6 Sales Reporting Challenges & ClicData’s Solutions
The importance of sales reports to a sales team can’t be understated. They help managers summarize and track sales performance, plan sales strategies, recognize trends, and adjust the sales cycle as needed.
Of course, like other reports, the more accurate the sales report is and the more extensive its data resources, the more profoundly it will assist managers in making precise and well-advised decisions for the department and the business as a whole.
Yet while sales reports often highlight revenue numbers, revenue data alone won’t provide enough insight for an organization to elevate its sales strategy to perform better. Quite the opposite. A truly valuable sales report goes well beyond revenue figures and provides metrics on conversion rates, sales cycle length, deal slip rates, churn rates, and so on.
Unfortunately, many organizations are faced with time-consuming challenges in their sales reporting system, problems that ultimately lower the accuracy and dull the insights of their reports, shrinking their value. Challenges that slow the reporting process itself or even lead to loss of data.
Using a cloud-based data warehouse and dashboard-generating BI platform such as ClicData can minimize or eliminate most of these issues and enable sales managers to establish a more efficient, reliable, accurate, and even enjoyable reporting system.
Here are six common challenges in the world of sales reporting and how ClicData can help you solve them.
Challenge #1: Problems Building Reliable Pipeline Reports
Your pipeline reports help you organize, track, and manage your sales pipeline. They can provide estimates of how much business your salespeople expect to close over a period of time, so you can estimate how much revenue is coming into your business, and when.
But your pipeline reports will only be as useful, accurate, and valuable as the quality of data that they draw from. So, begin to embrace a data-driven culture. Remember that revenue data is not the only data that matters; record every sales opportunity—whether they’re lost, ongoing, or other. Encourage your entire sales team to fill your sales software—CRM or ERP—with complete, accurate, and up-to-date data. And be thorough. One of the primary reasons companies fail to build reliable pipeline reports is that they lack access to enough data to make the reports meaningful and trustworthy. Tracking sales pipeline metrics will help you make the most of your sales reports.
Finally, for your pipeline reports to be trusted, your data needs to be collected and stored securely.
The ClicData Solution: ClicData is a complete BI solution that can help you set up accurate and reliable reporting systems that give you precisely the insights you need to evaluate and optimize your pipeline. Thanks to its holistic data warehouse, data management services, and visualization tools, you can connect all of the data in your business—regardless of format—to give you the informed reports you want—available at your fingertips whenever you need them.
Challenge #2: Inaccurate Reporting Thanks to Dirty Data
For any reporting to be actionable, the data it draws from needs to be accurate and clean. In the world of business intelligence, “dirty data” refers to data that is inaccurate, inconsistent—in format, for example—or incomplete. It might be guilty of punctuation errors, spelling mistakes, outdated or incomplete values, or duplicate data. These kinds of data defects can cause misleading, unsupported, confusing, and/or erroneous reports. And such reports, of course, will only result in poor decision-making, ineffective marketing campaigns, and even misaligned marketing and sales teams.
The first step to reducing or eliminating dirty data in your organization is to avoid manual data entry. Here’s why:
- It eats up valuable time, unnecessarily. Today, it’s very easy to connect tools or import and export files.
- Manual data entry inevitably leads to numerous errors. Extra zeros. Not enough zeros. Misplaced decimals. Flipped numbers. Missing capitals. So many ways to make mistakes that go unnoticed.
- Fixing manually-entered errors is more painful. If there’s a wrong number, you have to chase down every occurrence of it. Everywhere. Count on it: After hours spent tracking it down, you’ll discover one more incidence of the error at a board or management meeting.
The ClicData Solution: First, while you can’t avoid having to enter some data manually at first, it is best to avoid entering it more than once. If the first entry is accurate, the system will take care of the rest for you. Once you automate reporting, any errors that are introduced are fixed quickly. Simply change a number in the source, and it’s done.
Because ClicData connects with more than 250 kinds of data sources, you don’t have to enter data manually. You can simply import it safely, cleanly, and automatically. ClicData can also connect to and import data from your spreadsheets and from apps like Dropbox.
And, if you have similar data fields across disparate data sources, no problem. With ClicData, you can clean, combine, merge, fuse, group, aggregate, or transform your data, regardless of its source or format.
Challenge #3: Difficulty Calculating Marketing ROI
Return on investment (ROI) is the performance metric that businesses rely on to evaluate the profitability or efficiency of investments, systems, projects, and more. Businesses also review ROI to compare the performance of investments, one against the other. ROI reports are highly valuable to justify marketing spending and resource allocation for all sorts of ongoing and upcoming initiatives.
In theory, calculating marketing ROI is easy—simply subtract marketing costs from the sales growth of your business, then divide the value by the marketing cost. But when it comes to calculating the marketing ROI based on data in the company’s multiple data sources, it is no longer so simple. Most companies have a different software system for their sales team from their marketing group, preventing them from accessing insights based on data from both systems.
