A report is a powerful way to identify and understand the current trends and gaps in a business process. Any business manager would like to see how his team performs. A sales manager wants to see how many opportunities closed in the last quarter. A marketing lead would be more interested to know which campaign turned out to generate more leads. A service agent would be more concerned about the number of service tickets targeted and closed in a month. The leadership in a company would be curious to know the KPIs(key performance indicators) and their validations. Hence the report would be an indispensable tool for any person who is working in a digital space.
The Salesforce report builder and the reports are one of the key attractions in Salesforce applications. A report, by definition, is a set of records displayed in a list form based on certain criteria you apply to retrieve those records.
The report type decides which all fields and records are available for use when creating a report. This is based on the relationships between a parent object and its related child objects. There are two report types – standard report types and custom report types.
Standard Report Types
Standard report types will be readily available in your application. Most of our daily reporting can be done with standard report types. Examples of standard report types – Accounts, Contacts & Accounts, Accounts with Partners, Opportunities, and Opportunities with Products.
So if someone wants to generate a report on how many products are sold under each opportunity, he can select the report type “Opportunities with Products” and create a report.
Custom Report Types
A standard report type may not always be sufficient to generate certain reports. Reports which are complex in nature and the relationships between the objects are not defined in standard reports. In such cases, we should opt for custom report types. Let’s take a scenario: the business wants a two-step approval process when the sales team provides a discount of more than 20%. Once this is implemented, the sales team complains that the approval process takes time, and because of this, the deals cannot close on stipulated times. So now, the management wants to see a report which shows the delay in the approval process in each step in time elapsed hours or days. This cannot be done with the support of standard report types.
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To create a custom report, you should search for Report Types from the Quick Find search box in setup. You need to click on New Custom Report Type. After that, you will need to enter certain inputs such as Primary Object, Report Type Label, Report Type Name, Description, etc. You can select deployment status as either ‘In Development’ or ‘Deployed.’ Then click on NEXT.
Here, you will need to select the child object and the relationship between the parent and the child object. You can have up to 4 layers of objects, but make sure that these objects have parent-child relationships. For the approval process delay report, I have selected the following options in two pages as in screenshots.
Once these steps are done, you can select the page layout and add the fields required for your report. This newly added custom report type will be available when you try to create a new report from the report builder.
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How to Create a Report in Salesforce?
Reports in Salesforce can be generated with the help of the report builder tool. You will need to select the “Reports” tab from your application. Then click on the “New Report” button from the screen. Here, you will be able to see all the report types (Standard report types and added custom report types) available in the org. Select the report type for the report that you plan to generate and click on the Start Report button. This will navigate to the report builder tool, and you can build your report based on your business needs.
There are mainly 4 types of reports available in Salesforce – tabular, summary, matrix, and joined reports.
Tabular reports are the simplest reports, like a spreadsheet displaying records in each row. You can create a dashboard based on the tabular report, but you cannot create a report chart using the tabular report. This is the best suitable report if you want to export the report.
To create a tabular report, let’s take an example of a report of all closed opportunities. So, for this, select the report type as Opportunities, and in the report builder, add a filter condition as Stage Equals ‘Closed Won,’ ‘Closed Lost’ and Save & Run the report.
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In the Summary report, you will be able to group records based on conditions. Hence, this will give subtotals and report charts in your report. Summary reports are best suited for dashboard creation. As an example, you need to show opportunities grouped by each stage.
Go to Outline in the report builder and under GROUP ROWS, from the Add group… picklist, select Stage, then save and run the report.
You can generate the same report by disabling the Detail Rows at the bottom. Also, you can see the chart by clicking the Report Chart option at the top right side.
In a matrix report, you can group records both row-wise as well as column-wise. So this would be a more detailed report than the earlier two. Creating a matrix report is simple. Go to Outline in the report builder and select fields under both GROUP ROWS and GROUP COLUMNS. Matrix reports support dashboards, report charts, bucket fields, formulas, etc.
Example: Select an Opportunity report type, group rows on “Close Month,” and group columns by “Type.” The report will look like the below diagram.
Joined reports contain multiple blocks (Up to 5) with customizable data based on your filter conditions. Unlike other reports, a separate option exists to create a joined report. You can use different report types in each block which will give a 360-degree view of your data.
Security & Access
There are many security features available to secure data access in Salesforce. This is mainly handled with the help of report folders and access controls on those folders. A folder is a place where you can save and store your reports and dashboards. A folder can be public, hidden, or shared, and can be set to read-only or read/write.
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You can restrict access to such folders based on roles, permissions, public groups and license types. Access levels of each user can be viewer, editor and manager. If you want to keep your report private and do not want to share it with anyone, you have the option to save it in your personal folder. If the user has access to the folder and reports, they can view the records accessible to them. Records with no access will not appear in the report.
Other Salient Features of Salesforce Reports
- You can export reports in CSV or in excel formats. You can restrict users from exporting by disabling the “Export Reports” option from the profile or permission set.
- You will have the option of selecting cross-filters to filter records based on child object field conditions. E.g., If you want to see only accounts which generated more than one billion in revenues.
You can select a cross filter from a standard report type of Accounts and select ‘Amount Greater than 1000000’ from the Opportunities.
- You can schedule the report and decide the frequency at your convenience. All the users will get reports through their email once you add them to your recipient list.
- You can build dashboards based on the reports you build
- Instead of creating formula fields at the object level, you can create formulas in a report to suffice your business needs.
- Salesforce labs have created many useful report and dashboard packages available in AppExchange. Those are free of cost, and you can install them in your org. Some topics like the Salesforce adoption dashboard, Salesforce CRM dashboard, Sales activity dashboard, etc., are available here.
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