Are your sales reports giving you the actionable insights you need to improve your bottom line? How do you even know if you’re getting the information you should be getting from your data? We’ve got you covered. Here are five signs your current reports may need an upgrade.
1. You don’t know whether you can trust your sales forecast
You’re about to walk into the monthly management meeting. In your hand is your sales forecast for the next month, created based on data rolled up from your individual reps. Are you walking in with confidence in your numbers?
In sales, we all know that unexpected things come up, so there’s a natural amount of variation in your forecast. But for many sales managers, it’s more than that. They’re never quite sure what data they can rely on. For example, if you’re asking your reps to give a “gut feel” or to “commit” to winning certain deals, are your reps being consistently conservative? Way too optimistic?
It doesn’t have to be like this. We’ve talked in depth about how you can be more accurate—and confident—with your sales forecast when you combine “soft” data from your reps with actual hard data from your reports.
2. You can’t tell at which stages you are losing deals and why
These days, most companies know the importance of the sales funnel and their conversion rates. But we still see many organizations falling short in actually calculating and reporting them. A dynamic Sales Funnel report—with your actual up-to-date conversion rates and how they’re changing over time—is essential so you can optimize your business.
And there’s a second important level here: you need to know conversion rates for each rep. That’s where true insight comes. When you can see that James is the best at converting opportunities from trial to negotiation, you can use that information to help Joe, who’s struggling with his. That’s powerful, actionable insight.
The “why” is the last important piece of the puzzle. Do your reports let you drill into your stages to see which opportunities were lost at those stages and why? Otherwise, how will you know how to get better?
3. You’re not sure if your team is focusing on the right opportunities
You’ve got limited bandwidth. To make the most of your team’s time you need to know where you get the best return for your effort. With your current reporting tools, can you tell if you spend too much time closing low-value deals? Or trying to convert very old deals that you likely won’t win? Can you see which industries and clients are worth the effort and which are not? If not, it might be time to start thinking about an upgrade.
4. Your reps can’t tell in seconds which opportunities need their attention right now
Dashboards should be both strategic and tactical. You need to be able to reflect on how effectively your team is operating, but you also need to make your day-to-day operations more efficient. We find that when companies graduate from using the whiteboard or ad-hoc generated Salesforce lists to live reporting tools—specifically tailored to giving them better visibility of what matters (as discussed above)—they see immediate improvements.
5. You don’t know whether your data quality is a problem and what to do about it
The quality of your data affects your ability to gain insight from all your reports, especially the ones listed here. But data quality is also one of the biggest mysteries our customers ask us about.
Data quality is too important to be something you just wonder about. Regardless of what sales reporting tools you use—whether native Salesforce reports, InsightSquared, or just Excel—your standard reports should include an analysis of where your data (opportunities, deals, accounts, etc.) has errors, their severity, and the error types.
Do your sales reports need an upgrade? Learn how InsightSquared’s reporting suite can address these issues and many more.
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