No matter which industry sector your business belongs to and what your scale of your operations is, your business will never be able to sustain long enough in the market if you ignore your customers. Customers are rightly the “kings” of the business and every action you take should directly or indirectly be in their favour.
Owing to this dependency on customers, customer relationship management (CRM) has become one of the most important aspects to look after by the marketing and sales team of a business enterprise. Customers need to be approached on an individual basis, taking note of all their needs and providing them personalised services. As the years are passing, every small, medium and large business house is diversifying and catering more number of customers. Also, new technological advancements are being made at a lightning speed.
These factors have resulted in the customer database getting more complicated with time. There are businesses that cater to hundreds (and even thousands) of customers on a daily basis. This implies that the volume of customer data stored by them is increasing. It is nearly impossible for a sales team to employ traditional methods of CRM management as thousands of records are to be maintained on a daily basis.
These issues have given rise to various business CRM software platforms that computerise the process of CRM. They allow businesses in handling their customer records in an automated manner, leading to the tasks getting completed much faster. Of all the CRM platforms available in the market, Salesforce CRM is arguably the most talked about and the most beneficial software.
Since it was introduced in the market more than two decades ago, Salesforce has helped multiple businesses in handling their customer database efficiently. It provides you with services such as lead management, email marketing, making advertising campaigns, undertaking business analytics and many more. Through platforms like Salesforce Sales Cloud and Salesforce Marketing Cloud, the software also takes on a wholesome approach on marketing your business.
However, in spite of making business processes simpler, the entire platform of Salesforce CRM can be a little complicated to understand. There are multiple features, platforms, tools, components and add-ons one needs to understand to become a Salesforce professional.
If you aspire to become a Salesforce expert and are looking forward to land a job in data science at a repute organisation, it is advisable to start by exploring the world of Salesforce reports.
What are Salesforce Reports?
Creating productive reports are instrumental in functioning of any business organisation. They act as valid indicators of a firm’s progress by providing you with data relating to all the business processes performed by the personnel. Reports can also be termed as detailed periodic summaries of all the activities performed within a business organisation. They play a critical role in the decisions made by the authorities as all managers use reports in tracking the business processes and checking whether the teams are heading towards attaining long-term and short-term goals.
Salesforce reports are just like any other reports created in a business organisation. They provide senior management and analysts with a detailed summary and records of the activities performed by the users on the platform of Salesforce. A Salesforce report can be defined as a detailed list of records that meet specific criteria defined by a business organisation. Technically, building reports in Salesforce would involve creating rows and columns that can be grouped, filtered and represented in the form of informative graphical representation.
After creating reports in Salesforce, they are stored in specific folders. The users can then choose to keep these folders hidden, shared, and public, or set them to a read-only mode. Also, the access to Salesforce reports can be controlled on the basis of permissions, roles, licenses or public groups. It is important to understand that majority of the Salesforce reports are sensitive in nature and need to be made sufficiently secure.
Formats of Reports
Broadly, there are four formats using which you can create reports in Salesforce as explained here:
This is the format that facilitates you in giving the most basic look to your report. Creating reports in Salesforce using this format involves a simplified listing of necessary data without including any subtotals. This format is ideal for the cases that merely require a sample list of items adding up to a grand total. For example, this format can be used for creating reports pertaining to list multiple accounts, list of opportunities, list of contacts and other maintaining other similar records.
Unlike the Tabular format, this format of building reports in Salesforce allows you in providing your seniors with a list of data with valid sub totals and groupings. This is the idea format to create reports if it is critical to obtain a sub total based on specific fields. It can also be used when you want to create a grouped report based on hierarchy like sales, organised on a set periodic basis.
This is the format that allows users to group relevant records by rows as well as columns which can be used to make a comparison of both the totals. You can use this format if you want to view and compare data pertaining to two distinct dimensions that have no relations with each other (like products and date).
This is the format that allows the users in storing blocks of important information in one single report. It allows you to adopt up to five varied blocks and display distinct related data belonging to the concerned blocks. You can also add different unique, summary fields, columns, filters, formulas and sort order to each of the blocks. You can use this format if there is a need to group relevant data and show the same from varied report types belonging to different views.
What are Report Types?
Report types can be defined as different templates that can be used for making the process of reporting easier for the users. It helps developers and operators in determining the records and fields that are available for creating specific reports, taking into consideration the relationship between a primary object and objects related to the same.
