Successful CRM Implementation Best Practices: Step 5 – Reporting

Successful CRM Implementation Best Practices: Step 5 – Reporting

In Saberpoint’s final installment in our ongoing series about successful CRM implementation best practices, in this article, we will take a deeper dive into our last topic in the series, which is reporting. 

  1. Data migration
  2. Planning for people and teams 
  3. Your process defining the application, not the application defining your process
  4. One bite at a time
  5. Reporting 

There is one word to describe reporting in CRM…sexy.  It truly is.  Reporting is nearly the first thing a customer asks for not only in the implementation but in the pre-sales phase of the project.  So many times, when we first meet with a customer and they want to ask this question right off the bat, “Before we begin, what kind of reports can the CRM create?”  

Literally reporting is the #1 need of all customers. Along with reporting being the first thing asked, the customers do not realize that when they ask this question, they are asking it for the wrong reason.  The question is not a result of a dire organizational need but rather the customer asks this question because their reporting resembles a circus, wrapped in a dumpster fire, wrapped in an automobile with AM radio and no air conditioning. We cannot tell you how many customers, even Fortune 500 customers, who use spreadsheets, lots of them, to make reports.  So this conscious or subconscious request is about making this three-ringed circus, a leisurely walk in the park.

We are in total agreement.  However, in order to make this work, we need to let you know something very important about creating reports during the implementation phase of the CRM project…don’t!  Here is why:

  1. Legacy Rules:  You might be creating reports based on old processes or what the old system dictated.  Remember our earlier discussion: your process drives the application, not the other way around.  Therefore, see what the system does first then create the reports
  2. You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know:  Newer systems are going to let you slice and dice data right down to the field level.  This means you could create reports you never thought were possible.  However, you need to see and understand the new system in order for these reports to become apparent to you. 
  3. A Cast of Thousands: Without any governor limits on reporting the first thing organizations do is create reports, hundreds of them!  Not only that now individuals have the ability to make their own reports.  The result is hundreds if not thousands of reports which have little to no value as most reports get thrown out about six weeks after someone starts using the system because now they understand the system. 
  4. Learn to Fish:  Reporting in CRM is easy, and an implementer like Saberpoint can teach you how to fish.  After learning the system and seeing what is available, plus your newfound knowledge on how to create a report in a CRM, you will be able to create the right report.  Not only that it’s the right report created by your organization, not by a third party organization that might not have a deep understanding of your true business needs. 

Reporting is a great tool, but remember you need the right tool.  Do not buy a car because it is sexy, buy a car because it meets your needs.  The same is true with reporting. 

If you are considering or undertaking a CRM implementation for your company, we would love to hear from you to discuss how Salesforce could be a great fit for your needs.  Please contact the Saberpoint team for a complimentary consultation to discuss your plan, review the options available to you, and show what it takes to make a successful CRM implementation a reality.