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How to Create Salesforce Reports That Actually Helps Your Sales Team

Vy Dang
2/17/20 5:39 PM

If your organization is using Salesforce, you’d want to make the most of it. So you head to Salesforce, create some reports, leave them there, and never touch them again. Or a bit better, you present those Salesforce dashboards with the entire team in the monthly meetings, where everyone smiles and nods while getting lost in the charts 😴 .

There’s gotta be a better way. And we’ll show you how.

Start from your sales metrics 

When it comes to management, you get what you measure.

That is to say, if you report the number of meetings, you are telling your sales team to make more efforts in booking meetings.

Choose wisely what you want your sales team to spend their time, energy and talents on.

A good place to start is your sales goals. If you have already done reverse-engineering for your sales goals, you know which sales metrics you want to pay attention to. 

We like to follow 2 types of sales metrics, which are activity metrics with Salestrail and result metrics. It is useful to selectively put different types of related metrics into groups because it makes the reports and dashboards easier to grasp.

Especially if you intend to use those Salesforce reports for sales analysis, having all components in one place could shed a light on what might be the issues in your sales team.

Sales activity performance dashboard

Create Salesforce reports and dashboards

This guide is mainly for Salesforce Lightning interface as more companies have switched from Classic to Lightning, and Salesforce Lightning has more to offer users when it comes to reporting and data visualization.

If you have reasons to stick to Salesforce Classic, here’s a guide on how to create reports in Salesforce Classic.

How to create a report in Salesforce Lightning

Step 1: Identify which Salesforce objects your sales metrics are related to

choose report type salesforce screenshot


Step 2: Choose opportunity-related fields you want to display

  • In order to add charts to the report, you should include group rows.
Salesforce report filters screenshot


Step 3: Add filters to fine-tune your reports

  • For all the opportunity-related fields, you can filter out the values you don’t want to include in the report.
salesforce report filters big screenshot


Step 4: Add chart and run report for testing

Once you have added the chart, clicked "Run" to test your report numbers. Notice if there are any changes in the contextual settings you'd like to make, for example: 

  • Timeframe
  • Filters used 
  • Total and subtotal count display 

Step 5: Select report folder, permission and save report

  • Having organized folders is key to efficient reporting
  • Make sure you share it with the right team
save salesforce report as


How to create a dashboard in Salesforce

Step 1: New dashboard >> Add Component

create salesforce dashboard screenshot

Step 2: Arrange report data

  • Choose reports you want to add 
  •  Try out different charts to see which one does the best job of data visualization 
  • It's always good to see values of each unit / field  
add component salesforce dashboard screenshot


Other tools for Salesforce reporting

Some of other tools available to add more functionality to your Salesforce reports are:

  • Tableau: dynamic data visualization and raw data conversion
  • Klipfolio: Wall TV dashboard and pre-built dashboard templates
  • SmartSheet
  • G Connector
  • Conga Courier

Invite your team to comment and contribute

The traditional process of reporting has been individualized to the sales managers and directors, leaving out good insights from the sales reps.

How could you know if the data is skewed because of some ad-hoc changes? Or some numbers are incorrect, outdated?

Remember, in accurate data is just as dangerous as no data. 

For sales managers, this means giving access to your sales reports and actively seeking feedback from the team.

An easy way to do this is to share the reports before your monthly / quarterly meetings so that your team is somewhat prepared to share their thoughts. 

Assess and update accordingly

We're not born with great Excel skills, but we learn them over time. It's exactly the same with reporting and presenting your reports. As you collect feedback from your team and stakeholders, you'll learn improve many facets of creating a helpful report for the whole team. 

Here's our checklist to make sure we're creating good reports: 

  • It's easy to see the trends and understand the context from the Salesforce reports 
  • There's no unnecessary data included 
  • The data is visualized with consistent color coding 
  • The reporting has made it easier for your sales team to self-monitor
  • The Salesforce reports helped your sales team to focus on the right thing

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