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4 Analytics Habits That Will Help You Succeed in Your Role

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As Salesforce Admins, you drive results and deliver business value every day. You automate processes and make them more efficient. You build amazing reports and dashboards to drive insights and provide increased transparency. And, every time you customize Salesforce, you personalize the user experience and help your users and executives do their jobs better.

Salesforce would not be what it is today without your passion and dedication. That’s why, at Salesforce, we’re so dedicated to helping you be successful. One of the best ways to get started is by building strong habits that ensure your success from day one. In our five-part series, Essential Habits for New Admins, we start by defining the four core responsibilities every admin has and the repeatable habits you can develop to make you and your organization successful.

You can watch the overview episode every Friday at 9:30 a.m. PT on Trailhead LIVE. PLUS, dive deeper into the makeup of each core responsibility and its habits in our Essential Habits series: User Management, Data Management, Security, and Actionable Analytics.

We’ve already explored the core responsibilities of user management, data management, and security. Today, we’ll look at the fourth and final core responsibility, actionable analytics. Watch the episode or dive in by reading the blog post below.

The importance of actionable analytics

What are actionable analytics, anyway? Actionable analytics are the way that you, as an admin, can use your Salesforce data to help your company drive decisions on where and how to focus your business. These are critical to your company getting the full value out of their Salesforce investment.

There are multiple analytics solutions available to you on the Salesforce Platform, like Tableau for example — an end-to-end analytics platform serving a broad range of enterprise use cases.

In this blog post, we’ll focus on things you can do within your Salesforce org using the Salesforce-native Reports and Dashboards that you’re used to. Below are the four main actionable analytics habits we suggest you adopt to help you in your role:

  1. Report on report usage
  2. Review key reports and dashboards
  3. Share insights with stakeholders
  4. Connect and learn more

Four actionable analytics habits.

Let’s break down each of these habits!

Essential habit 1: Report on report usage

As an admin, you want to know which reports and dashboards people are using versus not using.

You can report on report usage (try saying that three times fast!) a few different ways. We have four steps we suggest you take.

  1. Run Salesforce Optimizer to identify unused or least-used reports and dashboards.
  2. Next, create your own custom report type to review usage and identify the most-used reports. If you’ve never used custom report types before, we’ll share resources on how to do this.
  3. Once you’ve identified the report usage, share this information with your internal power users. You can call them your “Awesome Analytics Advocates”! Ideally, they’ll go out and help the rest of your users run and build the reports that matter most to help them do their jobs.
  4. Finally, check in with stakeholders and users. Start this conversation with something like, “I’m observing that you’re not using these reports, or heavily using others – how can I make this information more helpful for you?”

Here’s a quick breakdown of these four steps.

How to report on report usage.

📅 Make it a habit: Reporting on report usage doesn’t have to happen in its entirety every week. We recommend you break up the month into categories, and then each week, report on reports in just one category. This way, you can accomplish this habit in chunks each week, without feeling overwhelmed by a need to report on ALL reports every week.

Essential habit 2: Review key reports and dashboards

As you probably know, reports are incredibly valuable! The right report can provide critical insights about:

  • Trends and data
  • Areas where action needs to be taken
  • Potential issues
  • How aligned your business goals and priorities are

Reviewing key reports allows you to see all this and more while providing visibility and transparency. You’ll get to know what your stakeholders and users use Salesforce to do and report on by meeting with them and shadowing them as they work in Salesforce. If you’ve already watched the user management episode or read the associated blog post, you’ll know this is what we’re calling “SABWA” or “SABZA” — Salesforce Administration by walking or zooming around.

You’ll want to designate business-critical reports and dashboards at multiple levels — primarily, stakeholder, user, and admin level. At each level, you’ll want to make sure the reports and dashboards are showing the right kinds of information.

How to designate business critical reports and dashboards by level.

For your executive-level stakeholders, they want to know what’s driving the business forward and where they should focus if there are any gaps. For those at the user level, you’ll want to ensure you provide information that can help people be more effective and efficient in their day-to-day work. And, finally, at the admin level, you’ll want to share top-of-mind information like what reports and dashboards are abandoned, which reports and dashboards need updating, and which reports and dashboards are being most heavily used.

Below are some example reports you’d likely want to pull for each level of a business.

Example reports from each level of a business.

Check out a demo at the time stamped here [9:07] for an in-depth look at what we’ve covered so far.

📅 Make it a habit: To create a habit around reviewing key reports and dashboards, every month you should review at the stakeholder, user, and admin levels to ensure all your information is correct and helpful.

Essential habit 3: Share insights with stakeholders

As an admin, you have unique insights into the business — it wouldn’t be fair to keep all of that valuable information to yourself! Meeting with stakeholders to share analytics is a habit all admins should strive to adopt. In these meetings, you can use your key findings from reports and dashboards to drive insight, alignment, and productivity.

When you meet with stakeholders, there are four main goals you’ll want to accomplish.

There are four main goals you'll want to accomplish when meeting with stakeholders.

Let’s break down each of these goals.

  1. Clarify key questions. Begin each meeting by clarifying which key questions stakeholders have surrounding current business trends. This creates a feedback loop which helps you ensure you’re creating reports and dashboards that address your stakeholders’ main concerns!
  2. Define the business and team goals. Use the data in Reports and Dashboards to help define what the business and team goals are. If your dashboards show accurate progress toward team and company goals, then every time you meet you’ll be able to agree on those goals, and keep pressing forward toward them.
  3. Review trends and provide data to inform decisions. Remember that data plus context equals insights, and as the admin in your company, you have a very unique perspective to offer. When you meet with stakeholders, present the relevant data in a way that enables you to share where upcoming trends can be highlighted, or illuminate important areas of progress or lagging metrics.
  4. Improve existing dashboards based on feedback. When you meet with stakeholders, be sure to ask questions about the data you’re not seeing just as much as the data you are seeing. Take the feedback you get and use it to improve your reports and dashboards for the next meeting. Your users and stakeholders will thank you!

Pro tip: Remember to subscribe users to dashboards to keep them apprised of key business metrics by receiving an automatic update at specified times each week. This helps keep everyone on the same page!

Below is a sample meeting agenda with items that pertain specifically to a stakeholder meeting focusing on analytics.

Sample meeting agenda with stakeholders.

📅 Make it a habit: To create a habit around sharing insights with stakeholders, schedule a meeting once a month where you communicate analytics-specific changes, progress, and success stories.

Essential habit 4: Connect and learn more

Connect and learn more is a habit you can tackle from so many different angles — we’re going to focus on three core ones here today. Let these inspire you to find other ways to get out there, learn all you can, and connect with others in the Salesforce ecosystem!

  1. Check in with and contribute to analytics groups in the Trailblazer Community. You’ll be able to ask questions, share knowledge, and learn about new products and best practices.
  2. Complete one of the many reporting or analytics modules on Trailhead. This is a great place to find inspiration and stay curious — take the time to invest in specialized skills and you’ll reap the benefits in your career.
  3. Share what you’re learning with stakeholders. By doing so, you’ll likely connect topics and areas of interest with business needs — and hey, it’s always a good thing to showcase your skills!

📅 Make it a habit: To create a habit around connecting and learning more, take time every quarter to identify new areas of interest and plan time to connect with other admins.

More essential habits

Now that you have a better understanding of the importance of actionable analytics, the habits you need to master, 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.

Analytics habits laid out on a calendar.

Want to dive deeper? Check out our Trailhead LIVE episode, Essential Habits for Salesforce Admins: Actionable Analytics, on demand!

Additional resources

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