For example, marketing often uses an automated platform that advertises on a variety of social media platforms and can track traffic and get some conversion stats on Google Analytics. The market team has readily-available data that tells them how much a campaign costs and how many views, opens, and clicks they have on a campaign.
The sales team, on the other hand, often uses a CRM to follow their prospects and manage their customers. They stay on top of the number of new leads and new customers they have and often can access data that tells them revenue by customer, sales rep, and more.
So, if you want to track a marketing campaign’s ROI, you’d need to be able to link new client data (sales) to a certain campaign (marketing), which would require a link between two kinds of software. And that, typically, is hard to do.
The ClicData Solution: WithClicData, you can easily set up fully customized dashboards that report which clients come from which campaign. Using its cloud-based data warehouse and one-click features like data combination, fusion, and calculations, you can transparently pull in data from different sources and combine them into meaningful, actionable, high-level insights and metrics. So, the sales team will be readily informed that Prospect A, Prospect B, and Customer Call came through Campaign One. And management can make smarter decisions, for example, by choosing to increase the marketing budgets of the best-performing channels that drive the most revenue.
Challenge #4: You Can’t Build a Sales Forecast
Sales forecasts are typically in-depth reports that use past performance data to predict what a salesperson, team, or company will sell in a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual period. They are used to estimate how much a company plans to sell within a certain time period and how much revenue it might be able to expect from those sales.
Sales forecasts help managers plan their spending and adjust their sales strategy to make up for fluctuations in revenue, lead flow, and other factors. They can also be used to strategically allocate resources, spot potential issues before they arise, plan a growth strategy and see if the team is on track to achieve its goals for the period.
To build a valuable sales forecast report, historical data about sales cycle length, average revenue, conversion rates, and other activity data need to be accessible from the organization’s data sources.
The ClicData Solution: ClicData allows you to merge data simply, safely, and easily from the data sources you choose into a holistic data warehouse, enabling you to access the calculations, metrics, and insights you need for sales forecasting.
Challenge #5: CRM Reporting is Not Flexible Enough
The best CRM software tools let you access data about your customers and prospects so you can pursue business opportunities effectively, automate sales workflow, and access sales analytics when you want to. Unfortunately, most CRM tools are limited in their ability to produce sales reports. They only include a set of factory-supplied reporting options, so if you want to customize your reports or inquire into a particular issue, you’re out of luck.
The ClicData Solution: ClicData easily connects to a variety of CRM tools, including Salesforce, HubSpot, and SugarCRM, so you can access the data that you collect in those tools and then generate insightful, tailored reports that answer the questions your teams most need to be answered. Then, you can view your metrics, indices, and insights in easy-to-read, easy-to-use, custom dashboards. You can also create multiple dashboards so that one team gets a different set of reports than another—based on their needs.
Challenge #6: Your Sales KPIs Don’t Communicate Clearly
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are metrics that help a business gauge its performance—as a whole or department-by-department—relative to its business objectives and/or the performance of its competitors. There are countless potential KPIs that can give a sales team insight into their performance; you’ll choose the ones that help you make sure that all of your team’s sales activities are well-targeted and effective.
Sales KPIs typically include metrics about each rep’s activities for a given period, such as the number of contacts, number of calls, contact-to-lead conversion, and lead-to-client conversion. Other valuable sales KPIs include metrics on overall pipeline progress, such as total leads, total opportunities, and total deals won and lost. Finally, sales ROIs for each product and per region are invaluable metrics.
KPI reporting needs to be clear, instantly understandable, and meaningful to their audiences. They should be customized based on the metrics that are most pertinent to that team, group, or client.
The ClicData Solution: With ClicData, you can quickly set up beautiful, customizable, crystal-clear dashboards to track your sales KPIs. You can share your dashboards with permissions controls for security. You can share them easily, without the need for time-consuming personal interactions, by embedding them into other solutions using our LiveLink tool. You also have the option to receive dashboards in your inbox at the frequency you prefer.
Many companies suffer when it comes to managing their sales data and generating the sales reports they need. From inefficiencies and errors to incomplete or erroneous data, so much valuable time can be lost and opportunities are wasted in the process of getting actionable insights into the hands of leaders making business decisions.
ClicData’s cloud-based BI platform lets you bring any or all of your data into a cohesive data warehouse so you can truly leverage the power within that data. Any reports you create—starting with sales reports—will provide your teams with up-to-date metrics and meaningful, informed insights that give you a truer, more accurate picture of every important aspect of your team’s performance. Only with clean, clear data that accommodates numerous data sources will you be best informed to make optimal business decisions.
With ClicData, you can connect, prepare, automate, and visualize your data in a single day. And get stunning, invaluable sales reports to help you steer your sales team to the success you envision for it.
“ClicData occupies the leading position within the 2020 TEC Insight Graph for BI and Analytics Solutions, by providing an extensive functionality set across the board as well as a high user experience. It is the only vendor solution located within the dominant zone,”Jorge Garcia, senior Data Analyst at TEC
Find out why now!