As we’ve said before, closing lots of deals is the goal to make your sales team successful. How can you use data to better support your sales team to gain and keep customers, if it’s critical for you track the information that has led to wins or losses? If you don’t know the data behind those deals, you will have trouble replicating and scaling your results as your business grows. Knowing the specific factors that impact the success of your sales team can help with your company’s longevity. That’s where sales reports come in.
So, what do you need to know about sales reports to use them to your business’s advantage?
What Are Sales Reports?
They’re a record of sales activity over a specific period of time. Thus, they help your sales team review what reps have been doing, track progress towards quotas, and find potential issues ahead of time. In short, they’re a powerful tool to add to your sales process.
Sales reports allow businesses and their sales teams to answer the most important questions about their sales growth and progress on a regular basis. To ensure the success of your sales team, you need to understand the factors that affect your team’s performance – the goal of sales reports.
What Should Sales Reports Contain?
Sales reports for every business will look different – the key is to include sales metrics that have the biggest impact on your sales process. You don’t need to include every single potential data point in your sales reports. Doing so might make it harder to find and understand the key information.
Instead, target the sales metrics that most closely reflect your team goals and business objectives.
Here are a few metrics you may want to include in your sales reporting process:
1. Sales Pipeline
This is a must-have. You need to know exactly which deals are about to close, which ones are in jeopardy, which ones are early in the sales cycle and the overall number of deals in progress. And you’ll want to know the impact each potential deal would have on your quota and bottom line too.
2. Conversion Rates
How often are you converting your prospects into leads, and those leads into customers?
These numbers are vital to understanding your sales performance. If there’s one point in your sales cycle where leads are often dropping out, you can look at ways to fix the underlying issue.
3. Sales Cycle Length
How long does it take a typical rep to close a deal?
What are the key drivers of sales cycle length for your business – size of the deal, kind of customer, size of the prospect, etc.?
Knowing this metric will help you track the performance of sales reps and the effectiveness of your sales process.
4. Typical Deal Size
This number will help you predict revenue and the health of your sales pipeline, because you will know how many deals you need to close in a quarter or a year to meet your targets.
5. Customer Churn
This goes beyond closing the deal to understand how many customers are churning after they purchase your product. High rates of churn can indicate there’s a mismatch somewhere in the sales process – are you overpromising, underdelivering, or simply targeting the wrong customers?
6. Analysis of Won/Lost Deals
Tracking the deals you win and lose can be very illuminating.
Are there competitors to whom you often lose deals, or features that win you deals almost all the time?
Pay special attention to deals that fall out unexpectedly or at the last minute, key deals and deals of a certain size that are important to you. This info will also give you insight into your individual sales reps. Who is winning deals often and helping the team at the same time, and who is relying on others to win only an average amount of deals?
Sales reports can be compiled on any timeframe that works for your business. You may want to have a brief weekly report so you can track your real-time progress and pipeline, while also adding in monthly, quarterly, and/or yearly reports as well to see trends over time.
Why Are Sales Reports Important?
Sales reports are vital for one major reason – you can’t improve what you don’t measure. Just looking at your sales quotas and revenue isn’t enough to ensure your sales strategy is succeeding. Sales reports will help you measure a few key areas of your sales activity to gauge the most important information in your process to see where you can increase efficiency.
When they’re done the right way, sales reports help you record how your team is doing at each step of the sales cycle – what are the places where prospects are dropping out or moving forward more often?
This data will help you find the strengths and weaknesses of both your sales team and your overall sales process. Maybe your lead strategy is bringing in too many unqualified leads that waste time, or your process for closing deals has a lower-than-ideal conversion rate.
Smart sales reports will also help you look at the sales activity of individual sales reps and see if there are best practices (or practices to be avoided) that can be translated to the whole sales team to improve sales.
In addition, sales reports will give you a view of how your sales team is performing this quarter versus the previous one. And finally, they will help with your sales forecasting efforts so you can look ahead to upcoming potential deals in the sales pipeline.
Tracking Your Sales Performance
Sales reports are a critical part of your overall sales infrastructure. They pull together valuable data on your sales process, sales reps, and sales team performance in one place so you can track it all and improve your sales strategy in 2021. And for busy sales leaders, anything that helps you keep track of all this information and provides critical insights into what’s going well and what’s going wrong is invaluable.
If you need help deciding which information you need in sales reports, how to set the right sales goals, or how to significantly increase your sales win rate, you could use some expert guidance and outside perspective. That’s exactly what we offer at 360 Consulting.
Let us help you build a sales process and team your business can count on with results you can measure. We’ll work together to create a custom action plan for get incredible results, and get you on the right path to success. Schedule your free consultation to find out how we can help you shatter sales records.