10 Dec Salesforce Reports: What nobody is talking about
Salesforce’s (SFDC) dominance in the world of CRM is something that cannot be denied.
With over 150k customers, they have been a force to reckon with since 2013 when they achieved market share leadership. From a report earlier this year, it was found that 83% of the Fortune 500 companies are Salesforce customers. This can be attributed to its functionality, efficiency, and easy-to-use design.
But using Salesforce comes with its own problems and requires an advanced knowledge of its functionality and applications. It is a complex and powerful solution which may be overwhelming for sales teams without adequate hours of training. One such problem faced by salespeople is building reports using customer and sales data.
The Need for Reports
Creating reports in Salesforce is an integral part of a sales manager’s calendar. It provides important metrics and meaningful insights, such as pipeline trends and opportunity funnel, which allow them to track rep activity.
With Salesforce reports, sales managers can assess the performance of their sales reps from a compilation of multiple data points. They also allow them to compare sales rep performance and single out the underperformers, enabling intervention and coaching where necessary.
Good sales managers know that they need to track what their salespeople are doing to manage them efficiently. They need reports on their pipeline, open quotes, new opportunities, recent activities and lost sales. All the other embellishments are nice. But without these reports their CRM system (Read: SFDC) becomes worthless.
Limitations of Salesforce Reports
Salesforce is a mammoth in the CRM space. That much is undeniable. But it is in no way the perfect sales application.
The ability to create a custom report type, along with the option to choose from a number of standard report types makes the whole process sound simple enough. But this is definitely not the case. Reports and dashboards in Salesforce have been a constant source of angst among sales employees. Spending time and money on input, without experiencing comparable output is a huge waste of valuable resources. The call for better solutions rings louder than ever as companies grow, and keeping track of sales productivity becomes a hefty process.
In the context of Salesforce reporting, here are a few of the major limitations faced by sales officials.
Initial difficulty in generating reports
In an ideal scenario, creating a report would involve selecting the required parameters or data points, and clicking a single button.
But creating Salesforce reports is a convoluted process which involves creating an initial report, setting up a corresponding dashboard, and then integrating the two together.
What this does is that it quickly leaves sales reps and managers feeling confused and discouraged. Despite Salesforce gathering real-time data 24/7, sales teams cannot act on the data quickly because the report is too long and complicated to generate.
The report builders available at present lack the intuition required to make them easy to grasp. To overcome this, sales managers would have to invest valuable time teaching themselves how to generate, understand and efficiently use these reports.
Lack of effective visualisation
Let’s say that a sales manager has overcome the initial hurdle, and is now proficient at creating relevant reports. The new problem lies in the fact that all you get is effectively a spreadsheet with a lot of numbers. For anybody coming from outside of a data analysis background, it becomes very difficult to discern the pattern they are looking for.
Of course, there is an option to convert the data into visual representations. But often, the wrong kind of charts are used, making the whole point of visualisation redundant.
Limited cross object reporting
On Salesforce, you can report on any two linked record types or objects. And as long as that remains the case, everything goes well. But introduce one more metric to the mix, and things get messy. To gain any insightful data in such a situation, two separate reports would have to be created and merged, which is an unnecessary, time-consuming process.
This severely limits the manager’s ability to study trends in the sales cycle and gain useful insights.
Poor sharing capabilities
The generation of Salesforce reports can be automated, and recurring schedules can be set as daily, weekly, or monthly. But if a singular report needs to be shared immediately, the option isn’t available to users. They can only queue it to be sent at some point in the future, and this delay is not optimal for managers looking for quick data.
Further, Salesforce reports cannot be shared with unregistered members. Being a paid member of Salesforce.com is a requirement to receive reports from other employees. This makes it difficult to pass reports on to C-level executives, who probably won’t be paid members.
Solution: Look outside of Salesforce
Although CRM’s are flawed legacy systems, they are still integral to the sales process. Completely moving away from them would involve high transformation costs and a lot of time spent getting salespeople used to the new process.
The key to overcoming these limitations lies in augmenting CRM systems with third-party applications that add the required features and improve overall productivity.
In this case, Salesforce has several integrative tools that can solve the above-mentioned problems with generating, understanding and using reports.
SalesLoft is a leading sales engagement platform which offers a Salesforce integrative tool for easy creation of reports and dashboards. It keeps the reporting simple and provides key insights, highlighting areas of improvement.
Tableau is an analytics platform which doubles up as a visual analytics tool for Salesforce. It generates beautiful data visualisations which are both desktop and mobile friendly. It is highly adoptable and has several report templates made specifically for Salesforce.
Apsona for Salesforce is a powerful application which allows a user to create cross object reports using a multi-step reporting without the need for any external coding or development. It can be used to create charts, dashboards and pivot tables via a simple drag-and-drop interface, directly within Salesforce
Conga Courier is a plug-in for Salesforce that supports report scheduling and automation. With Conga, you can customize and schedule unlimited individual reports to anyone inside or outside of Salesforce. Thus, making sharing of reports a much easier affair.
In addition to the solutions mentioned above, Vymo has it’s very own analytics and reporting feature which allows a sales manager to generate custom reports and understand the impact of their sales execution. Coupled with seamless Salesforce integration, Vymo for Salesforce allows you to take advantage of the world’s #1 CRM platform.
Sales reports, when used properly, are an asset in every sales manager’s arsenal. And Salesforce as a CRM on its own is great and even integral to sales productivity. But to overcome a few of its shortcomings, it is necessary to equip it with a few tools which bridge these gaps.its
The sooner a manager realises this, the easier it becomes for them to drive sales efficiency throughout the funnel.