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3 Analytics Habits That Will Help You Succeed in Your Role

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Editor’s note: As of January 2022, Essential Habits for Salesforce Admins has been refreshed and is now available as a Trailhead module. This blog post was updated in August 2022 to reflect the content changes. Learn more about the analytics habits that will help you succeed in your role in the new Essential Habits for Salesforce Admins badge.

At Salesforce, we’ve identified four core responsibilities that all admins share: user management, data management, security, and actionable analytics. And underlying these four core responsibilities is your personal success. To keep our responsibilities actionable, we’ve broken them down into habits—actions you can take on a regular basis over time! We believe these habits are essential for success.

In this post, we discuss the fourth core admin responsibility: actionable analytics

Why are actionable analytics important?

Simply put, businesses want to drive results. Leaders rely on data to guide their decisions. Managers and individual contributors rely on data to know if their tactics are working. Nearly everything we do in business is data! By aggregating and analyzing this data, we can identify trends and patterns. This helps us better understand where we should invest our time and effort.

Imagine we work at a customer support call center. How do we know if we’re keeping our customers happy or resolving their issues? We analyze! Everything from the duration of a call, to the customer satisfaction score, to how many cases our agents are working. We even check which channels our agents are assigned to and how many times a case was escalated.

You help your company drive business decisions by using your Salesforce Data. At one point, admins like you created these analytics using just the core Reports and Dashboards features of Salesforce. Today, that’s no longer the case. You may be using Reports and Dashboards, Tableau or Tableau CRM, Datorama, or even a third-party integrated analytics solution.

The habits in this post apply to any and all of the solutions above. That’s the great thing about habits! Habits aren’t a product—they’re a way of working. They’re a mindset. Let’s dive into the three habits underlying your actionable analytics core responsibility.

Essential habit 1: Conduct quarterly business reviews

Quarterly business reviews (QBRs) are meetings in which business leaders and individual contributors discuss business goals and the progress they’ve made so far.

For example, the sales organization for a national company is divided into territories. Each quarter, the manager of the sales territory will meet with all the sales reps to see how they’re performing against their quota.

QBRs are an opportunity for the business to analyze progress and take action to achieve results—and actionable analytics. To get started, ask your manager if you can observe a QBR. Now, this is a good time to reiterate that every business is different. If your business takes a different approach, meets monthly, or perhaps meets far more frequently, please feel free to adapt this habit appropriately to meet the needs of your business.

Slide that outlines three things you should focus on when you conduct a QBR: Check in with stakeholders and users, focus on leaders, and review upcoming business initiatives and objectives.

While attending your QBR, make sure you wear your listening hat. That’s why you’re there, to listen and observe. Pay particular attention whenever Salesforce is being used or discussed. What do you hear? Take notes about any complaints or wins you observe. During breaks or lunch, feel free to check in with your stakeholders and users.

Business leaders may lay out strategies or plans. Take notes on how well your org is configured to assist in those plans. Listen for any new business initiatives or objectives, along with any relevant dates. Make sure to write down detailed questions as you go, so you can follow up with your stakeholders at a future date. Also, if this is your first QBR, remember to send a ‘thank you’ to your sponsor!

📅 Make it a habit: We recommend allocating several hours per quarter for your QBR. You’ll need to defer to the business for the date and time of these reviews, but in a perfect world, you’d schedule this at the beginning of the week. You might need to adjust your calendar to make room based on the needs of your business.

Essential habit 2: Confirm and update key performance indicators

Our next habit is to confirm and update key performance indicators (KPIs). This is a natural next step to your QBR. It’s time to compile your notes, take what you’ve learned, and compare it to your current reporting. Pay particular attention to KPIs.

It’s important to note that you should always meet with the business to discuss your findings, ask questions, and evaluate your current reports. During the QBR, you’ve gathered information. During your KPI review, you’ll be noting what, if anything, you’ll be changing in your analytics. Unlike a QBR, there should be one or more meetings with business leaders one-on-one. If you’re feeling stuck, check out some of the sample reports we’ve included in the image below.

Slide featuring sample reports admins can utilize.

Remember to consider the KPIs at all levels of the org! You see, sales reps may care about new leads this week, but the VP of sales may prefer to focus on the total business closed this month summarized by the sales rep. This is why it’s so important to make sure you’re looking at all levels of your org.

📅 Make it a habit: We recommend scheduling an hour per quarter to confirm and update your KPIs. It’s best to schedule this after the QBR to make the best use of your time.

Essential habit 3: Review and update key reports and dashboards

Now that we’ve discussed QBRs and KPIs, it’s time to update our reports and our dashboards. Remember, you have everything you need to adjust your analytics!

Use what you’ve discovered to remove reports and dashboards that you no longer use. Are there new business goals? Update your existing reports and dashboards to reflect them. This is also a great time to prepare any reports or dashboards you may need to create for the next quarter.

Slide featuring steps to take when reviewing key reports and dashboards.

 

It isn’t as simple as making a bunch of changes and walking away. Admins must utilize their communication skills to ensure the business is well informed of any new configuration in the org.

That means it’s up to you to thoughtfully share what you’ve learned and how the org has changed. Consider assembling a Slack post, sending an email to your users, or putting together a quick demo for your next company meeting. While the decision is yours, we recommend communicating across multiple channels, perhaps more than once. This will help your users find the information, and make it much less surprising. Make sure to include any changes to key reports and why the changes were made.

Remember to include the related business initiative as well. Be particularly clear if any KPIs have changed. Users are held accountable for these metrics, so it’s important to support them well. Have you removed any pain points? Make sure you share this with your users and also include your contact information. Be supportive and open to questions. This is a great opportunity to find potential super users and deepen your business relationships!

📅 Make it a habit: We recommend allocating a few hours per quarter to update your key reports and dashboards. You’ll want to schedule this after you’ve confirmed your KPIs.

So, what did we learn?

We aligned with the business during our QBR by confirming our KPIs with the business. We built trust and decreased the risk of inaccurate or outdated reports by reviewing and updating our key reports and dashboards. We increased the productivity of our users.

Remember, the QBR is owned by the business. It may not fall early in the week where we as admins would like it. That’s okay! No matter when it happens, the thing to keep in mind is that you want to attend. Soon after that, let’s say the following day, schedule time with a stakeholder to confirm the KPIs you heard about. Then, the next day or later in the week, schedule your review and updating of key reports and dashboards. Now, depending on how complex your org is, you may need a little more time than a couple of hours. If you do, go ahead and spread it over a few days.

More essential habits

Now that you have a better understanding of the importance of actionable analytics, the habits you need to master it, and key takeaways for you to implement, you’re ready to roll! For a bird’s-eye view of all of the suggested habits and timelines for actionable analytics, check out our handy calendar below.

Actionable analytics calendar.

Want to dive deeper? Check out the new Essential Habits for Salesforce Admins badge.

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