How to automate and improve sales reporting

“Sales reporting causes stress. Figures are outdated too fast. Many businesses don’t feel the way they do reporting is good enough any longer,”says Ann Kristin Søraa.

“It helps to map out processes, take advantage of digital tools and simplify routines. There is usually a lot to gain. No one wants to sit up late before the next company meeting or board presentation.”

Ann-Kristin Søraa is one of our consultants responsible for customer success. She has 16 years experience with CRM and sales.

“Excel is still commonly used. CEOs or sales directors get weekly or monthly spreadsheets from their teams and pull them together for review. If there are errors, files go back to sender for review. If there are multiple sales units or offices, then there is an additional layer of updating, aggregating and checking. Sometimes there can be several adjustments with spreadsheets emailed forward and back.”

“While this method work in some cases, many companies find on closer evaluation that it isn’t the most effective or efficient.”

Reasons include:

  • figures are quickly outdated and inaccurate
  • salespeople spend time inputting information into a CRM system and spreadsheets when they need to be selling
  • information tends to be historic rather than forward looking

As a result, the demand for real-time, easily shareable reporting has increased. During 2017, more than 50 business-to-business (B2B) companies in Northern Europe turned to business analytics and dashboard solution to automate management reporting and analyze data.

“It’s time to move past spreadsheets, or at least seriously reconsider how reporting routines can be simplified, “says Søraas. “Business analytic, dashboard and reporting tools make reporting easier and more efficient. Information is readily served-up in different layers and views. Usually companies that are open to change and challenge the way things are done, discover that small differences in reporting can make big differences in results.”

The sales and marketing team at Block Watne, for example, automated sales reporting and saved 20 – 30 hours per week among sales directors. “Dashboards are the first thing I check in the morning. With new routines and processes, our sales forecasting accuracy is within 98% every month,” says Bjørn Tretterud, Director.

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Do you have SuperOffice CRM? Follow these steps

Changing to automatic reporting is straightforward. The basic steps are:

  1. Create reports – Current sales or management reports are used as a starting point for creating dashboard reports. It is also worth exploring other reports that are available as templates. If you have specific needs, most online reporting tools can be modified to meet different needs.
  2. Check data quality – CRM systems are the master for sales data. One benefit of automate reporting is gaps or inconsistencies in underlying data becomes more visible and easier to fix. Improving overall data quality results in better decision-making.
  3. Communicate and encourage – Make sure everyone knows about new reporting routines and the benefits. Use the reports actively in weekly and monthly sales meeting. Because no one likes to see they are falling behind, they will be quicker to update their status.
  4. Gather feedback and improve – A designated super-user can help gather feedback and make ongoing improvements. A short course for super-users can also be useful. Salespeople don’t normally require any special training.

“I haven’t ever visited a company that went back to spreadsheets after making reports readily available and accessible on desktops. Accurate and timely reports help managers know how things are running, what the outcomes are and what they need to so going forward.,” concludes Søraa.

With more than 17 years experience with CRM, Ann Søraa can help you with optimising use of CRM data, analytics and reporting,  Get help now