What is a Sales Analyst?

Sales analysts are responsible for the collection and analysis of sales data. They do this in order to increase sales productivity and customer satisfaction as well as reduce sales barriers and low revenue levels. They create standardized and customized reports that analyze everything from quantitative data to sales funnel flows to future needs forecasts. Sales analysts make an average salary of $54,000 per year, according to PayScale.

Primary Job Responsibilities

Sales analysts collect and analyze data to evaluate existing and potential clients, markets, products and business opportunities. They research and evaluate economic, competitor, market, industry and customer growth trends and conditions. One of their standard duties is to collect and analyze data to evaluate monthly and annual sales goals, quotas and forecasts. They develop and maintain electronic systems to track and predict seasonal demand, industry shifts and customer buying changes. In order to do this, they may analyze seasonal orders by SKUs to determine which items have excess or insufficient quantity levels. They may adjust product forecasts to accommodate promotional activities, consumption trends, advertising campaigns and marketing changes to prices.

Sales analysts review sales performance data against commercial customer data systems. Many national retailers, such as K-Mart and Target, allow sales companies to access their product sales data. Based on the information they gather, sales analysts recommend action plans to resolve sales issues, adjust field inventories, promote certain products and streamline supply chain, merchandising or promotional activities. They may analyze in-stock product variances against customer demand history and preferences in order to recommend and implement strategies to increase the sales of key products while maintaining high levels of in-stock to meet demands.

Required Education

There generally aren’t any degrees in sales analysis, but there are majors in math, statistics, accounting and business analytics. Students may also personalize their major by taking specific classes that will help them become a sales analyst. These students should take as many math, technical and computational courses as possible. They should study business statistics, which involves probability distribution, decision analysis and testing methods, as well as accounting, which will cover the bookkeeping cycle and financial statements. Students should take classes on corporate finance, so they can learn about cash flows, income risks, asset structures and operational analysis.

Students may also consider taking a class on managerial finance, which will introduce them to financial concepts like valuation, forecasting, strategic planning, capital budgeting and risk management. Students should take a class on sales management so they can learn about the building of customer relationships, loyalty programs and relationship management programs. Studying management information systems will help future sales analysts understand what information business leaders need to make decisions, analyze production and evaluate performance. Students will learn how sales data can be used to achieve operational excellence, improved decision making better competitive advantages.

Related Resource: Portfolio Analyst

Anyone who wants to become a sales analyst will need to have the ability to deal with business problems involving many variables, few facts and irregular situations. They should have good oral and written communication skills as well as the ability to apply intuitive logic to carry out detailed proposals for customers. Sales analysts may spend most of their time sitting in front of a computer, but they will also be regularly speaking and presenting before groups of clients, managers and employees.