In a system with as much data and reporting as Salesforce.com, its easy to ask for things and get nice looking dashboards. Unfortunately, you could ask for lots of meaningless data on this dashboard, and your sales team aren’t likely to say no to your requests (demands?), right?
For instance, its easy to ask for the number of leads each week. But leads are like Web site traffic — they are better indicators of visibility and vague interest than they are of a solid pipeline. Further, activity management indicators (such as “number of dials” or “customer support call volume”) are very easy to fudge and the numbers won’t really mean much.
Here are the best indicators of business health, particularly when compared over time:
- Number of fully qualified or converted leads
- Number of converted leads accepted by sales
- Percentage of leads converted
- Percentage of free trials that converted
- Percentage of non-responsive or stale leads
- Percentage of reps logging in on a weekly basis
- Number of sales cycles started
- Number of quotes issued
- Average time in stage (or, alternatively, number of stalled deals)
- Percentage of wins, losses and no-decisions
- Number of new customers
- Average deal size, for new customers vs repeat customers
- Percentage of repeat business
- Percentage renewals/retained customers
- Forecast sales vs quarterly goal
- Actual bookings vs weekly expected achievement
- Percentage of opportunities “moving backward” (decreasing in size or probability, or moving out in time)
- Number and dollar value of disappearing (deals dropping out of the quarter, plus losses)
- Forecast accuracy
- Number and value of unforecasted deals
- Number of new problems identified
- Number of problems solved
- Customer perceived “time to resolve”
- percentage of satisfied customers
- Number of highly dissatisfied customers
- Cost of customer acquisition
- Percentage of revenue coming from repeat business
- Percentage of customer base that’s still active/current
- Customer lifetime revenue
- Customer lifetime profitability
- Customer loyalty
Before you ask the reps to enter any more data into Salesforce (which they’ll view as an intrusion), figure out what you would do differently if you already had the report in front of you. Which decisions would you actually make differently? If you’re just curious or not sure what you’d do differently, don’t ask the reps to enter anything new.
Remember, don’t get too fancy with the Salesforce.com analytics too early. They scare the employees, and besides, half the time the data aren’t any good early during the system implementation process. Gradually add a new report, dashboard or analytic every six weeks or so.
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