In today's volatile economic environment we are often asked how we can best report on company-wide sales performance. On the surface, this seems like an easy question to answer. However, organisations, objectives and key data points are as diverse as companies. In our experience, setting up reporting so that it serves your goals and processes often starts with productive brainstorming sessions to determine what KPIs really matter and what type of sales segmentation is most valuable to your company.
Reporting by segments and divisions
Sales performance reporting is a cornerstone of many Salesforce instances. Each layer within the company is often looking for some level of sales reporting. The executive board tends to expect to see general sales performance; “How much have we generated in sales per quarter?” Or “How do our renewal percentages look?” On another level, account managers might be more interested in how different products perform; “How are our renewal rates for specific product families?” Or “Which accounts generate the majority of our revenue?”
Although each group within the company is looking for their own specialised reports and dashboards, the structure we set up determines how easy (or hard) it can be to generate reports. As examined in our first segment, data quality is crucial, as is identifying what metrics and data points matter for your business. The right data will enable us to set up the relevant segmentation structures - as a result we find that we can generate a report for every layer in the company, from the general sales user up to the CEO.
Preparing segmentation structures for one of our clients, a B2B intelligence and compliance provider, we started by looking at performance across different product divisions. The highest level of products is where we started, in this case access to the software platform. From there we can compare not just how many times we have sold access to a platform type, but also how many licences we have sold for each instance. As a result, we could see detailed reports on how many additional licences we sold per platform type.
Once this initial structure is set up, we have access to the most fundamental performance reports. These segments might be interesting to look at, but they tend to focus on short-term results. What we frequently find is that the discussions that follow are where most of the long-term results can be gained.
At this stage, identifying potential strategic business directions will guide our further optimisation of the ecosystem. Are we for instance interested in saving marketing costs by aiming to resell or upsell existing customers? Then you might want to examine reports on which types of products are more frequently renewed so you can focus efforts on these products and audiences.
In our experience, these types of questions not only lead to more accurate reporting, but also in understanding your target market at a much deeper level. There is a lot of more useful information to be gained from closed deals than just how much money has been made.
The big picture
Reporting needs can be diverse - segmented granular views serve an important purpose, however, a top-level end-to-end view of company performance can provide a sharp view of how well processes work together. It can highlight inefficiencies as well as help in maintaining consistency and transparency across all divisions of the business. Lead-to-Cash processes and reporting begin with marketing and end with revenue collection, providing an understanding of your business activities in very real terms.
The Lead-to-Cash lifecycle has been a great challenge for many organisations as it requires seamless harmony between departments like Marketing, Sales, Invoicing and Billing. Optimising many robust systems like HubSpot, Salesforce and Pardot to run in tandem and with great efficiency spanning the entire business of course requires a considered approach and a meticulously planned transformation; to result in efficient and people-friendly processes.
It is an investment that will generate manyfold returns: creating visibility into marketing-qualified leads for the sales team, removing the repetitive and slow manual efforts of creating quotes out of spreadsheets and enabling speedy handover between sales and finance. All of this will lead to making more informed decisions and can enable a company's growth across all functions and processes.
Even the largest scale digital transformation processes start with simple steps:
- Document your current processes by interviewing sales representatives, sales operations, order fulfilment and finance team members.
- Determine quick wins and a long-term plan for integration.
Our team of Salesforce and Pardot experts recommends focusing on the following:
- Reduce the LTC lifecycle by optimising existing processes.
- Automate otherwise manual functions.
- Improve user interaction by reducing the number of user inputs - this could be achieved by de-cluttering the UI and integrating with other systems like SAP to make the whole process seamless.
- Take reporting considerations into account.
Whether your most pressing needs are a top-level end-to-end view or precise reporting on more granular pieces of information you will have to start at the foundations. Data quality, customer needs and delight as well as the right processes to focus on. There is no one size fits all approach - but you can discover the one that works best for your organisation and creates a tangible competitive advantage to stand out.
Don’t miss our other pieces on the foundational steps for choosing and setting up your CRM system and how to prioritise data quality:
Or download our CRM guide to we’ve created to help you design your own selection process and clarify what essential features you need.
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