The brilliant, hard-working sales manager
Room XX, Yth floor,
Another data-driven organization
We hate to break it to you, but… You are missing out.
You’re missing out on conversion rates, on increasing your total sales and total revenue, on meeting sales targets, on refining your sales pipeline, and on understanding the true impact of all your sales activities.
And it's all due to a single document: the (in)famous sales report.
It's not that they are inherently flawed. Rather so much historical data has never been available before to be sifted through and included in it. Understandably, sales reports are weighed down by the expectations of what they must carry and do.
So, today, we are here to pull you out of the Sales Report “snake pit”. In 4 simple steps, you will get a framework for organizing and putting together an easily understandable sales report that clearly depicts sales performance and that your team can use to craft high-end sales strategies; meet sales targets; generate ROI from sales activities; and increase conversion rates, total sales and total revenue. Sounds good? That's the power of a well-prepared sales report.
Revisiting the basics
Reviewing the basics never hurt anyone, so let’s do the same here, shall we? What exactly are sales reports?
A sales analytics report is a summary of the performance of a company's sales activities over a particular time period. It details the effectiveness of various sales processes, products and marketing campaigns by measuring their output against key performance indicators (KPIs).
Ideally, it sums up the most important information that a company needs to know to optimize its sales performance.
The time frame covered by a sales report can vary, and it can be weekly, monthly or yearly in nature. Its type can further vary depending on the KPI it is focused on like sales revenue, sales conversion, number of calls, etc. Beyond just detailing past performance, reports can also focus on sales forecasting based on historical trends and performance.
4 steps to creating a sales report that drives growth
Step 1: Define the purpose
Before you start putting the report together, take time to think about the purpose of the report and what it is supposed to highlight.
Are you performing a straightforward sales analysis for a particular product? Does the sales team require a lowdown on current sales trends? Do the executives require a comparison of sales performance over different quarters? What time frame is to be considered?
Having nailed the purpose, you can collect the right data from the right sources, which will increase the value and usability of the report.
Step 2: Identify the audience
The type of audience will influence the type of data analysis they are interested in.
A top-level executive will want to know which sales channels are the most effective in bringing revenue, which products are selling well, and what the recent top deals have been. In other words, it’s about the bird's eye view for them instead of the granular details.
A marketing manager will be interested in which sales channels are thriving so their team can direct their campaign efforts accordingly.
A product head will want to look at sales metrics like monthly recurring revenue (MRR), customer acquisition cost (CAC), churn rate, and conversion rate for their product so they can incorporate customer response in the next iteration. Nitty-gritty works here.
Before starting, determine who you will be presenting to and the type of sales data that will matter to them so they have the right knowledge to make the most effective decisions.
Step 3: Collect and contextualize data
With the purpose and audience clearly defined, gathering and analyzing relevant data from the right data sources will be easy.
Lead by metrics. Which ones will be the most suitable for the purpose and audience you are targeting? A standard sales analytics report will cover total sales, total revenue, conversion rates, profits, and company spending on sales activities.
Other metrics you might include based on the nature of the report are regional sales, the performance of different sales reps, upsell and cross-sell rates, number of sales opportunities, number of closed deals among others.
An important practice while putting together the data is to contextualize it. For example, if there's a sudden dive in sales numbers due to consumers being mostly on holiday, then it is important to include this information in the report so that no hasty or misinformed decision is taken. Throwing a bunch of numbers together in a sales analytics report will not help in crafting meaningful or impactful sales strategies.
Providing context also means identifying patterns in the data. Are sales picking up during summer but lead conversions dropping right after during fall? These patterns and why they are happening (the context) need to be identified so the sales team and management can take steps to remedy the situation as soon as possible.
Step 4: Go all out on visualization
Instead of typing up the numbers in good ole Excel, invest a little time in creating a report that looks visually appealing and interests your audience at first glance. Moreover, a visual format will help your audience easily understand the numbers you present and their context.
There are plenty of data visualization elements to choose from that will convey information more effectively than just words.
- Pie charts can break up the contribution of different products towards overall sales.
- Line graphs can help to track performance and revenue changes over time.
- Bar charts and survey charts can show comparisons of the performances of different employees or products.
- If none of these appeal, you can collate the data and pertinent questions into an infographic.
By representing your data visually in one or all of the aforementioned ways, it becomes easy to pick out outliers and notable trends. You can showcase the highlights without leaving out nuances. This becomes especially relevant when presenting to CXOs who are usually short on time and prefer being able to quickly glean critical information without much preamble or effort.
To round off your presentation, add and begin with a summary where you share the crux of the data analysis and what the metrics have revealed. This clues the audience into what they can expect from the overall report, so they remain on their toes throughout.
The sales report inspiration mini-fest
Below are a few samples to help you as you begin making your Best Ever Sales Analytics Report. Note that all these styles may not work for you, but they are all potential tools in your kitty to help you add context, structure and visualization to your report.
Clean and laser focused
Wingman’s sales analytics dashboard makes it easy to see how your sales calls are performing. You can filter performance through sales reps, the deal stage, and what topics were discussed. Most importantly, you can derive crucial market intelligence first-hand from your customer by knowing who your competitors are and the degree to which they are commanding the market. Reports of this kind require conversation intelligence technology and cannot be made using simple presentation software or spreadsheets.
Comparative and colorful
The report shows the revenue brought in by different sales reps on each day of the week and compares it against the sales that were forecasted, giving a clear view of whether the intended goal was met or not. If the results are found to be unsatisfactory, managers can choose to shuffle reps or tweak forecasting methodologies.
The summary dashboard
Instead of focusing on sales reps, the above report focuses on the demographic distribution of the sales made plus the devices used by them for purchasing. Both of the above reports highlight the primary KPI i.e. revenue, but depict different contributing factors for it.
The Info-heavy report
This report is different from the regular weekly, monthly, or yearly reports since it outlines the performance of a marketing campaign over six months. Not only does it list the total profits and sales, but it also lists how effective a campaign was in meeting the objectives/ goals. This is a great visual summary of the campaign performance.
The crux of the matter is: whether you use a CRM, dashboard, or Powerpoint, you can easily create and store sales reports so that your team and management can make decisions with a holistic perspective. Workflows can be improved, sales targets can be revised, activities in the sales pipeline can be experimented with but all of this is possible only when you have a sales report in hand that does the job it is meant to.
The first step is the hardest, but…
Wingman can help you create a sales analytics report that provides clear visibility into the past, present and future. It will be a report your team can actually use instead of one that’s difficult to understand, adds no real-world value, and does not help in critical decision-making, just like college-level trigonometry. So, if you’re curious and would like a sample first, you can book a demo here by entering your email address.