How to Manage Your Salesforce Reports

How to manage Salesforce Reports

Databases are fantastic because you put data in once and pull it out many times for many purposes. A common frustration is the inability to retrieve data with ease and confidence, when this frustration is present, user adoption usually tanks. After all, what’s the point of entering data if it can’t be accessed later?

This happened at my old job; we invested in a great Salesforce database, designed it to our specifications, and were thrilled to finally have a tool to capture our data. We started entering data. Soon management wanted a piece of the action and started requesting reports of how much, how many, when, what frequency, where… and we couldn’t confidently or consistently provide the answers. You can imagine how it looked when two people provided different responses to the same question. From there it went downhill quickly… “Why do we even have Salesforce, at least with our old spreadsheets…”

Are you experiencing a similar situation? Well, luckily our solution is repeatable across organizations…

It is very important and efficient to maintain an organized system of standard reports for the organization.

Maintain a reports management process

  • One or two users assume a Report Manager(s) role, defined as the only individual(s) permitted to edit the standard reports and folders.
  • All other users are only able to read/write to two folders: My Personal Custom Reports and Unfiled Public Reports. They contact the Report Manager(s) to suggest changes to the standard reports and folders.
  • Report Manager(s) delete any reports that haven’t been run in 365 days and are responsible for the overall organization and maintenance of reports.

Organize standard reports into appropriate, secured folders

  • All folders (and the reports contained within them) except Unfiled Public Reports are read only, editable only by the Report Manager(s).
  • A report may be in more than one folder; easy access is the goal.
  • Hide any Salesforce.com ™ Standard Report folders irrelevant to the organization.

Maintain useful and relevant standard reports

  • Set report parameters to meet agreed upon definitions.
  • Wisely title the reports, consider using a naming convention.
  • Provide Report Descriptions phrased as questions, which the report answers.
  • Consider using Salesforce-supplied time filters (this year, last year, this month, etc.) for time-bound reports; this makes reports eternal and easier to customize. This may not always be possible, however, using these filters can create reports that feed dashboards and need little, if any, maintenance.

The benefits of this system are huge

  • Creating reports from scratch in Salesforce can be intimidating, while customizing existing reports is easy. The team will appreciate having a report to customize vs. starting from scratch.
  • Anyone in the organization can find the report and answer his/her question without feeling the need to check with another person. Autonomous staff are efficient staff.
  • Consistent report parameters reduce miscommunications.
  • Reports can be set to be emailed regularly to team mates. I love it when the computer can remove a regular task from a person’s workload. Also, it’s great to know exactly what information is going to whom.

Do you have any tips for managing the reports tab in Salesforce?

Susan Wright

About Susan Wright

Susan brings over 10 years of nonprofit experience to her work at Heller Consulting. She entered the field of social work because to contribute to society in a positive way. Over time it became evident that her biggest contribution and most rewarding work was helping organizations leverage technology to streamline processes, solve problems, and generate information, ultimately maximizing program impacts. Prior to working at Heller, she worked with children and families at Seneca Center, Larkin Street Youth Services, and Catholic Charities CYO. At Room to Read and Napa County her work focused on technology optimization and information management. She created a CRM database in Salesforce.com to manage worldwide contacts and also contributed to many programs databases and process improvements. Susan holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Columbia University, specializing in Social Enterprise Administration and a dual Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Davis in Communication and Spanish Language and Literature.

2 comments

  1. Susan Kenna Wright

    Another tip is to use these videos to remind yourself (and others) how to build and customize reports. If you’re receiving a lot of questions from others about making reports, send them to youtube! http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL93A4F2013DDC35FE

  2. Susan Kenna Wright

    For more tips about user adoption, check out this post, which includes the importance of focusing on reports and outputs: http://theconnectedcause.com/10-tips-for-crm-user-adoption/

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