For instance, using the “Contacts and Accounts” report type would involve “Contacts” as the primary and “Accounts” as the related object. Salesforce reports display all the records that meet specific criteria users define in report types.
The platform of Salesforce CRM also provides its users with standard report types that are pre-defined in nature. It also allows the users to create custom report types in case a user is not able to find all the fields they require. For instance, a Salesforce administrator can create a specific report type that only shows a list of job applications having a resume attached with them. This would imply that the applications without resumes will not be displayed in the reports created using this type.
Also, the concerned administrator has an option to display records having related fields (applications with or without resumes). In this situation, Salesforce will make all applications (with or without resumes) available to the reports created using the concerned report type. The administrator can also choose to create a lookup relationship with an object to add necessary fields from that object. This in turn leads to more reporting possibilities for the users.
Creating a Salesforce Report
Creating Salesforce reports is a process that is fairly simple and easy to understand, provided you follow all the steps precisely. Once you know what assessment you want to make and what parameters you want to consider, you should be able to create reports in Salesforce with ease and precision.
Here is a little Salesforce reporting tutorial, discussing all the major steps involved in detail for creating reports on the platform of Salesforce CRM:
Identify Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
The process of creating Salesforce reports is essentially that of converting seemingly random and incoherent data into conclusions that make sense. In order to derive to these conclusions, it is important for you to ascertaining the key performance indicators (KPIs) that affect the functioning of your business.
Once you look into these KPIs, you will be sure as to what you want the reports to show. This will also set an ideal base for the process of creating the report according to your requirements.
If you are a sales-driven organisation, you may want to consider the deals you have lost over a period of time, the competitors rising in your market and the increase/decrease of the average time to close. If you are a business that specialises in customer service, you may want to ascertain the time you take in closing cases. If you are a full-fledged marketing agency, you may want to keep a track of ROI and the effectiveness of a marketing campaign.
Once you have a better understanding of the KPIs you need to focus on, you can successfully start with the technical aspects of creating a Salesforce report.
Creating a Report Framework
You can start with the technical aspects of creating a report both in Salesforce Classic as well as Salesforce Lightning. However, the steps mentioned here pertain to the platform of Salesforce Classic.
Once you are on the main interface, click on the option of “Reports”. This would show all the reports you have already created. Then, click on the option of “New Report”, which would lead you to a new window.
Once you choose this option, you will see reports that are automatically created by Salesforce CRM for you. It is advisable to choose one of these standard options and build on it.
It is important to note that Salesforce reports do not have an option of auto-save. Make sure you save all the activities you make on the platform while creating a report.
Use Report Builder
Once you successfully create a new report, you will be directed to Report Builder. This window will show you three different panes:
- Fields Pane – This pane would display all the data fields available for you to add to your report.
- Preview Pane – This pane would provide you with a preview of the data you have chosen using Fields Pane that would assist you in building your report.
- Filter Pane – This pane would help you in filtering the data you chose to include in your report according to necessary parameters.
Select and Add the Data Fields You Need
Once you have entered the Report Builder, you can simply drag and drop the data fields you need to add to your report. Make sure you get rid of the fields you do not require.
Once you have the fields you require for the report, drag them and drop them in the Preview Pane. Here, you will also have an option of removing all columns you don’t require in case you want begin the entire process again.
Filter the Data Chosen For Your Report
All pre-built Salesforce reports come with a shortcut for choosing standard filters. You can also choose to create custom filters in case you can’t find filters you need. You can choose the filter you need by simply typing its name in the first drop down menu.
Choose the Report Type
Once you are done with filtering the data, you need to choose the type of report you want to create out of the four options mentioned earlier in detail. Once you choose the option, you can arrange your data in the records and fields according to the report type and get ready with the final report.
Run Your Salesforce Report
Once you are done with the report (including all the charts and graphs added), the Report Builder will give you a final preview of the way your report will look. If you are satisfied with the result, click on the “Run Report” to officially end the process of creating your Salesforce report. Save your final report and you are great to go!
“Chitiz Agarwal also known as “Kumar” is a Salesforce.com evangelist and architect who has more than 13 yrs of IT experience. He has worked with big MNCs like Accenture and IBM and now running Techila Global Services from last 7 yrs and grown the company to size of 150+. He has delivered more than 700 projects on Salesforce.com till date and participated from initial requirement understanding to final delivery. His twitter handle is @ChitizAgarwal”