Salesforce Reports: Tips and Tools for Creating Powerful Data Visualization
It’s no secret that accurate reporting is crucial to the success any business. That’s why understanding Salesforce reporting is a skill that every admin should have.
Salesforce reporting allows you to examine your data through a variety of different tables, graphs, and charts, helping you to organize and better comprehend the data that's been collected.
Salesforce reporting can save you time and money while allowing you to fully concentrate on your business. So, where do you begin? Start by understanding the types of reports.
Types of Salesforce Reports
Salesforce offers various types of reports that can help you understand how your sales pipeline is doing and present company performance summaries and marketing and sales overviews in an easy-to-understand and organized format.
- 5 Types of Salesforce Reporting
1. Tabular Reporting
Tabular reports are similar to a standard excel spreadsheet. Tabular reports consist of lines of data and are especially useful for exporting data. Tabular data generally doesn’t include specific groups of data, calculations, or totals. The most common use of tabular reporting is generating a mailing list.
2. Summary Reporting
Summary reports group data together based on the field chosen. Summary and tabular reports are the most commonly used report types. By grouping data together into a specific field, you are providing a larger picture of groups of data. The most common use of summary reports are totaling amounts and summarizing data. If you are looking for the sum or average of a column, this is the ideal report.
3. Matrix Reporting
While matrix reporting is similar to summary reporting, matrix reports allow the user to group by rows and/or columns to see different totals. It also includes a breakdown of those summed-up numbers. The most common use of matrix reports is for measuring trends.
4. Joined Reporting
The least common type of report is joined reports. However, don’t be fooled. This type of report is extremely beneficial to anyone looking at this data. Joined reports allow the user to create two separate reports and compare the data quickly and efficiently. Joined reports are most commonly used for summarizing large amounts of data, across multiple objects.
5. Dynamic Reporting
Dynamic reports take Salesforce reporting to the next level. This report type allows Salesforce admins the ability to create custom reporting. While standard reporting only allows the user to use two objects that are connected through a relationship, custom reporting allows the user to work with other relationships and choose the objects that are relevant to the data they are trying to report on.
Dynamic reports have other features that can take your reporting to the next level, including, adding or hiding fields, creating sections in your reports, and even pulling data from lookup fields.
How to Build Your Report
Now that you know the types of reporting, you need to ask yourself the next set of important questions to get your reports up and running. There are 3 key questions to start with that will always give an idea of the data you should be reporting on.
- Determine which data you should be reporting on by asking these questions:
- What are the business objectives?
- What are the short-term and long-term goals?
- How often is this data needed?
Are they looking to acquire more customers? If this is the primary business objective, knowing your customers' acquisition cost or CAC is the primary metric you should focus on. To get the total customer acquisition cost, take the total amount of money spent on acquiring new customers and divide it by the total number of new customers you’ve acquired.
While Salesforce reporting doesn’t offer direct reporting for CAC, you can access a campaign ROI Analysis Report for each campaign created. The report provides the ROI and average cost of your campaign, giving you the data to calculate CAC.
If preventing churn is your main business objective, your Salesforce report will look quite different. Start by generating a report that gives you the total number of active customers at the start of a quarter and the status of each customer. If you track churn using customer status, you can calculate your churn rate and ARR to see how many customers are churning per quarter and how much it is costing you.
Short-term and long-term goals
Do part of the business objectives include a promotional campaign or a product launch? What about implementing a new strategy when it comes to onboarding or your sales process? Salesforce reporting allows you to show that progress in real-time.
Your company's key performance indicators, or KPIs are the metrics used to measure how closely a team or company is performing. Being able to track how things are progressing is crucial since it allows you to pivot if the progress being shown isn’t working as expected. After all, you don’t want to spend an entire quarter working towards a goal, only to find out it isn’t working.
Learning how to prepare for changes and pivot when needed is crucial, and Salesforce reporting provides you with that data.
Cadence for data
The final question to ask yourself is how often you should be reporting on these metrics. Daily, weekly, monthly? You’ve spent time gathering this data, so it’s important to share it with the stakeholders involved.
Some may find this data useful on a daily basis, while others may only want to see it on a monthly basis. Once you’ve confirmed the best cadence, create a dashboard using the reports or create a flow to distribute them via email to your stakeholders.
Now that you’ve answered the most important questions, it's time to plan how you will tell the story with the data you’ve collected. There are several types of Salesforce reports, and each presents the data in a unique way. Think about your audience and who you need to present this information to. Then, you can choose the most efficient and effective choice.
So, you’ve gathered everything, asked all the hard questions, and done all the legwork. What’s next? During this phase, most people begin to feel crippled with the amount of information and data they have found. Choosing the most important data metrics to tell your story can feel overwhelming.
How to Ensure Your Data is Helpful
If you are struggling to choose what data is most important to include, consider doing a data-analysis write-up. This is no easy feat, but with practice, it gets easier and easier.
- How to Ensure Your Data is Helpful
- Write an overview of the problem
- Describe your data and modeling approach
- Add the results
- Draw your conclusions
The overview of your problem is simple. Don’t overthink it, just describe what the problem is. What are you trying to answer or solve? Keep it simple but ensure your overview is clear.
Next, describe what data you used to answer the problem. Make sure to be detailed about which metrics you chose and why. If you can’t explain why, you chose that data or realize that it doesn’t contribute to solving the problem, do not add it. Make sure to only include the data that goes along with your overview.
Next up, add visuals! Data can be shared in many forms but one of those forms should include a visual that paints the picture of the problem and another of the solution or progress. Salesforce reporting allows you to add tables to every report, and you can play around with what you want to highlight that’s most important.
Finally, ask yourself if you answered the question to your problem. Talk about what you learned and note it for the future. Make sure to highlight quickly what didn’t work and what changes you made to make the data work for you but keep it short and sweet!
Why You Should Become an Expert in Salesforce Reports
For many, creating reports is built right into their job description. However, even if it’s not listed in yours, there are several benefits to knowing how to run useful reports and being able to answer questions about the data. Salesforce reporting has several advantages that can benefit a specific project or the company as a whole.
- Advantages of Salesforce Reporting
- Provides consolidated and updated information
- Can be used as a form of communication
- Aids in planning and decision making
- Helps locate unknown or outdated information
- Provides information to companies, teams, stakeholders, and employees
- Can aid in solving current problems
As you can see, Salesforce reporting is beneficial in any business scenario. Whether you are a small business or a large corporation, Salesforce reporting can take your company to new heights. Arming yourself with the know-how to create Salesforce reporting is just step one in helping your business succeed. As you gather this data, learning what each metric and field means and why it’s important to the goals of the business will take you to the next level!
Reporting is crucial to evaluate all the progress made so far and analyze your company and individual teams’ performance. Remember to keep your report as simplified as possible to ensure that what you’ve reported on is not only accurate but is easy to maintain and update when necessary.
Salesforce reporting can help you make better-informed decisions across your entire organization, from sales and marketing strategies to internal operations, and customer service. Start using reporting today to understand your strengths and tackle your weaknesses!