It seems that most companies are using the phrase “data-driven” to describe their sales process. It makes them sound edgy and ahead of the competition.

What does the phrase actually mean, though?

Many sales teams have no idea. It brings to mind complicated software and detailed reports that are difficult to read.

However, data-driven doesn’t have to be that complicated. Data can provide useful insights to help you sell better and use your time more effectively. Best of all, you can likely find this valuable data with the software you already own: your CRM.

CRM is more than just a record of your customers. CRMs offer reports based on the information that you have been inputting into it all this time. It’s simple, straightforward to use, and already at your fingertips.



In fact, CRM reporting is part of why 47% of companies surveyed stated that they experienced a significant increase in customer retention when they started using CRM. They can get profound insights to better inform their sales process and create loyal customers.

We’re going to dive into CRM reporting and how you can use it to improve your sales. Here’s what you need to know about reporting, the best reports to improve sales, and the top CRM reporting software to meet your needs.


What Is CRM Reporting?


CRM reporting takes the information recorded in your CRM to create useful representations of the data trends.

These visuals can be used for a variety of purposes and across the entire company. From leadership to marketing professionals to sales reps and beyond, the data provided in CRM reporting can help many activities.

Most CRMs provide at least three basic types of reporting:

  • Sales. Sales reports look at the pipeline and analyze performance next to stated goals
  • Marketing. These types of reports analyze campaign effectiveness to help inform marketing strategy
  • Customer data. These reports create insights into your most profitable customers and help with creating customer profiles

For this article, we’re going to dive into sales and customer data reporting. These are the reports most useful for sales teams and can be used effectively by sales reps to improve their performance.


Benefits of CRM Reporting


Creating a CRM report can take time and energy that sales reps might be able to spend elsewhere. Is it worth it? Here are some reasons you should consider putting together CRM reports before contacting your next customer:


Get Better Customer Insights


Great selling comes down to how well you understand their needs and can meet them. The prospect insights that you can glean based on your current customers will help improve your sales pitch.

Do you wish there was a way to duplicate your ideal client? That one that was easy to land, rarely causes any headaches, and continues to be profitable years down the road? CRM reports can help you find patterns in your ideal customers to help you find more of them.


Improve the Sales Funnel


The process your leads take to becoming a paying customer is vital to the health of your sales process. Many sales reps may not realize they have a bottlenecking issue or that their sales funnel could be improved. CRM reports can help you pinpoint any problems with your funnel for a smoother sales process.


Find Where to Put in the Effort


The Pareto Principle is a powerful concept that significantly impacts how sales reps should spend their time. It states that 20% of our effort produces 80% of the results. What if there were a way sales reps could increase that 20% to have a bigger impact on their sales record?

CRM reporting can help with that. Reports can help sales reps identify their revenue-generating activity to maximize the time they spend with the right leads. For example, sales reps can identify an ideal customer profile to spend time with prospects that could use their product or service or find leads at a particularly profitable source.

These reports can ensure that sales reps spend their time where it counts.



Make Changes Where Necessary


Making changes and trying new methods is never an easy process. The world of sales is always changing, though, and reps that don’t keep up will fall behind. The key is to find exactly where changes need to be made and to focus effort on that.

CRM reports can help identify where these changes need to take place. Their ability to identify bottlenecks or see patterns in lost sales can provide key insights into what needs to change.


Spot Issues Early


The earlier that salespeople can spot a potential issue, the more they can mitigate them. For example, the sooner reps find out they are not tracking with quota, the more they can do to correct and put in strategies to help them meet their goals.

CRM reports can pinpoint patterns faster than humans can in many cases. Understanding what the issue is right away can help sales reps and leadership develop a more effective plan to overcome any obstacles.


Tips for Getting the Most from Your CRM Report


While reports can help and produce great results for sales teams, not all reports are created equal. Here are some ways to make sure you get the most from your CRM reporting tools:


Keep Clean Data


Bad data can take a huge hit on a company: one study found that the average sales team loses about $32,000 per sales rep because of it. To get the best report, you need to give your software the most accurate information to use.

If you want to get real, valuable insights, make sure you have the correct data. Follow a good data hygiene process to make sure your information is as accurate as possible. If you see that your prospect’s email address has changed, for example, update your CRM to reflect it. You may also want to consider following up with prospects to ensure that you still have the most current information on them.



