What is sales analysis?
How to start sales analysis
Sales Analysis with eCat Portal

Accurate, detailed sales analysis enables teams to spot emerging sales trends, learn where sales are dropping off and gain an accurate picture of revenue coming into the business. It enables your team to improve sales, customer service, product development and overall strategy. The real question is how does one analyze sales meaningfully on a consistent basis?

What is sales analysis? #

Sales analysis is reporting that offers deep actionable insights into sales performance against previously determined goals. Some of you may be thinking, “But aren’t sales analysis reports just for high-level executives and C-suite types?” Nope. High-performing sales reps and sales ops teams can also rely on sales analysis to make data-driven decisions that enable meeting sales goals year in and year out.

With the right sales insights, B2B sales reps can focus presentations on the products a customer is likely to be most successful selling in their regional market. Sales analysis can provide operations teams looking at launching new products with insights as well. Rather than blindly launching products to the masses, properly focused sales analysis will provide valuable insight into market trends and, more importantly, what new products customers will want and be successful with.

For sales teams struggling to define the right sales analysis data points or who have yet to implement a formal sales analysis system, starting up is as easy as 1-2-3.

How to start sales analysis #

Step 1: Determine the sales analysis data points you’d like to track and the questions you’re answering

There is such a thing as too much data. Some sales teams find themselves inundated with volumes of sales data that really don’t provide beneficial information. Poorly organized and summarized sales data often can make the process of sales analysis overwhelming and discouraging. That’s why it’s important to determine exact metrics to track and to present them in a way that’s quick and easy to understand.

It’s better to track sales around specific campaigns or questions rather than global numbers. For example, tracking total sales numbers across your entire product suite, while a useful high level metric, is too general to help you understand why numbers are shrinking or growing. A better approach might be to track metrics like the worst-selling products in your highest-performing territories. This type of information can enable a team to make meaningful decisions - like whether or not to discontinue a particular product.

Examples of specific sales analysis metrics might include:

  • What are my highest ranked products/collections/brands/product categories by sales units/dollars? number of sales? by territory?
  • Are sales for specific products trending up or down this year over last year?
  • What are the top ranked customers last year whose current year-to-date sales are significantly lagging behind last year-to-date sales? (globally, by territory, by state)
  • What are my top territories? How do sales by territory compare month over month?
  • Is a given customer selecting the products in their preferred categories that sell best in their region?
  • How is my best-selling product category performing year over year?

Step 2: Determine the sales analysis reports you’d like to use

As a wholesale distributor, there are a plethora of possible ways to report sales. Which you choose is heavily dependent on the type of sales insights your team is hoping to uncover. Here are three types of sales analysis reports you can tap for useful insights.

Sales performance analysis - Sales performance analysis is a report based on previously set goals and helps track whether the team is on target with those goals. A sales performance analysis can track data points like territory sales versus target target territory sales or number of orders vs. target number of orders and more. Sales performance analysis encourages underperforming teams to make tweaks in their sales technique to reach their previously set goals.

Sales pipeline analysis - Sales pipeline analysis tracks the number of leads who convert into customers and how long they stay customers over time. This report can be incredibly valuable as it can pinpoint where in the sales process most of your prospects are dropping off and enable teams to pivot where needed. Additionally, sales pipeline analysis can uncover the sales tactics that work and close deals.

Product sales analysis - For wholesale distributors, product sales analysis may be the most important. Wholesale distribution is unique because multiple product types and brands are often being sold at any given time. Companies with multiple products and product lines need a way to view performance across all of those lines to determine which new products to develop, which products to keep promoting and selling and which products to discontinue. Product sales analysis enables just that by tracking specific metrics related to top-selling products, collections, brands and more over time. Savvy manufacturers, distributors, and sales teams tap product sales analysis tools to gain a clearer picture of product popularity across different territories, and then use that information to sell the right product to the right customer at the right time.

Step 3: Find the right sales analysis tool to track your reporting

Choosing the right sales tools for wholesale distribution can be challenging. The decision often entails balancing power and flexibility against cost. Using tools like Microsoft Excel for sales analysis is not only time consuming and difficult to maintain, but cannot be done in real time and leaves a lot of room for error. On the other hand, licensing a full fledged BI system for sales analysis may provide a lot of flexibility, but can cost tens of thousands of dollars annually and require considerable in-house expertise or expensive consulting time to set up and use effectively. Instead of purchasing an all-inclusive, over-the-top software package when you don’t need all the advanced features it provides it may make more sense to choose a sales analysis tool with features carefully selected to make the lives of B2B wholesalers easier.

Summary #

Selling effectively involves more than adopting a great sales tool and kicking your feet up. Sales teams that focus their attention on the data can gain valuable insight into what their customers are looking for, what products outperform their competitors and learn which sales reps need a little more help and attention from their managers. Sales analysis is more than monitoring the financial bottom line of your business. Sales analysis should look forward as well as back so it can impact the trajectory of a sales team’s performance and provide valuable insights across the business.

Sales Analysis with eCat Sales Portal #

With eCat Sales Portal, your team will get a 360-degree view of all sales - by territory, product, product line, sales rep or customer - and gain insights needed to boost sales across a B2B wholesale business. eCat Sales Portal connects with any ERP system, which means all of your data is connected in one place in a seamless experience. Want to learn more? See how eCat Portal can help you today.