Reporting and analytics are a core part of any sales ops effort. Simply put, you have to make sure that you track exactly how your sales team is performing, and how your leads are moving through your pipeline, to build better processes and improve incrementally over time.
Any Salesforce training on reporting starts with the fundamentals. From historical Salesforce reporting to live agent reporting, the platform makes it easy to build out the dashboards and charts you need to both gain an overview and dig into the deeper details. To help you understand the importance of Salesforce reporting and allow you to run your own reports, we’ve asked 8 sales ops experts on their preferred setups. These are their responses.
Melinda Forest, Sales Operations Manager at Decibel
Melinda Forest’s favorite dashboard is a Stage History report that turns out to be a core Salesforce omnichannel reporting tool. Her emphasis in looking at the chart is on the velocity between stages, which helps her find a number of insights:
- When to pull in marketing, partner, or product resources to help stale opportunities move forward.
- Where adoption of the process has failed, and where intervention might be necessary.
- How strategic coaching can influence sales agents whose win/loss rates correlate with longer stage age durations.
- How to predict revenue based on buyer trends for the same or similar accounts.
- How to “reinforce the importance of optionalizing one’s pipeline.”
Sales ops experts like Melinda value historical Salesforce reporting because of its ability to determine trends that have developed over time. Particularly in industries with longer buying cycles, determining and analyzing stage length can be a core analytical tool.
Chris Flores, Founder of C-Flo Consulting
According to Chris Flores, “there is nothing better than a ‘housekeeping’ dashboard.” His report is aptly called Clean Your Room, enabling him to keep an overview, over immediate action items to be taken by both sales ops managers and sales reps based on various stages in the sales cycle.
In many ways, this approach goes back to the Salesforce training reporting fundamentals. Advanced reports like that of Melinda above are immensely beneficial, but taking care of the basics first has to be a part of the larger equation.
Chris sends his dashboard weekly to team leads, managers, and C-suite executives. He leverages the naturally competitive nature of sales reps: “no one wants to be called out for not updating their CRM.” Just like clean house matters to a healthy lifestyle, a clean CRM and pipeline can contribute to better sales operations.
Let’s take the clean house analogy above even further. That clean house matters little if your roof leaks. That’s why, to an international sales ops pro like Joe Gates, the most valuable report available within Salesforce is the Leaking Funnel.
It’s simple, visual, and has plenty of obvious takeaways. That’s the reason it works so well in teaching sales reps the Salesforce training reporting fundamentals. In just one chart, it shows exactly where opportunities are falling out of the sales funnel, and – just as importantly – why they do so.
Each Rep can use this report to view their funnel and learn about their performance. Where are they doing well? Where can they improve based on missed opportunities? Reports like these make it obvious that Salesforce reporting training is as much practice as it is theoretical lessons.
Marc Runyan, Sr. Director Revenue Operations & Enablement at Nitro, Inc.
Salesforce report snapshots have limitations as soon as manual data entry gets involved. That’s why Marc Runyan relies on automated data inputs wherever possible. His reports do not rely on sales reps updating any field, which is key to data accuracy especially in a sales process with multiple accounts and potential inputs involved.
The report here shows the total number of priority accounts along with the degree of penetration each rep’s territory is achieving. All account stages shown are custom-created.
This Salesforce report with total territory penetration, along with the stack rank (or score) of a rep’s prospect accounts. According to Runyan, Salesforce external objects reporting is an essential part of the sales ops process. Scoring from a variety of external sources connected to email servers and web-pages feed in to determine whether a rep is prospecting vs. when a customer is engaged, and when an opportunity is created. Actionability is key here: “The stages and scoring help managers work with reps on increasing territory coverage by creating action plans for accounts depending on their stage.”
Jeanette Appiah, Sales Operations Analyst at Merkle
Any basic Salesforce reporting training fundamentals will inevitably begin with the most important goals: revenue and opportunity conversions. As it turns out, the importance of these types of reports never truly goes away. That’s why Appiah suggests a simple heart of opportunities related to sales schedules as her favorite analytics tool.
At its most basic, this report allows the business to view ongoing monthly revenue by the client, gaining a better idea of financial inflows especially with current clients on recurring contracts. The third dimension in this report is monthly spent, relying heavily on the financial structure of the company (in this case, Merkle).
The lesson here is a simple one: core reports don’t simply diminish in importance as you ascend to becoming an expert in Salesforce omnichannel reporting. Instead, you begin to gain deeper insights that ultimately allow you to build a comprehensive overview of sales performance and improve that performance over time.
Johnny Day, Head Of Sales Operations at Crowdcube
To Johnny Day, much like Jeanette in the example above, simplicity is key. His team at Crowdcube prefers simple dataset at the highest level over in-depth spreadsheets that can confuse the analysis and lead to obscure takeaways. His favorite report reflects that fact.
The report itself simply breaks down potential, launched, and funded accounts by month and quarter. It counts both simple numbers and value, allowing for trends reporting over a standardized period of time. It’s a Salesforce live agent reporting tool designed to get quick, actionable takeaways.
The report is a conscious effort to scale back the usual BI, reporting, data, and dashboard. As Day puts it, “keeping it simple helps people to maintain focus.” His teams all start at the same point and keep the questions to the basics. A low number for the month or quarter can prompt discussions about necessary improvement for the next cycle. Rather than drowning in data, this basic approach keeps the details only for those who truly need it.
Nia Barnabie, Head of Global Sales Operations at Jumio Corporation
Like the above example, pipeline reporting has to be a part of any type of Salesforce reporting, external objects or not. It allows you to gain a simple but effective overview of everything happening in the funnel, providing you and each rep with opportunities to learn about what it takes to push opportunities through.
That’s why Nia Barnabie believes in the power of the Rolling Pipeline. She uses it to always “keep an eye on the forecast”, thanks to the easy projection of future sales based on average current conversion rates. When the basic report is not enough, pulling in external data that could enhance the accuracy of those conversion rates can improve the report.
The key, though, remains simplicity. Even without any external object, Barnabie believes in using the rolling pipeline as a way to analyze the trends and behaviors of both individual reps and the organization as a whole. Yes, Salesforce reporting snapshots have limitations. But their significant benefits are seen in reports like these.
Ondrej Bosak, Revenue Operations Manager at Exponea
As for Ondrej, he strongly believe that these (picture above) gives a great overview of how your quarter will end (recurring revenue). It combines, closed-won cARR and forecasted cARR defined based on conversion rate and slip rate (rates dynamically change based on month 1-3 – slip rate for deals in month 3 is higher than in month 2).
Building Better Salesforce Reports for Improved Sales Operations
Salesforce is a complex, but a crucial tool in the sales operations world. Its reporting tools, in particular, can prove invaluable for any sales ops manager looking to track and improve performance, pipeline optimization, and processes. Of course, learning how to leverage them can be complex, and in more ways than one.
Setting up Salesforce Analytics snapshots is only the beginning. You also have to know exactly what to track, from simple reports to complex dashboards focused on Salesforce external objects. Experts like the above all have built their own, custom solutions.
Now, it’s your turn.
At Ebsta, we believe in the power of native Salesforce reporting, and have developed something called the Ebsta Score that track real engagement between a rep and their prospects. Allowing sales operations managers and sales managers to understand which deals are likely to close this quarter and which are at risk.