CRM Reporting: helping you to be productive rather than busy

Smart reporting in your CRM gives real insights into the effectiveness of your internal processes, making it easy to see the relationship between your efforts and their results. Traditional reporting focuses on activity of your teams and staff, tracking details like the number of emails sent, calls made, and leads chased. This data can be useful, providing important perspective on the activities of individuals and teams, but these efforts do not necessarily equal success.

A pet hamster may spend all day hard at work, spinning the wheel in his cage. Tracking every one of his steps, breaths, and heartbeats makes it clear just how much effort he’s expending. If this data was all you could see, it might look like the hamster is accomplishing quite a lot. Step back and look at what the hamster is actually doing, however, and you can see that he’s actually going nowhere. Misplaced effort, no matter how much is applied, will not provide beneficial results.

For CRM users, what does it really matter how many calls an agent makes if they are not bringing a sale closer? Some leads require a lot more hand-holding and guidance than others. Does it really matter if Team A makes a higher number of sales calls than Team B? Isn’t it more important to track which team is better at making deals, closing sales and guiding their opportunities through the pipeline? Measuring this kind of sales motion is often more important than simply tracking sales activities.

To provide the greatest insights into productivity, CRM reporting needs to move beyond simple activity reporting. With a little bit of guile in structuring these reports, it becomes possible to focus on motion as well as activity, tracking efficiency and productivity across teams and individuals.

Sales activities are easy things to track, but tracking sales motion is a little trickier to do. It requires tracking the progress of the deal throughout your pipeline. By analysing specific stages of your pipeline you can see where deals are breaking down or stalling. This enables identification of bottlenecks, blockers and areas where staff are performing weakly.

The impact of such reporting? You guessed it: Problematic areas are easily identified, and steps can be immediately taken to remedy them.

For example, if you know that deals are stalling during lead qualification across all teams, this suggests that it might be time for a new process or initiative to be introduced, encourage all staff to be more proactive and responsive at this stage. By placing a greater emphasis on individual performance, weaker areas for specific employees can be identified. If a given salesperson consistently fails to close deals because those relationships go stale during the negotiation period, steps can be taken to provide her with the coaching or mentorship required to get these over the line.

Motion reporting can initially be difficult to implement, as it requires a switch in emphasis from traditional action-based reporting. Rather than focusing upon smaller activities which are assumed, and logically so, to have a causal relation to the closure of a deal, motion reporting examines the fundamental milestones in the progress of a deal.

Activity reporting is by no means an antiquated practice, but it can only provide one vantage point for viewing the performance of a sales team. The most thorough and insightful reporting is a combination of the two. Motion-based reporting allows emphasis to be place on the sales pipeline itself, helping to maximize efficiency and productivity, leading to an increase in the successful closure of deals.

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