Sales analytics

Businesses capture lots of data during daily activities that supports business intelligence (BI) for sales managers:

  • Opportunities
  • Sales quotes
  • Sales orders
  • Sales invoices

Business Central provides features to help you gather, analyse, and share your organisation's sales data:

  • Ad-hoc analysis on lists
  • Ad-hoc analysis of data in Excel (using Open in Excel)
  • Built-in sales analytics tools
  • Built-in sales reports

Each of these features has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on the type of data analysis and the role of the user. To learn more, go to Analytics, business intelligence, and reporting overview.

This article introduces how you can use these analytical features to gain sales insights.

Analytics needs in sales

When you think about the analytics needs in sales management, it might help to use a persona-based model that describes different analytics needs at a high-level.

Illustration of different personas for analytics

People in different roles have different needs when it comes to data, and they use the data in different ways. For example, people in asset management and finance interact with data differently than people in sales.

Illustration of how different personas have different analytics needs.

Role Data aggregation Typical ways to consume data
CCO / CFO / CEO Performance data KPIs
Financial reports
Sales Manager Trends, summaries Built-in managerial reports
Ad-hoc analysis
Account Manager / Sales Person Detailed data Built-in operational reports
On-screen task data

The Financial Reporting feature gives you insights into the financial data shown on your chart of accounts (COA). You can set up financial reports to analyse figures in general ledger (G/L) accounts, and compare general ledger entries with budget entries. Specifically for sales management, you can set up financial reports on the general ledger (G/L) accounts that you use to track sales postings.

Dimensions play an important role in business intelligence. A dimension is data that you add to an entry as a parameter. Dimensions let you group entries that have similar characteristics, such as customers, regions, products, and salesperson. Among other purposes, use dimensions when you define analysis views and create financial reports. Learn more at Work with Dimensions.

To learn more about financial reports, go to Prepare Financial Reports with Financial Data and Account Categories.

Some organisations use Business Central in multiple business units or legal entities. Others use Business Central in subsidiaries that report to parent organisations. Business Central gives accountants tools that help them transfer general ledger entries from two or more companies (subsidiaries) into a consolidated company. Specifically for sales management, you might want to consolidate general ledger entries for your sales accounts to be able to track sales KPIs across business units or legal entities.

To learn more, go to Company consolidation.

Ad-hoc analysis of sales data

Sometimes, you just need to check whether the numbers add up correctly, or quickly confirm a figure. The following features are great for ad-hoc analyses:

  • Data analysis on ledger list pages
  • Open in Excel

The Data Analysis feature lets you open almost any list page, such as General Ledger Entries, Customer Ledger Entries, Item Ledger Entries, or Posted Invoices, enter analysis mode, and then group, filter, and pivot data as you see fit.

Example of how to do data analysis on the Customer Ledger Entries page.

Similarly, you can use the Open in Excel action to open a list page, optionally filter the list to a subset of the data, and then use Excel to work with the data. For example, by using features such as Analyse Data, What-If Analysis, or Forecast Sheet.

Example of how to do data analysis on the Customer Ledger Entries data using Excel.


If you configure OneDrive for system features, the Excel workbook opens in your browser.

To learn more about how to do ad-hoc analysis on sales data, go to Ad hoc analysis of sales data.

Built-in reports for sales

Business Central includes several built-in reports, tracing functions, and tools to help sales organisations report on their data.

To get an overview of available reports, choose All reports on the top pane of your Home page. This action opens the Role Explorer, which is filtered to the features in the Report & Analysis option. To learn more, go to Finding Reports with the Role Explorer.

Example of reports on the sales role centre.

The built-in reports come in two flavors:

  • Designed for print (pdf).
  • Designed for analysis in Excel.

To learn more about reports that are relevant for sales, go to Built-in sales reports.

On-screen sales analytics

Business Central has several pages that give you sales overviews and tasks to do. Here are some examples to get you started:

The Chart of Accounts page shows all general ledger accounts with aggregated numbers posted to the general ledger. From this page, you can do things like:

  • View reports that show general ledger entries and balances.
  • Review a list of posting groups for that account.
  • View separate debit and credit balances for a single account.

Specifically for sales, you can create a view on the Chart of Accounts page that only shows the accounts you use for posting sales entries.

Example of how the Chart of Accounts page shows finance insights

To learn more, go to Understand the Chart of Accounts.

Dimensions are values that categorise entries so you can track and analyse them on documents, such as sales orders. Dimensions can, for example, indicate the project or department an entry came from.

So, instead of setting up separate general ledger accounts for each department or location, you can use dimensions as a basis for analysis and avoid having to create a complicated chart of accounts structure.

To learn more, go to Analyse Data by Dimensions.

See also

Company consolidation
Prepare Financial Reports with Financial Data and Account Categories
Handling finance reporting across business units or legal entities
Ad hoc analysis of sales data
Built-in sales reports
Understand the Chart of Accounts
Analyse Data by Dimensions
Analytics, business intelligence, and reporting overview
Work with Business Central

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