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What Are Sales Reports, Why Do You Need Them and How to Write Them?

What Are Sales Reports, Why Do You Need Them and How to Write Them?
Bitrix24 Team
December 23, 2021
Last updated: December 23, 2021

To analyze the efficiency of your sales strategy, you should regularly compile sales reports. You can do it every week, month, quarter and year. Learn about software that can facilitate the process of writing this type of document.

The Definition of a Sales Report

Sales reports are documents that reveal the statistics of a company's sales activity over a certain period of time. Managers need these papers to achieve the following goals:

  • Get to know what the reps have been busy with

  • Make sure the sales team meets its quota

  • Detect any potential issues and take measures to fix them

  • Sales reports typically feature the following statistics:

  • Sales volume

  • Ongoing opportunities

  • New accounts

  • Revenue

  • Customer acquisition costs

Either sales reps or sales managers can generate such reports.

Why Are Sales Reports Important for Small Businesses?

When analyzing sales reports, professionals should ask themselves the following questions:

  • What are the characteristics of our ideal clients?

  • Where do we get our best leads from?

  • What motivates people to purchase our goods and services?

  • Why do some consumers change their minds and discard the purchase at the last moment?

  • Are there any bottlenecks in the sales pipeline? How can they be eliminated?

  • How efficient are individual reps?

  • Does the sales team manage to meet their specific sales goals?

  • Which practices of the most efficient rep could the whole team borrow to increase their KPIs?

  • What are your reps' most common errors?

  • Is the sales statistics of the current sales period better or worse than the previous one?

  • What are the plans and forecasts for the next sales period?

Sales reports are vital for companies of any size and industry. They enable business owners and managers to fine-tune their sales strategies and maximize their revenues.

Besides, you might need to show your sales reports to your company's partners, investors and shareholders. They want to always see positive trends. What should you do if your sales are decreasing? First, you might detect some standalone products or services whose sales are on the rise and use these statistics to sweeten the pot. Second, you can tell all the parties involved that you are already working on fixing the negative trends. Explain to them that you have revealed and understand very well the issues that cause the negative trends. Next time, you should strive to show your company's partners, investors and shareholders an increase in sales or a smaller decrease. Thanks to such an approach, sales reports should help you to ensure ongoing support for your business.

A Sales Reports Writing Guide

On the one hand, your sales reports should be very detailed. On the other hand, you shouldn't overload them with information. It would be wise to focus only on those metrics that are crucial for your business. Below, we'll analyze the main stages of compiling sales reports.

Stage 1: Make a Summary

From the onset, the readers should get to know the essence of your report. Would you like to tell them that your revenue has been increasing and your company can be proud of its sales reps? Or would you like to attract the readers' attention to issues that might cause declining sales? The highest-performing professionals set the tone for their sales reports right in the first passage.

If it's a weekly report, it should consist of just a few paragraphs. A quarterly or annual paper might require up to a page. Regardless of the size of the report, you should mention the number of sales made over the period and whether you met the quota or not.

Stage 2: Break Down the Numbers

Typically, reports include the following statistics:

  • Number of deals at each phase of the pipeline

  • Average deal size and value

  • Close rate

  • Sales cycle length

Templates for sales reports might vary considerably depending on the industry, size of the company and the individual preferences of its managers.

Stage 3: Interpret Your Results

In this case, interpretation means comparison. You should collate the results of your current sales period with the achievement of one of several previous ones. To visualize the statistics, you might want to use charts. When analyzing trends, you should focus on the factors that impacted sales volume.

Writing regular sales reports might be a tedious process. To make it quicker, easier and more enjoyable, you might want to follow these recommendations.

  • Keep your goals in mind. At the beginning of each month or quarter, set relevant goals for your sales team. Make the reps work toward specific benchmarks. When compiling the report, you should mention whether the team managed to meet these benchmarks or not. If not, you should analyze the reasons that prevented the reps from achieving the desired results and suggest ways for improvement.

  • Set a fixed schedule for your sales reports. For instance, you might want to start working on your weekly reports every Friday at 9 am. Or, you can compile monthly sales reports on the last Wednesday of every month. First, it should be psychologically easier for you to adapt to a fixed schedule. Second, if you compile reports systematically, you'll get larger amounts of data to analyze and it will be more accurate.

  • Standardize metrics and data submission. You can present data in various formats. Select the one that seems the most comprehensive for your team and stick to it consistently. Eas time a new report sees light, its audience won't need to make an effort to understand what each graph means. Create a template for compiling sales reports and distribute it among all the staff members of your company who might need to use it.

  • Install a CRM and use it for generating sales reports. Many CRMs have report templates that you can either use immediately or customize. Moreover, a CRM can store exhaustive and well-structured data on your sales that you can pull when compiling the reports. If you automate this process, your reports will become much more insightful and you'll spend very little time on writing them. Also, you'll minimize the impact of the human factor and hardly make any mistakes.

