“Sales reporting is time-consuming and stressful. Many businesses feel the traditional way of sales reporting isn’t good enough any longer. By the time data is gathered and analyzed, figures are outdated,” says Ann Kristin Søraa, Chief Customer Officer at Business Analyze.
“In this case, it helps to review processes, automate steps and take advantage of modern tools. There is usually a lot to gain. No one wants to stay up late pouring over spreadsheets if it isn’t necessary.”
Spreadsheets and email are common reporting tools. Using these tools, the process goes something like this:
- Export data, and check it is correct.
- If there are errors, email back and forth.
- Analyze. Format. Distribute. Repeat.
– While this can work in some situations, many companies believe it’s too slow and inefficient. It takes time to gather data, analyze it from different angles and then put it into a format everyone can understand.
– As we enter 2020 and data volumes expand rapidly, it gets even more difficult. Data is often spread across company systems and applications. Now is the time to move past spreadsheets and simplify reporting routines.”
For more than 15 years, Ann-Kristin Søraa has been helping companies with CRM implementation, digitalization and data optimization.
Increased speed and reporting accuracy
Business analytic tools make reporting faster and more efficient because data is pulled together and formatted automatically onto digital dashboards. Leaders and managers can access dashboards from laptops or mobile devices and their reports are updated every few minutes.
Property development company Block Watne, for example, automated sales reporting and saved sales directors between 20 to 30 hours each week.
Using business analytics software, Block Watne pulls data from the CRM system, calculates key performance figures, and shares fresh data with employees every few minutes.
According to Bjørn Tretterud, Sales and Marketing Director, “With new routines and processes, our sales forecasting accuracy is within 98% every month. Dashboards are the first thing I check every morning.”
Follow these 3 steps
It is easy to change from spreadsheets to automated reporting, but you need the right tools and techniques to help you along.
The basic steps are:
- Connect data to a business analytics tool – Identify which system or databases contain the necessary data and connect to the business analytics tool.
- Create reports – Use existing reports as templates or check to see if the business analytics includes ready-to-use sales reports. You can start with a few of your most important sales metrics and add more reports as your needs evolve.
- Communicate and encourage – Make sure everyone knows about new reporting routines and the benefits. Use dashboards actively in weekly sales meetings to make everyone knows what’s happening and what they need to do to grow sales.
“There are many benefits of dashboards,” says Søraa. “As businesses digitalize and gather more data, the need for automated reporting increases. I don’t know any business that went back to spreadsheets once they got use to new ways.”