Better Business Reporting: What You Need to Know

I love this time of year! At Business Made Simple, we’ve been busy planning new strategies, creating new products and setting goals for the upcoming year. I’m looking forward to the best year ever with renewed energy and excitement. Part of this process is also looking back, learning from the successes and failures of the past. One of the most valuable processes to help me see where I’ve been and where I want to go is creating, running and understanding the right reports for my business.

WHY REPORTS: Do you know your numbers?


Knowing your real numbers, your Key Performance Indicators, is essential for good business. You need to have the best information in order to make the best decisions.


KPI's, Business Reports, CRM, Insightly CRM


Management guru Peter Drucker reminds us of the importance of knowing your numbers. If you’re not tracking your KPI’s, how can you manage them? The right reporting will give you an accurate picture of how your products are selling, where your advertising budget is most effective, who your top salespeople are, and how long your processes are taking.

With reports that show you how you your people, products and processes are performing, you can make decisions based on real numbers. Without accurate reporting, you’re really just guessing. Effective business plans need to be based on more than guesses. You need to know your real numbers.

WHAT: Do you have the information you need?


What data “counts” for your business?

KPI's, Business Reports, CRM, Insightly CRM

What reports are you going to need? Start by asking everyone in your management team to identify the KPI reports that would be most helpful for them. While the answers you get will be unique to your team, here are a few ideas that apply to most business.

  • Lead Quality (What % of your leads are serious sales prospects?)
  • Conversion rates (What % of your proposals are you closing into sales)
  • The number of touchpoints it takes to close a client.
  • Fulfillment time for each product or service.

If you are using Insightly CRM, other reports you may want to consider include

  •  Opportunities. Where are your opportunities coming from? Knowing this can help you adjust your marketing strategy to better reach target audience.
  • Reasons Lost. This report will show you why opportunities are not closing, and identify areas where improvements can be made to prevent loss in the future.
  • Status by Date. See when opportunities are set to close and develop a strategy plan to keep opportunities moving through your pipeline. With opportunities, you can compare orders by month or year to forecast future sales.
  • Pipelines. Know the stage or each opportunity as well as how many opportunities have advanced through each stage of your pipeline. This report can show you where opportunities are stalling or falling out of your pipeline, and help you determine where to focus your time and efforts.
  • Sales Reports. Run this report by Responsible User to see how your sales team is performing. Know which team members are winning opportunities, converting opportunities to sales, and generating the most amount of revenue. Identify who is struggling and where they might need training or support. Sort by date as well as pipeline, category and more.


As you make decisions and plan for next year, review the information you are tracking and reporting on already. If you still have questions, or need more information, review the reports you have in place and make any changes or additions. Ensure that you have the information you need to make the best decisions for your business.

WHERE: Is your CRM tracking and recording the data you need?


In order to pull meaningful reports, you need to track and record the right data. Refer back to the KPIs your management team identified and make a list of the information you will need. Is that information being tracked by your CRM? Ask the questions that you will want to have answered:

  • How many new leads did we have this week?
  • What is the status of our open quotes or projects?
  • How productive is our sales staff?
  • How many leads have we closed?
  • Which opportunities were lost? What was the reason?
  • Which products are our best sellers?
  • How close are we to meeting or exceeding our sales goals?

Asking the right questions will help you know what data you need to track. You can also identify any holes in your data and create custom fields to record the details you will need to see the complete picture. Once everything is set up, train your team to enter the correct and clean data, making sure that the data you need to calculate your KPIs are being tracked and recorded correctly.

HOW: Is your data telling you what you need to know?


With the right information in place, you are ready to run reports. While each software will be different, here is how to create a report in Insightly:


  • Choose standard reports or create a custom report by clicking on the “New.”
  • Use filters to narrow down the information in your list.
  • Look at grouping and summarizing options.
  • Add a summary field to add totals for each group you are working with. This is helpful both for reporting information as well as creating visual charts.
  • Name and save your report.
  • Export your report and email it to other team members.
  • Schedule your report to run at certain times with the date range you specified.
  • Set alerts based on the information in your reports to help keep you on task and moving forwards towards your goals.


If you are serious about great reporting, take a look at Power BI. This powerful analytics tool creates data visualization from multiple sources and integrates perfectly with Insightly. Using Power BI with your CRM, you can combine data from different sources to gain a whole-picture understanding of your business. For example, pull information about your product from sources such as your social media likes, your CRM opportunities, and your online sales to see how your product is selling and where those sales are coming from.Then use Power BI’s amazing custom visualizations to create stunning and effective reports.

WHEN: Is the information you need available when you need it?


If you are tracking the right data, and then running regular reports, you will have the information you need to make the best decisions for your business. Use your CRM to schedule reports by date and even time, whenever you need them. Know instantly where you are at and where you need to make changes. Schedule:

  • Daily reports such as lead summaries.
  • Weekly reports showing project updates and opportunities added.
  • Monthly reports including sales projections, progress towards goals, and actual revenue.

If you are worried about overloading your inbox, you can use alerts to send reports based on certain parameters. Insightly CRM can send you alerts when leads are converted, sales goals are met and projects are completed.

Reports and alerts can be emailed directly to you, and to members of your team, keeping everyone informed and up to date.


Wondering how to get started? We’d love to help! Grab a spot on my calendar here and we can figure out what, where and how to track your data and create the reports you need for your best year ever.



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