Did you know that a good return on sales typically falls between 5 to 20 percent, depending on industry statistics? As a sales head, you would obviously want that range for your organization. 

Return on Sales, often abbreviated as ROS, is a crucial financial metric that helps businesses assess profitability. In simple terms, it tells you how much profit you’re making for every dollar of sales generated.

If you don’t know how to calculate return on sales, you can’t determine the profit being generated and you won’t be able to make the right decisions. But don’t worry! In this blog post, we’ll break down the concept of Return on Sales into easy-to-understand language. We’ll explain how to calculate it step by step and explore why it holds such importance in business.

Now, let’s jump in and understand Return on Sales!

Let’s Begin!

What Does Return On Sales Mean? 

Return on Sales is a fundamental financial metric for assessing a company’s profitability. Understanding ROS is essential for making informed decisions if you’re in charge of sales or overseeing a business’s financial performance.

As you already saw above, ROS tells you how much profit a company makes for every dollar it generates in sales revenue.

It clearly shows how efficiently a company manages its expenses to generate profit. A high ROS indicates that a company is doing well in turning its sales into profit, which is great for business and its investors. On the flip side, a low ROS may signal room for improvement in cost management.

As a sales head, understanding ROS can help you evaluate the overall health of your sales efforts and their impact on the company’s bottom line. It also lets you see the return on investment in your sales activities, helping you make informed decisions to boost profitability.

6 Factors Influencing Your Return on Sales

To calculate return on sales, you must consider several key factors significantly influencing this crucial financial metric. Here are six factors that can have a substantial impact on your ROS:

1. Industry Benchmarks

Industry Benchmarks

Understanding industry benchmarks is essential for assessing your ROS accurately. Different industries have varying standards for profit margins and ROS. Comparing your ROS to these benchmarks helps you compare your performance to industry peers. If your ROS is below the industry average, it may be a sign that you need to improve your operations or marketing efforts.

2. Your Operating Expenses

Your Operating Expenses

Operating expenses directly affect your ROS. The lower your operating expenses in relation to your sales revenue, the higher your ROS will be. To improve your ROS, consider cost-saving strategies, such as optimizing your supply chain, reducing overhead costs, or streamlining your operations.

3. Gross Profit Margin

Gross Profit Margin

Your gross profit margin is a key component of ROS. It represents the percentage of revenue left after deducting the cost of goods sold (COGS). A higher gross profit margin means you retain more from each sale, positively impacting your ROS. To enhance your ROS, focus on increasing your gross profit margin by negotiating better supplier deals or pricing your products strategically.

4. Sales Growth

Sales Growth

While increasing sales revenue is generally a positive goal, it can impact ROS. Rapid sales growth often requires significant investments in marketing and operations, which can temporarily lower your ROS. However, if managed effectively, the long-term benefits of increased sales can outweigh the initial dip in ROS. Consider balancing growth with profitability to maintain a healthy ROS.

Company Trends

Your company’s performance trends can provide valuable insights into your ROS. Analyze how changes in your business strategy, marketing efforts, or cost management have affected your ROS. By identifying trends, you can make better decisions to optimize your ROS and maximize your return on investment. 

So, calculating return on sales is a fundamental step in assessing your company’s financial health. To improve your ROS, pay attention to industry benchmarks, manage operating expenses, boost gross profit margins, carefully manage sales growth, and monitor company trends. By addressing these factors, you can enhance your ROS and make more informed decisions to drive profitability and long-term success.

Return On Sales vs. Return On Investment vs. Return On Equity

Return on Sales (ROS), Return on Investment (ROI) and Return on Equity are three important financial metrics that measure different aspects of a business’s performance. Let’s know the difference between them. 

Return on Sales (ROS) 

Return on Sales (ROS), also known as the operating profit margin, is a financial metric used to check a company’s profitability by measuring the percentage of profit it generates from its total revenue. This metric provides insights into a company’s ability to efficiently convert its sales into profit, indicating its cost and expense management effectiveness.

Return on Investment (ROI)

ROI assesses the return earned on specific investments or projects. It considers the gains or losses from an investment relative to the initial investment cost. ROI helps businesses evaluate the effectiveness of their investments and decide where to allocate resources for the best returns.

In simpler terms, ROS looks at overall profitability from all sales, while ROI examines the returns from specific investments or projects. Both metrics are valuable for assessing a company’s financial performance and guiding decision-making.

Return on Equity (ROE) 

ROE evaluates how well a company generates returns for its shareholders. It considers net income in relation to shareholders’ equity, showing the company’s profitability from its investors’ perspective. ROE measures how a company uses its shareholders’ investment to generate profit.

