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Learn About Reports and Dashboards

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe what reports and dashboards are.
  • Identify who can access reports and dashboards.

Know How Your Business Is Doing

You use Salesforce to manage your customer data, interactions, and deal information. And that means you can see how your sales teams and business are doing without digging through individual spreadsheets or manually crunching numbers. With all your business data in one place, you can use Salesforce reports and dashboards to get a better view of your bottom line, find out where to invest resources, and more. 

Make Data-Driven Decisions

Making business decisions on a hunch works out sometimes. But when you make your decisions using data, you can consistently make smarter choices for your business.

Here are just a few questions you can answer using your data. 

  • How much revenue did we earn last quarter?
  • Do we have valuable deals that stalled in the sales cycle?
  • What’s our average deal size?
  • How's each sales team doing?
  • How’s our bottom line trending?
  • Where can we invest to improve sales?

We know you have more questions about your business than just these examples. Your data can provide the insights and answers. 

Let’s see how Salesforce reports and dashboards help you understand and analyze how your business is doing.

What’s in a Report?

In its simplest form, a report is a group of data that meets a set of criteria, for example, a group of accounts or opportunities. To get the exact data you need, you can filter, group, and do math on the data in the report. If visuals work better for you, you can view the data in a graph or chart. 

Graphical representation of opportunity win rate over time.

From a graph or chart, you can drill down into the data. For example, from a graph showing Win Rate Over Time, you can review the breakdown of opportunities that were won and lost each month. The report can include details such as average days to close a deal and the total dollar amount closed each month. From the report, you can drill down into an individual opportunity to review the activity history, notes, and other documents. 

What’s in a Dashboard?

Dashboards offer a powerful visual display of your data around a common theme. For example, you can create a Sales Dashboard that shows you charts and graphs of your company’s sales performance with supporting metrics about your top accounts, top opportunities, win rates, and which account types perform the best.

Sales Dashboard showing components related to overall sales performance.

When you have all the information in one place, it’s easier to see the overall picture of your business, and the details are just a click away. Salesforce provides the flexibility you need to examine aspects of your business in almost infinite combinations.

Who Can Access Reports and Dashboards?

When you create a report or dashboard, you determine who can view, manage, or edit it, and what data they can see. So how does this work? 

Reports and dashboards are stored in folders. You can make the folders public, private, shared with specific users, or shared with your entire organization. If you give a user access to a folder, they have access to the reports or dashboards in that folder. But that doesn’t mean they get to see all the data. You can put security controls on the data in different ways.

For reports: You can control who has access to the contents of the folder based on roles, permissions, and more.

For dashboards: Each dashboard has a running user whose security settings determine which data to display to the dashboard’s viewers. If you select an admin as your dashboard’s running user, for example, viewers of your dashboard can access a lot of data. 

With dynamic dashboards, the running user is always the logged-in user, which means that viewers only see the dashboard data according to their own access level. (The availability of dynamic dashboards depends on your Salesforce edition.)

Each dashboard includes a timestamp of the last data refresh. To ensure you’re looking at the latest data, refresh the dashboard. When you refresh the data, Salesforce updates the data for everyone who has access.

Your data tells the story about your past, present, and future as a business. Take advantage of the reporting and dashboard features in Salesforce to use as your guide. 


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