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  • Writer's pictureCorey Schwitz

When to Use a Custom Report Type in Salesforce

In sales, effective reporting is essential. Reports make it easy to analyze your performance, identify weak spots, and optimize your customer relationships based on facts.

If you’ve implemented Salesforce, you can generate helpful reports with the standard report types with salesforce implementation partner.

However, these reporting “templates” come with limitations. When you need to bypass those limits and access more powerful, flexible reporting, you can use Custom Report Types (CRTs).

The most common instances of using a Custom Report Type in Salesforce include analyzing cross-object relationships, implementing complex filtering requirements, reporting on historical data, aggregating data across objects, customizing report layouts for executive dashboards, handling custom objects and fields, and streamlining user adoption metrics.

Analyzing cross-object relationships

To start, Custom Report Types are useful when you need to examine data from multiple objects (i.e. database tables). In general, a cross-object report can help your team and stakeholders understand how certain data points are connected.

For example, say you need to analyze customer data alongside related opportunity information to better understand your in-progress deals. By creating a custom report type that includes “Account” (for customer data) and “Opportunity,” you can build out a framework that lets you explore the relationship between the two.

Complex filtering requirements

Sometimes, Saleforce’s standard report types include too many or too few data fields. If you find that the standard reports aren’t meeting your filtering needs, a custom report type can help by showing or hiding particular fields.

Imagine a scenario where you’re trying to look at leads from a specific geographic region, and you want to view additional fields related to product interest. Using a custom report type, you can filter out irrelevant data and focus only on the info you need.

Reporting on historical data

Accessing historical trends in Salesforce is simple enough: The platform retains data from the past three months plus the current month.

However, there are limitations to what standard reports can do. That’s where custom report types come in.

Take the above example about analyzing leads from a particular region. If you wanted to explore opportunities in that region within a given timeframe, you could create a custom report type to hone in on those particular fields and objects. This enables you to use past data to inform future strategies.

Aggregating data across objects

Another limitation of Salesforce’s standard reports is that most are made to report on a single object or related objects.

To illustrate this, let’s imagine a company that wants to aggregate data from the Opportunity object and a custom object (in this case, a “Customer Satisfaction Surveys” object) to analyze their overall sales performance.

These two objects aren’t seen as related by Salesforce. To see them together, the company would have to build a custom report type that includes both objects.

This functionality of custom report types allows you to make connections between data points that you might otherwise be unable to see.

Customizing report layouts for executive dashboards

Salesforce can be jargon-heavy. To simplify things, you can use a custom report type to relabel the column headers in your report. This allows you to create concise, appealing reports for executive dashboards.

For example, rather than having the header “Account Name” for your customer column, you might change it to “Customer” or “Company.”

By using custom report types to give columns more user-friendly titles, you can clearly report KPIs to anyone in your organization.

Handling custom objects and fields

Another area where standard reports fall flat is with custom fields and objects. Because Salesforce’s built-in reports weren’t made with your customizations in mind, the standard reports won’t pick up on anything you’ve added, such as industry-specific info.

Take, for instance, a nonprofit that tracks donations and volunteer opportunities using custom objects. The only way for them to integrate this data into Salesforce is to use a Custom Report Type, as standard reports won’t include these objects.

Similarly, if you use a third-party marketing automation platform, you can make a custom report type that encompasses data created and collected by that platform.

Streamlining user adoption metrics

For sales managers, user adoption metrics indicate a team’s overall performance. When management knows how often end users are logging into Salesforce—and what they’re using it for—it’s easier for them to address gaps in training.

Conveniently, you can use custom report types to track these metrics. Depending on what kind of data you’re looking for, you can create a report that shows each user’s:

  • Number of records created

  • Number of opportunities per week

  • Number of posts, comments, and likes in Chatter

  • Salesforce mobile app usage

With proof your team is using Salesforce regularly, you’ll know you’re not wasting your money on Salesforce services (and the platform in general).

Let us help build your Custom Reports

No matter your business, you can benefit from the ability to curate and analyze specific data. The more tailored your reporting is, the better you’ll be able to recognize what’s working and what isn’t.

However, creating those custom report types can be easier said than done.

At Skydog Ops, we offer hands-on support with building Custom Report Types, as well as other Salesforce implementation and optimization solutions.

To find out more about custom report types and how to use them to improve your processes, use the form below book a strategy call with our team today.


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