5 Essential CRM Reports (Plus 6 More You Probably Need)

Best Practices | Data & Reporting | Sales

We all know that the primary function of a customer relationship management (CRM) system is to collect, organize, and manage your customer-related data. But it’s not enough to just gather all that information in one convenient location. You also need to understand what your CRM data is telling you.

That’s where CRM reports come in. With the right CRM reporting functionality, you can turn your CRM database into a valuable resource for monitoring sales performance, identifying trends, streamlining processes, and much more. 

Simply put, CRM reports help you sell smarter, serve your customers better, and keep your business on track.

Fortunately most CRM solutions let you create a variety of reports, so you can easily extract meaningful insights from your CRM data. In this article, we’ll explore CRM reporting and dig into some of the most important CRM reports for your organization.

What is a CRM report?

A CRM report is a powerful analytics tool that’s available in most CRM platforms. While there are many different types of CRM reports (which we’ll explore in more detail below), each report synthesizes data from your CRM and presents it in a way that’s easy to digest. Using charts, graphs, and other visual elements, CRM reports can translate your CRM data into valuable, actionable insights.

CRM reports let you drill down and sort CRM data in countless ways, so you can get the answers you need and make more strategic, data-driven business decisions. With CRM reports, you can analyze KPIs and evaluate various aspects of your business operations, including: 

  • Sales performance (individual and team)
  • Progress toward sales goals
  • Deal status and overall pipeline health
  • Efficiency of the selling process
  • Revenue forecasts for the coming month, quarter, or year
  • Lead source effectiveness
  • Marketing campaign performance
  • Customer satisfaction and customer service trends

CRM reports vs CRM dashboards

Both CRM reports and CRM dashboards distill complex CRM data into a more user-friendly format, to provide deep insights and enable better decision making. These two tools are closely related, but they’re also quite different. Understanding how to harness the strengths of both CRM reports and CRM dashboards will help you maximize the value of your CRM data.

  • CRM reports are static documents that present specified data for a given period, so they’re extremely useful for identifying trends and evaluating how things change over time. When you build a CRM report, you can choose which data points to display, over which time period, in which format. You can also customize your report by applying various filters and sorting functions, adding graphics, and more. CRM reports can even be automated, so they will run on a regular basis and arrive in your chosen recipients’ inbox with no manual effort.
  • CRM dashboards, on the other hand, provide a real-time snapshot of specific data points, so they’re especially useful for assessing where things currently stand and tracking progress toward goals. Dashboards tend to be highly visual, using charts, graphs, gauges, and more to display critical information in a digestible way. With the customization available in many CRM platforms, CRM dashboards provide extremely granular, timely data visualizations that can be shared with anyone who needs them.

5 critical CRM reports for sales leaders

The number 5 in a box.Depending on the capabilities of your CRM system, you may have the ability to create hundreds or even thousands of unique, granular CRM reports. With that level of flexibility, it can be hard to know where to start. That said, sales teams are among the most avid consumers of CRM reports (more on that later), so many key reports target this audience.

Following is a brief summary of the five most common (and most useful) CRM reports for your sales leadership team. Many CRM platforms offer these as prebuilt, out-of-the-box reporting options, and you can apply various filters and design elements to further customize your report output.

  1. Pipeline analysis report (also called a “sales funnel report”)
    A pipeline analysis report provides a complete overview of the sales pipeline, including the status of each deal in the funnel. It typically includes things like total number of deals in the pipeline, total revenue in the pipeline, a breakdown of deals at each pipeline stage, conversion rates at each stage, average deal size, and sales process bottlenecks. This report helps sales leaders assess the health of the pipeline by showing which deals are set to close soon and which deals are in jeopardy.
  2. Sales conversion report (also called a “win-loss report”)
    A sales conversion report helps sales leaders determine not only the rate of sales wins, but also why deals are won or lost. It evaluates sales performance across a number of variables — lead source, industry, company size, competitor involvement, and more — and then draws conclusions about the reasons behind each deal’s result. This report is particularly useful for identifying niches where your products are performing well (or poorly) and assessing performance against specific competitors. 
  3. Sales forecast report
    A sales forecast report sorts potential customers at various points in the buyer’s journey, based on their likelihood to convert. This report allows sales leaders to estimate how much revenue will be generated over a given period, so they can better predict whether the team is on pace to hit its sales goals. The sales forecast report also helps both sales and marketing teams target their efforts more effectively. Sales reps can focus their attention on leads that are most likely to convert, to guide them across the finish line. And marketers can motivate less-ready prospects with special offers, incentives, and other personalized campaigns.
  4. Sales activity report
    A sales activity report provides a summary of all actions taken by members of the sales team, including calls made, emails sent, appointments created, proposals generated, meetings taken, and much more — along with the outcome of those interactions. This report is typically created by integrating your CRM with other business  tools like your calendar, email platform, and document generation software. The sales activity report is particularly useful for monitoring individual and team performance, as well as identifying pain points that may prevent reps from reaching their sales goals. It can also help sales leaders to evaluate the effectiveness of various sales activities.
  5. Lead source report
    A lead source report provides detailed analysis of how and where a company is attracting new business. This report helps sales and marketing leaders understand which channels, tactics, and campaigns are most effective at delivering qualified leads, conversions, and revenue. With these insights, leaders can better allocate resources toward the sources that yield more high-quality leads — and avoid channels that aren’t worth the effort.

