Use Case 2: Automating Salesforce Dashboards for your Boss

We’ve talked about the general philosophy of centralizing data in Salesforce, and both the advantages and challenges of making your CRM system your analytics platform and “single source of truth.” Automating manual imports was our Use Case 1, and we now continue the series with a focus on automating reporting for your boss.

Your boss asks to see a weekly dashboard of your online marketing activities and web site traffic. Do you:

  1. Spend 3-4 hours each week exporting or copying and pasting data from various online systems into an Excel spreadsheet, cleaning it up, and then creating graphs?

  2. Spend 3+ months and $50,000+ to implement a Business Intelligence system and data warehouse

  3. Spend a few hours connecting data sources to Salesforce, building the reports and dashboards, and then set it once to automatically update and be emailed to your boss weekly

EmailDashboardSample

Unless you are dealing with huge volumes of data (otherwise known by the misused buzzword “big data”), the choice of number 3 should be obvious. An independent survey of more than 4,000 Salesforce customers found that they were able to cut the time needed to prepare reports by an average of 52 percent using Salesforce’s reporting module.

By automating dashboard updates in Salesforce, not only can you get your boss what she / he wants, but you can refresh the data any time you want with the click of a button, for a real-time update on the data. And you could get the dashboard emailed to you daily, while your boss gets it weekly or monthly. That way you can be on top of any trends and spot potential problems sooner, all without any manual updating of spreadsheets.

You often already have some of the data you need in Salesforce, and integrating additional missing data has the added benefit of making that information available for other purposes, right where you do much of your work as a marketing or sales professional — Salesforce.

Here’s How:

Step 1. Get the data you need into Salesforce

This can be challenging in some cases, depending on what data you need in there. Hopefully you already have lead source tracking data (we are clearly biased but recommend our Campaign Tracker app for this purpose, and there are lots of other options for apps or developing your own lead / registration tracking).

For web site traffic, CloudAmp’s Analytics Dashboards product automatically imports web site traffic and visitor metrics into Salesforce, and stores the data natively in Salesforce for use in reports and dashboards. Other Apps such as Zapier can integrate data from marketing SaaS apps like MailChimp, Twitter, Shopify and more into Salesforce. And of course the larger data integration platforms like Mulesoft’s CloudHub or Jitterbit’s Connect can sync data from hundreds of other on-premise and cloud-based applications into Salesforce.

Advertising metrics like impressions and clicks can be more of a challenge to get into Salesforce. Unfortunately, outside of Google, most online advertising companies either have internal-use-only APIs that are not available to their customers, or they are very choosy in who they allow access to their advertising reporting APIs (for example, Linkedin and Facebook only give access to a few of their select partners, unfortunately). So that part of your funnel may require an export or cut and paste from an advertising dashboard or two, if you want to include it in the dashboard.

Step 2: Building the Reports and Dashboards

Once you have the data you need loading regularly into Salesforce, time to build some reports and dashboards. The dashboard and report builder in Salesforce is one of my favorite parts of the product, but it has a bit too much depth for me to cover here, so I’ll just link to Salesforce’s reporting and dashboard overview, and embed an introductory video here:

One tip would be to “clone” existing dashboards that you have already, either ones that were provided with various apps above, or internal ones that you have built. That way you have a good starting point, and can modify to suit your needs without affecting anything that others may be using. And be sure to “Save as” any reports into your own dedicated folder after you customize them, so you don’t alter any current dashboards that may be referencing those reports.

Step 3: Schedule the Refresh and Emails

In Enterprise Edition and Unlimited Edition of Salesforce, you can schedule dashboards to refresh daily, weekly, or monthly. If you have Professional Edition you are out of luck, and if you have Group Edition of Salesforce you are really out of luck, as it does not support dashboards at all (other than those included by Salesforce).

The data in Salesforce dashboards is not automatically updated. For those on the correct version of Salesforce, you can schedule the dashboards to refresh, so you don’t have to manually refresh them. As part of the refresh, you can have an HTML version of the dashboard emailed to you and/or others in your Salesforce organization.

  1. Click the arrow on the side of the “Refresh” button when you are viewing a dashboard.

    DashboardRefreshButton

  2. Select the notification settings (if desired):

    1. Click To me to send an email to your user’s address.

    2. Click To others… to send an email to additional Salesforce users.

      ScheduleDashboardRefresh

  3. Schedule the refresh

    1. Choose Daily, Weekly or Monthly

    2. Select start and end dates

    3. Select the Preferred Start Time for the refresh

  4. Click Save

ScheduleDashboardRefresh2

One tip is to make sure the refresh schedule makes sense relative to how frequently data is being loaded into Salesforce, otherwise it can be confusing if some data is updated as frequently as the dashboard refreshes, but some is not (for example, the dashboard is refreshed and emailed daily, but one of the data sources for the underlying reports is only updated in Salesforce once a week). Clearly labeling the graphs with time periods and refresh schedules can also be helpful.

That’s all there is to it! Your dashboard will be automatically refreshed, and a nicely formatted HTML email will be sent to you and your boss with all the graphs as PNG graphics, clickable to the source reports just the same as when the dashboard is in Salesforce.

August 8 Salesforce Integration & Analytics Meetup: Birst & CloudConnect.com

If you missed the August 8, 2013 Salesforce Integration & Analytics Meetup, you missed two of the best demos we have had in recent memory. Cory Bray, Regional Director of Business Intelligence for CorSource, gave a great presentation Birst and why you need business intelligence, followed by Adam Gross, Co-Founder of CloudConnect.com, with a demo of his startup’s impressive new technology.

Don’t miss the next one! Register FREE now.

