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May the Fourth Be With You: 4 Salesforce Reports you should be using

5.4.17 By: Oliver Sholder

“The Force* is strong with you.” -Darth Sidious

Happy Star Wars Day! If you’ve read my previous post, you probably know how great I think Reports and Dashboards are. So it shouldn’t shock you that today, May the 4th, I combined the Force with the (Sales)force so I could share my top suggested Salesforce reports.

After working with many organizations to set up their reporting in Salesforce, I’ve learned which reports they find most valuable. Today, I want to share what I’ve considered the top four reports for both businesses and nonprofits, separated respectively.


4 Reports for Businesses

Reporting can vary week to week but the following reports will help you get started with a strong reporting foundation. Using only standard fields, these reports are some of the top reports in terms of value offered.

Business Report 1: Won Opportunities, broken down by month

Seeing the sales and the revenue you bring in are two of the most important metrics for your success. While you can also break this report down year over year, looking at each month will be helpful to see any trends and seasonality. With this report you can start to fully understand the patterns of your business and begin to plan for what to expect.

Business Report 2: Lost opportunities reason, broken down by reason

Often times businesses will learn more from when they lose a sales opportunity than when they win one. Many of the businesses I have worked with want to get a better understanding of the reasons they are losing deals and what the underlying causes are for those losses. Maybe it's a competitor with better pricing or maybe it' s the customer didn't feel comfortable with the way something was being sold.

There are many different reasons why an opportunity is lost and this report can help you pinpoint where sales is falling short and make corrections. Over time, you can see if your adjustments are making an impact by comparing different time periods with this report.

Bonus Tip: If it’s helpful to know why an opportunity was lost in detail rather than from a simple pick list choice, just add a field called “Lost Reason Detail” to the report. This would show the full explanation given on the Salesforce record giving your team more insight. If your team doesn’t use this field but you’d like them to the admin can add in a validation rule requiring this field.

Business Report 3: Projected Opportunity with close date in next 3 month, broken down by stage

It’s important for businesses to understand their pipeline, in terms of what's coming up, so you can meet the crucial financial demands of your company. A strong financial projection can make financial planning a lot easier.

You can use the stage field to indicate how likely the deal is to close. By having this information, you can dive further into the probability of how much revenue you expect to bring in. Over time, percentages for closing deals can be refined by stages to give an even more accurate projection. While it is always going to be a projection and not 100% accurate, using real data to shape your business’ goals and strategy can be incredibly valuable.

Business Report 4: Lead Source, broken down by source over last month

If you can understand your top lead generating sources you can scale your growth. But only if you know what’s working. This report will help you begin to track where your leads are coming from.

Bonus Tip: You can create variations on this report to help you drill down further. Try creating a second report comparing the previous month to the current month, so you can see how last month’s trade show or white paper is still performing. You can also create another report to see which lead sources close well, giving you better insights to what's closing and where you should focus your attention.


4 Reports for Nonprofits

There are many parallels between businesses and nonprofits. Generally speaking, both must have cash flow coming in and they need to see what’s working in their organization. The following reports will help nonprofits gain key insights into their organization.

Nonprofit Report 1: Donations, broken down by general accounting unit (GAU)

This report will help you determine on a high level where your donations are going. You can understand if certain GAUs are over or under funded. This report will also help you determine if there is a need for the emphasis to be shifted to a different GAU. If you compare several versions of this report over time, it can help you understand donation trends that can influence future giving.

Nonprofit Report 2: Pledged donations, broken down by month or year

You can use this report to get a projection of the donations that are going to be coming in. This is also helpful at letting you see the past history of donations pledged and pledges that never came in. This may help uncover seasonality patterns when you break this down by year over year as well.

Nonprofit Report 3: Volunteer Hours per month, broken down by month

This will help you understand the level of engagement that your volunteers have with your organization. By identifying who is involved (or not), you can get solid insights into how your organization keeps volunteers engaged. Bonus, maybe you find you DO have enough engaged volunteers to help you host that next big fundraiser!

Nonprofit Report 4: Campaigns, broken down by campaign name, with sum of all donations shown next to it

Do you know how successful your campaigns are? With this report you can determine how successful your efforts have been by tracking participants, attendance, and even fundraising totals.

Bonus Tip: Try including a custom field called “Cost of campaign”. With this, you can tally up the total donations that resulted from that campaign so you can understand the impact your campaign had on your organization.


Salesforce has many great features to help your organization grow but Reports have to be at the top of my list for most valuable. Hopefully, with the reports I’ve suggested you can find your inner Jedi to harness the power of your data.

Looking to learn more ways you can utilize Salesforce? Check out our tips on how to clean up your Salesforce instance.


Let’s Talk


Bonus Joke:

Q: Which program does a Jedi use to open PDF files?

A: Adobe Wan Kenobi


*We’re pretty sure he meant Salesforce...


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