Every single day, small businesses are selling whatever it is they have to offer to the public. But how do business owners know how much they’re able to sell and how much they’re able to earn? Someone needs to be able to keep a record of all the information regarding a company’s sales.
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By creating a record of all these things, one is able to get a clear number of just how much money a company has been able to make within a certain period of time. The document that contains this vital information is what one would call a sales report and this article is going to focus on how you’re going to make one.
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How to write a sales report
People in the sales division who are required to come up with sales reports that may end up making one that’s a little too long or just plain confusing when trying to show the company’s performance in terms of sales. Instead, you would want to make a sales report that’s straight to the point and helps readers understand just how well a company’s sales are doing. So, here are some things that you should keep in mind as it will help you when making such a report:
1. Know your audience
Before you proceed further and start writing down sales information within your report, the first question that would have to answer would be, “What information do I want people to obtain from my sales report?” While all of the information regarding sales may be relevant to you, some of it may not be as important to the people who are going to read it. So, what you’re going to have to do is see if the information that you’re going to present is either necessary or useful for your audience. This perspective will guide you as it will help you choose what kind of data you’re supposed to provide in the report. You may also see monthly sales reports.
For example, the information that interests your vice president of marketing will be vastly different from what your chief financial officer looks for. Your chief financial officer might want information on all of the major sales numbers as well as the number of expenses incurred within that particular month while your vice president of marketing might just want to know how well your sales reps are converting the leads that his or her team is providing. You may also like sales report samples.
So, think carefully about what you need to provide for your different audiences. While it might seem like it’s a bit more work as well as being a tad difficult considering that you have to redesign your sales report for different people, keep in mind that doing so will definitely help you in the long run. You may also see monthly sales reports.
2. Choose the right information to share
Once you’ve decided on the key pieces of information that you should share, the next thing that you have to do is think about the data that you’ll have to present which will give people an accurate picture of how your team is performing, as well as help them make decisions on what needs to be done in order to ensure that the company’s sales keep going up. Most reports, especially to upper management, should answer these key questions:
- Are the sales goals being met?
- How are your team’s current sales compared to that of the previous period? (This could mean from the previous quarter or even the previous year.)
- What kind of products and services are customers buying the most?
- How much revenue did you gain and what’s the comparison between that and the number of expenses made within the chosen time period?
- Which of your products and services aren’t exactly meeting expectations?
- What are your sales forecast for the following month, quarter, and year?
- Are there any key areas of opportunity that will allow us to boost sales?
- Are there are any challenges when it comes to sales? Are there are any products or services that we need to pull from the market?
You don’t necessarily have to answer all of these questions with every sales report that you have to make. This is especially true if you have to present to a single department head who may only be interested in a narrow field of information. However, it’s always best to provide a sales report that portrays a much clearer picture of the company’s state in terms of sales. You may also like weekly sales report templates.
3. Decide on a time period
Are you going to share all your sales numbers from the inception of your company? If you’re going to do that, then that’s going to be a one really long report, and that’s not something a lot of people particularly enjoy going through. So, to help solve this problem, you have to figure out the time period that you want your sales report to focus on. You may also see sales activity reports.
This means that you’re going to have to figure out whether this is a weekly report, monthly report, quarterly report, or a year-end review. The length of time that you’re going to choose will help you focus on the kind of data that you’re going to provide.
For example, creating a sample weekly report would mean that the information you share will focus on how your current products are being taken in by customers, the expense reports regarding how much was lost, the revenue gained within that week, or how new products that you introduced within that week are doing. Choosing a specific time period will also allow you to perform more accurate period-to-period comparisons.
4. Choose the right visuals
The way you decide to convey information about your sales is just as important as choosing the kind of information that you decide to share. The primary function of a good sales report is to convey information in a way that people can easily understand, so that’s what you’re going to have to focus on once you know just what information you’re supposed to share.
Let’s say your report is focusing on the number of sales that your company has made within the past week. You don’t want to just have numbers there as that’s visually boring. So, what you can do is present a bar graph that shows how your sales are doing and how it has increased from the previous week. If not that, then you can create a pie chart which discusses all of the different factors that have affected sales.
However, remember that visually crafting your data isn’t just about making your sample sales report look pretty. Remember that it’s for the purpose of sharing information, but in a way, that’s engaging and easy to understand. The people under management who will be reading your report won’t have the time to go through it thoroughly enough as they have other things to do, so presenting them with a report that will allow them to get what they need clearly in the shortest amount of time possible is something that will definitely boost your image.
5. Gather your data
You won’t exactly be able to make a sales report if the information you have at your disposal isn’t solid and reliable. You’re going to need a customer relationship management system that will help you capture, track, filter, and analyze all of the information that you’re going to need before you place them in your sales report. Make sure your CRM system has capabilities specifically to help you quickly and easily create sales reports that will contain the information that you want to convey. You may also see excel sales templates.
6. Cut out what you don’t need
When you have a proper CRM, then you gain access to a lot of information, some of them you might not even need. While all of the information that you have access to might be useful to you and your sales team, there might be some information that readers such as your CEO might not want to read or he or she might not find useful. You may also see sales tracking templates.
While it may be tempting to include as much information as you can in your sales report, you should always resist the urge to drown your boss with all of the details that he or she may not even need. Doing so will be a complete waste of time as your boss might not be able to do anything with it. So, unless he or she specifically says you should do so, just hold back on throwing in everything you can. Your goal is to present the management team with a clear and concise report that gives them only the information that will help them make important decisions. You may also see report templates.
7. Add context
Showing numbers isn’t enough to convey the performance of your sales team and data can easily be manipulated or misinterpreted. Your responsibility to your management team isn’t just to hand over data—it is also to put the numbers into context. So, you have to report on things such as whether or not the overall sales went down from last month. Information such as this would naturally scare your CEO. And, that’s exactly the reason why you need to give context. So, instead of just telling him that sales are down, you have to present information as to the reason why that happens to be so. Remember that doing so will help everyone get a clearer picture of things. You may also see activity report templates.
If you would like to learn more about how to create a proper sales plan or anything related to this particular topic (such as how to come up with a sales note), then all you have to do is go through our site, find the articles you need, and use the information to help you out.