It’s a widely known axiom that “you can’t improve what you can’t measure.” This applies in all sectors of industry, and is an especially vital truth within the world of sales operations. Companies that leverage big data, even in bite-sized portions, have a massive advantage over competitors that haven’t yet caught on to all the possibilities that next-level analytics and reporting can offer.
Within the Salesforce platform, there are many measurement tools that allows sales ops managers to take a wide angle view of their team’s performance, and simultaneously grasp at the important details that may otherwise go unnoticed. The following information will discuss some of the benefits of using one of these tools: The Salesforce Reporting Snapshot.
According to Salesforce:
A reporting snapshot lets you report on historical data… Reporting snapshots enable you to work with report data similarly to how you work with other records in Salesforce.
Reporting snapshots, therefore, serve as data compilations that especially focus on historical trends, rather than current opportunities. They automatically capture and store specific data sets at predefined intervals, and generate reports, or “snapshots,” that provide useful information for ongoing analysis and comparison.
Reporting snapshots have three basic elements:
- A source report (Tabular or Summary)
- A Custom Object that contain matching fields to the source report’s columns
- A Reporting Snapshot definition that matches fields to one another and coordinates the snapshot “runs,” or time frames in which the snapshot is operational
Within the structure that these three components provide, Reporting Snapshots offer a high level of customization for each administrator.
In this section, we will provide a brief walk through of how to create a reporting snapshot in Salesforce. For more detailed information, be sure to visit our article on Salesforce Analytic Snapshots.
Step #1: Create a New Report
Go to the Reports tab and click on the New Report button near the top of the page. Choose the report type you want to use, and then click Create. You will have the ability to drag in as many columns as you’d like for future monitoring. Once you’ve finished selecting all of the desired columns, click Run Report.
Tip: It is usually best practice to select fields that are regularly updated for your reporting snapshot. This will allow you to leverage Salesforce’s capabilities to a greater degree.
Finally, save your created report under an easy-to-understand filename.
Step #2: Create a New Custom Object to Store Your Data
Go to Setup > Create > Objects, and then select New Custom Object. Make sure to give your new object a memorable and intuitive name. Check the “Allow Reports” box under Optional Features and the Deployed option under Deployment Status, and then click Save.
Then, create Custom Fields that match the corresponding columns in your source report (created in Step #1). Under Custom Fields & Relationships, click on New to begin the process. Make sure that the name of each custom field is the same as its matching column in the source report.
Step #3: Create an Automation Job
This is the step in which the “snapshot” part of Reporting Snapshot comes into play. Go to Setup > Data Management > Reporting Snapshots > New Reporting Snapshot.
First of all, give your snapshot an appropriate name, and ensure that you, as the Running User, have permission to view and report on any data that will be stored in the custom object you created in Step #2. Then, from the Source Report and Target Object drop-down menus, choose the source report and custom object that will be used for this snapshot. Select Save & Edit Field Mappings in order to match the columns from your source report to the corresponding fields in the custom object, and then, once you are done, hit Save.
Finally, under Schedule Reporting Snapshot, hit the Edit option. You’ll be able to choose the frequency of your snapshot’s run (for instance, every weekday, every Monday, every 2 weeks, etc.) and its start and end times. Upon completion of this step, your Reporting Snapshot will begin running at the specified start time, and will generate periodic data captures at the frequency you selected.
During its run, the snapshot will continue to store any captured data in the custom object. In order to access the object, simply go to Reports > Create New Report, and look for your object under Other Reports.
Once your snapshot has been configured and is operational, you’ll want to periodically monitor its progress, and analyze the trends that it captures. The beauty of the Salesforce Reporting Snapshot is that once the relevant data has been captured within the custom object, it is very easy to generate summaries and filtered reports from the compiled information.
Note: It may take some time for the reporting snapshot to capture a sufficient amount of data to be useful in historical trend analysis.
Since the winter of 2014, Salesforce has activated Historical Trend Reporting as a default setting. You can utilize this special report to explore highlights and/or changes between 5 snapshot dates. Additionally, you can use up to 4 historical filters for a more focused analysis. In the Salesforce Lightning Experience, you’re able to add filters from either the Report Builder, or the report itself as you are viewing it.
The Top 4 Benefits of Using Salesforce Reporting Snapshots
While there are a multitude of benefits that reporting snapshots can bring to the table, here are 4 key advantages that they can offer:
1. Track Changes in Your Sales Pipeline
We are all aware of the potentially volatile nature of a sales pipeline. Historical data that is neatly organized and compiled from reporting snapshots can help you to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to a sea change in the market’s needs or expectations. For instance, a historical analysis of deals that grew or shrank in value can provide insights into your consumers’ shifting priorities, whether from service to pricing, pricing to quality, or any other emergent transformation.
Moreover, data culled from snapshots can also help you to more readily spot inefficiencies within the sales process as a whole. As an example, you can filter reports based on geographic location in order to determine low-performing versus high-yield regions.
2. Monitor Forecast Accuracy
Reporting snapshots can also provide you with a window into the level of accuracy associated with current team forecasting. An analysis of reports that are filtered by department, team, or individual salesperson can give you an increasingly granular perspective on where the forecast is hitting the target, and where significant variances exist.
3. Track Changes by Case or Account
Salesforce Reporting Snapshots have the capacity to keep a running historical tab on even individual cases, or accounts. This feature can be extremely helpful in managing important B2B accounts, for example. Snapshots can provide an overview of revenue generated from a specific partnership, and indicate whether profit is trending up or down. It can also facilitate a more segmented analysis (especially for larger corporations) that can detail many important measurements of performance and sustainability, such as:
- Trends in purchase categories
- Engagement rate according to each department within the target account
- Product return and/or complaint rates vs positive engagements
4. Serve as Compelling Evidence for Proposals
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to propose a certain course of action to senior management, then reporting snapshots can serve as excellent auxiliary support for your presentation. Whether it’s a recommendation to stay the course, or a call to right the ship, snapshot-sourced reports can serve as bite-sized markers to help executives and top managers understand the current state of affairs, and determine what would be the best decision going forward.
Using Salesforce Reporting Snapshots is only one piece of the puzzle, but it is an important component of successfully leveraging data analytics to yield actionable insights. If you are interested in other crucial strategies that will optimize your company’s sales performance across the board, download our Sales Ops Handbook today.