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5 Reporting Accuracy Strategies to Get Your Data the Trust it Deserves

5 Reporting Accuracy Strategies to Get Your Data the Trust it Deserves

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So you’ve spent hours gathering requirements, picking datasets and creating the most beautiful report the world has ever seen.  And then, while presenting your amazing work to leadership you hear the dreaded “That number looks off”….  And you can’t quite pinpoint why the reporting accuracy is in question. 

No one wants to be in that situation. But the good news is there are ways to think ahead and get your report the “cred” it deserves!

Here are five strategies you can use to ensure Salesforce marketing reporting accuracy and trustworthiness every time.

1. Create a ‘count and amount’ report

A very simple way to get trust in your marketing reporting data is to create a ‘count and amount’ report in each system.  

As an example, if I am creating a report in CRM Analytics where I have enriched the Opportunities object, I can create a compare table that has total Opportunity Dollar amount and Total count of opportunity. Then I can create a report in Salesforce reporting with the same criteria. 

Why? This allows you to confidently point to “evidence” that the base data is accurate.  One bad join can have a huge impact.  Better for you to catch it before the consumers of your report do!

2. Understand “known” data differences between systems

Salesforce has some datasets that don’t match perfectly. There are numerous reasons this can occur.  Familiarize yourself with these differences! While these differences will differ depending on the source of your data, you want to make sure you understand the why.  

Some reasons include:

  • Date differences between systems
  • Schedules (vs. real time)
  • Fiscal Dates vs. Dates
  • Permissions associated with the Integration User
  • Use of “archived” prospects for reporting purposes in one system but not the other

Some Salesforce Help articles that can help:

3. Find the Source of Truth

Organizations should generally decide what the source of truth is for data when a discrepancy exists.  And that source should be defensible in the “data” court of law. 

Ok, that’s an exaggeration. But a smart report writer would make sure they know what is considered the “truth” (or develop it) before even starting. If the CEO thinks a manually manipulated Excel spreadsheet has the “real” numbers on it (and refers to them), that could be hard to match. Ultimately, it could undermine your efforts to present new reports. 

Getting a clear, accurate and agreed up source of truth is critical. Otherwise, you will spend all your time defending your data.  Try to create that source of truth if it doesn’t exist and avoid sources where data is manipulated manually. 

4. Check for frivolous connections

How can your data connections be frivolous? You can connect (Join) opportunities to Leads using the date field, but that doesn’t really make any sense.  

Make sure your connections are logical and have the same data type (text, numeric, etc). Look for common IDs as this will be the most accurate. Sometimes names can be used, but since most often unique names are NOT enforced, use with caution.  

Bad connections can also make you lose data. Refer back to the “count and amount” section to review how to watch for that.  Finally, remember that sometimes you need more than one field connection.  For example, in CRM Analytics if you would like to join prospects to campaign members, you need both Lead/ContactID and campaign ID or you will get inaccurate results.

In this Salesforce reporting example, we’ve created a joined report and linked the blocks based on the common field “Owner”. As you can see, the owners can’t really connect the data since one refers to Opportunity owner, and the other to campaign owner.

In the CRM Analytics example, you will get data that matches, but it will have no meaning in the report.

5. Identify processes that fill in key data

Wondering why there are no influence opportunities? You can’t create a report on data that doesn’t exist. As you consider what questions the report will answer for you, consider the process. What changes are needed to make it accurate? Who are the “actors” in the processes that drive the data? 

 If you are dependent on Salespeople to fill in contact roles to get campaign influence, make sure you have included a task to verify that is being done consistently in your report creation plan.  Or consider tools that can automate the processes that will make your reporting accurate and consistent (like Sercante Automated Opportunity Contact Roles).  

Often, creating a report is a catalyst to process change as gaps and errors are unearthed.

Reporting accuracy is important, but not easy

You’ve done the work — developed the questions, worked through the KPI’s and now you are ready to create your report. Make sure your reports get the respect they deserve and add the value they should with these five considerations. 

Unearthing those process gaps as you work through the steps to ensure accuracy in your Salesforce marketing reporting? Reach out to team Sercante so we can help you build a strong foundation and winning marketing reporting strategy.

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  • As the Analytics and IT Lead at Sercante, Dominique Beaudin brings her years of experience finding solutions to complex technology and analytics questions to the job every day. Every dataset is like a snowflake, and developing creative dashboards and clever solutions that solve client problems is her passion. In her free time, you can find Dominique playing word games, going out for a run, or hanging out with her three kids and her husband of several decades.

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