Thanks to Birst for sponsoring the event and providing food and drinks, and to Rackspace as usual for allowing us to use their San Francisco office meeting room.

The videos below are by Aline. For all your video blog needs contact her at 415 377 0245

Cory Bray,Regional Director of Business Intelligence, CorSource Technology Group

Cory currently serves as the Regional Director of Business Intelligence for CorSource Technology Group where he is responsible for working with companies on data analysis and process improvement projects.  He has previously held various financial, sales, and operational positions, including a two year stint as the Director of Operations of an industrial distribution company in Houston, TX.  Cory holds a BS from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Cory will show how companies use Birst’s Business Intelligence solution to increase profitability, better manage their sales pipeline, and gain a competitive advantage in their industry.

Organizations that have previously struggled with optimizing pricing and minimizing expenses have used Birst to better understand what areas of their business warrant further investment, and which areas should receive less attention.  As a result, both top line and bottom line performance has increased significantly.

With full integration into SalesForce and all other types of computer systems, the sales pipeline can be managed not only from a pure opportunity basis, but companies can also account for many critical factors that exist outside of SalesForce in order to make the best decisions possible for their business.

Finally, as more and more companies shift to making data-driven decisions, companies must embrace a culture of analytics in order to stay ahead of the competition…or at least keep up.  Failure to do so could potentially lead to disastrous results.

Adam Gross, Co-Founder, CloudConnect.com

Adam Gross is co-founder and CEO of cloudconnect.com.  Previous, he was was SVP at Dropbox, led marketing for salesforce.com’s force.complatform, founded of Personify, and was an executive at Grand Central (Google). Adam has been an investor in and advisor to Heroku (salesforce.com), Dotcloud, GetSatisfaction, Pantheon, Streak, E2 Apps and several early stage companies.

Adam will be demoing his new product CloudConnect.com. Cloudconnect.com provides a simple and seamless way to integrate and sync Salesforcewith MySql and Postgres, making it possible to manage all of your customer data in one place, and build compelling new applications using standard platforms and tools. With cloudconnect, you can access all of your customer data from Salesforcefrom a familar database connection – and all in the cloud and without software.

Using Google Analytics Profiles to Model Your Funnel in Salesforce

Google Analytics is a great tool for understanding the top of your online marketing funnel (web site visitors). But did you know you can easily highlight different segments of that funnel, by creating multiple Google Analytics Profiles?

Google Analytics Profiles (in the process of being renamed to Views in the documentation, but not in the app yet) are customizable layers between the reporting and the raw data that is collected. By creating multiple profiles for a single property (web site), you can focus on particular areas of your web site analytics, and more closely relate that to particular marketing efforts that affect your funnel, leads in Salesforce, and more.

Before we jump in, a best-practices note: Google Analytics automatically creates a default profile that is an unfiltered view of each property (web site). You should not modify this original profile, but make a copy of it or create additional profiles to add filters to — because filters exclude data, you want to always have at least one profile with all of your raw analytics data.

Some Google Analytics Profiles I created for CloudAmp.com

Some Google Analytics Profiles I created for CloudAmp.com

Use Case 1: A Section of Your Web Site

One of the most common uses of Google Analytics Profiles is to create a filtered version of your web analytics that only shows a section of your web site. You can easily create profiles that only show a particular subdomain or directory of your web site, to get more specific visibility into your marketing efforts.

Maybe you work at a large company, and are only responsible for a particular section of the web site or product line. Creating a profile for that directory of the web site will better reflect your marketing efforts, and insulate the reports you see from other product launches or events that might affect the larger site trends.

In addition, many marketers use landing pages for their Google Adwords and other online advertising destination URLs (and if you don’t, please consider doing this immediately!). By creating a Google Analytics profile filtered to /land/ (or whatever directory on your web site holds the landing pages), you can see just the visitors and analytics for these pages, and get a more accurate understanding of trends and conversion rates into Salesforce leads.

A Profile with a Filter only showing analytics for the /products/ directory on CloudAmp.com

A Profile with a Filter only showing analytics for the /products/ directory on CloudAmp.com

Use Case 2: Geographical Focus

In the age of the Internet, many businesses are selling globally, or at least in a number of countries. But if you want to see your web analytics data just for a particular country or set of countries, you can easily create a Google Analytics Profile and filter it for those countries.You can also create a profile that excludes certain countries.

Maybe you are running a new advertising campaign in a particular geography and want to better understand its impact, or you want to exclude traffic from countries where you don’t sell your products in the analysis of conversion from a blog content effort.

A Profile with a Filter only showing analytics for visitors from Canada on CloudAmp.com

A Profile with a Filter only showing analytics for visitors from Canada on CloudAmp.com

How does this all relate to the funnel in Salesforce? Well, many successful online marketers are using Salesforce as the CRM system to hold their lead data and manage their marketing funnel. As Salesforce becomes the standard for managing your marketing and sales funnels, marketers want to get more visibility into what happens just before the leads get into Salesforce — and Google Analytics, with multiple profiles to segment the funnel, is the key there.

Plus, here at CloudAmp we’ve published an app on the Salesforce AppExchange that automatically integrates and imports Google Analytics data into Salesforce called CloudAmp Analytics Dashboards. And coming soon in our next version, you are going to be able to import multiple Google Analytics profiles into Salesforce, and get a set of dashboards and reports for each individual profile. You can try it free for 7 days, it takes just a minute to install and connects to your Google Analytics data with the click of a button.

So there you have it – try creating some additional profiles with filters on your Google Analytics data today, and get a better understanding of different parts of your marketing funnel tomorrow. Already doing cool things with Google Analytics Profiles? Have questions? Let us know in the comments below.

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