Why CRM Reports Are Failing You (and What to Do Instead)

CRM reports only tell you what happened, not why. They're snapshots that lack context and can lead to erroneous conclusions. Instead, monitor your processes day to day and understand how and why you're succeeding or struggling. Generate results, not reports.

Why CRM Reports Are Failing You (and What to Do Instead)
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Created on
Apr 17, 2023 04:40 PM
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You know those delightful old detective movies where a suspicious PI sees a snapshot of their suspect engaged in something fishy? They flip through a series of photographs that all seem to tell one story.
But later on, they discover the context was all wrong.
That’s because snapshots — like the reports you get from your CRM — only tell you a what. Not a why.
Without context, a single report (or snapshot) can lead you to an entirely erroneous conclusion.
Don’t get me wrong; reports aren’t bad. They’re just incomplete pictures — snapshots — of your overall process. And they can only be viewed and analyzed after the fact. So what do CRM reports actually tell you, and how can you go beyond reports to get accurate (and actionable) context around your business strategies?

What do CRM reports actually tell you?

There’s a seemingly endless list of reports that your CRM can call up, whether you’re coming from marketing, sales, or customer support.
Here’s a short list of possibilities:
  • Pipeline analysis
  • Sales funnel analysis
  • Sales performance
  • Goal progress
  • Activity outcomes
  • Revenue forecast
  • Sales activity report
  • Lead source analysis
  • Marketing campaign analysis
  • Customer service report
  • ROI analysis
  • Team activity report
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. But what do these reports really tell a team leader, a manager, or an executive?
A great CRM tool can process vast amounts of data and present it in a visually appealing, comprehensible manner. Reports are likely to be chock full of color-coded bar charts and pie graphs showing you, for instance, revenue at each pipeline stage or average duration of deals won.
You can learn a lot depending on what you choose to sample from your CRM platform’s à la carte menu of reports. How many support tickets were resolved every quarter this year? How many were resolved by each rep? How long on average did each resolution take? What was each rep’s average time to resolution?
This can certainly be valuable. But all this data must be actionable, which means it really needs to show you how and why — and an automated report just can’t do that.

Where do CRM reports fall short?

A seemingly endless information stream might be interesting, but what can you actually dowith it? It’s not enough to compare how long Sandro took to resolve customer issues vs. how long Avery took, or to see that your CX team’s overall duration for resolving tickets got shorter from Q1 to Q4 — not unless you know why.
A report can’t pinpoint why Sandro is consistently taking longer to resolve tickets than Avery. Maybe Sandro tends to receive more complex issues from customers. Or maybe he feels less confident than Avery who has two additional years of experience, so he takes his time. It could also be that he’s struggling with how to use a new software tool that was implemented at the start of Q2.
But with a report, you don’t know any of that context.
All the report tells you is that his ticket turnaround time lags behind his peers.
This is the problem with reports that are a snapshot of a moment in time, or a summary of your quarter. They show you what is happening — the activities of individuals or teams, revenue earned, or deals lost. But they fail to encapsulate the process of the company. They can’t explain why activities occurred (or not), why revenue was earned, or why deals fell through the cracks.
Again, it’s not that reports are bad. They’re just limited. And they won’t do your business any good if you just generate and defenestrate.

The Solution? Stop reporting, start monitoring.

Stop using reports to tick a box on your meeting agenda every week, month, or quarter. Instead of running a report that analyzes results after they’ve happened, you have an alternative option: monitoring your processes day to day.
A report can show you results. And those results often impact whether a process is seen as “successful” or not. But here’s the thing: process comes before results. So analyzing results independent of process monitoring is like looking at those old-timey detective photos and drawing a conclusion based on a single black-and-white snapshot.
No matter the size or complexity of your business, your team takes actions step by step whether they’re formalized in a playbook or not. What are those actions? How do they lead to the results you see in the report? And how do you know those actions are being taken in the first place?
Let’s revisit Sandro and Avery. You’re a little concerned about how long Sandro is taking to close service tickets, so you decide to keep a watchful eye on his interactions with customers this week. As you monitor his process, you realize…he’s simply not following the same steps as Avery. His understanding of your new software is incomplete, and his process for filling out fields is inefficient. As soon as you point out this oversight, his numbers immediately improve.
No need to wait until the end of the quarter.
The data point about Sandro’s lagging call times doesn’t just languish in a report. By monitoring your process in real time, you can immediately see that Sandro is having trouble with the new software. Now we see whywe see this data in the report, and that opens doors for what we can do to solve the problem.
Once you identify why a step in your process is actually a stumbling block, you need to rectify it. But you can only do that once you understand how and why you’ve stumbled. For Sandro, maybe some dedicated training time would help. If Avery finds the new tool a breeze, they could mentor Sandro on it. No matter what you try, get proactive about exploring possible solutions. Monitor each change in the process to see what works and what needs further tweaking.

Generate results, not reports

Stop wasting time generating meaningless reports that don’t tell you how and why your team is struggling or succeeding. With Gluework’s process monitoring software, you can see beyond a pile of reports, get proactive, and apply that data to workable solutions. Reach out for a demo today.

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Aviv Bergman

Written by

Aviv Bergman

Co-Founder at Gluework and RevOps Expert

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