Best Practices
April 20 | Blogs
Understanding the Salesforce Data Lifecycle, Part 3: Analyzing & Reporting Data
Estimated read time 5 min

To learn more about data creation, capture, maintenance, and storage, see part 1 and part 2 of our Sales Data Lifecycle Management series.

Figuring out which data to capture, how to store data securely, and how to build world-class data governance strategies helps you build robust and holistic data ecosystems. But how do you actually use sales data to generate leads, awareness, branding, and conversions? This is the fun part of the data lifecycle: the part where you start to see the results of your hard work.

Unfortunately, data reporting and analytics is an area where many businesses struggle. 57% of businesses admit that they’re poor at sales analytics. Yet for those that succeed, McKinsey suggests they see 30% more leads, 10% higher productivity, and 66% faster sales cycles. So how do you join the ever-so-exclusive club of analytics-driven sales organizations?

Let’s talk about it!

Finding the Pulse of Accessibility

Before we discuss the intricacies of analyzing and reporting data, we need to talk about data accessibility. How do you access your data? Despite almost every company investing in data analytics, less than a quarter consider themselves “data-driven.” You need to pull data from relevant systems into your reports, and every system needs some level of inter-connectedness to drive analytics — which requires a holistic consumption of data. In fact, this is one of our biggest verticals. While Delegate provides a variety of services for go-to-market companies, we find that many organizations need our help with data accessibility. It’s harder than it sounds.

Typically, sales teams leverage Salesforce as their one-stop shop for data analytics. But a good chunk of your data lives outside of the Salesforce ecosystem. For example, financial data may come from your ERP and product usage data may come from a product analytics solution or an internally-built data warehouse. You need to bridge the gaps between all of these databases. We can’t give specifics on this (every company has a unique stack and data architecture), but it’s incredibly important to make data accessible across your ecosystem. Otherwise, you get incomplete metrics, poorly-defined KPIs, and siloed data pools.

Simplified Data Usage

It’s not enough to bridge data on the back-end; sales reps need data unified on the front-end for it to be consumable. The average employee wastes 32 days each year cycling through various tabs and dashboards in their ever-expanding tech stack. That’s a problem. And it keeps getting worse. The more point solutions (e.g., sales enablement tools, email automation platforms, etc.) you add to your stack, the more dashboards and reporting instances salespeople need to cycle through to find actionable insights.

We all like to think of Salesforce as our single source of truth for sales data, but most companies fail to unify data in Salesforce in a way that enables comprehensive reporting and analytics. In other words, getting a 360-view of the customer often involves a ton of different tools. And when reports are popping up in multiple dashboards, it can be difficult (if not impossible) to mesh them together. If you read the last part of this series, we discussed governance as a way to unify data storage and security. You need a similar approach.

At Delegate, data usage simplification is another area we specialize in. Our Salesforce experts peel away the layers of your Salesforce app and databases, connecting the dots and unifying data sources at the same time. You want a 360-degree view of your customers. We make that happen. Unfortunately, we don’t have any standard advice to give in this section. Every company has a unique stack, data architecture, and sales process.

But you absolutely need to work on usability. The average employee switches between 35 apps more than 1,000 times each day. Tech shouldn’t slow us down; it should enable us.

The Low-down on Reporting

Once you make those rich databases accessible, usable, and unified, it’s time to utilize that data. This is the fun part. According to McKinsey, data-driven businesses are 23x more likely to acquire customers. However, this is also the hard part. Most businesses hyper-focus on the analytics component of data utilization. They spend a ton of time analyzing, summarizing, and translating data. And they spend a ton of time picking out metrics and onboarding data analytics software and engines. But that’s only a small part of reporting. How you are actually using those data insights, how they’re delivered to the end-user, and whether you measure the right data are all equally important considerations.

In other words, building dashboards is great. And choosing the right metrics, building the right data systems, and generating the right data is all part of the data lifecycle. But how you actually use that data to generate growth is equally tricky. You have to be thoughtful about your data. Too many metrics and too much analytic fluff can quickly distract employees, waste time, and drive salespeople to focus on non-growth priorities.

When we help sales-driven, go-to-market companies find their inner sales beast, we often find that they’re generating plenty of analytics. They just aren’t distributing and using those analytics effectively. Remember, the goal is to be data-driven, not data-soaked. Every data decision needs to be driven by growth. Looking at the wrong data or the right data in the wrong way can hamper productivity. In fact, it’s sometimes worse than not using analytics at all. Here’s the secret: data can be an enabler and disabler. Used incorrectly, data slows down operations and draws attention away from the areas that matter most.

Maximize Your Data Lifecycle with Delegate

The data lifecycle is complicated, nuanced, and filled with dead-ends. Embracing data has the very real potential to drive significant growth and value into your organization, but you need to deeply understand the sales data lifecycle to build the right systems, processes, governance, strategies, and tech.

Do you need help? At Delegate, we provide end-to-end support for growth-ready companies. Our Salesforce administration capabilities help companies simplify their Salesforce ecosystems while driving tangible growth into their sales strategy. Contact us to learn more.

Ready to learn more? See Part 4 of our Sales Data Lifecycle series: Archival and Deletion.