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CRM Reporting: How To Create Useful Insights To Improve Business Performance

Effective CRM reporting generates distilled insights that lead to better sales performance. Here’s an overview of how CRM reporting works, what metrics to track, and best practices to keep in mind.

The role of CRM reporting in your business

Savvy sales teams recognize just how much tracking happens within a business:

  • Salespeople monitor pipeline metrics and conversion rates 
  • Sales managers track sales performance and sales cycle times
  • Marketers develop and monitor ad campaigns and conversions
  • Customer support teams track tickets to improve resolution times
  • Executives want operational visibility to track efficiency and costs
  • Investors use internal company metrics to make investment decisions

Without effective reporting, you end up making business decisions haphazardly, allocating resources inefficiently, and wasting time on initiatives that don’t bring in revenue.

What types of reports can you generate?

Different reports accomplish different things for different teams:

  • Sales pipeline report shows sales managers and reps the current total number of deals, deal sizes, deal velocity, deal change histories, and win/loss ratios
  • Lead source report shows sales and marketing teams where the best and most leads are coming from by tracking deal totals by source, closed revenue by source, lead scores, and average conversion time by source
  • Sales activity report give sales team managers and their reps insight into ongoing sales activity by tracking the number of calls logged, emails sent, contacts created, proposals sent, and follow-ups, all to track and improve sales performance
  • Customer service report shows customer service teams how well they’re meeting client expectations by tracking customer churn rate, Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), and time to first response
  • Campaign performance report helps marketing teams understand the success of their marketing campaigns by tracking conversion rates, costs per conversion, click through rates, and bounce rates
  • Sales forecast report helps executive teams estimate future sales within a specific period by tracking historical sales cycle performance, monitoring current sales pipeline by performing multivariate analysis, and using intuitive forecasting
  • Goal progress report summarizes the current progress toward user goals for a specific period, with weighted goals leading to a weighted progress average

And there’s more. You can build a custom report on your sales funnel, contact viability (for email campaigns), email deliverability, revenue, and even generate a profitability report. The more you know about your sales performance, the more you can improve it.

Why CRM reporting and how does it help you make informed decisions?

Your CRM dashboard acts as a central platform connecting all departments. You can track goal progress in one place, align sales and marketing activities, quickly pinpoint problems early, and ensure data hygiene across the board.

A CRM reporting tool ultimately lets you calculate your ROI on campaigns and initiatives and uncover gaps for improvement (e.g., in sales workflow) or for profit (e.g., retargeting high-value cold leads).

It’s common to deploy CRM software for sales, marketing, and customer relationship management, but fail to track all that activity. This is where CRM reporting comes in. CRM reporting bridges the divide between what you’re spending time and money on and what result you’re looking to attain.

Creating a CRM report: Pre-made vs. custom report

Most CRM tools provide two types of reports: pre-made reports and custom reports.

Pre-made reports come built-in and are built for easier reporting. For example, your CRM system might let you run a sales forecast report out of the box. However,  pre-made reports may lack nuance or context or be too bloated for your needs.

A custom report is built exactly to your specifications and allows you to include as much (or as little) context and nuance as you need. An example would be requesting a sales forecast for North American territories for the next 4 quarters.

But a custom report may require more time to build, and other CRMs charge you extra to be able to create custom CRM reports.

The type of report you choose to use depends on the time, bandwidth, and level of context and granularity you need.

6 CRM reporting best practices

The above information may help you generate useful insights, but the following 6 tips will make your CRM reporting workflow more productive:

  1. Maintain CRM data hygiene: Perform regular audits on sources and records and chuck out what’s old or inaccurate. This produces better actionable insight into your sales process.
  2. Leverage CRM training: CRM training empowers your team to create more accurate reports on their own without causing reporting bottlenecks.
  3. Use visualization in your reporting: A bunch of numbers on their own might not be appealing to look at, but visualizations — charts, graphs, pies, and lines — can help management and executive teams digest information better and faster.
  4. Automate your reporting: Building and sending reports manually can be a slog, but automation makes it easy to share insights with large groups of people periodically — on autopilot.
  5. Tie metrics to goals: It’s not just enough to show that a sales rep made 100 calls this month — how is that activity driving sales? Metrics tied to goals are a lot more meaningful and provide valuable context on growth spikes or unexplained bottlenecks.
  6. Get granular: Following the above tip, granularity can help your sales team dig into why the data is telling a particular story. If sales revenue is up 60%, show why this is happening: perhaps sales activity has gone up, a more effective lead source has emerged, or sales forecasts have exceeded expectations.

FreeAgent CRM is the best choice for sales reporting

The right tool can make your CRM reporting workflow a breeze — while the wrong one can cost you:

  • Money spent on add-ons to enable CRM reporting
  • Time spent fiddling with the CRM’s reporting feature
  • Energy (spent on training teams or explaining reported data to executives

FreeAgent CRM is built to provide granular insights into every aspect of your sales cycle so you can optimize sales performance, increase customer satisfaction, and amp up sales productivity.

With FreeAgent CRM, you can track as many key metrics as you need — from sales KPIs to customer support KPIs — and create more accurate sales forecasts to guide your prospecting and sales opportunity management processes.

And because it’s so easy to use, CRM training becomes a breeze with FreeAgent as your tool of choice. It’s one of the best small business CRM tools on the market today.

Try FreeAgent CRM today for better CRM reporting that improves your business.

Mo Shehu

Mo Shehu

Mohammed Shehu, Ph.D. writes on marketing, content, and tech for B2B brands. You can find him online @shehuphd everywhere.

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