At the start of this training guide, we hammered home the idea that good processes and strategies are paramount when it comes to effectively using the InsideSales.com system. That advice now comes full circle when using reports.
Earlier, when we talked about objectives, goals, metrics, and KPIs, we mentioned that metrics are numbers—a numeric measurement indicating progress toward a goal.
However, as you start using the report features and tools, keep that in mind that while numbers are numbers, the reasons behind the numbers are more important. Reporting isn't simply about regurgitating data; it's about intuition. It's creating a coherent narrative behind the reasons for the numbers.
When statisticians and accountants say "The numbers never lie," they're absolutely right. The numbers are always the numbers—it's the stories people create about the numbers that can be true or false.
The InsideSales.com report engine is incredibly robust, and can track data in hundreds, even thousands of ways, but most Sysadmins are really only looking for the five to ten critical KPIs that really matter to them. Some will be universal across all enterprises; some will be specific to your company or industry.
The trick is to decide the metric that best demonstrates your goal progress, identify the area of InsideSales.com that correlates to that goal, and find or create the report that shows it to you.
At their lowest, bare-bones level, nearly every report shows one of four critical types of data:
Counts are pretty self-evident: a total number of something. By themselves counts are generally meaningless; they only become meaningful when used comparatively—a count over time (a rate), a comparative count (the same count viewed side by side across time frames), or when compared to an entirely separate count (a ratio).
A rate is a count expressed as measure per value of time—Number of X per Y time. Calls per hour, opportunities per week, appointments per day are all examples of rates.
A ratio measures a count against another count, typically as a measure of effectiveness. Examples might include number of appointments set per close, number of calls per qualified opportunity, and average deal size per lead source.
Ratings and dispositions provide qualitative, rather than strictly quantitative information. They can use subjective data, such as "sliding scale" polls (i.e., how "hot" is this opportunity), or objective data, such as number of Web site visits, to indicate the quality of a prospect.
The system comes with a number of pre-defined reports, but in many cases you'll end up wanting to create your own. As you being developing your own reports, use the basic metric types to help guide the process, giving you more consistent, concise, and accurate information.
Some of the more specific metrics InsideSales.com provides are listed in the table below.
|Impression Counts||Impressions, as they're called in our system, are basic counts that link to dialer activities as they are performed. For example, when a user dials a Lead in the PowerDialer, it logs an impression on the record showing a dial was made, and links that impression to the user who made it.
The most common impression types Sysadmins track are dials, emails sent, and voice messages left.
|Call Detail Record (CDR) Information||Call Detail Record, or CDR data, is information compiled by the dialer server as it performs actions. When a call goes out, the dialer compiles when the call starts and stops, the duration, and the record ID that was called.
One of the biggest questions we get about reporting is, "Why are there discrepancies between the dial impression counts and the CDR call data, particularly the number of calls made?" The answer is that it is possible to create an impression that a record was dialed, but the call never reaches its destination—the dialer server hangs up unexpectedly, the recipient's line is busy, and so on. In these cases, an agent might attempt to dial the same record multiple times, creating a dial impression for each attempt, but the CDR report may only show one actual call go out.
The trick to remember is that though there may be minor discrepancies as a result, they should never be very large. You shouldn't have hundreds more impressions in your reports than the CDR shows as actually taking place. If there's ever a question, however, the CDR report data is the final arbiter. A user can click the "Dial" button as many times as they want, but if a call never goes out, it won't show as a placed call in the CDR reports.
|Dial, Contact Rates and Ratios||Fairly self-explanatory, these track the number of call and contact impressions made on a per time basis, or as a ratio compared to some other metric.|
|Lead Generation Rates and Ratios||For companies that need to track the Leads generated per time, or as a ratio (Leads per Lead Source, Leads Per Campaign, etc.).|
|Revenue - Counts, Rates, and Ratios||All reports that track revenue are tied to Deal metrics and reports—total pipeline revenue, average dollar value per opportunity, average Deal closes per month/per rep, and so forth.|
|Task/Event Counts, Rates, and Ratios||These are most commonly related to tracking appointments, product demonstrations, or other key prospecting events that indicate strong buying signals. Managers want to track the intermediary steps that lead to bottom-line revenue.|