Be Honest


Let’s face it: honesty can be painful at times. Nobody really wants to know that they’re not hitting their targets or need to put in the work for a better pipeline. Plus, many sales reps are afraid that an accurate CRM might reflect negatively on them. A report in the Harvard Business Review found that it is incredibly common for sales reps to withhold information on their CRM.

Keeping accurate information in your CRM is crucial for your reports, though. Manipulating or withholding data means that the reports can’t provide the insights needed to actually improve the sales process. Forecasting will be off, and pipelines will remain ineffective unless sales reps and leadership genuinely understand what is happening.


Run Valuable Reports


Your CRM will give you a number of reports you can run at any given time. However, that doesn’t mean you should run all of them.

Every sales team and business is different. What might work well for one company will not necessarily help you. Some things you might want to consider before running a report:


  • How does this report align with the goals of your sales team and company?
  • Will the report change any aspect of your sales process?
  • How time-consuming will it be to run the report?
  • Can it benefit you?

We’ve created a list of the top CRM reports used by sales teams. However, critically look at each one to see if it applies to your unique situation.


Continue to Improve


Your sales process will always continue to change and evolve. Not only do you gain experience, but the face of sales continues to shift based on the market and world changes. Take social media, for example. At one time, sales experts considered it a fringe idea. Now, it is a central aspect for many sales teams.

Your reports should reflect any changes to your sales process. What worked well one year may quickly become outdated. Take the time to analyze whether your CRM reports continue to meet your needs.

Don’t be afraid to continue changing your CRM reporting to reflect your sales process best. It will help you maintain an edge over the competition and keep ahead of the curve.


CRM Sales Reports to Track


Now that you understand how CRM reports works and the best way to implement them, here are some of the top reports you should consider when running your reporting software:



Sales Funnel Report


The sales funnel is a crucial part of the sales process. With a clearly defined funnel, you can make accurate sales estimates, know how to communicate with prospects at each stage of the journey, and find strengths and weaknesses in your sales process.

A report can give you important visuals that provide key insights into your sales forecasting and process. Is there a part of your sales funnel where prospects seem to be bottlenecking or where you lose most of your opportunities? Are you qualifying your leads, so you’re not wasting time with prospects that suddenly defect at the very end of the sales journey?

A sales funnel report can help you identify these issues and any weaknesses in your process to create a more robust funnel.


Lead Source Effectiveness Report


Efficiency in sales is only as good as your effectiveness. You can log the maximum number of calls each day and pack out your schedule with sales meetings, but you’ll be wasting your time if you’re talking to the wrong people. Instead, find out where your best leads come from to help maximize the time you spend with your prospects.

For example, you may find that LinkedIn brings you the most qualified leads and is the top place your customers find you, but cold calls are largely ineffective. You can then make sure you concentrate on your social media presence over making phone calls.


Loss Reason by Owner Report


When an opportunity comes down your pipeline, you may have high expectations. As they move further along the sales funnel, it raises the possibility that you can land another sale. However, there is no guarantee until they sign a contract. Even the top sales reps lose leads.

While it might be painful to lose prospects, it’s worth digging into why you lose certain sales. A report can help identify any patterns that reveal a weakness in your sales process. If you’re losing out to competitors, is there a way to emphasize what your product or service has to offer? If your prospects are worried about price, maybe you should take time to lay out what your customers get in return?

Researching the losses can be as revealing as studying your wins to develop a better strategy than ever.


Call Length vs. Time of Day Report


To make the maximum number of sales, you need to be efficient with your time. The more time you can spend actively selling to the most prospects, the more deals you can land. Spending time on endless phone calls, then, might slow down your selling ability.

Cut down on phone time by running a report on call length. You can identify what time of the day leads to the most phone calls and is more productive.


Contacts Report


A contact report helps give sales reps an overall view of any sales contact they have in the database. It can be broken down by industry, job type, or date of last contact. Reps can use this information to find opportunities for introductions for potential leads.

Before making an important sales call or demo, it might be valuable to see any connections you have with the prospect. A warm lead can be far more effective than a cold one, and the right contact can provide that.


Profitability Report


Just because a client is “big” doesn’t necessarily mean they are profitable. Although a client may pay more for your product or services, they will not be as profitable if they are draining your resources. However, it might be challenging to recognize the costs associated with a high-level customer.

