How to use reports from Salesforce CRM

Deciding what sales reports are to be used is often a decision that our new clients spend time considering. For some companies, having a CRM system in place provides the first opportunity to really look at sales data in a structured way. The challenge for company leaders is to define what reports are to be used, and who uses them.

In this blog post we're not going to list of the reports that we think you should use as standard, we've addressed this previously. Instead we'd like to consider the value of sales reports strategically in your organisation so that your teams can gain some real benefit from them. Consider your sales data and reports in the context of

- What decisions can be made based on the information contained in the reports? (or, What happens next?)

- What insight can be gained from the reports? (or, So what?)


What decisions can be made based on the reports?

The first consideration that comes to mind is that the decisions that can be made will depend on the role or job title of the person using the reports. On this basis we should create different reports for each group of Salesforce users (Sales agents, sales managers, management team / executive).

For sales agents or reps, the kind of information that can influence their decisions can include, 'what are the three main reasons I lose sales opportunities', and 'how can I change my pitch overcome them in future?' For sales managers, the data needs to reflect more basic sales activity of the reps, such as 'which reps are making the most calls, meetings, proposals'?

In both examples above, Tenacre can produce standard reports that can provide this information within a matter of seconds. In both cases, the information that the reports show enables better and faster decisions to be made which will help your business to be more successful in selling to your prospect list.

What insight can be gained from the reports?

The temptation to produce dozens of reports (because we can!) should be avoided. Remember that there is a big difference between data and knowledge. It's better to have a small set of reports that can provide insight that help your decision making process than vast amounts of 'data' that, without context, provides no benefit.

One of our clients (financial services brokerage) made a significant change to how their inside sales team operated based on using Salesforce reports that tracked the source of their new sales. Traditionally the sales team were judged on the number of cold calls and proposals that were sent out to their prospects, the logic being that good callers earned more new sales (dialing for dollars..).

However, from the sales reports they could see that the best two performing sales guys were at the bottom of the list in terms of cold call numbers. These two successful sales guys were making all their new sales based on referrals from their existing clients. By tracking the source of the lead in each case, the senior management of the brokerage firm made a major change in their sales strategy that resulted in retraining of staff on becoming excellent in networking and asking for referrals. They also introduced a referral programme that actively rewarded their existing clients for making introductions to their friends and co-workers.

If you use reports and dashboards to be informed on how your business is performing, it can really improve the quality of management decision making in the business.