5 Tips to Create an Effective Sales Report

Will Schmidt

April 9, 2024

9 min

Table of Contents

If the VP of Sales asks which of your reps close the most deals, make the most calls, or fill the most pipeline, can you provide a clear and quick answer? What if they want to know how well you as a sales leader are performing with your quarterly and annual quota responsibilities?  

In moments like this, a sales report is your best friend. But the value of sales reports goes far beyond being able to transparently showcase your personal performance and that of your sales team. 

A robust sales report helps you plan effective strategies, accurately forecast revenue, and maintain the overall health of the sales cycle. You’ll know precisely what is or isn’t working in order to close the most deals you can. 

And C-Suite and upper management can keep a pulse on relevant sales metrics through your sales reports. This makes it easy for you to both understand and showcase the true impact of your team’s effort.  

There’s a lot that goes into creating a sales report though. Below, we’ll explore the different facets you need to know to create actionable and informative reports, like: 

  • What a sales report is and why it’s important 
  • Different types of sales reports to focus on
  • Tips to create effective sales reports

Let’s get to it. 

What Is a Sales Report and Why Is it Important?

At its core, a sales report is a record of your team’s sales activity. Typically, sales teams will report their sales metrics over the course of monthly, quarterly, or annual timeframes. 

Sales reports detail what each of your reps have been working on, whether or not they’re on track to meet quota, or if there are any issues that need to be addressed. The report also details the success of the managers who lead sales teams. 

To that end, a sales report is often generated by both team leaders and individual reps. They may include data like: 

  • Total meetings booked
  • Total sales made 
  • Progress towards quota
  • Net new revenue generated
  • Amount of pipeline filled
  • Number of new accounts brought in
  • Month over month, quarter over quarter, or year over year comparisons

When you review your sales report, you can easily identify areas where your team performs strongly and double down on successful tactics. Alternatively, if you notice certain teams or individuals are struggling, you can work to remedy the situation. 

The other benefit of a sales report is that it can be used to forecast and predict growth. For example, if you have 10 reps who each typically close $50,000 per month, you can forecast that they’ll each close $150,000 quarterly and $600,000 annually. 

But if your company has an annual sales revenue goal of $8 million, current forecasts will put you at only $6 million for the year. Your sales report then becomes an invaluable tool as you think through ways to close that $2 million gap. 

Maybe you ask your best reps to commit to a higher annual quota, try a new power dialer software to increase outbound activity, boost closed-won deals with spiffs, or strengthen teams with additional hires. 

And since C-suite and upper management have full transparency into the sales reports, you can confidently arrive at a forward plan of action together. Aside from individual and team performance, sales reports help you answer some of the most important questions related to growth, like: 

  • Who your ideal customers are
  • What the best lead source is for your team
  • Factors and features that motivate prospects to buy
  • Roadblocks that prevent prospects from buying
  • Friction points in the sales pipeline 
  • Which activities should be used by all reps for maximum success

A sales report is so much more than just a way to show you’re hitting your goals. It’s a crucial pillar that supports a healthy sales strategy. 

7 Types of Sales Reports

Every organization tracks different sales metrics that are most relevant to them. That said, there are some sales reports that are important to any sales organization regardless of what they track. Below, we’ve mapped out seven different types of sales reports you can think through and use with your team.  

Pro Tip: Microsoft Word, and other programs, have free sales report templates you can use.

1. Pipeline

You can use a pipeline report to keep track of where your prospects are in the sales cycle and determine how many deals you can expect to close in a given timeframe. It’s a crucial piece of the puzzle when it comes to forecasting. 

Make sure your reps are building realistic pipeline with qualified leads versus just filling pipeline for the sake of filling it. That could lead to inaccurate forecasts and missed goals. 

2. Conversion Rates

Conversion rates are closely related to many different sales metrics. When a lead becomes a prospect, or a prospect becomes a closed-won deal, those are conversion points. Regardless of which conversion points your organization tracks, this is another crucial sales report. 

Not only does it tell you whether or not your overall sales strategy is effective at moving prospects through the sales cycle, it also shows which reps are your best closers. Double down on what, and who, is most effective. Analyze and support areas, and individuals, that need help. 

3. Average Deal Size

If you need to fill $500,000 per quarter, how many deals do your reps need to close in order to hit this revenue goal? To answer that, you have to know what your average deal size is. If you average $50,000 per deal, you now know your reps have to close 10 deals a quarter at this size to hit quota. 

And you can assign different quota sizes to reps at different levels. Let’s say you have five total reps: two junior, two mid-tier, and one senior rep who overdelivers every quarter. Your quota breakdown could look like this:

  • Junior Rep 1: $50,000 quarterly
  • Junior Rep 2: $50,000 quarterly
  • Mid-Tier Rep 1: $100,000 quarterly
  • Mid-Tier Rep 2: $100,000 quarterly
  • Senior Rep: $200,000 quarterly

Over time, as reps level-up their knowledge and you bring in more team members, you can scale your quota responsibilities accordingly. 

4. Average Length of Sales Cycle

How long does it take someone to go from first touchpoint to closed-won deal? It’s a simple, straightforward sales metric, but it’s one of the most important when it comes to growth planning and forecasting. Plus, it provides good insight into how effective your reps are. 

If your deal cycle is two months, but some reps are taking four or five months to close, you know where to allocate training time and resources. On the other hand, if you have a rep who consistently closes in one month, you can give them more responsibility.

