Making Sales Plans & Sales Reports Work for You
One of the most tedious tasks for Sales Managers is to get Sales Agents to prepare Sales Plans and Sales Reports. There seems to be universal avoidance by Sales Agents to complete their Plans and Reports.
There are so many excuses:
- I am busy
- I am awaiting such and such information
- I am closing a big deal
- I will get to it first thing next week
The reason most Sales Agents avoid Plans and Reports like the plague, is because they see them as time wasting, history and a keep back from doing work that would increase sales.
The fact is however, preparing Sales Plans and Sales Reports are probably the most productive use of your time. Properly done, they can significantly save you time and make you more productive.
There is a common adage ‘more haste, less speed’, that is very applicable to this endeavour. By busying oneself with tasks without properly analysing what went right and wrong last month and making corrections for the following month is like sailing into the wind full speed ahead without knowing where you are with respect to your destination.
I would like to suggest a few pointers that can probably make both these documents more meaningful.
Start with Sales Reports. I suggest a simple three column table that can be the core of any Sales Report:
|Facts of last month||Analysis of these Facts||Proposed Solutions|
|In this column you list facts about your performance during the previous month e.g.
· Listings vs Budget
· Leads vs Budget
· Sales vs Budget
· Number of Presentations
· Expenses vs Budget
· Number of Visits
|In this column you analyse the facts presented in the previous column. What were the reasons for the shortfall in
· Why were expenses over budget?
· Why did you not make more visits, spend more time with
|In this column you list the remedial actions you are going to undertake as a result of the analysis in the previous column. What Strategies would you attempt to
· Increase Listings
· What are you going to do to reduce non-productive expenses
With a Sales Report built around the previous table, you are well prepared to embark on a Strategy of Continuous Improvement.
With your Sales Report in hand you are now properly armed to approach this month sales Plan.
Using the last Column you can now plan how you will accomplish the increased Listings, Leads, Sales and reduced expenses based on well thought out Strategies and analyses from the previous month(s).
Probably another 3 Column table would be useful
|Targets for the New Month||Strategies to be adopted||Tasks , Time and Budgets|
|In this column you would list your budgets/targets for the month ahead
|In this column you would list the Strategies you decided on in the last column of your Sales Report Table||In this column you would list the actual tasks associated with each task. For instance if you decided you would make more telephone calls to prospective listings as a Strategy to improve the previous month. The task can be simply get to work a half an hour earlier. Or allocate a specific time slot for making calls.|
From the foregoing I believe you would start to see how time taken to analyse and develop proper Sales Reports and Sales Plans would be a boon to your productivity and through continuous improvement you would develop a winning Sales Strategy.
Here are a few other tips that can make Reports and Plans less tedious and more productive:
- Try to make ample use of bullet points and tables instead of long cursive documents.
- Use a small notebook or your mobile phone to jot down activities, results and insights each day. Keep a sort of daily journal. This way you can refer to the journal when preparing the Sales Report instead of relying on memory
- Make use of modern technology such a mobile phones: – taking pictures, recording voice memos, using cloud storage so one can easily access on the road notes to your computer
- Use forms and templates so one can easily fill in information instead of writing notes.
With these suggestions in hand and a commitment to continuous improvement in a short while you will start looking forward to preparing your Sales Reports and Sales Plan, but even better you will be quickly on the road to increased productivity and becoming your Sales Manager favourite Sales Agent.