There is hardly any doubt that companies now need a robust customer relationship management (CRM) solution to manage their customers effectively. A CRM solution can prove to be an important asset to your sales team, as covered in detail in our blog post – “How Does a CRM Solution Help Sales?”
However, just having a CRM system cannot guarantee success. To reap its full benefits, you need to manage your CRM properly. And one of the most crucial things that can make or break your CRM journey is CRM reporting.
It is vital to get your CRM reporting right because unclear insights can confuse your sales team, managers and management to a great extent. Insightful reporting is essential to understand customer behavior, improve their experience and increase retention.
The Harvard Business Review has examined the significance of using CRM reporting correctly, enumerating the problems that poor reporting can present. The report revolves around such issues as sales reps holding back bad news, a lack of understanding of definitions and poor tracking of outcomes versus predictions.
Let us, therefore, look at how to make your CRM reporting more effective.
Creating Reports that Offer Relevant Information and Insights
There was a time when sales managers yearned for more reports because they had few ways to analyze their team’s performance. While you now can get as many reports as you want, solid insights are often lacking.
Kyle Aulerich – founder and CEO of ApostleTech – states the situation in his article for Destination CRM.
“Today, sales leaders have easy access to the data with just the click of a button. Multiple reports can be delivered to their inbox on the hour if that’s what they wish. However, what’s often missing from reports is clear insights. Technically, the information is there but it can be buried, making it difficult to extract. In some cases, the reports offer contradictory information, leaving sales managers in a position to decide which conclusions are accurate.
“Sound familiar? When this is the case, inevitably managers start requesting fewer reports or just stop reading them. To overcome this, the goal is to create reports that offer information and insights without requiring you to search through data to find what you need. Is that even possible? The simple answer is yes.”
According to Aulerich, organizations that streamline their sales reports can flourish. Using CRM to extract the relevant data serves to increase efficiency and understanding on the customer journey – from start to finish. “Identifying what you need, developing your CRM to capture the right information and to generate reports that provide it. Users no longer need to spend time wading through a sea of irrelevant information.”
The next step is determining what information is necessary to keep and what should be eliminated. This allows companies to empower their teams with the knowledge they need to make smart decisions. By reducing the volume of reports and zeroing in on what is important, it keeps the team from being distracted by the numbers and focused on the business of taking care of customers.
Providing Information That is Most Relevant for Each Position in Your Company
CRM reporting helps businesses in more ways than one. It distills what is happening in your business, provides you with the data you need to make strategic decisions and offers the managers insight into where they need to change to improve their team’s performance.
CRM reporting can help your team members at all levels. In his article for Discover CRM, Doug Haines notes that CRM reporting comes in many forms, and is used by a range of stakeholders, sales reps, middle managers, C-suite executives and investors – who can all gain considerable insight relevant to their needs.
Sales reps – Can evaluate their pipeline and make decisions on where to place their efforts, as sales reps need to know how to identify high-value leads.
Middle manager – Can track the performance of their team and use the data collected to report to senior management and make tactical changes. One of the most vital reports for a mid-level sales manager is the team performance report. They must know how each member in their team is performing on crucial parameters like deal closing, prospect nurturing and lead follow-up, using such reports as sales performance measurements, sales pipeline analysis and sales activity data.
Executives – Can assess and check whether the strategy they have formulated is succeeding in day-to-day business operations. Top management requires a different set of data to get a bigger picture, as they need to formulate overall organizational strategy and set and achieve sales goals. The reports and data they need can include forecast analysis, customer demographics and CRM tools that can help in tracking and measuring performances. Different positions may require different insights. But one element top management can’t do without is the valuable information regarding prospects and customers that can result in increased sales.
Which Elements of the Sales Process Provide the Most Valuable Insights?
Measuring and tracking your sales performance using your CRM is crucial to your sales success. But do you know the elements of the sales process that provide the most valuable insights? We offer the following.
The individual – The sales managers must know how their team members perform. They need to know the success/loss rates of individuals in their teams – including calls made, meetings held, deals closed/lost. Your CRM system can provide you with all the information you need about how individuals perform in your team. You can learn about the individual’s workload, the type of leads they nurture and the time they take to close deals. A glimpse into their funnel can give you all the details to gauge their performance.
The sales cycle – It is crucial to know the length of your sales cycle. And with a CRM system in place, you can easily track and measure the movements in the pipeline. A look into the pipeline can help you determine the length of the average sales cycle. Sales tracking, past experiences, past sales metrics and sales characteristics of individuals all help sales managers determine the optimum sales cycle.
The sale size – Good CRM metrics help identify the average sales deal sizes that move through the funnel. You can identify the sales opportunities present outside the average, and assign resources and individuals to pursue them.
The customer value – It is crucial to know the value of your customers. Those who spend more with you need special treatment. These preferred customers may have some unique needs – you may have to assign a single person to deal with them, and know when they prefer to interact. You can get to know all of this and more from your CRM system.
The team – CRM reports not only offer real value to sales managers, but it also helps teams and individuals tremendously. When you share this information with your team members, they can learn from their strengths and weaknesses, and improve their performance.
The Take-Home Message
As you’ve learned, even the best CRM solution is only as beneficial to your organization as what you put into it. Getting the most from your reports requires taking a good, focused look at the needs of each level of your team members and ensuring they provide relevant data. We leave Aulerich with the last word.
“This process takes a thoughtful approach and usually involves some trial and error. Rather than rushing to request a reduction in reports, identify the information required for key decisions. Then review the data individuals and departments need to manage operations more effectively. Evaluating what to keep, what to discard, and what to create is a weighty task. However, once you focus on generating reports that provide data to support areas of operations and empower your team to make smarter strategic moves, it will transform your CRM solution from a limitation to an asset.”
If you are looking for a CRM system that can meet your requirements and help you build strong relationships with your customers, eZnet CRM is a cloud-based CRM solution that can provide you with the best return on your investments. It can integrate well with your existing applications, and its social CRM feature helps you keep in touch with your current and prospective customers socially. Contact us to learn more and start your free 30-day trial.