Image of Courtney Coen and graphic of Codey reading a book in a hammock. Text next to Courtney says "How Building My First Salesforce Report Changed My Entire Career."

How Building My First Salesforce Report Changed My Entire Career

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When I think about my Salesforce Administrator journey, it always amazes me how my future career began with just one curious click. You see, seven years ago, I was working as a customer service rep in a call center. I spent my days answering anywhere from 50 to 70 phone calls and averaged around 500 closed cases a month. Since I worked the night shift and usually got my work done early, I helped my supervisor distribute cases to service reps. The org I worked in didn’t have case assignment rules, and therefore, we had to manually pass them out throughout the day. This process also included manually counting the number of cases we gave each rep and checking the number they had closed every hour. It was a very tedious process, and I knew there just had to be a better way to automate it.

One day after I finished my work, I was feeling curious and started to poke around Salesforce. I looked at all of the tabs that I could click on until I came to the Reports tab. I started clicking on everything that was in there. I figured if I tinkered with the Report Builder enough I could likely create a useful report. It took some trial and error, but you can imagine my excitement when, low and behold, I eventually managed to create a report that calculated how many cases each customer service rep had. It was my very first report, and little did I know that my curiosity that day would change the trajectory of my career — and lead me to create more than 200 reports and dashboards within Salesforce!

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “Why would anyone need 200+ reports?” Well, because Salesforce Reports and Dashboards can be used in so many different ways, the possibilities of what can be created in Salesforce are truly endless. In this blog post, I will share my three favorite uses for them, plus provide some insight into how you can use reports and dashboards to not only help drive success at your company but also pave the way for a successful technology career.

Reports can help monitor and improve productivity

After successfully showcasing how awesome reports and dashboards are, I quickly became known as “The Report Builder” in the customer service department. Everyone had ideas of the different data they wanted to capture — it was as though everyone was suddenly struck with report fever and I was the only one who had the cure! I created all sorts of reports that provided lots of different numbers. But because it was all new and there wasn’t a ton of direction initially, I was unsure whether the reports I was building were useful for management or held the value I aspired them to have.

To solve this challenge, I met with my supervisor on a regular basis and discussed in depth the overall vision that she had for our team, as well as the expectations the company had for our department. We then came up with the success metrics we wanted to track. Essentially, we worked backwards to create the reports we needed — how many cases each rep had, the status of each case, and how many cases each rep closed for the day/week/month.

Over time, the reports I built evolved to include a lot of other key metrics and really changed the landscape of our department as we grew from 10 reps to 60. In one click, we were able to see how much work someone did and use those numbers to report on productivity to executives. This type of data can provide a lot of value to your company, as it can be used to monitor and improve productivity.

Reports can help with change management

Another way I enjoy using reports and dashboards is to provide data to my users about the changes we are making to the org. For example, let’s say that you have an idea to automate the release of backorders in the warehouse when items are back in stock, and to send an auto-email to notify the customer. Currently, the customer service department completes this process manually, but it results in a lot of canceled orders because it takes a long time. Here’s how a report could help solve this challenge:

  1. Firstly, you could build a report that shows both the total number of backorders and the number of backorders that are canceled every day.
  2. Secondly, you could meet with your customer service department to determine how much time it takes to manually complete this task.
  3. Thirdly, you could then multiply the number of backorders per day by the amount of time it takes each customer service rep to complete the task, giving you a metric that shows the amount of labor required.
  4. Lastly, a few weeks after you’ve built your backorder automation solution, you could pull the report again — and then compare the old (manual) numbers to the new (automatic) numbers.

This process would tell you many things; for example, if the number of overall backorders has decreased, if the number of canceled orders has decreased, and how much money you’ve saved the company by reducing labor costs.

These types of quantifiable numbers can be extremely useful when you’re communicating the value of your work to users and executives. Often, IT departments are not considered revenue-generating areas of the business which can cause them to be understaffed and lack the resources they need. Using this method, you can prove that your work has made a significant impact on the business in multiple ways. Your CEO may not understand Salesforce lingo, but they can appreciate money saved, reduced cancellations, and increased sales and customer satisfaction.

Reports can help prove the value of your work

My final and favorite way to use reports and dashboards is to use the method above to assist in the performance review process. At most companies, you’re given a self-assessment before your official performance review for your management team to consider. This is your time to shine and prove to them that you deserve that raise or promotion! Just like on your resume, measurable numbers will stand out. It will serve you well to keep a record of your successful projects and the metrics that they produce. Writing “Completed backorder automation project that reduced 120 hours of labor and increased sales by $100,000” sounds a lot better than “Improved the backorder process.” This makes you look like the rockstar admin that you are — and can help pave the way for promotions, pay increases, and continued success in your career.

Never in a million years would I have guessed that a simple click on the Reports tab in Salesforce would lead me down the path of transitioning from a customer service rep to a Salesforce Administrator — and lead to happiness beyond compare, plus a salary that is four times what I previously made. I love spending my days solving business challenges, bringing processes to life, and building solutions that help drive success.

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