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BEST PRACTICES: 3 Steps to Building Effective Salesforce Reports

Knowledge Article Number 000229943
Salesforce Cloud Services

3 Steps to Building Effective Salesforce Reports

Before creating dashboards, capturing the right data and building custom reports are required.  Well-built reports give you clarity into which areas of your organization are doing well and which areas need attention. Follow these 3 steps to build or refine the analytics you need to gain visibility, boost sales revenue and spot trends in your organization's data.


1 Choose a report type by starting with out-of-the-box, standard reports as the basis for your custom reports. 

Salesforce offers standard reports across all standard objects. You rarely need to create brand-new reports. If you can't find a report that you can customize for your needs, you can create a new custom report to return the right information. Click here for a list of standard report types with their intended purpose. Pre-designed custom reports are also available here.


2 Understand the difference between report formats and how they're used.

You can choose from 4 different report formats:

  1. Tabular reports are the simplest and fastest way to return your data in a simple list view format. Note: Tabular reports can be used to create dashboard components if the number of rows it returns is limited (between 1 to 99). Click here for more documentation.
  2. Summary reports return your data with subtotals and other summary-level information, which is great for showing average dollar values for closed won opportunities by salesperson or number of cases by status by representative. 
  3. Matrix reports are used to compare related totals, particularly if you have large amounts of data and you need to compare values in several different fields. Use this report format to group and summarize data by both rows and columns if you want to look at data by date and by product, person, or geography, such as, total sales per sales rep per year by quarter. 
  4. Joined reports (available only in Enterprise, Performance, Unlimited and Developer Editions) let you combine multiple views of your data in report blocks without the need for Excel. Each block is like a "sub-report," with its own fields, columns, sorting and filtering. 

3  Fine-tune and extend your reports with additional tools

You can schedule a report to run itself daily, weekly, or monthly and send the results automatically to people who need them, when they need them. Add bucket fields to categorize records on the fly, without the need for custom fields, and apply cross object filters to filter records by their related records, without the need for custom report types.


icon Reporting Resources: Bookmark these links for future reference


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