This article will dive into sales reporting basics, highlight several of the most common sales reports, provide guidance on how to write a sales performance report, and close with a few examples.
Let’s start with some basics.
What is a sales performance report?
A sales performance report is a document that summarizes the performance of a company’s sales team over a given period, typically on a monthly or quarterly basis. It includes key metrics related to sales productivity, such as the total number of calls made, leads generated, deals closed, etc.
The more formal definition of a sales (performance) report, according to Gartner, is:
A collection of metrics, quantitative data and qualitative inputs that helps to evaluate sales performance within a team, region, division or organization.
These reports provide valuable insights into sales trends, the performance of individual salespeople or teams, and areas of improvement for hitting targets more efficiently and effectively.
By regularly reviewing sales performance reports, businesses can identify areas of strength and weakness, set goals, and make data-driven decisions to improve sales outcomes.
The basics of sales reporting
A sales performance report is a valuable resource for businesses seeking to assess the efficacy of their sales strategies.
The following are standard inputs when creating a sales performance report:
1. Sales volume is the total amount of sales made and revenue generated over a given period. Volume is often a measure of the number of products or services sold or the total monetary value of the sales. Sales volume usually gives a top-level “gut check” indication of how well a business performs.
2. Sales performance refers to how well individual salespeople or teams meet their sales targets. Metrics include the number of sales made, the value of those sales, and the percentage of sales targets achieved (target to goal). By tracking sales performance, a business can identify top performers (and reward them with incentives) and those struggling (and provide additional support or training).
3. Sales trends show how sales are moving over time. These trends can be measured by comparing sales data from different periods, such as month over month or year over year. By tracking sales trends, a business can identify patterns in sales activity and make informed decisions about future sales efforts.
4. Sales goals are targets a business sets for itself around sales volume and performance ... data on how well the sales team is meeting their quotas or targets. By setting and tracking sales goals, a business can ensure that it is making progress toward its overall sales objectives.
5. Sales pipeline is the series of stages a potential sale goes through, most often from prospecting to a closed-won deal. These stages can vary depending on the business, but typical stages include lead generation, qualification, proposal, negotiation, and closing. An accurate sales pipeline helps managers forecast future sales and allocate resources accordingly.
Including all of the above inputs in a sales performance report offers valuable insight into a business’s progress toward meeting its sales objectives and identifying potential areas for improvement. Furthermore, tracking the sales pipeline — the progression of a sales process from prospecting to closure — can assist in forecasting future sales and allocating resources accordingly.
The 10 main types of sales reports
Businesses can utilize several types of performance reports based on their specific needs and objectives. Ten common reports include the following:
1. Sales Volume Report: Tracks the total sales made by a business over a defined period — most often daily, weekly, monthly, or annually.
2. Sales Trend Report: Tracks changes in sales volume over time, enabling businesses to determine if their sales are increasing or decreasing (and at what rate), or remaining flat.
3. Sales Activity Report: Tracks key sales activities — number of calls made, the number of meetings held, the number of proposals sent, the number of demos provided, and so on.
4. Sales Goal Report: Tracks a business's progress towards meeting its sales targets, including the overall sales goal and individual goals for each salesperson or team.
5. Sales Pipeline Report: Shows a detailed view of the sales process, including conversion rates at each stage, average sales cycle length, etc. This report can help businesses identify which opportunities are most likely to close and prioritize their sales efforts accordingly.
6. Sales Performance Report: Evaluates the overall performance of a business's sales efforts, including metrics such as conversion rates, average transaction size, and customer satisfaction.
7. Sales Performance by Region/Territory Report: Tracks sales performance by region or territory, allowing businesses to understand which areas drive sales and where expansion opportunities may exist.
8. Sales Performance by Product/Service Report: Tracks the sales performance of specific products or services, allowing businesses to identify which offerings are most popular and where growth opportunities exist.
9. Sales Forecast Report: Predicts future sales based on current and past sales data, assisting businesses in planning for the future and allocating resources accordingly.
10. Sales Summary Report: Provides a high-level overview of a business's sales activity (and metrics), including the total number of sales, the total value of those sales, and the average sale price. This report can help track overall sales trends and identify areas of strength and weakness.
While the above are ten of the most common sales reports, there are certainly more (as well as derivations of those included).
So how does one go about writing a sales report?