Simply, ROS checks how well a company profits from its daily activities, like selling stuff. Conversely, ROE checks how much profit the company returns to its owners (the shareholders) compared to the money they put in. These numbers help investors decide if they want to invest in the company or not. 

Return On Sales Formula And Calculation 

Calculating Return on Sales is very straightforward.

Here’s the simple formula to calculate ROS:

Return on Sales (ROS) = (Operating Profit / Total Sales Revenue) x 100

Now, let’s break it down:

  1. Operating Profit: This is how much money the company has left after covering all its expenses, like paying for materials, salaries, and rent. It’s also known as “profit before interest and taxes.”
  2. Total Sales Revenue: This is the total amount of money the company made from selling its products or services.

You divide the operating profit by the total sales revenue to get ROS. Then, multiply that result by 100 to turn it into a percentage.

For example, if a company has $50,000 in operating profit and $500,000 in sales revenue, the ROS would be:

ROS = ($50,000 / $500,000) x 100 = 10%

So, the company’s ROS is 10%, which means they make 10 cents in profit for every dollar in sales. ROS helps you understand how efficiently a company turns its sales into profit.

Example Of How To Use Return On Sales (ROS)

As a sales head, understanding Return on Sales (ROS) can be a powerful tool to assess the performance of your sales efforts and contribute to your company’s profitability. Let’s walk through a simple example to see how ROS can be applied in a practical scenario:

Imagine you work for a company that sells electronic gadgets. In the last fiscal year, your team generated $1 million in sales revenue. However, when you look at the financial reports, you see that the company’s operating expenses, including production costs, employee salaries, and marketing expenses, totaled $800,000.

Now, let’s calculate the ROS using the formula:

ROS = (Operating Profit / Total Sales Revenue) x 100

In this case, the operating profit is $200,000 ($1 million – $800,000). Now, plug this into the formula:

ROS = ($200,000 / $1,000,000) x 100 = 20%

So, the company’s ROS is 20%. It means the company makes 20 cents in profit for every dollar in sales revenue after covering all its operating expenses.

As a sales head, you can use this information to assess the effectiveness of your sales strategies. Focus on increasing sales while monitoring cost management to improve ROS. You could also evaluate the impact of different marketing campaigns on ROS and make data-driven decisions to maximize profitability. ROS helps you align your sales efforts with the company’s financial goals.

Why Is the Return On Sales An Important Metric?

Why Is the Return On Sales An Important Metric

Here’s why ROS is such an important metric, explained in simple terms:

1. Profitability Gauge

ROS helps sales heads understand how efficiently they turn their sales into profit. It shows the percentage of profit a company makes for each dollar of sales revenue. In simple words, it tells you if the company is making money or losing money from its operations.

2. Performance Benchmark

ROS allows sales heads to compare their performance with industry standards and competitors. Different industries have varying benchmarks for profitability, so it helps assess whether a company is doing well.

3. Cost Management

It encourages companies to manage their expenses wisely. To increase ROS, you, as a sales head, must either increase its sales revenue or decrease its operating expenses. This focus on cost control can lead to better financial management and sustainability.

4. Investor Attraction

Investors, including shareholders and potential partners, often look at ROS when evaluating a company’s financial strength. A healthy ROS can make a company more attractive to investors, potentially leading to more investment opportunities and better stock performance.

5. Strategic Decision-Making

ROS guides decision-making. Companies can use this metric for better pricing, marketing strategies, and resource allocation choices. For instance, if ROS is low, a company might adjust its pricing strategy or invest in cost-saving measures.

6. Long-Term Sustainability

Maintaining a reasonable ROS is essential for a company’s long-term sustainability. Consistently high ROS indicates that a business effectively manages its finances and has a better chance of weathering economic downturns.

Therefore, Return on Sales is a vital metric because it tells you whether they are making enough profit from their sales, allows them to compare their performance, and guides strategic decisions. It’s a valuable tool that helps you stay financially healthy and competitive in your respective industries.

What Is A Good Return On Sales?

A strong Return on Sales (ROS) indicates you profit greatly from your sales work. So, when your ROS ratio is higher, your sales team and company are doing great. It means you’re working effectively, using resources efficiently, and the business is in good shape overall.

A good ROS falls from 5% to 20%, with 10% being a commonly accepted benchmark.

Now, let’s break down why this range matters:

  1. Profitability: A ROS of 5% or higher indicates that a company is making a profit from its sales. It’s like saying for every $100 in sales, you’re making at least $5 in profit.
  2. Investor Attraction: If your company consistently achieves a ROS above 10%, it’s likely to attract more investors. They see it as a sign that your company can efficiently convert sales into profit, which is appealing.
  3. Sustainability: ROS in this range suggests that your company can cover operating expenses and have something left for growth or unexpected challenges.

