A sales report is an essential management tool that helps you answer many questions about the health of your business.
The objective of a sales report is to transform the data of what the company sells into information that supports or allows the management of products, customers and production, as well as a rapid adaptation of the company to the market.
Let’s learn more about the characteristics of a sales report and how you can do it.
What is a sales report?
A sales report is a record of your sales activities during a given period. Depending on the types of sales reports, you can include the following data:
- The names of your sellers
- Sales made versus sales quota
- New accounts
- Comparisons between the current period and the previous one, etc.
A sales report can be used to forecast growth and potential problems by extrapolating the data they provide.
These reports are usually prepared by sales directors and salespeople. They are then sent to senior management, who want to be able to easily understand the status of sales.
Advantages of creating a sales report
These are some benefits of creating a report to measure sales:
- You know the trends and sales cycles;
- You discover what works well and what doesn’t;
- You can have a balance of the level of profitability;
- Analyze the ratios;
- Make projections and be able to track the progress of your efforts;
- Qualify your customer base; identify the best profile;
- Find out what attracts customers, where they come from;
- Evaluate your portfolio of products and services;
- Manage your inventory;
- Determine if your objectives are being met;
- Establish better prices, etc.
Uses of a sales report
The form that the sales report takes, the information it contains and its treatment depend above all on the use to which it is given and the management objectives pursued. Therefore, these uses can be numerous. Here are some examples:
Management and customer service support
In this case, the sales report usually takes the form of a history of the quantities of each of the products purchased by the customer. This helps us understand the purchasing habits of each client and allows us to work more efficiently and satisfactorily with them.
If we are lucky enough to work with a system that works in real time, we can obtain, from a certain date or period of time, the number of products purchased by each customer from a certain date.
The customer’s purchasing history over several years can also help us understand the evolution of products.
Product management support
Here, the sales report takes the form of an annual report by product and product group. Sales are expressed in quantity and money.
The format is usually part of the product definition. Organizations with a sophisticated database can group products by color and other product characteristics that are included in the database.
When conducted over several years, the sales report can be used to measure trends in the company’s products and obtain an accurate picture of the composition of its sales.
Knowing the real average price achieved by a product is the basis for measuring the real margin achieved by a product or, even more so, by a group of products. It is a key element when deciding the scale of a production.
How to create a sales report
Obviously you can rely on the information technologies integrated by the company, accounting system, billing system or your inventory management system. The amount of work and the speed with which information is obtained vary depending on the resources available.
Even if the company’s resources are limited, you can always find a simple way to obtain valuable information to support management in meeting sales objectives.
Sales data registration
Typically, sales data is recorded in a database or in a simplified form in a spreadsheet. Ideally, this registration should be done automatically at the time of billing or directly from the cash register. The database may or may not be integrated into the company’s accounting system.
Sales data in dollars per customer, and credit are accounts receivable. If the company only sells on credit, an annual sales report can be obtained from our accounts receivable register.
Sales registration must be done with all the characteristics related to the product, the customer and the company from which they come. The sales report must contain not only monetary values but also unit quantities if you want to carry out correct inventory management, know the real production losses, budget the quantities, etc.
The sales database must, therefore, contain a sufficient number of fields to comply with what has been previously defined as a sales report. It is the quality and ease of use of the database that largely determines the value of an information system (accounting, billing, inventory).
The fields or series of fields required will, therefore, be the following:
- Fields to identify the client (name, address, etc.)
- Fields to identify the product (name, code, format, product group to which it belongs, etc.).
- Fields for quantities (dollars, number of units, standard basic units, weight, volume for transportation, etc.).
It is important to remember that the architecture and definition of the fields of our sales-related database will determine what we can obtain in our report.
Integrating this database with other information systems (accounts receivable, inventory accounting system) will have a significant impact on the amount of work required to maintain them.
Sales information and reporting system
At a minimum, sales must always be recorded not only in monetary value, but also in number of physical units and/or equivalent units. The choice of an information system must take these elements into account.
For many companies, billing and inventory control operations are especially critical and the choice of system is based on these two facets.
Typically, these systems can produce a wide variety of sales reports. Ideally, the company has systems that allow managers to instantly obtain the information that helps them produce, sell and serve customers better.
Create a sales report with the help of a dashboard
A dashboard is the best tool to create sales reports that help you visualize your performance. You can have a report in real time, with your updated information, since you can have data from various sources connected to the same platform.
You can view your sales indicators and track them. The dashboard can be shared, making it ideal for informing various areas or senior executives about the work carried out.