Overview with tools, software, best practices and alternatives

What is a sales report?

A sales report is a detailed record of all the pertinent facts relating to sales as recorded by the salesperson in charge of the sales department of company. This sales report is kept by the company as a temporary gauge of the operational efficiency of the sales teams of the company. A standard sales report includes the following information:

  • The sales volume for each product or groups of product
  • The volume of contacts made for both new and old customers
  • The operational expenses that were incurred in the process of making the sales (includes promotional and advertising)

These details only include the informations that may be found in standard sales reports. However, many other details that can be depicted in graphs, tables and charts can also be merged along with the basic information of a sales report. Data that can be derived from the basic informations mentioned above can also be presented in graphical illustrations. These can be:

  • Sales cycles can be demonstrated per sales rep or per sales team
  • Sales success rates can also be shown
  • Indicators of improvements in sales success
  • Data like discounts and commissions

Sales reports can show real-time or semi real-time data based on the reporting tools that were used. The Internet has enabled companies to further increase the scope of information that they can gather from their sales operations by providing connectivity to all the sales personnel involved across varied platforms.Web based programs that give up-to-date reports can be used by the company and enables the user of the program, such as sales executives and managers, to monitor their sales teams and clients in real-time operations. Sales executives can compare the individual sales team performances of one team to another and see who is excelling and who is underperforming in their sales operations.

Who uses sales reports and why?

The three main personnel who make use of sales reports are the sales executives, the sales managers and the sales representatives.

Sales executives uses sales reports to get a view of the overall picture that describes the sales situation. They can surmise possible scenarios from the sales reports that are coming in from the field as delivered by the sales teams. For example they can create a hypothesis on customer wants based on the current trends that are shown by sales reports. General data like revenues and sales teams’ win rates are also important to sales executives giving them estimates on the progress the company is making towards accomplishing its sales goals.

Sales managers can monitor their sales team members from each member’s reports. The sales manager is also able to make inferences   regarding team members from their performances in the sales reports. Conditions affecting sales reps, such as health conditions, family situations and other factors can be inferred by the sales manager and so enable him to take the necessary steps to correct the situation.

Sales representatives, who are the foot soldiers of any sales campaign can also make use of the sales reports that are handed out by the company. They can use it to analyze their improvements and their situations so that they can further enhance their techniques in winning sales.

How to make a sales report

The format of a sales report could follow one such standard form as follows:

  • First the date and region coverage of the sales report is stated along with subjects of the report such products concerned, sales team under review and other pertinent facts.
  • The primary goal and the sales successes most leading to it are then presented in a detailed manner
  • Present a categorized detailing of all the transactions that have transpired: the sales reps involved, the products and their prices, the cold and the not so cold calls that have been made, and then give a comparative analysis of these data compared with previous sales reports.
  • Present notes on sales numbers that are shown to be anomalous, explaining them as regards to their nature ( such as sickness producing a very low sales output).
  • Present a discussion on the high and low points of the sales report.

These details can confirm what the inferences and the hypotheses that the sales executives and managers had formed have assumed to be. Whether they are correct in their assumptions, the sales report would show.

Advantages of a sales report

A sales report guarantees the continued production of manufacturers if the sales report indicates favorable numbers. Important sales data are made available to the company sales department and from those data, sales executives can create a plan for a solid sales program. Sales metrics contained in the sales report like wins, win rates , sales cycles , key demographics and many other data are combined together and analyzed to provide a clear picture of the company’s sales outlook. Executives can pinpoint problem spots and weaknesses in the sales program of the company and even in the sales personnel and from there implement the necessary remedial actions. Sales reports greatly facilitate the managing of the company’s sales programs towards greater financial gains and ensure that sales teams are at their top performance.

Disadvantages of sales reports

Sales reports are subject to the same kind of errors that are inherent in any group reporting process. That is, human nature types of errors can also occur in the making of a sales report. As in any company endeavor, there are some team members who would always want a positive image for themselves. This kind of thinking could influence the making of sales reports by having figures biased to favor the ones making the report. Events that transpire along the course of sales activities would be written in such a way that would justify the reporter’s actions and not as they actually happened. These kinds of misreporting hamper sales executives in the decision making process and harm the company’s sales programs.

Best ways of making sales reports

With the emergence of various communication tools such as the Internet and the ubiquitous mobile technologies, the making of sales reports has become vastly superior in quantity and quality of information content. Internet technologies deliver a great variety of information that can be gathered on site by the sales reps creating the report. Raw data can be further processed to give out advanced values that indicate additional sales metrics. With Internet technologies, sales teams will have the best sales reports available.

Teamreporter as a tool for sales reports

Teamreporter is an efficient information gathering tool that can be used by sales teams to make their reports especially those who are distributed or remote working. It is a web based email application that enables a team of distributed or remote workers to get updated on the status of ongoing work or project. With sales representatives and their sales managers, Teamreporter can function as initial data gathering tool of sales reps distributed over a wide area. Teamreporter will send out via email the structured sales categories that the sales teams will fill up, and these reports from the various sales reps will then be summed up into an overview that is sent to everyone concerned. In operation, Teamreporter does the following:

  • Creating questions that the team members will answer.
  • Tailoring the questions to be asked to fit project needs
  • Scheduling the sending out of email queries.
  • Upon receiving individual team member reports,scheduling of team status updates to every team member.
  • Adopting preset business scenarios.
  • Prompting team members who forget their reports.
  • Arranging an archive of team status reports

It has the following advantages:

  • Ready in 5 minutes
  • Free startup
  • Accessible even to novice users and managers
  • No IT software or hardware requirements
  • Only email login required for Team members

Teamreporter is very simple, fast and easy to operate. Even novice Internet users will not find it hard to get used to.

Alternatives to sales reports

Alternatively, sales personnel can make memoranda and letters to their peers and to their superiors about the progress of their sales. Sales figures will have to be written so as not to be easily forgotten, so video and voice chats will have to give way to written modes of communications.

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Teamreporter is free for small teams (up to 4 members)