As a manager, you’ve got a lot on your plate; constantly keeping an eye on your sales team’s performance. After all, the sales department is the engine of your company. To make this engine work fire on all cylinders, sales reps need to report on any number of KPIs.
Although a good CRM for sales teams has dashboards and reports built in it for real-time monitoring of sales pipelines and overall progress, sales reps still need to know how to write a monthly report message. So, in true NetHunt fashion, we’ve put together some working tips and a ready monthly report sample to easily integrate into your sales process. What can we say, we just love to help.
First things first, let’s figure out what a monthly report is, identify its purpose, and determine which elements it should include.
1. What on Earth is a Monthly Report?
A monthly sales report gives an overview into the state of sales activities within a company for the preceding month. It shows the different trends happening in sales volume, analyzes the numbers between different steps of the sales funnel, and outlines the performance of sales reps.
A sales report is your navigator, the roadmap that helps your sales team move in the right direction.
There’s a large variety of reports that you might want to create to optimize overall performance and reveal deficiencies in workflows. Reports can be focussed on different aspects, such as overall performance, details around revenue generated, evolution of sales volume, measuring volume against the pre-set targets, customer lifetime value, and loads more.
There are also reports focusing on the sales representatives themselves and their sales cycle performance; from lead generation to closing a deal. Each report is a snapshot for your company to assess the situation, determine the best decision to make, and the type of action to take.
Now, with a clear understanding of what a sales report actually is, let’s dig even deeper. Let’s tackle some of those questions that pop up in your head.
2. Which Elements I Need to Include in My Winning Report?
Sales reports can differ in timing, samples, content, and other variables that are required to cover the entire volume of a sales process. Still, the common structure is always similar. It should include a concise summary of the current conjuncture, actual progress, incomplete tasks, expected terms, and other essential elements to describe a project’s status. Here are the steps to follow while writing a sales report.
The beginning of any monthly report email should contain a brief description of the project or transaction. Starting your sales report with an overview allows you to get to the good stuff first. Look back at your numbers from the month in question and determine the key takeaways. Generally, any supervisor or manager has access to dozens of reports.
Therefore, they need to categorize them by project, department, or operation. In general, this practice is standardized according to a company’s requirements.
The outcome is at the core of reporting; the current state of affairs is described here. It is a good practice to provide a set of results with a detailed specification of status.
For example, a purchase of equipment is “complete” or a supply of spare parts is “delayed”. If a more detailed explanation of each category is required, it should be provided in the next section called timeline.
This section contains extended intelligence regarding topical milestones. Even if a task is accomplished, it is not enough to specify its status in the outcome section. At the same time, delving into wishy-washy details is also unnecessary.
All you need to introduce is what work was executed, the (in)compliance with schedule, and actual date of completion, on top of different significant facts that are worth mentioning. This section is often shaped as a grid with a color indication of completed and in-progress tasks.
The metrics and numerical outcomes are proof of total sales for the period. Here are a few points you may want to include in your sales report:
- Number of deals at each stage of the pipeline.
- Average deal size and value of each closed deal.
- Close rate. This allows you to predict how many new leads you need to close a single new deal.
- Sales cycle length AKA how long it takes to close each deal.
The final element provides an explanation answering questions such as “why has the task not been completed according to schedule?” or “what problems are considered as obstacles?” This section may also include recommendations and requests associated with any future, successful progress.
For example, to comply with the terms needed to finish a project, certain resources may be required. The explanation of such necessity should be submitted in detail in the Notes section. In most cases, it is better to separate this section from the monthly report email and submit it as a separate paper.
3. How on Earth do I Write a Message Body for a Monthly Report?
Finally, we’re at the practical part of our publication. The monthly project is also a publication or that must be written in a clear and distinct way. With this in mind, you’ll find the following prompts useful.
Contact info at the top
Initially, a description of the report should be placed at the top. This comprises the project name, structural unit, and deadlines; the expected outcome is also listed here. Furthermore, the executive’s name and the report date can also be specified at the top.