How to write a sales report
While there is no “one way” to create a sales report, use the following steps as a guide and iterate from there.
First, define the scope and purpose of the report. Why are you writing this sales performance report? What are the goals? What’s the intent? This will help you determine what data to include and how to present it. Example: If you want the report to show performance over time, you’ll want to think about a Sales Trend Report.
Next, consider the timeline. Is this a weekly report or something you’ll create every month? Is it one-time or ongoing? Is it a recap of the previous year or projections of what’s to come?
Then, gather all necessary data: Collect all relevant data on sales numbers, revenue, and other key metrics. This can include data on individual sales reps, as well as information on the overall sales performance of the team.
Then, analyze the data: Once you have the data, take a close look at it to identify trends and patterns. This will help you to identify areas where the team is performing well and areas that may need improvement. Consider the “why” of each piece of data. For example, why did sales numbers double since last quarter? Or why are you projecting a decline in sales next quarter?
Next, present the data. Be sure to explain key insights: Organize the data in a clear and easy-to-read format. Use charts, graphs, and tables to visualize, making it easy for readers to understand.
Finally, review and distribute the report: Review the information for accuracy and clarity, and then distribute it to the intended audience.
Optional but recommended:
- Write an executive summary: Summarize the essential findings and conclusions of the report in a brief executive summary and drop it into the beginning of the report. This will give readers a high-level overview and help them understand the main takeaways.
- Provide critical recommendations: Based on the data analysis, provide suggestions for ways the team can improve its performance.
The content and format of each sales performance report vary depending on your company, your goals, the software you are using to generate the reports, and so on. However, these steps can be a general guide to writing a sales performance report.
But what about sales commission reports? Let’s look at a few examples.
A few sales commission report examples
Driven by our mission to bring agility to commissions management, CaptivateIQ has developed a robust compensation reporting suite that delivers actionable insights and sets the foundation for well-informed decisions.
Here are a few commission report use cases that our customers configure in CaptivateIQ:
1. Organization-wide performance summaries: Aggregating summary data allows organizations to refine reporting output.
Common data elements include: Payee name, role, relevant classification elements (team, region, manager, department, entity, currency, etc.), quota, period quota credit, attainment percentage, payout, and active draw/ramp periods.
2. Accounting deferrals and amortization of sales commissions. Under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), many companies defer and then amortize sales commission costs — as required by ASC 606. Reporting within CaptivateIQ is commonly used to provide detailed accounting output to facilitate complying with your company's accounting requirements.
Report Models can be used to derive accounting requirements for deal data elements (e.g., opportunity type, product/SKU descriptions, etc.), aggregate accounting requirements, group costs by relevant classification elements (cost center, currency, entity, department, etc.), model period-specific accounting outputs including journal entry support, detailed amortization schedules, and so on.
3. Union historical (pre-funnel) data with current data: It is common to create a data worksheet that merges the historical pre-funnel data with the existing data through payout processing. For example, one data worksheet may contain YTD quotas and attainment for the performance summaries or deal-level accounting details enabling accounting output from CaptivateIQ for periods prior to adoption.
If you’re a CaptivateIQ customer, head over to the Knowledge Center to learn more about reporting.
Commission reporting should enable sales efficiency
As an organization that offers the leading agile commission platform, we think a lot about sales reporting and the challenges that come with it.
Our friends at McAlign Consulting dive into some of these key commission reporting challenges, stating that:
Commission data — and the insights it can uncover — are routinely the most valuable drivers in a sales organization. Unfortunately, the inflexibility of today’s commission software combined with inaccessible data significantly impacts organizations’ ability to use these critical analytics to better rep motivation and performance. Just think of the impact this can have on boosting your sales culture, as there’s more transparency into the deep insights that drive sales performance. — Praveen Ramireddy, Vice President of Sales at McAlign Consulting
Inflexible commission software? Lack of transparency negatively impacting sales culture?
CaptivateIQ solves these exact pitfalls that too often prevent sales organizations from reaching new heights of efficiency and success. Our custom reports and dashboards help answer how well compensation plans work — whether it’s quota performance distribution, sales turnover, where sales is falling short, and how well the sales force is achieving specific market or product objectives.
If you want to see CaptivateIQ’s Reporting and Dashboards in action, book a meeting with our team today!