For efficient management of the selling activities of the organisation, the sales manager has to have first hand information about the activities of his salesmen.
Usually, the sales force of any organisation are scattered over different territories. The sales manager has to know about their activities, about the customers or prospects they have visited and the volume of sales in their respective sales territories.
He should have a detailed knowledge about the existing as well as prospective customers, their satisfaction level, their complaints, advertising effectiveness on the target audience, impact of promotion campaign, and so on. All such information is highly essential for the sales manager for the efficient management of the sales organisation. Since salesman is the person who is actually on the spot, the sales manager depends a lot on him to get such information.
Similarly, it is equally important for the salesman to know about his own performance and how his company is functioning. The sales report—usually prepared by the salesman— about all such activities, is sent to the sales manager at regular intervals. The sales reports of the salesman in most cases provide all possible information of a sales territory.
There is no such prescribed salesman report format which can be adopted in all sales organisations. They vary depending upon the nature of the product, size of the business and the type of selling activity undertaken by the sales force. However, every salesman report has to cover the following:
(i) Name and address of the firms visited,
(ii) Name and status of the prospects visited,
(iii) Class and status of the firm,
(iv) Goods now bought,
(v) Class of interview,
(vi) Action taken,
(vii) Stage of negation,
(viii) Action required or proposed, and
(ix) Date and time of interview
It should be noted that salesmen reports have to be as simple as possible so that the salesmen spend comparatively less time in filling up such forms. The sales office should carefully note the important points contained in such reports and take appropriate action wherever necessary.
At times salesmen require clarification from the head office on certain aspects like quality, price, sample distribution policy, terms of delivery, discount, and so on. All such queries should be replied promptly. In cases where instructions are required, the same should be sent immediately to the salesman.