Bitrix24 is considered one of the best software systems for generating sales reports. It is available as an on-premise or cloud solution. Plus, it has a mobile app that is compatible with iOS and Android devices. You can use the basic functionality of Bitrix24 for free, without any limitations on the number of users. The prices for the paid plans are very affordable: the one with the most extensive functionality costs $139 per month. Bitrix24 features a powerful CRM, time management tools, task and project management instruments, an in-built contact center, a website builder and many other useful features. This system has excellent analytical tools and over 10 million businesses from all over the world use it.

How to Generate Sales Reports with Bitrix24

Bitrix24 can generate the following types of sales reports:

  • Activity by agent

  • Sales by agent

  • Leads by stages

  • Sales funnel

  • CRM activity stream

The database of this system contains excellent templates that can come in handy for companies of any size and industry. You won't need any design or coding skills to customize these templates.

Here is a step-by-step instruction of generating sales reports in Bitrix24:

  1. Go to the CRM
  2. Choose the Reports tab
  3. Click the Add Report button in the right top corner
  4. Select the CRM entity for the new report
  5. Indicate the name of the new report, add a description and conditions
  6. Add report filters
  7. Add custom fields to the report's columns
  8. Share the report with other users

If needed, you can export your reports to Excel. The maximum number of leads, deals, contacts or companies that you can include in the Bitrix24 Sales Intelligence reports is 100,000.

To manage your sales team, you might want to use the following Bitrix24 functionality:

  • Mobile CRM

  • Task and project management

  • Document management

  • Videoconferencing

  • Group chat / instant messaging

  • Shared calendars

  • Workflow automation

  • Besides, Bitrix24 grants you access to the following sales tools:

  • Quotes

  • CRM

  • Task management

  • Invoices

  • Product catalog

  • Email marketing

  • Telemarketing

  • Call center

You can use them all to enhance your sales strategy after analyzing your reports. Bitrix24 combines the functionality of dozens of apps and systems. If you decide to install it, this investment should pay off very quickly.

And the best news is that the basic functionality of Bitrix24 is available at no cost. You can start with the free plan that accommodates up to 12 users and gives you 5GB of online storage. Apart from the sales reporting functionality, you'll get access to the Bitrix24 API and source code, mobile apps for iOS and Android, mail and telemarketing, task and document management. You'll be able to manage your full sales cycle without upgrading to a paid plan. And when you need an upgrade, it will take place smoothly and easily.

8 Visual Dashboards For Sales Reports

When compiling sales reports, you might want to use the following types of dashboards:

  • Opportunity Creation Rate. It reveals how quickly new leads are entering your pipeline. Every month, you should find a certain number of sales leads, get in touch with them and qualify them. You should keep your pipeline full and your reps should strive to meet their quotas.

  • Opportunities Created by Source. On this dashboard, you can see the sources where your leads come from. Once you detect a promising source, you might want to focus more effort on it.

  • Opportunities Won. This one visualizes your team's success. It shows how many sales your reps made over a specific period of time and what's the amount of revenue that the company received.

  • Opportunity Win Rate. This dashboard enables you to analyze the ratio of successful deals against those that were never closed. You should compare the current data with the statistics of the previous sales periods and detect trends. If the number of successful deals is steadily increasing, you should single out the best practices that make it happen and make sure all your reps use them. If you lose more and more deals each month, you should look for ways of improving your statistics.

  • Average Deal Size. Instead of perceiving this number as a static figure, you should turn it into actionable data. That means you should set a revenue benchmark for each of your sales reps. Plus, this data enables you to predict the profitability and sustainability of your business model in the long run.

  • Opportunity Pipeline. This one helps you to identify various opportunities in your sales pipeline. When getting started, you might want to fit only the minimum necessary information in this dashboard. When your audience gets used to this visualization format, you might want to gradually add more data. Plus, you can consider creating multiple pipelines for different activities, such as selling, fundraising and partnerships.

  • Opportunity Stage Started. You can consider this dashboard a subcategory of the previous one. It enables you to check how many opportunities have entered each stage in your pipeline. You can track these opportunities to prevent bottlenecks. Also, you can use this dashboard to measure your pipeline velocity and deliver more accurate forecasts.

  • Revenue Forecast. Using the dashboard, you can check how much revenue is currently sitting in your sales pipeline and estimate when you might expect it to come in. You can try to predict the likelihood of closing each deal, its value and the projected close date.

When you use dashboards for your sales reports, it becomes easier for your team members, partners, shareholders and investors to interpret your KPIs. It will take you less time to discuss your achievements with all the parties involved. 

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