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Become An Impact Sales Player By Owning Salesforce.com Reports

3 min read
July 13, 2012

It’s Wednesday morning and the weekly pipeline report is due. You have two options: a) cower in the corner b) step up with the big players by understanding and owning salesforce.com reports. Every great sales organization has a sound system in place to record and measure sales efforts. Salesforce.com reports and dashboards are the best way to do this.

Step 1: Find the most important information to your business. If you walked into your CEO’s office right now and asked him/her three questions:

  • “what keeps you up at night?” (example: revenue, productivity, sales efficiency)
  • “what metrics are most important to you?” (example: deals closed, demos initiated, emails sent)
  • “what behavior would you like to see us encourage” (number of calls made, demos scheduled etc.)

Step 2: Record the correct data. Assuming you know the most important metrics to your organization, now is the important decision to track the right data. Here’s how to do it:

  • Pick a limited number of Key Performance Indicators. The industry average of of KPI’s is 5-10 for the entire business.
  • Keep it simple. Focus only on dashboards/reports that tie directly to key business initiatives.
  • Name the reports clearly and concisely. (example: Salesloft Sales Team Calls, Converted Leads from Inbound Leads)
  • Determine who has access to the reports.

Step 3: Build the reports. Save yourself tons of headaches by understanding the reports.

  • Start with out-of-the-box reports. salesforce.com offers standard across all standard objects.

Know the three different types of reports and how they’re used.

  • Tabular reports are easiest and quickest way to return your data in a simple list view format. It’s important to know, Tabular reports can’t be used to create dashboard components.
  • Summary reports return your data with subtotals and other summary-level information. Summary reports are great for showing average dollar values for closed won opportunities by salesperson or number of cases by status by a support representative.
  • Matrix reports show data summaries against both horizontal and vertical criteria; for example, total sales per sales rep per year by quarter.
Step 4: Build the dashboards. If you match your dashboard metrics to your key business metrics, these reports will be invaluable to every executive in the company.

3 different types of dashboards you should know:

  • Pie and donut charts are useful for displaying data that shows proportions of a total, such as the number of leads by lead source.
  • Horizontal bar/vertical column charts are great for showing geographical data, stage or status information, or any data that’s part of a single grouping.
  • The funnel chart is best used for showing ordered picklists such as opportunity stage, case status, or lead stage.
Step 5: Take the data and propel your business forward. These reports are meant to improve, iterate, and adjust with the current and future state of the business. The number one indicator of a successful reporting program is communication. Include all parties that should be involved on the expectations, reporting, and future plans. The more you can lead a team like Dwight D. Eisenhower with your salesforce.com reports, the better.