The primary function of every customer relationship management (CRM) system is to promote a better buyer-seller relationship. However, in order to accomplish this goal, CRMs take many different forms, and offer a variety of different features. Tracking leads through the sales pipeline, recording and analyzing customer habits, segmenting customers into marketing-relevant groups, etc. — these capabilities help to ensure that sales teams, marketers, and other customer-facing departments have access to the kind of accurate data that businesses can rely on when making important decisions. However, before any of that data can be put to productive use, it needs to make the journey from CRM to decision maker, and that requires effective reporting.
Traditionally, data reporting has been viewed as something of a necessary evil. Sure, without a way to summarize and express acquired information, leaders would be left without any sort of foundation on which to base their decisions. That said, creating reports from raw data could be a very tedious, inefficient task. The time and energy investment associated with creating these reports resulted in increased costs, and had the tendency to soak up the time and talents of trained employees who would have been better utilized elsewhere. Of course, hiring outside specialists presented other problems, limiting the organization’s autonomy and draining funds from other important areas. Things seldom got any better once the reports were completed, as the finished products were often nearly as complex and confusing as the data they were created to represent.
The solution, then, was to create partially automated systems that would be capable of easily collecting, organizing, and analyzing large amounts of data, and then presenting that data in a way that is efficiently navigable. With the introduction of advanced CRM tools, this became a real possibility.
CRM reporting tools make it possible for business leaders and other decision makers to quickly and easily access the information they need, exactly when they need it. But what is it about reporting in CRM systems that is so effective? To answer that question, one needs to take a look at the advantages that CRM brings to the table. CRMs place a significant amount of information at your fingertips, and this information can be analyzed to produce valuable insights into not only customer habits and interests, but also profitability, pipeline effectiveness, goal progression, sales-conversion rates, and more. CRMs that include built-in reporting software, designed to automatically quantify valuable data as it is received, help to bridge the gap between cause and effect. In fact, according to a 2016 marketing automation survey, analytics and reporting were identified as the most useful features of marketing automation software. In order to accomplish this task, superior CRMs have certain advantages that help to perfect the reporting process. Here are five vital features of CRM reporting services:
Perhaps the single most valuable reporting feature of the modern CRM, interactive reporting allows users to not only review analyzed data via reports, but also to manipulate it. This is accomplished through the use of interactive dashboards. Dashboards are application interfaces that display a complete-yet-succinct overview of all the important information that a user might wish to review. This data is generally represented visually in the form of graphs, tables, charts, etc. But more than functioning as a static ‘snapshot’ of data, CRM interactive dashboards give users the opportunity to delve as deeply into the data as they may wish to, highlighting specific datasets, and achieving a more complete picture of the elements that play a role in business success.
Simplified Client Tracking
Almost without exception, your customers are the source of the information that is the most vital to your business. As such, keeping track of said customers as they make first contact with your organization, move through the sales pipeline, and eventually either complete a purchase or fall away should be central to your data strategy. CRMs are designed to track customers throughout their entire journey, collective valuable information relating to demographics, purchase history, pain points, and any other variables or factors that might be of interest to your organization. This data can then be summarized, reported, and shared among authorized users, so that no matter which company representatives the customer meets along the sales journey, they’ll always have the benefit of personalized customer service.
In-depth CRM Customization
Although there are definitely certain metrics that should be important to any business, it is also true that no two businesses are completely alike. And while one business may wish to focus heavily on one area of data collection and reporting, another business may wish to put invest efforts elsewhere. To compensate for this, the best reporting CRMs are largely customizable. This allows users to predetermine what kind of data will be highlighted in ongoing reports, how the data will be presented, and more. Customization not only provides users with the opportunity to create reports that 100% relevant to their organization's’ needs, it also makes it possible for the reporting functions to grow and adapt along with a changing business.
In business, there are times when choices must be made quickly. When those moments arrive, the last thing you want is outdated, incomplete data reports hindering your decision-making capabilities. CRM on-demand reporting does away with this issue. On-demand reporting allows decision makers to retrieve up-to-the-minute reports on whatever datasets they might need, so that every business decision can be backed by reliable and timely information.
Mobile Friendly Reporting
For most business leaders, the workday doesn’t come to a screeching stop every time they step out of the office. Modern mobile device make it possible for businesspersons to continue to work even while on the go. And, thanks to mobile-first design and cloud-based functionality, many CRMs are entirely mobile compatible. This means that any reports that could be accessed on the desktop computer in your office are just as accessible on your mobile smart device. After all, your work isn’t confined to your desk, your reports shouldn’t be, either.
Salesforce has redefined what CRM means for businesses, and in doing so, has also redefined what it means to provide superior CRM reporting services. Salesforce CRM reporting tools offer complete and effective reporting solutions out of the box, while also giving users the opportunity to customize their CRM reporting experience to better fit their own unique needs. Salesforce CRM is also completely cloud-based, and features full functionality across all platforms and devices (both stationary and mobile). Combine these features with the most advanced and reliable customer tracking available in the CRM industry, and you have a CRM reporting solution that will always give you the data you need, no matter where or when you might need it.
According to research by Inside CRM, 55% of users identify ‘ease of use’ as the most important feature of an effective CRM — shouldn’t your reporting be just as straightforward? Superior Salesforce CRM reporting brings all of the benefits of advanced customer relationship management to your reporting processes, and does so in a way that is easy to adopt, simple to execute, and potentially extremely profitable for your organization. Don’t trust your business to the drudgery and inaccuracy of traditional reporting methods; invest in CRM reporting, and bask in the beauty of reporting done right.
The best way to get to know Sales Cloud is to get your hands on the actual product. The free trial also comes with unlimited access to our Sales Community, a group of sales thought leaders sharing ideas about sales for salespeople.
Questions? Our reps have answers. 1-800-667-6389