How to Create CRM Reports and Dashboards

Beginner's Guide to CRM

One major draw to using a CRM is the amount of insight they can provide through reports and dashboards. Reports and dashboards allow you to track progress, make data-driven decisions, and forecast future performance.

In this chapter, we’ll discuss commonly used reports and how dashboards can help your organization exceed your goals.

CRM Reports & Dashboards
The Beginner's Guide to CRM
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CRM reports examples

In contrast to traditional reporting tools like Excel or Google Sheets, CRMs automatically create reports for you based on the criteria you specify. This saves your organization time from having to manually aggregate and input data to create appropriate reports.

The goal of running CRM reports is to ensure that people who need to track progress and performance have the data they need. This increases transparency while boosting productivity because you’ll have the data to draw conclusions on what’s working and what needs improvements.

A few standard reports that many organizations will run are:

Pipeline Report
  • CRM pipeline reports: Understand how your leads are moving along the buyer’s journey and which opportunities are still pending.
  • Sales forecast reports: Figure out if your organization is going to meet your goals by using current data and predicted wins.
  • Sales performance reports: Find out how successful your reps have been with closing deals.
  • Lead source analysis reports: Learn which marketing campaigns led your prospects to your organization — whether it’s through owned, social, or paid media.
  • Profitability reports: Understand which customers are bringing in the most revenue to your business.

Because every department will use CRMs differently, it means that they’ll have their own set of unique reports as well.

For example, some customer service reports you can run include:

Customer service CRM dashboard
  • Time in queue: Learn how long customers have to wait before a customer service representative connects with them.
  • Time to case closed: Find out how long it takes for an issue to be resolved.
  • Number of requests received per day: Understand how many issues your customer service representatives receive on an average day.
  • Number of requests closed per day: Figure out how many issues are resolved per day.

Looking for more examples of sales reports you can run? Be sure to read our Sales Pipeline Metrics to Measure post. We also dove deeper into Lifecycle Reporting to Drive Marketing ROI for the marketers who use Pardot.

How to create a CRM report

Your CRM will be able to generate reports on the data collected within your database. To prevent your users from getting overwhelmed by too much information, you’ll still need to be strategic when choosing what kind of reports to generate.

Ask yourself these 5 questions before creating any report:

  • Who are you creating these reports for?
  • Why are these reports important to them?
  • Who’s going to view the data?
  • Why is the data you’re pulling important?
  • What is its purpose?

The reason for asking these questions is to make you know exactly how the data in the report should be filtered and sorted. When you start creating dashboards from your reports, asking the right questions also ensures that every report on your dashboard serves a purpose

Creating too few reports means you jeopardize your team’s understanding of their progress. On the other hand, having too many reports can inhibit your team’s productivity — as they’ll be overwhelmed by their dashboard.

Next, you’ll want to create the actual report using the following steps:

  1. Determine the report’s data source: Here you can determine where your data is coming from to form your reports. Are you looking at leads, opportunities, or another type of data?
  2. Add fields to the report: Here you can specify which fields, or what information about your records, should display in your report.
  3. Customize report filters: Here you can filter out irrelevant data to keep your report focused, for example, only looking at data from a certain time period. 
  4. Changing the report’s look: Here you can customize the look of your report, such as by grouping rows or columns or adding a chart. We’ll cover several ways to customize your report visually later.
  5. Save the report: Here you can save and export your report for your external reporting purposes. Be sure to keep your folder structure for reports organized, so you can easily find them again later. 
  6. Share the report: Here you can specify who you want to see the report.
  7. Include it in a dashboard: Here you can include the report in an organized collection of other relevant reports.
Types of CRM Report Charts

It’s important to note that there are many different types of visuals you can add to your reports. For example, you can display them as a:

  • Number counter
  • Pie chart
  • Graph
  • Dials
  • Simple charts
  • And more!

You can even configure the colors associated with the numbers displayed in your graph. Because your team members should spend more time working and less time understanding their data, you must understand how to showcase these numbers easier for your stakeholders.

Each CRM will have its unique process of creating those reports. Fortunately, some CRMs have their own courses and resource libraries to help you understand how to fully utilize their platforms — such as Trailhead (for Salesforce) and HubSpot Academy (for HubSpot).

There are also external CRM experts you can hire to help you configure appropriate reports for your users. For example, our certified experts have worked with clients across multiple fields, so we understand how to configure CRM reports to suit your needs. You can learn more about our CRM consulting services here.

CRM dashboards examples

A CRM dashboard is a collection of reports displayed in a centralized location. Because they’re meant to be high-level, it’s important to be deliberate with which reports you’re showing on a dashboard.

The steps to creating a dashboard are:

  1. Create all relevant reports: Take the time to properly set up every report so you can plan on how to display these reports on a dashboard.
  2. Configure how each report displays: As you add each report, customize data points to display, chart or graph types, and report labels. 
  3. Design and organize the dashboard: Just like reports, you can design how your dashboard looks overall. For example, you might want some reports to display larger and some smaller. 
  4. Educate users: Train your users on how you want them to use your dashboard
  5. Test and tweak your dashboard: Add and remove reports based on your users’ needs

Similar to reports, you also want to be mindful of how your dashboard looks overall. The purpose of a dashboard is to make it easier for your users to scan important information.

Building CRM dashboard

Here are some best practices you should follow:

  • Keep the most important metrics at the top of your dashboard
  • Do not clutter your dashboard
  • Use a balanced mix of historical, predictive, and real-time insights
  • Utilize size and color to make more important reports stand out

Creating relevant dashboards is the secret to increasing user adoption and effectively leveraging CRM data. That’s because your users can immediately see all relevant data at once, which helps them understand how close they are to meeting their goals.

Make your CRM work for you,
not the other way around

We hope that this Beginner’s Guide to CRM will help you start your CRM journey on the right foot. Now that you know how the tool is used differently in each department and the foundations of CRM data management, you’re now ready to begin implementing your CRM of choice.

Looking for extra guidance? Our certified experts can help with both Salesforce and HubSpot to help you maximize your ROI and get you using your tool at its full potential. 

Not only do we pair you with a seasoned administrator, but you also get the support of a full CRM team for a fraction of the cost of building it internally. Contact a specialist today to learn more.

The Beginner's Guide to CRM
Don’t have time to read the full guide right now? Download the Beginner’s Guide to CRM to read at your convenience.
Download The Beginner’s Guide to CRM
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