Salesforce Reports and Dashboards to Run Data-Driven Business

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Salesforce Reports and Dashboards to Run Data-Driven Business

In a world full of analytics, we have started to rely so heavily on what’s measurable that we may be losing sight of what’s meaningful. To keep your business moving, you should be proactive rather than reactive. With Salesforce reports and dashboards, you get a strong and trusted ally in conquering new markets and fueling strategy with structured performance analysis.

Today’s marketers and salespeople can collect data on almost everything. But do these insights provide us with enough fuel to reach our customer? The answer lies behind

  • what information we have,

  • what are our objectives, and

  • what metrics can measure those objectives.

Once you define and come up with the final list, you need the powerful yet simple-to-use tools for analysis. Satisfying its clients with robust functionality, Salesforce best practices in analytics eliminate errors, extra tasks and deliver flexible configurations to strengthen company productivity.

Retain the Strategy Strength with Right Data

The formula for business success includes the knowledge of the processes, understanding of KPI and metrics, and tools to measure and interpret outcomes. Data is a core ingredient in CRM and upon its quality (not quantity) depends on how productive the further performance will be.

With Salesforce reports and dashboards, you receive all facets solution to performance analysis and efficiency calculations and forecasting, too. It’s worth to identify what data you can run reports, so here are the record categories:

  • data entries you own,

  • records to which you have read/write access,

  • information shared with you, and

  • records owned by or shared with the users whose roles are below yours in company’s hierarchy.

Report Types + Business Objectives

In Salesforce you have various analytics opportunities depending on the subscription plan and options enabled to users by a company CRM administrator. For instance, if you want to create or customize a report, you will see a report wizard instead of report builder. In this case, request the administrator to enable the option for you. Besides, make sure you have such permissions as

  • run reports

  • schedule reports

  • create  and customize reports.

With the right groundwork into the business objectives, you can apply Salesforce best practices in getting the most of your data. Before we can jump into the most tastier analytics details, a good amount of additional questions to the main goals has to happen. This will help you to define what reports you need in the first place and which ones can be set a little bit later.

Salesforce reports offer a scalable and rich set of standard and pre-designed ones. Starting with the standard reports, you need to ensure that you have the access to all folders if there were done some visibility customizations.

There are 17 standard reports that aim to cover the major aspects of performance every company runs. In a nutshell, here are they:

  • Lead report: delivers you the information about the lead source and status, neglected leads, how long it takes to respond to leads, and the history of fields changes.

  • Account and contacts report: allows to detect new, active or neglected accounts/contacts. Also, you can collect a mailing list or sort out the opportunities by a contact role.

  • Campaign report: allows to measure your marketing efforts in terms of ROI reporting, tracking targeted audience and prospects who has responded, as well as analyze the initiatives that delivered results.

  • Opportunity report: collects information about your opportunities (with the owners, accounts, stages, amounts, and the like). By default you get the most used data from each object; thus, the report can be customized and display the primary campaign source, forecast category or synced quote.

  • Forecast report: provides you with data about the opportunities and helps to forecast the possibility of success.

  • Product and asset report: helps to view data on products recently installed by your users. With this report, you can also get insight into the assets customers have and whether they are associated with the product.

  • Activity report: helps to gather data on open or completed activities, multi-person events and requests with pending approval.

  • File and content report: shows the participation level and materials that draw the attention of Salesforce users.

  • Administrative report: enhances the analysis of your Salesforce users logging in, documents and access requests, and other pending approval requests.

  • Self-service report: delivers information on the efficiency of a self-service portal, a number of customers logged in, their opinions of your offers, etc.

  • Support activities report: gathers the number of cases, comments and emails to cases, case owners and contact roles, as well as the amount of resolved cases, the duration of case statuses, etc.

Having aligned areas of focus with efficient business running, Salesforce reports includes additional set of pre-designed reports that aim to deliver more information on

  • sales performance (i.e. territory reports, sales meetings, partner reports, customized forecasting report),

  • support services (i.e. call center reports, live agent sessions, Salesforce knowledge articles), and

  • workflow improvement (i.e. approval history report, activities report, idea report, account owner report, search activity and relationship group report).

Should You Care about Formats of Reports

In order to cater all of the different types of business requirements, Salesforce serves you with the 4 formats of report displaying (and this feature available in Classic and Lightning versions):

#1 Tabular report is a default format for Salesforce reports and it reminds a spreadsheet with ordered in columns set of fields. Usually, this format is applied to creating contact or mailing lists, activity reports or single total calculation lists.

#2 Summary report is similar to a tabular with the exception - it enables users to manipulate rows of data, set views of subtotals, and build charts. You can use summary as a source report for dashboard component. The subtotals are based on the value of a specific field or by Stage and Owner if you build a hierarchical list.

#3 Matrix report differs from summary with an ability to group and sum up information by rows and columns. Salesforce best practices suggest using this report for comparison of related totals if you work with a large amount of data and require to compare values of different fields. Plus, matrix report will help you to look at information by date, product, and person, etc.

#4 Joined report allows you to build numerous report blocks showing various views of company data. Besides, each of these blocks plays a role of “sub-report” with its fields, columns, sorting and filtering. However, this format is available only in Enterprise, Performance, Unlimited, and Developers editions.

With Salesforce, you receive another elaborative feature of data grouping. This function helps to group records in columns and rows, and can be used in creating summary, matrix or joined reports. You can group opportunities by Open Date or group cases by owner to see the amount of cases for each owner. Besides, this feature allows you to have grouping in grouping.

Nevertheless, there are some specifications to usage depending on the format of a report. So, in summary and joined reports you may run up to 3 levels of grouping, while matrix reports can have only 2 row and 2 column groupings and you can’t apply the same field for both groupings.

Dashboards as Built-in Business Intelligence

The success of goals achieving lies in the understanding the company objectives and keeping the team on the same page. Business intelligence helps to embody this task and Salesforce dashboards allow to curate the required data.

The so-called components - various reports - build a dashboard. Each of the components may consist with a chart or metric that display information from one report. It is worth to mention that data showed on the dashboard will be different for users; that depends on the access rights every user has.

Despite the extensive functionality, Salesforce dashboards have a couple of limitations. To be more specific, the filter can support up to 50 options. The system enables 10 option by default, in case you need more - contact your account manager and request to extend this limit. In one dashboard you can have up to 20 components (reports) included. The speed of dashboard loading depends on the speed of the reports running. And make sure you wait at least a minute between dashboard refreshes.

Summing Up

Salesforce reports and dashboards are built as iterative elements to drive more value from the data you have in CRM. However, you should understand the data you have and the processes your team runs for selecting and appropriate setting of the analytics.

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