A profitability report can help you overcome these blind spots and identify who your truly profitable customers are. It can help both reps and leadership identify which leads are more likely to bring in a real profit and the others that might not be worth the cost to your company.


Goal Progress Report


Every sales team has unique goals and visions for their companies. A goal progress report helps you track specifically what is essential for your sales team. For example, you can track total revenue or deals won for a specific period.

Although it is a more high-level report, it can still give individual reps an idea of where they are performing and how they can contribute to their sales team. It gives everyone a great overall look into how sales are running in general. It ensures that everyone is on the same page and knows what direction they need to take to make the team successful.


Sales Forecast Report


Sales goals are a critical part of growing a business. Leadership is often looking at how sales is performing and where it is going. Sales reps that keep an eye on the sales forecast to adjust their sales activities as needed. If they are headed for a slow season, for example, they can start creating strategies ahead of time to reach their goals.

CRMs are particularly effective for sales forecasting reports. In fact, they improve the accuracy of reports up to 40%. The right CRM will provide the most accurate estimation of sales.


Contact Volume Report


The contact volume report allows the user to see the number of contacts, such as emails, phone calls, or meetings, created during a specific period. It is an early indicator of how well sales reps are performing to meet their sales goals.

Are you doing the work to see the results you want? Even with the perfect pipeline or high-quality leads, your sales will suffer if you are not being proactive and contacting prospects. Calculate the number of contacts you need to make in a given period to reach your targets. From there, you can see if you have the contact volume required to reach your goals.


Call Log Report


Call log reports organize all calls in one location where you can even view the recordings. Sales reps are often contacting multiple leads, and it can be easy to start confusing the conversations. Personalization and memory are crucial in developing the relationships necessary to close sales, though.

Review phone calls before meeting and chatting with clients to ensure your sales game is on point for their specific needs and concerns. You can create a better sales pitch that is more targeted to improve your closing rate.


Top CRM Reporting Tools


When it comes to CRM reporting technology, there are a lot of options. Depending on your needs and what you want out of your reports, you can find the one that is right for you.

Here are some of the top CRM reporting software to help you find what works for your sales needs:


Nutshell




Best for: Customization

Beyond a vast number of reports to choose from, Nutshell allows you to filter data by a range of variables to make sure you’re only looking at the data you need.

If you are in a unique industry or just want reports that are more tailored to your specific needs, Nutshell can work well for you.


HubSpot



Best for: Free Reporting

When you are creating a CRM on a budget or just starting out, HubSpot can provide a robust CRM to meet your needs. They offer a free CRM that includes reporting capabilities to get you started on your CRM journey.


Salesforce



Best for: Options

As the giant of the CRM world, no list would be complete without them. Because of its size, Salesforce can offer the biggest number of reports to meet whatever you need. You can also create custom reports that go over and beyond typical reporting features. Their dashboard has tools for creating custom formulas.

However, keep in mind that their entry-level plan doesn’t provide the same impressive capabilities as their higher-level plans.


Freshworks



Best for: Newcomers

Freshworks is loaded with in-app tutorials, articles, and support to make using your reports easy. It is simple with navigation icons that are easy to follow, and everything is straightforward to set up.


Zoho



Best for: Having Fun

Having fun with sales isn’t just great for improving morale: it can provide the vital motivation that pushes sales reps to do more. Zoho provides extensive gamification to help sales reps not only gauge their performance but provide extra motivation to reach their sales goals.


Map My Customers


Best for: Outside Sales

Most CRMs are built with inside sales in mind. Big and cumbersome, they are made for reps that are near their computer all day. For traveling teams on-the-go, though, they can slow reps down. Plus, many of their reports are not geared towards the needs of outside sales.

Map My Customers, however, is the perfect CRM solution for the outside team. The light-weight CRM not only allows reps to take it on the field, but they can gather insights specific to the needs of traveling sales.


Start your 14-day free trial with Map My Customers


Reports for a Better Sales Team


There was a time when sales were a shot in the dark. Some people were naturally good at sales while everyone else struggled to keep up. However, current software has made sales equal parts science and art.

By harnessing CRM reporting power, sales reps can discover patterns in their data to best reach customers, improve their sales pipeline, and predict how well they will perform in their current quarter or year.

Take some time to discover which CRM reports will help you and start improving your sales process today!