The Real R&D: Reports and Dashboards

August 17, 2016 Jonathon J. Leon Guerrero


In the sales operations world, “R&D” doesn’t stand for Research and Development. We’re talking about Reports and Dashboards.

Those of us in sales ops are immersed in Salesforce reports and dashboards all day, every day. That’s because if everything in your sales process lives inside Salesforce — and it should — the best way to access that data is with . . . you guessed it: reports and dashboards.

They provide the insights about what’s really going on with your business. When my sales manager asks me questions, reports and dashboards are the way I provide answers. But while both are useful, I’ve found there are times when one is better than the other. They have different benefits.

First, some definitions.

  1. A report is a list of records based on criteria that you define. It’s a deep dive that answers a specific question. The hard numbers speak for themselves.
  2. A dashboard is a visual representation of multiple metrics that a have common theme. They are a great way to convey an accumulation of key information to executives because they can provide high-level snapshots of the business. Most salespeople seem to like dashboards, too, perhaps because a portrayal of the numbers in graphic form can help them to more easily consume the data. Oh, and you can refresh dashboards either on a schedule or manually.

So, when do I use each one?

Let’s say that my sales manager asks me how many demos that our team’s Account Development Reps completed last month. I just run a report to answer that one question. Boom. It’s done. Other reports I frequently run:

  • Pipeline created weekly, monthly, or quarterly
  • Revenue generated weekly, monthly, or quarterly
  • Single ADR activity metrics

On the other hand, my manager asks me to gather information for a series of metrics. Maybe he has to make a presentation for the executive team or the company’s board. I’ll run reports to get those answers, and then bundle them together in a dashboard. Some examples:

  • Multiple ADR activity reports (calls, emails and connects they’ve made)
  • Opportunity cohort (demos completed, pipeline created, revenue generated)
  • Net Annual Recurring Revenue

In my next post, I’ll take a closer look at the key features I utilize in my reports.

About the Author

Jonathon J. Leon Guerrero is a pre-sales solutions consultant and head of Sales Operations at LeanData.

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