The driving force for most reporting tasks is often human resources. Still, it is often a team effort to perform certain tasks within a project. With this in mind, you can specify team members and their performance based on the hours they put into certain tasks.
Top managers deal with dozens of monthly reports for different projects. Therefore, you should provide a brief introduction to a certain scope of activities to facilitate further processing. The introduction should include the project scope and any other relevant data needed to distinguish it.
It is difficult to find a streamlined project without a pre-established schedule. Hence, your monthly report has to rest upon a certain forecast of terms and accomplishments. So, comparison of actual progress and initial expected outcome for the period is required. If the progress deviates from the schedule, it is essential to explain reasons and offer recommendations to fix the situation and get back on track.
Positive points are no less important than pitfalls. Sometimes it’s unhealthy to blow your own trumpet in a report, but certain accomplished tasks are just so blowable; so include significant achievement and milestones.
Positive moments can be problematic and unhelpful when a project hasn’t been as successful as expected.. In practice, monthly report messages are papers filled with longer problem points and shorter references to accomplishments. Perhaps it’s good to maintain such a balance in order to focus on topical issues that need actioning.
If the accounting period was characterized by certain failures, make sure to specify them, as well as tentative solutions. It is quite possible that any failure has been caused by defects in the existing system. By giving a clear explanation, you are investing in the prevention of a similar scenario in the future. Experience shows that common, repeated flaws are the result of a lack of management awareness.
Sometimes, a description of current state requires certain documentary evidence like certificates of acceptance, sale-purchase agreements, service contracts, etc. Feel free to attach these papers to your monthly report where necessary.
4. Tips for a Robust and Thorough Report
The following tips will prevent you from common mistakes whilst increasing the quality of your document.
- Knowing the purpose of your report ultimately helps you gather and analyze the right kind of data. It also helps you determine the scope of your report, like the time period to report on. This makes your sales presentation more likely to be successful.
- Everyone makes mistakes or typos. It may seem minor from your perspective, but your supervisor might have another opinion. Still, it can be avoided if you make sure to proofread your report upon completion.
- Using visuals can help you put together a gorgeous report that keeps your audience from dozing off. Visualizing data helps make your sales report easy to understand and digest. It can also highlight important trends and point out any issues that might be affecting your sales. It’s easy, sometimes even fun, to create data visualizations, such as infographics, charts, and maps.
5. When on Earth do I Need to Write a Monthly Report Message?
The time of writing a monthly report email depends on the deadline. As a rule, the period of report submission includes the first week of the month, followed by the accounting period. In some organizations, this period can last up to 10 days.
For example, you need to compose the report for September activities. In this case, you have several days in October to accomplish the task. This is convenient, since financial transactions are usually concluded at the end of the month.
Another prerequisite for making a report is the availability of essential data. For example, finalization of a project is expected soon before the deadline. In this case, it might be worth waiting a bit to provide a substantial analysis of the performed work. It’s important to understand how much time you need to make the report and avoid any delays.
6. What on Earth Should My Report Look Like?
Words are worth nothing, if they are not implemented in practice. Therefore, you might consider Google searching some real examples and have a closer look at the following sample of a monthly assessment of project status.
Report on the November 2017
Project: Procurement of Office Materials
Implementation of the project complies with the pre-established schedule. As of November 31st, 2017, 70% of the budget was used and 50% of contracted items were shipped. Another share is on its way.
A potential delay in delivery of office furniture is expected due to unstable weather conditions that prevent the timely shipment of goods by motor vehicle. Mr. Trapatonni (Head of the Contract Department) was involved in the process to change the shipment option to railways. N
egotiations with the contractor are scheduled for December 10th, 2017.
The list of supplied materials is attached.
7. Now You’re Ready to Create a Better Report
Knowing where to start with reports is the precondition to enhancing decision-making, guiding your team sales efforts in the right direction, and bringing your business forward.
Follow the steps and tips above to put together a sales report that doesn’t take much time, conveys the right data, and brings results! 👍