the meeting is done, you don’t even remember a thing the sales manager was talking about.
The information you put in a sales report goes a long way in helping the company make major decisions. Plus, it enables you to oversee the success of your sales team and, consequently, the whole company.
So it’s critical that you create clear and concise sales reports that show the most crucial information to your audience.
But before we do that, let’s do some housekeeping first.
What is a Sales Report?
A sales report is a summary that shows the insights of your sales over a specified period in your company.
The information in the report differs from company to company however generally has the number of leads, sales volumes, newly opened accounts, and revenue for the specified time. It comes in handy as it provides valuable insights into sales predictions of forthcoming sales data and a deeper understanding of your customer motivations.
How is Sales Reports Vital For Businesses
The main idea of sales reports is to gather data and present it in an easy-to-understand manner. When done well, it may serve many functions such as:
Forecasting sales performance Investigating a company's progress Explores opportunities for improvement
All these are good reasons why each company should create sales reports. But there’s something most companies miss.
In an interview, Marta Saggara, the Sales Operation Director at ForceManager, breaks down the importance of sales reports better.
She says most businesses think sales reports are only crucial to the sales managers and the executive team. But there’s one important person most companies overlook - the individual sales representatives.
“I believe the importance of sales reports is sometimes lost when it comes to individual sales representatives.” Says Marta.
And that is true because sales representatives are the engine of the company. They can do a lot when given real-time reports about their performance.
For example, they can summarize and pinpoint the number of deals they have at each stage of the sales process. With the data, it’s easy to identify areas of potential improvement in-field performance.
Additionally, detailed sales reports help sales reps package their information into assimilatable, readable snippets that they can use to prepare for face-to-face meetings.
How To Write a Winning Sales Report
There are multiple types of sales reports, namely:
- Sales forecasts
- Conversion reports
- Sales call reports
- Opportunity call reports
- Sales funnel reports
Most of these have a similar structure. They follow the same theme but provide different reports for different audiences.
Interestingly, multiple sales tools can help you create any of the above reports quickly. We’ll see how you can create one with Myphoner later.
Whichever sales reports you want to make, there are crucial elements you must have for each document. Of course, it depends on the report you want to make.
- Sales volume
- Net sales which is the number of sales in dollars
- Gross sales, which is net sales minus cost of sales
- Sales velocity (Sales Cycle Time)
- The percentage of KPIs change when compared to the last reporting period
With that said, here’s how you create winning sales reports that communicate the correct data and don’t put your bosses to sleep.
1.Understand Why You Need The Report
You can’t just create sales reports because every other company is doing it.
There’s a general goal for each report, and that is to increase your overall profit margins. While there are many steps before reaching that goal, the first thing to focus on is the reason why you’re creating the report in the first place.
Ask yourself the following questions.
Are you measuring your marketing campaigns? Do you want to compare the performance of your team members to bring some healthy competition? Or do you want to identify interesting trends in your sales?
Either way, knowing the purpose of your sales report takes you a notch higher. You’ll get to know the right data to collect and also determine the scope of your report.
2.Who Is Your Audience?
Sales managers create sales reports for different audiences.
For example, if the vice president of marketing is interested in the document, your report will show the marketing campaigns that bring more sales or how many leads turn to actual sales.
The finance department wants to know the sales team’s exact budget. They’d also like to know the current portion is enough. These are the sections you’ll focus on.
For your sales reps, they need a sales report that breaks down their individual leads acquired, loser ratio, and conversion rate.
And in the same light, the management team will be interested in a report that shows the company’s overall growth instead of the specifics.
For this reason, it’s important to create reports relevant to your audience. Your goal is to equip your audience with the suitable information that will help them make future decisions.
3. Collect Your Data
This is the most essential section since it significantly forms the basis of your sales report.
Unfortunately, many businesses make mistakes here. Research has it that 91% of companies use the wrong data in sales, leading to a 12% loss in revenue.
It calls for extreme accuracy to make sure you’ve got the right numbers. Ideally, what you’ll be checking is as follows.
- Lead time response
- Customers reached
- Deals won
- Deals lost
- Revenue generated
- Conversion rate
Of course, the data you gather also depends on the type of sales report you are creating. The best part? Many tools are available that can do the hard work for you.
For example, Myphoner has a report section that allows you to configure agent reports by deciding which data you want to see. This makes it easy to create real-time reports for each sales agent. See how it works.
Whatever the case, you would also want to define the frequency for each report. Maybe you can settle on weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly cycles.
4. Compile and Double-Check Your Data
Once you have rounded up your data, it is time to compile them to get relevant information.
Now, you’ve probably pulled your data from different places. The most common source is your CRM.
Once you’ve compiled everything, it’s time to analyze and interpret the data. But make sure you’ve got all your figures right for accurate reporting.
Don’t be afraid to take out unnecessary information. The goal is to keep your reports concise, clear, and relevant. You can also ask fellow sales team members to confirm that what you’ve got is correct and pertinent to your audience.
5. Use Visuals to Illustrate Your Data
A sales report isn’t a university thesis.
Data visualization is its backbone. It doesn’t make sense to slap your audience with numbers and leave them stranded. Visuals bring your sales report to life by making it easy to understand and digest.
In this regard, you’d want to use visuals like infographics, pie charts, line graphs, and bar graphs. Multiple tools can help you create these visuals, talk of Canva and Visem’s graph maker.
6. Interpret Your Data and Present
What you’ve been doing all along is to prepare for this section. Now, this step might differ depending on the type of your audience.
If you were preparing the report for your sales team, you just need to give them your reports and explain their performance status.
But if you’ll be presenting to the executive team, you must go a little bit deeper in your interpretation. All your preliminary findings must have a reason.
For example, if your monthly reports show a decline in sales during Covid-19, you can’t assume that your audience knows the pandemic is the cause.
While it plays a significant role, you’d want to go deeper. You can say that the leading cause was the wide shutdown of target companies after the pandemic hit the economy.
This approach doesn’t leave your audience hanging as you successfully justify the data you’ve presented.
7. Finish With an Action Plan
You’ve presented your sales report well. Everyone is happy. So what next?
The best reports are action-oriented, meaning they have a plan to ensure the company is still soaring.
For example, if covid-19 affected most of your sales, you would ask yourself the next plan to bring your sales back on track. You might put on the report that you want to start a referral program as your new sales strategy.
Ending your report with an action plan makes you credible before your bosses and your team accountable.
We can’t reiterate this enough; detailed reports go a long way in making decisions and propelling your sales team in the right decision.
However, it’s common to get dry and cluttered reports from sales teams. It doesn’t have to be that way for you too. You can still write informative reports while still keeping your audience engaged. Lucky for you, you have seven tips to help you get started.