Just as you need a strategic plan to outline your company’s path to the future, you need to gather information along the way to know if you’re still on the right road, headed in the right direction. Otherwise you may be unprepared if there’s a roadblock, and you’ll lose valuable time and momentum determining what to do.
The right information will get you where you want to go, faster and more efficiently. But what is the “right” information? Sales reporting is critical, because sales generate revenue and profitability. To make smart business decisions, though, you need to know more than whether you’re meeting sales projections.
In order to outsmart the competition, you have to be smarter. So think of sales reporting as ”operational intelligence.” Gathering the most pertinent information allows you to set and meet sharply defined goals.
Sales reporting must identify these things:
- Productivity levels and revenue figures for both leads and closed sales—by salesperson, account, each product or service—summarized daily, weekly, monthly, etc.
- Individual, team and organizational performance
- What your customers want and if your relationships are growing
- Your competitive position
- What’s working and what's not, in every category
- Opportunities for product development, new geographic markets or audiences
- Internal and external factors that could trip you up
Sales reporting should reflect corporate goals and objectives. By gathering and leveraging strategic data you can:
- Increase new sales and customer retention
- Efficiently control costs
- Improve projections and facilitate more accurate forecasting
- Compare yourself to your competition
- Identify top-performing people, products or services
- Learn more about your customers, to build relationships and refine product offerings
Inadequate sales reporting can weaken your company’s profitability, so make sure you’ve established appropriate metrics and are collecting the data you need to measure progress. Technology can help streamline the reporting process, giving team members more time to focus on customer interactions.
Use your sales reporting metrics to create useful dashboards so sales managers can efficiently analyze the data. You’ll see direct sales improvements and enable C-level decision makers to more strategically plan for the future.