On average, 50% of your sales prospects aren’t a good fit for your company’s products or services. Analyzing successful and failed sales can help you determine where you’re going wrong and what needs improvement.
It can also help you understand the sales cycle better and know what needs to be done at each stage to close more deals.
And that’s where sales reporting comes in.
Why does regular sales reporting help to improve performance?
While you probably dabbled in sales reporting when you first started, let’s assume that you’re not doing it regularly for the sake of argument. What you may not realize is that sales reporting can help you in several ways, such as:
- Identify areas of improvement – By analyzing your sales reports, you can identify areas in which your team needs improvement. For example, if you notice that your sales are lagging in a certain quarter, you can take steps to address the issue.
- Monitor progress – Sales reporting can also help you monitor your team’s progress and ensure they’re on track to meet their targets.
- Forecast future sales – Reporting can give you a good idea of future sales and help you plan accordingly. For example, if you know that sales will increase in the next quarter, you can stock up on inventory and hire additional staff to meet the demand.
As company executives and directors manage at the top level, they can make more informed decisions about the business’s strategic direction when reports update them.
When you conduct regular sales reporting, you’ll be able to spot problems – like dips in sales, for instance – earlier as well. Once you see such issues, you can immediately call for a meeting to strategize or adjust your sales tactics.
The five sales reports you need and why you need them
Now that we’ve established the importance of these reports, let’s look at the term “sales report.” The term is surprisingly broad because several factors can affect your sales.
You can create sales reports focused on certain aspects depending on your company’s goals and needs. That will help you create detailed reports and thoughtful recommendations for improvement.
Here are five types of sales reports that you should consider creating:
Sales revenue report
First, you’ll want a sales revenue report. This report will show you how much revenue your company generates from sales over a certain period of time.
For example, it could show the price of your products/services, the volume of sales you get from each stock-keeping unit (SKU) or service category, and the total income each one was able to generate.
This type of report can help you notice best-selling products in your catalog, single out low-performing items, and keep track of changes in customer behavior. In turn, this will help you make better inventory decisions, optimize your pricing strategy, and, consequently, boost sales.
You’ll also be able to recognize cross-selling and upselling opportunities. For example, if a customer buys Product A, you could also suggest they buy Product B. Similarly, if they’re interested in Product C, you could try to upsell them to a more premium version.
Sales conversion rate report
A sales conversion rate report assesses how many of your leads turned into sales.
You can make this report more exact by categorizing the different touchpoints and channels you were able to get leads. It also allows you to study other relevant factors to these channels, such as the salesperson the leads interacted with, the offers they inquired about, and the time from discovery to purchase.
Understanding your sales conversion rates and their reasons will help you check if your lead generation efforts are effective. In addition, you can pinpoint the areas that need your attention and the most productive ones.
Utilizing conversion rate reports, you can also develop a strong sales funnel. Once you know at which stage your leads transition into buyers, you can figure out how to take advantage of it.
Your salespeople will have a better outlook on where they should come in as well. For example, would you be able to convert more leads when they come in earlier in the discovery stage, or should they be additional support once leads are considering a purchase?
Sales loss rate report
Analyzing success is important, but so is taking a step back to understand why some sales are unsuccessful. That’s what sales loss rate reports are for. These reports will tell you what you want to change, avoid, and duplicate for your next sales attempt.
To make this report, you first must assess all the factors contributing to a lost sale. You can then go further by evaluating your salespeople’s performance. For example, you could compare their close rate to the average and see if they meet the company’s standards.
The analysis will help you identify any process gaps and areas for improvement in your sales strategy.
Let’s look at another example. If you realize that your employees are losing sales because they’re failing to establish trust with potential customers, you could create a training program to help them build that skill.
Sales forecasting report
A sales forecasting report helps you estimate future sales by analyzing past performance and current trends. This report takes into account various factors that can affect sales, including seasonality, market trends, and recent events.
So let’s say you notice which month generates the most sales, you can study why this is so and how you can make use of that in the following year. The month before the holidays is your best-selling month because many prepare for their gift-giving activities. You can devise promos and tactics that will tremendously increase your sales volume during that time.
Knowing your future potential sales is also a good indicator if you can achieve your goals within the period you’ve set. And if you notice that your sales need to perform more to meet your sales target within five years, you can adjust your strategies promptly.
That’ll make you avoid major capital losses that could harm your business in the future.
Marketing collateral usage report
When interacting with customers, sales teams use different tools. Marketing collateral such as product brochures, promo flyers, and company decks are significant in this case because they highlight the most important information your customers need to be aware of.
The effectiveness of this collateral plays a huge role in the business’s overall sales performance. Hence, a marketing collateral usage report is also important to have. It can show which of your collateral are constantly used and when they’re most useful in the sales cycle.
By knowing how much customers rely on these marketing collateral and how integral they are in translating your sales value proposition, you can adjust the production and content of these materials. When you understand their role in your sales funnel, you can also improve how salespeople use and distribute these collateral.
Bonus: Top tips for better sales reports
Here are three tips that can guide you in creating successful sales reports that amplify your sales performance.
Formulate quantitative and qualitative insights
When making a sales report, it’s important to focus on both the numbers and the stories behind them. You need all of the relevant information to make sound decisions.
That means covering both quantitative and qualitative data. Studying the numbers and the reasons behind such numbers will allow you to grasp your sales performance completely.
To do this, you have to document everything about your sales. Daily, log the sales conversions, volume, and other sales data. From time to time, you should also conduct qualitative research via feedback surveys or market research to be conscious of your customers’ sentiments.
Create a strategic plan based on your sales reports
After creating sales reports, you must take action based on what you’ve learned. How do you resolve the issues you’ve spotted? How can you strengthen your sales performance?
Creating an actionable strategic plan with the help of various strategic analysis tools would help you navigate the new objectives and tasks you need to accomplish.
Plus, you can work with your sales team or consult professionals such as Sales Directors to refine your sales strategy plan before fully implementing it.
Work with experienced sales professionals
Whether you’re monitoring sales performance, creating sales reports, or preparing sales strategy plans, you must ensure you have the right team working with you. Your sales team needs the competence and skill to execute your sales objectives.
Early on, understand what kind of sales team you want, find the best talent, and train them according to your standards. You must also regularly align with them on the business goals and sales direction.
Having a Sales Director on your board will also be helpful. With their experience and expertise, they can further guide you on how to improve your sales process and performance. If you’re still growing your business, hiring a part-time Sales Director is a great way to get started.
Closing thoughts: Regular sales reporting improve performance
In business, things are always changing–the market, the competition, your products and services, and your sales process.
Because of this, you need to keep regular sales reporting to track your progress, identify issues early on, and take the necessary actions to improve performance.
The five types of sales reports we’ve discussed are essential in helping you enhance your sales performance. Keep these in mind the next time you’re evaluating your sales process.