Sales Tracking Reports
Developing a marketing strategy is a multi-phase process – right from brand building research studies to the media planning process to evaluating the marketing plan’s performance. The final step in this process is looking at how a marketing campaign affected your revenue stream. And one way in which you can establish this is by keeping a close eye on how your sales are performing with respect to your marketing program by having a formal system of sales tracking reports.
At Foolish, we believe marketing should be a self sustaining activity – once you invest a certain amount in a campaign, the results delivered should be such that the investment get replenished. In the ideal world, a marketing campaign should generate enough profits to fund for further marketing activities in the coming year. To be able to measure the impact of your marketing activity on revenue generated, we suggest aligning all your marketing and sales activities by establishing shared goals and metrics.
Having said that, monitoring sales numbers doesn’t just help you track the impact of your previous marketing campaign, it also helps you chart out a marketing direction in time to come. Choosing when to advertise and where to advertise are answers that we can seek by analyzing sales numbers in detail.
It is in making decisions such as these that a sales tracking report plays an integral part even in advertising.
WHAT IS A SALES TRACKING REPORT
A sales tracking report is used monitor and evaluate sales of all products (or even services) sold by a brand over a pre-defined period of time. Usually, sales numbers are monitored on a monthly basis over a financial year. The more data we get on a yearly basis, the better it is for us to deduce yearly trends and windfall fluctuations in sales figures.
We at Foolish, stem from the dual belief of giving your brand ‘Return on Creative’ as well as helping you achieve your sales targets. This study hence becomes an integral part of planning a marketing campaign for you.
A sales tracking study is an ongoing process of putting an inventory management system in place which tracks all your orders, receipts, adjustments, etc. These numbers can then be looked at from a direct ‘expenditure v/s profit’ angle to deduce the ‘return on investment’ generated on marketing, hence, acting as a measure of the effectiveness and efficiency of our work.
But then again, there is another angle to these numbers. While most people wonder how row after row of data can help build ‘creative’ communication, we step in with our sheer love of data.
From a marketing perspective, the purpose of a sales tracking report isn’t merely tracking how much more or less you sold this year, but goes deep into the analysis of that data to get to the ‘bigger picture’. It is when we start looking at these numbers that we start asking, “Why is this so”, “Is there anything wrong with this?”, “What can be fixed here?” and more such geeky questions.
HOW TO USE SALES REPORTS FOR MARKETING?
In order to get to a particular marketing decision using sales reports, we first evaluate and analyze the right parameters and put them in context.
Even though marketing campaigns are designed for brands on a case to case basis, here are some basic ways in which we use sales data, among many other measures like the brand health track, Usage studies etc, to our benefit:
- Seasonality – Evaluating seasonal sales trends to optimize the time of communicating with our TG.
- Focus SKU Variants – Evaluating which products within your brand’s portfolio are growing faster / slower than the overall industry. This aspect greatly influences the decision as to where to focus our communication resources & which product / service variant to push more.
- Sales by Region, Town-Class, Channel, Distributor – Looking at this helps us figure out who is really buying our product and lets us identify / modify our TG. This evaluation comes in handy for brands that want to reposition themselves and become more relevant to a particular audience segment.
- Heterogeneity in store size – This lets us divide all stores into categories by size of catchment areas. Based on that, we can determine the ideal retailer density and it helps uncover the viability of opening/closing or shifting a store.
- Correlation of promotional activities with sales – Analyzing how the quantity of sales varies with the promotional activities – both in store and outside. How sales spiked when a new ad was released, discounts were offered, freebies were given out. This analysis tells us which activity / tactic to continue and which to scrap.
Volume – Value analysis – This helps us decide which brand should be promoted more aggressively as compared to others. Your brand could be selling more number of packs of a particular variant, but is another lesser sold variant contributing more value in terms of revenue?
SALES MONITORING & MAKING MARKETING DECISIONS
To deduce marketing decisions, sales tracking reports can be looked at from a qualitative as well as quantitative point of view. While we look at absolute numbers, numbers that usually depict the obvious, the beauty of marketing is in what we make out of those.
Take for example a cola brand that has been around the in Indian market for the last 7 years, fairly new as compared to the two major players in the market having been there for the last 30 years to say the least. Looking at the newer brand’s sales figures over the years, we found there to be an uncanny spike in sales every winter, as opposed to sales going up every summer. Given that summers are the ‘hot selling’ season for colas and beverages, we started to ponder over why this would happen, year after year. The reason, as it turned out, was simple. The big wigs of the industry start marketing their products aggressively come the on – set of summer but take it quite a few notches down when the off – season (winters) begins. It was when the consumer was not flooded with aggressive marketing by other players that they were willing to try out the 3rd, comparatively newer brand available in the market, hence a growth in sales.
Now to design a marketing campaign for this brand with this information at hand, there could have been 2 primary paths – a) aggressively advertise the brand during summers and try to generate an increase in sales numbers during that time, or, b) advertise and promote that brand when all others comparatively dormant to build a greater consumer base and build market share from there in consequent years.
Now which of these 2 options would have been more value for the marketing budget is quite an easy judgment.
No study is used on the face value of itself, alone. At Foolish, we strive to dig deeper and deduce detailed conclusions to direct your brand on the right track. Analyzing sales performance numbers sometimes leads to deducing correlations between parameters that a brand wouldn’t have considered before. Using these numbers is what lets us uncover revelations that benefit your brand’s communication campaign. After all, we are an agency that believes in investing in creatives to generate the spike in sales that you have been looking for!