How to Improve your Sales Reporting Strategy

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When it comes to the different types of sales reporting available, organizations’ sales and marketing teams sometimes are confused on what is being captured and why it matters.  Also, many companies are trying to centralize their reporting strategy, however, with so many different systems and large divisions, it’s common for us to see different dashboards and systems which report on metrics independently. As sales and marketing teams continue to evolve and integrate with one another to create a seamless customer experience, it’s important to understand how each metric being reported on fits into your sales process.
Here are a few tips on how to improve your sales reporting strategy if you are currently looking for ways to revamp its current state.
Understand your current state of reporting 
Many organizations have numerous key metrics, dashboards and locations for reports. Others submit requests for reports, and then there are some companies that use reporting tools like Google Analytics or their CRM. Most of these companies are ignoring the reports created for them because there are either too many or the information isn’t the best for what they are trying to capture. When you are thinking about your reporting strategy, think about what is and what isn’t working. One of the most interesting insights we see as consultants is when a company realizes their reporting is too complicated. Be sure to meet with your teams to understand what they are looking at on a daily, weekly, monthly basis and then decide if your reporting is currently meeting your needs.
Go back to basics- what are you trying to measure as a company? 
Take some time to review sales metrics and how they map to the company’s overall measurement of the business. Think about the different steps to your organization’s sales process and what metrics fit into the the different processes. What are some of the things you are trying to measure around opportunities that relate to closing business? What are some of the activities you are trying track that help determine your level of success? Think about these priorities and what your company goals and objectives are. We recommend writing down the company goals first, then underneath, the different metrics which would ideally help map your progress to completing these objectives as a sales team.
Think about how the metrics are displayed and if it’s working. 
With so many different tools, it’s important to understand why a dashboard or a report would work better for your teams. Within Oracle Sales Cloud, for example, you can build custom dashboards that display your team’s most important metrics. However, if you would like specific information in file format because of distribution, a report may be better. Ask your team for current examples on what metrics they look at and which ones they do not.
Ask your salespeople how they would like to consume this information. Don’t forget that dashboards and reports vary depending on a person’s role. For example, a best practice at SFCG that we recommend is usually to have a sales representative dashboard and a manager dashboard. Some of the questions to ask your team are what they want to check on a daily basis. Are they looking at their hot leads to call as a sales representative, or are they looking at the overall pipeline as a sales manager.  Focus on understanding your team’s day-to-day and what makes them successful. Once you decide what is important to measure, next is determining how you want to digest the information for each role.
Finally, think about how to prioritize your metrics.
When you are reviewing your current reporting strategy and someone says to you, “We need it all because they are all important!”, it’s time to dive deeper so that you can understand what is really necessary. Ask the people that make decisions based off of these reports about the impact of each metric and what would happen if reporting on each wasn’t available. It’s good to understand what the impact would be should the choice be to not to track something.
Every metric is important to a person’s success but it’s your job to understand the priority and visibility of these metrics. Check back to your interviews with your teams to see if those sales metrics match up to those you find in the company objectives. Once you have this comparison, you’ll be able to prioritize the importance of each one to determine where they fit into your organization.
In general, all reporting, but sales in particular, is very important for organizations to keep a pulse on the company’s overall direction. It can be overwhelming if there are so many reports that your company doesn’t review them all. Taking small steps to determine what matters to the company and in what order of significance each matters to it’s success goes a long way in knowing where your focus should be day-to-day. Getting a complete view of what should and shouldn’t be tracked will help you have better strategy sessions with salespeople, and give you a benchmark of where you are at any time of the year so you can make adjustments and ultimately hit the goals you set out for the organization.