How To Optimize The Sales Reporting Process: A Guide For Busy Executives

With all of the sales information coming in, it can be difficult to understand where your organization stands. Without a clear strategy for reporting and following up on important data points, you’ll feel lost.

One of Lessonlys executives, Justin Fite, likes to use the analogy that the sales landscape is more like a mountain than it is an ocean.

In short, the advice says:

If a hiker gets lost in the woods, they shouldnt start running around in a panic.

Great executive sales reports should show us the current situation of our company and what we need to do in order to move forward.

We need to know where we stand before giving clear and concise sales reports.


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀

Accomplish these 3 Sales Reporting Best Practices

The following are the questions that should be answered by effective sales reporting:

How are we doing on sales so far? Where are we going to finish? What will our next quarter look like?

Where are we going to finish?

What can we expect in the next quarter?

Recently, we learned a few lessons that have changed how our sales team reports on their progress.

Takeaway #1 Pacing Is Essential

sales reporting

You need to stop and take a break when youre lost in the woods. The first step is to calm down, regain your composure, and know where you are.

We at Lessonly wanted to make sure that everyone knew about our goals, so we had this meeting.

When we’re focused on hitting measurable goals throughout the quarter, it’s not as stressful at the end of each one to try and close sales.

Pro Tip: Divide your quarter into both months and weeks, setting goals for smaller periods of time.

The pacing line is a key metric we use to measure success.

When youre lost in the middle of the woods, it can be hard to see your way out. But if you break down all your options and next steps into smaller decisions, it starts to seem less overwhelming.

We have a more relaxed approach to sales, focusing on performance each day instead of the end goal.

Pro Tip: Recognize that some metrics will have linear growth, while others will have curved growth.

When considering pacing, think about how the goal will grow over time. If it is a linear progression such as total leads in pipeline, then you should pace yourself evenly.

The chart shows the growth in this number. Other pacing strategies will have a curved line with greater emphasis later in the quarter, such as ARR on closed deals.

The straight growth lines (which are the majority of them) prime for what will later be a curved line in terms of performance.

Pacing lines allow us to quickly and visually understand where we are, which is crucial for sales reporting. It’s like orientation in the wilderness.

Key Takeaways Recap:

  • One of the best practices for any runner is to constantly focus on their pacing, and make sure they’re not going too fast or too slow.
  • Make sure you are clear about what your expectations of the team is.
  • Set goals for the short-term.
  • It’s important to review goals with your team on a regular basis.
  • Dont wait until the last week of a quarter to fix any shortfalls.

The pace line is the map for our sales process. We can’t understand the bigger picture of what’s happening in a quarter without them.

Takeaway #2 Simplicity Shows Data Integrity

sales reporting

Accuracy in sales reporting relies on the input of individual sales reps who update their data.

It is very easy to get lost in the data inputting process, but it’s important that we know what are priorities are.

4 Main Sales Metrics To Include

  • How much money is the client willing to spend?
  • This client is in the _____ stage of their sales process.
  • When is the deadline?
  • This question is used to estimate how likely the salesperson will close a deal.

These four metrics can tell our leadership team 90% of what they need to know about the sales department.

The metrics are important, but we need to know what the path ahead is. We dont want too many because it can be confusing.

Choose only a few metrics that best capture your sales strategy,because using too many metrics can often be worse than no metrics at all.

By focusing on just four metrics, we are able to have our employees focus only on the most important parts.

We use a tool called Pattern to make this process easy for our salespeople. This simplicity allows them to have more precise reporting at any given time, and it’s updated in real-time too.

Key Takeaways Recap:

  • Get the basics right.
  • There are many metrics that can be used to make decisions. Pick 3-5 of the most valuable ones.
  • Keep track of those numbers and use them to improve your team as you go along.
  • Simplicity is important.

Takeaway #3 Your Sales Reporting Process should be Solidified BEFORE Investing

sales reporting

Now that you have the right data, it will be easy to get out of this mess. Lets put everything together into a map.

Start by pulling your data together in spreadsheets and assembling it into a slide deck for regular review. Don’t throw this at software just yet.

When you first start, it’s important to do this without automation in order to get a feel for your process. After each week of data collection, evaluate the information and see if there are any changes that need to be made Article: In my experience I have found that when people know what is expected they will work harder.

After you build confidence in your sales reporting process, then you can invest in dashboards, tools, and automation to compliment everything.

We have found that investing in Sales Ops has been a huge help. It helps us understand our business and motivates employees to do better.

You may not think its worth the expense to invest in your sales operations, but there are many benefits. You can get a better understanding of how much time is spent on different parts of the process and make improvements for productivity.

Key Takeaways Recap:

  • If youre looking for a quick fix, software is not the answer.
  • You can start by manually tracking your sales process and assembling reports.
  • Once you have all the data you need, invest in your process with software or a member from Sales Ops who can help improve reporting.

Takeaway Summary

As your team grows, you will start to lose track of how many sales are made and which ones. It can be hard to know where the company is headed.

Sales reporting is very important for growth.

  • When you’re training new runners, emphasize pacing at first.
  • Always look at the pace line when looking over a sales report.
  • Get the basics right.
  • The best way to solve a problem is not with software, but by brainstorming and trying different solutions.

sales reporting


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀
Editors Note:

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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
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