A sales department is the final link in a business’s operations. It’s up to the sales force to get products and services out the door and into customer’s hands. For management, this makes tracking sales performance a top priority. Sales reports provide concise, timely information that allows managers to identify and address problems before a sales slump becomes serious.
Sturcture of Sales Reports
Sales reports are documents businesspeople produce for use within the firm. A good sales report is brief and gives salespeople and managers up-to-date numbers. Additional information is included to identify sales trends, whether sales goals are being met and stating problems and possible solutions. Sales reports may cover varying lengths of time. You typically see businesses producing weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual sales reports. A sales report is usually headed by identifying information such as the date, time covered and the department or individual submitting the report.
Start With a Summary
Begin a sales report by stating the key information. Readers of sales reports typically want to know the amount of sales and whether sales goals were met. For example, you might say that weekly sales came to $5,200, exceeding the goal of $5,000. When an event or problem occurred that affected sales, you may want to mention it here, but save the details for later sections. A sales report introduction is a summary and should be short. A single paragraph is fine for a weekly summary, but even a quarterly or annual report doesn’t need more than one page.
Report the Numbers
Present the sales figures in a section immediately following the summary. This is where you provide a breakdown of total sales. The categories and arrangement of this section vary depending on the business’s needs. For example, you might report sales for individual salespeople or retail outlets, for geographic areas or for specific products. Some sales reports include other data such as the number of leads and how many leads were successfully closed by the sales staff.
After you report the sales figures, provide data from past periods for comparison. For example, you may compare sales figures for the week with those from the corresponding week in the previous year. In addition, briefly describe factors such as bad weather that affected sales volume. If you fell short of a sales goal, identify the reason and state what you are doing to remedy the situation.
A Word about Templates
Some businesses use standardized templates to prepare daily or weekly sales reports. In this situation, much of the information in the report is simply plugged into the template. Templates often provide spaces for comments or notes. Use these spaces to provide the information that would otherwise go in a summary or explanatory section.