If you’re thinking of investing in sales reporting software, you have some big decisions to make about what your business truly needs to know. There are many different sales reporting tools on the market, but not every option will help you to reach your sales goals and understand what’s happening from the sale rep level and across the entire team.
It’s important to do thorough research and set specific requirements for what functionality offers the most benefits to your business. Here are the capabilities you simply must have in your sales reporting software to understand your business.
Fast Time to Value
How long will it be before your sales reporting software is up and running, so that your business can start reaping the benefits? Many solutions unfortunately take a long time to set up and configure, meaning you could be waiting months before seeing the first real report. If it’s going to be weeks or months before your business gets any real value from the software purchase, it’s probably not the one to buy. A great sales reporting tool should deliver fast time to value, allowing your company to start using the software quickly and see benefits sooner, rather than later.
Ease of Use
Who will be using these sales reports at your company? If you want anyone besides a highly-skilled admin who lives in the product to actually use the software, ease of use is incredibly important. Adoption of sales reports can make a huge difference to your team, as sales managers can use reports to identify important trends across the team and individual reps can see how their personal metrics stack up against other reps on the team. These reports could be a huge motivator for your entire sales force, but only if your team is able to navigate and use the software easily to see those reports.
Sales reporting is all about understanding your business, so users should obviously be able to get the most value out of the reports. The software should be easy to use, but it should also easy to understand. If it takes a PhD in mathematics to learn anything from your sales reports, there is a serious problem. Great sales reporting software is focused on the business users and should clearly and simply convey a value to the business. You should choose sales software that can provide relevant information to everyone from the CEO to an individual sales rep.
Businesses shouldn’t be working off of reports using data that is weeks or even days old. If your sales reporting software doesn’t offer reports on what’s happening today, it’s not going to be very useful to your team. You don’t want to hit a button to run a report, and come back in a few hours to see what happened on your team last week. You need to open up a report now and see at a glance what’s going on with your business today. Sales moves fast, and your sales reports should be able to keep up.
A Glimpse Into the Future
Great sales reports don’t just tell you what happened yesterday; they can also help you understand what’s going to happen in the upcoming months. One of the biggest challenges for sales reporting software is creating accurate and reliable sales forecasts. A forecast should take your current pipeline, weigh it according to your historical sales data, and find a reasonable forecast that your business can expect to close. There are many methods of forecasting, but sales reports without accurate forecasts are useless and should not be an option for your team.
You know your business needs sales reporting software, but you shouldn’t just buy the cheapest option or the one you’ve heard other people use. Do real research into the different products available, and find software that delivers real value, quickly, easily, and with data you can use today to extrapolate what’s going to happen tomorrow. With the right data at your fingertips, you can find real improvements across your sales team to drive results.