A sales budget reflects your business’ master plan for generating revenue. It has two main elements. The revenue section forecasts the number of unit sales and their values, while the expense section predicts the selling costs, such as travel and overhead. Together, the two sections of sales data provide a general overview of your sales volume for a certain period of time and can be used to create a financial plan, master budget, or make decisions on a new product or liabilities.
Designing an effective sales budget or sales forecast requires a careful analysis of a number of factors. Target markets, future sales, competitors’ capabilities, prevailing economic conditions or fluctuations and past sales figures from previous years, are just a few variables that could affect potential profits and total revenue. After that, your organization can develop an accurate budget in line with the overall sales strategy, which might change as you develop your budget. For example, if during the budget’s development you find that revenues will fall short of what your organization needs, you could decide to increase revenue by creating a production budget for a promotional campaign to jump-start total sales.
Your sales budget governs your sales department, helping employees perform their roles in line with the larger organizational strategy. For instance, suppose a business owner designs a sales budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Later, her staff, such as sales managers, can refer to the sales budget when designing subordinate budgets, for example, for travel costs, equipment and supplies for the salespeople. The budget period may change frequently to match the current market, keeping examples of sales budgets or templates on file along with a consistent sales budgeting process can speed up the sales plan’s creation.
Depending on the type of business, the sales budget might be the first and most important of all the organization’s budgets, especially if the functioning of the other departments depends on the value and volume of predicted sales. For example, a production department might need to align the production rate to the amount of stock the sales department can sell in a given period, and a human resources department might hire or fire based on the projected sales revenue, which determines both the staff requirements and wage-paying capabilities of the business. Higher ups may reflect on the budget, income statements, expected sales, and prior net sales also when planning a selling price, or sales discounts.
Your sales budget also can help you gauge the performance of your sales department, monitoring gross sales from members of your sales team as well as market trends can produce insight into sales targets for the next period. For example, if revenue and actual sales are less than sales goals but selling costs are more, your company’s sales strategy is faulty or your salespeople are underperforming. Either way, the sales budget provides a benchmark for performance that helps you identify and repair problems early. The sales budget also sets clear goals for your sales department, helping individual salespeople tailor their performances to your business’ overall sales strategy.