6 more CRM reports to explore

Of course, these five sales-focused reports are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to CRM reporting. Depending on your needs — and the capabilities of your CRM platform — you may want to experiment with additional CRM reports like:

  • Profitability report: This report helps you identify your most loyal customers and those that are likely to become repeat buyers. When you know who these truly profitable customers are, you can devote more attention to keeping them satisfied.
  • Contacts report: This report provides valuable information about how many times an individual has been contacted, and through which channels — which can help to identify and prioritize “warm” leads that may be receptive to a given offer.
  • Top-performing products report: This report helps businesses maximize profit margins by focusing sales efforts on the products that sell the best. It’s also useful when you need to select products for cross-selling and sales promotions.
  • Marketing campaign analysis report: This report provides campaign-specific engagement and conversion data, to help marketing leaders understand which channels and tactics are most effective for attracting new customers. With these insights, marketing leaders can hone their strategy and better allocate their budget.
  • Customer service reports: There are a variety of customer service reports that track key metrics like churn rate, response time, resolution rate, net promoter score (NPS), and customer satisfaction score. These reports help service and support leaders understand how well their teams are meeting customer expectations and improve the overall customer experience.
  • Benchmark reports: These goal-centric CRM reports provide a snapshot of how various strategies and activities are performing, relative to predetermined benchmarks. These reports offer essential insights into organizational strengths and weaknesses.

How do businesses benefit from CRM reports?

Person using CRM reportsRegardless of which reports you start with, companies can gain countless advantages with the help of CRM reports. Here are five of the most important benefits:

  1. Understand performance. CRM reports put your data to work, so you can better assess where you’ve been, where you are today, and where you’re headed. With CRM reports, you can set standards and benchmarks that will help you evaluate business performance, analyze strengths and weaknesses, and identify opportunities for course correction.
  2. Boost efficiency. CRM technology puts all your data in one central location, where everyone can access it. By taking the next step and delivering deep insights through regular CRM reports, you keep teams aligned and moving toward the same goal, so they can operate more efficiently. CRM reports can also help you pinpoint bottlenecks in your process that may be slowing down the sales cycle.
  3. Improve decision making. Data is the foundation of sound, strategic decision making — but first, you need to understand what the data is telling you. CRM reports can help you unlock insights buried deep within your CRM data, so you can make more intelligent decisions to drive your business forward.
  4. Increase customer satisfaction. CRM reports let you analyze customer behavior over time, as well as trends in customer service requests. With this deeper understanding of what your customers need, you can shape marketing campaigns and customer service practices to improve the overall customer experience — and ultimately improve retention.
  5. Accelerate innovation. Your CRM data is more than just a vast collection of information; insights from your CRM reports can also serve as a source of inspiration. Digging into your CRM reports can help you find new ways of doing things and innovative approaches to everyday problems.

Which roles use CRM reports?

CRM reports are incredibly useful for planning and decision making across a variety of teams and functional roles. Here are a few of the many groups that can benefit from CRM reports:

  • Sales leaders. With the right CRM reports, sales managers can track the performance of individual sales reps and see how the team is functioning as a whole. They can also use CRM reports to track progress toward sales goals, assess the health of the sales pipeline, discover pain points in the sales process, and identify opportunities for coaching and feedback.
  • Sales reps. CRM reports help sales reps dig into their own performance, track progress toward individual sales targets, analyze their pipeline, and make smart choices about where to focus their efforts.
  • C-suite executives. Business leaders use CRM reports to evaluate how the high-level sales strategy is performing and its impact on the company’s bottom line.
  • Marketing teams. Marketers can use CRM reports to track campaign performance and measure the quality of marketing-generated leads.
  • Account managers. Teams that are focused on building and maintaining customer relationships can leverage CRM report insights to prioritize projects and uncover trends.
  • Customer service and support teams. CRM reports let customer-facing teams analyze KPIs like average response time and satisfaction scores, to better serve their customers.
  • Data analysts. CRM reports are an excellent source of business intelligence data for analysts looking to identify trends and guide their organizations to better decisions.
  • Investors. With the right CRM reports, investors can assess the performance of their investment or evaluate the health of a potential acquisition.

