TMCnet Feature
December 08, 2021

Tips On Making A Timeline For A Sales Report



Everyone has trouble with the Sales Report. Most people actually dread it.  But when you can create an organized, detailed timeline for your company's monthly sales report,  you will find that is easier to present your numbers and understand what they mean.



A timeline is a great way to transform unorganized data into information that anybody - from your supervisor to a potential investor - can understand.  Your timeline will also help you plan for the future, as you will be able to see where things are going and what steps you need to take now in order to stay on track.

There are many different ways that people choose to create their timelines, but the most important thing is that your timeline template is consistent and makes sense to you.  If you’re going to make timeline templates, these rules will apply:

Make it Simple

Keep the timeline graphic short and concise Make sure that all dates are clearly marked Label everything so there is no confusion Give context to numbers where necessary

The most important thing to remember when creating a timeline is that you are not creating it for yourself, but for your readers.  This means the timeline needs to be well-labeled and easy to understand.

If you need a reliable tool for making timelines, try Venngage.

To begin, all timelines will need to start with a starting date.  The best way to do this is by using an actual date (e.g., January 1, 2013).  You can also use a "circa" date (e.g., 2013) or an estimated date (e.g., end of March).  If you are using an estimated date, it is important to include this information in your timeline so readers understand the point of the timeline and what they should look for during this time.

The End And Anything In Between

The next thing to do is mark the end of your timeline.  You can use an actual date (e.g., December 31, 2013), a "circa" date (e.g., 2014), or an estimated date (e.g., July 2014).

Next, you will need to create your milestones and plot them on the timeline infographic.  Milestones are the major events that occurred during your timeline and can help you better understand future projections and what milestones to expect for upcoming months.

Milestones can be as simple as "Received funding" or as complex as "Launch product with high success rate".  You may also want to include things like hiring milestones or "High employee turnover" if it has an effect on your company.

In addition, you should also plot your financial data onto the timeline.  It may seem like this isn't necessary, but many people get confused when there is a big spike in sales at the end of a quarter without context.  This makes it easier to see if there are any trends in your sales data.

Finally, you should include smaller milestones on the timeline.  These are events that occurred during your timeline but might not have had a significant impact on future projections or the company at large.  Smaller milestones can help provide context and give readers a fuller picture of what was occurring at the time.

Add Other Data

Include a horizontal line somewhere on the timeline examples for all major events that happen outside of the fiscal quarters.  This could be a landmark sale, introduction of a new product, etc. Keep in mind that this timeline should not go more than six months out from the starting date, so don't include anything that won't have happened within six months.

It is also a good idea to mark off any cross-quarter holidays, such as Memorial Day or Labor Day so your readers are aware of the potential gaps in your sales data during these times. Some people will also include Easter or the Fourth of July if they are relevant to their company.

Labels Matter

You should label every single date on your timeline, even if it is just the month and day.  Labeling all of these dates will help you know when each quarter starts and ends, which may come in handy when you are trying to fill out reports or create financial statements later on. You can mark off days to indicate important events, such as when a new product was launched.  Label these days with a brief description of what happened.

You can also mark off the months in between quarters to indicate potential downtime or slow-selling periods.  These are not necessarily bad times for your company, but they may be worth noting if you're trying to set up reports and want to know what to expect during these periods.

In Summary

Your timeline should now be complete! It might not look like much, but this timeline will help you better understand your sales data as well as plan for future projections. In addition, it is also an easy way to catch any mistakes in your data when there is a lack of context. With some practice, you'll be creating high-quality timelines in no time!



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