5. Lead Response Time

No matter the length of your sales cycle, your reps need to hop on leads quickly. This is especially important for inbound sales teams with leads coming to them—the longer your reps wait to get in touch with a prospect, the less chance someone becomes an opportunity. Allocate staffing resources, or use automation tools, to help ensure you’re not missing valuable leads.

6. Closed-Won and Closed-Lost Deals

Just as important as monitoring the deals in your pipeline, you need to closely examine all closed-won and closed-lost deals as well. What turns prospects off from signing a deal? Do you lack product features? Are your reps too pushy? What encourages a prospect to sign? 

There’s always a narrative behind why someone buys or doesn’t buy. Find it, understand it, and you’ll be able to improve your sales strategy to close more deals. 

7. Daily, Weekly, Month, and Annual Sales

What happens today impacts the rest of the week, which impacts the month, which impacts the whole year. These are technically four separate sales reports you can run, but we’re grouping them together here because they’re closely related. 

Daily, you can examine the number of prospects your reps contact, how many leads they qualify, and how many deals they close. Typically, this is a very short, sweet, and to the point report and is more of a constant update versus a forecast for growth.  

Weekly sales reports will usually track slightly more data than daily reports, like week over week comparisons. It helps you understand if you’re on track to hit monthly sales goals. 

A monthly sales report is often the most important regular update you’ll produce, and they’re typically examined by the upper brass. These take into account an entire month’s worth of activities, which clearly shows just how successful your team is. They also indicate areas of opportunity or improvement. 

Last, yearly sales reports are the most detailed. They show the impact of your sales strategy, are used to set quotas and revenue goals for next year, indicate who the best reps are, and determine new headcount and budget.

5 Tips to Create an Effective Sales Report

It’s easy to overwhelm someone with data, especially if they’re not close to the daily activities your team is doing. Bearing that in mind, when you create a sales report it’s important to frame data in the right way for your audience.  Use these steps to help format your information so anyone can pick up the sales report, understand it, and get value from it.

1. Structure is Everything

Sometimes, upper management and C-Suite executives don’t have the time to read through an entire report. So, structure your report so anyone can pick it up and scan it for important information without having to read the full thing. 

Start with an executive summary—a quick overview of the most important information included in your sales report. Keep this section to three to four paragraphs, and maybe include a bulleted list of your most important sales metrics. 

Then, transition into your analysis of the data and sales metrics. Give each major sales metric its own page, reiterate how it relates to your overall goals, and explicitly show how your team performed in this area. 

Last, end with a section for actionable takeaways related to your analysis. What have you learned, how can you level-up efforts for the next time period, and how will these numbers affect your overall sales strategies?  

Don’t focus too much on whether or not you hit your quota or sales goals. The most important thing here is to learn from your work and carry those lessons forward into the future. If you failed, remember to fail fast and fail forward.

2. Set a Consistent Reporting Cadence

You and your reps have to make sales reports a habit. It’s easy to ignore the data aggregation and analysis in favor of making more cold calls, prospecting more leads, or working more deals. 

But a sales report is crucial for your continued success. It points everyone in the right direction and keeps them marching in unison toward the same goals. 

Stress to your team that this isn’t a chore—this is how you hone your strategies, close more deals, and ultimately take home more money. Then, build reporting processes into the job duties of your reps (and for yourself). 

This ensures you always have a sizable data pool to pull monthly, quarterly, or yearly comparisons from. Plus, you’ll never be caught like a deer in the headlights when the executive team asks pressing questions about your performance or that of your reps.

3. Maintain Clean, Organized, and Healthy Data

You need to keep everyone on the same page about what data they should report on, and how they report it. For example, if you want to focus on revenue sales metrics and you have a rep who is recording the number of cold calls instead of revenue, it’s going to cause issues when you analyze your numbers. 

Be very clear with your team about which metrics are the most impactful and how they should track them. If you use a CRM, ensure everyone is trained properly on how to input the relevant data. Clean, organized, and healthy data will ensure you don’t miss any crucial insights when you run your sales analysis. 

4. Use Visuals in Your Sales Report

Some people like to read text and numbers, but others want to see charts and graphs. Visual representations of your performance are crucial when it comes to capturing the attention of key stakeholders and quickly sharing your biggest wins.

People will often take one look at your visuals and immediately understand what you and your team accomplished in a given month, quarter, or year. Let these charts do the work for you. Plus, visuals will help ensure executive team members with little to no time to read walls of copy can quickly scan and understand your impact.

5. Cut the Fluff

As a professional writer, I have a mantra that I constantly tell myself and people I work with. “If you can say something in 10 words, say it in five.” Cut the fluff. 

Your sales report is not a place to wax philosophical or go on long tangents that try to explain your data analysis. Take your points, clearly explain what’s behind the numbers, and move on to the next one.

Use the Right Tech for a Better Sales Report

The sheer amount of data you need to capture for an effective sales report means you can’t do it by hand. If you can, we want to meet you because you’re likely a math and statistics prodigy. 

Instead, most sales teams choose to use an effective software solution that captures and organizes the information for them. PhoneBurner is more than just a power dialer software and actually has a robust reporting feature built in. 

For example, the PhoneBurner platform has productivity reports that capture sales activities, calls made, voicemails left, emails sent, and so much more. It's the perfect complement to any performance-based sales report you and your team use.

If you’re interested in learning more about how PhoneBurner can help your team, sign up for free today.

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