Tips for creating CRM reports

The process for building CRM reports will vary depending on which CRM platform you choose. Many solutions include a robust library of prebuilt reports and CRM report templates, so all you need to do is select your data points and generate the report. The best CRMs — like Insightly CRM — also allow you to create advanced, custom CRM reports to zero in on the exact insights you need.

That said, your CRM reports will be more useful if you invest some time in planning and preparation. To help you get the most out of your CRM reporting functionality, we’ve assembled this short list of guidelines and best practices. 

  • Define your goals and objectives. Before you start building CRM reports, you need a clear understanding of the company’s goals and objectives — and how CRM reports can support those goals. For example, are you looking to streamline the sales process? Improve performance against key competitors? Optimize lead generation efforts? Enhance the customer experience? Answering these questions will help you choose the right performance metrics and create the right reports to track those metrics.
  • Consider your audience. As we discussed above, many different groups can derive value from CRM reports — and each role has different needs. By building reports with those unique requirements in mind, you can ensure that the output will be useful as possible. For example, CRM reports for sales and marketing leaders should include granular detail on KPIs and actionable insights that can help to define strategy and improve operational efficiency. Reports for C-suite executives, on the other hand, should focus on high-level insights, status updates on key initiatives, and opportunities to improve the bottom line.
  • Understand your CRM’s reporting tools. Every CRM is different, so it’s critical to understand your platform’s reporting functionality before you get started. For example, are the reports you want already available out of the box, or do you need to build them? Is there a limit on how many custom reports you can create? What are your options for adding charts and graphics? If your CRM technology partner provides educational resources — like help center articles and tutorial videos — use these assets to familiarize yourself with the system’s reporting capabilities.
  • Design for easy analysis. You don’t need graphic design experience to create an attractive,  useful CRM report. Just keep a few basic concepts in mind:  
    • Each report should tell a clear story, so keep it simple and straightforward. Avoid unnecessary detail that doesn’t support the report’s core purpose.
    • The flow of the report should be well-organized and logical, so it’s easy to extract key insights.
    • Use charts and graphs to illustrate key points and make the report more digestible.
    • Don’t go overboard with color, as it can detract from the report’s impact. In most cases, three or four colors should be enough.
  • Explore different report types. In this article, we explored 11 types of CRM reports that consistently provide value to various parts of an organization — but there are countless other ways to slice and dice your CRM data. Experiment with different combinations of filters, parameters, data points, and logic to create powerful new reports and uncover new insights. 
  • Share reports with the right people. CRM reports are only valuable if they’re in the right hands. Use your CRM’s automated reporting functionality to run key reports on a regular basis and deliver them to the right people, instantly. You can also add reports to your CRM dashboard, so they’re easily accessible at any time. To further increase the value of your reporting tools, you can even empower certain users to generate their own CRM reports as needed. Just make the appropriate adjustments to user permissions — and be sure to provide training so they understand how to get the best results from the CRM reports.
  • Test, evaluate, and optimize. We live in a world where technology advances quickly and market conditions are constantly evolving. That means many things are likely to change over time, including your company’s goals and priorities, your reporting needs, and even your CRM’s capabilities. Take the time to explore and test the limits of your CRM reporting function. Try out new reporting features as the system is updated. Ask for feedback from stakeholders who use the CRM report insights. In short, don’t be afraid to continually evaluate and optimize your CRM reporting strategy, to be sure it always delivers the most valuable insights.

Get the most out of your CRM data with Insightly CRM

CRM reports are among the easiest and most effective ways to extract critical insights from your CRM data — and Insightly CRM offers powerful reporting functionality as part of every plan.

Insightly CRM includes dozens of prebuilt reports and report templates to help you monitor every aspect of your business performance. And with our advanced reporting, you can create configurable, custom reports to find the answers you need and make more informed, data-driven decisions. As you build more sophisticated reports, you can apply filters and logic to drill down into the information you want, or add charts and graphs to visualize your data.

Once a report is saved, you can manually run it any time — or schedule reports to be run and delivered automatically, at predetermined intervals (with Insightly paid plans). You can also export reports to examine the raw data or import them to a third-party reporting tool.

With Insightly CRM, you get robust, easy-to-use reporting capabilities that stack up against any provider on the market today.

Don’t wait — get started today!

Insightly is the only CRM solution that offers robust customization, advanced reporting, and powerful dashboard functionality—all on a shared data platform to deliver a single, unified view of every customer. Our simple, scalable platform aligns cross-functional teams for better decision making and a seamless end-to-end customer experience.

Get started with a free trial of Insightly CRM today, watch a demo on demand, or request a personalized demo to see how our solution can help your company achieve its business goals.