You can focus on strategies like enhancing customer lifetime value (CLV) to boost sales and improve ROS. It means not only acquiring new customers but also keeping them for the long term. Loyal customers spend more over time, increasing your sales revenue and ROI.

So, a good ROS is typically between 5% and 20%, with 10% being a common target. Achieving this range indicates profitability, attracts investors, and ensures the sustainability of your business. As a sales head, it’s vital to work towards this range by increasing sales and optimizing customer relationships for better ROI.

How To Increase Return On Sales?

How To Increase Return On Sales

Increasing Return on Sales (ROS) is a smart way to make your business more profitable and efficient. Here are five simple strategies, explained in easy terms, to help you boost your ROS:

1. Increase the Price of the Product

One way to improve ROS is to charge more for your products or services. You earn more money for each sale when you sell at a higher price. However, balancing this with customer expectations and market competition is essential. Make sure the increased price reflects the value you provide.

2. Decrease Operational Expenses

Cutting down on operational expenses is like saving money for your business. You can look for ways to reduce costs without compromising quality. It might involve negotiating better deals with suppliers, optimizing your supply chain, or finding energy-efficient solutions for your operations.

3. Increase Sales

To boost ROS, you can work on selling more products or services. It means expanding your customer base or getting your existing customers to buy more. You might achieve this by launching new marketing campaigns, exploring different sales channels, or offering promotions.

4. Improve Gross Profit Margin

The gross profit margin is the gap between what you earn from sales and what it costs to make or provide your products or services. To increase ROS, aim to raise your gross profit margin. It can involve renegotiating supplier contracts, finding cost-effective ways to produce goods, or offering premium versions of your products.

5. Boost Operational Efficiency

Efficiency is about doing things faster and better. Streamline your operations to get more done with the same resources. It might involve automating repetitive tasks with a tool like SalesBlink, optimizing your workforce, or using technology to manage processes more efficiently.

Remember that increasing ROS is about getting a better return on your investment. By implementing these strategies, you can make your business more profitable and ensure that your sales efforts pay off in the best possible way.

Limitations Of Using Return On Sales

Limitations Of Using Return On Sales

Using Return on Sales (ROS) as a financial metric has some limitations to keep in mind:

1. Industry Differences

Different industries have varying profit margins, so what’s considered good for one may not be suitable for another. Comparing ROS between industries can be misleading.

2. Short-Term Focus

ROS mainly looks at the short-term profitability and may not reflect the business’s long-term health. It doesn’t consider investments in research, development, or future growth.

3. Manipulation

Companies can manipulate ROS by cutting essential expenses, harming the business in the long run. For example, slashing marketing expenses may increase ROS temporarily but harm future sales.

4. Neglecting Other Metrics

Relying solely on ROS can lead to neglecting other vital metrics like customer satisfaction, market share, or employee morale, which are crucial for long-term success.

5. Size Matters

Smaller companies may naturally have higher ROS because they have fewer expenses. Comparing ROS between small and large businesses can be misleading.

6. Market Volatility

ROS can fluctuate due to market conditions beyond a company’s control, making it unreliable during economic slowdowns.

While ROS offers valuable insights into profitability, it’s essential to consider these limitations and use them with other financial and non-financial metrics for a more comprehensive view of a company’s performance.

Work On Your Return On Sales Metric

Understanding how to calculate Return on Sales is valuable for a sales head. It’s a simple yet powerful metric that tells how efficiently you turn sales into profit. By assessing ROS, you can gauge a company’s financial health, compare it to industry benchmarks, and make informed decisions.

Knowing what constitutes a good ROS, empowers you to evaluate the effectiveness of sales strategies and cost management efforts. ROS guides day-to-day operations and plays a role in attracting investors and ensuring the long-term sustainability of a business.

Therefore, mastering ROS calculation helps you unlock valuable insights into a company’s profitability and ability to thrive in the competitive business world.


1. What does a 10% ROS mean?

A 10% Return on Sales (ROS) signifies that a company generates a profit of ten cents for every dollar of revenue, reflecting the firm’s efficiency in generating profits from sales.

2. How do you calculate ROS percentage?

To calculate ROS percentage, divide the net income by the total revenue (net sales) and then multiply the resulting number by 100 to turn it into percentage. This reflects profit per sales dollar.

3. How do you increase return on sales?

To enhance the Return on Sales, a company can optimize pricing strategies, increase sales volume, streamline operations to cut costs or improve the product mix to favor higher-margin items.