Best Practices for Reports & Dashboards

My previous blog was on ways to Increase Adoption in Salesforce – 5 Tactics and featured five best practices to increase adoption in Salesforce. Tip #2 was to monitor end-user adoption with the use of reports and dashboards. The previous blog’s focus was to make sure our users were using Salesforce in general. Today, we are going to expand on the reports and dashboards topic and also review some tips, tricks, and tools that we have at our disposal to make great reports and dashboards people actually care about!

If you take anything away from this blog remember this – users love reports and dashboards that work for them. With this in mind, we can drive end-user adoption.

How the discovery process can influence end-user adoption of Salesforce reports and dashboards

If you start a Project with Roycon, the very first thing we do is go through a discovery process. We are trying to learn as much as we can about your business so we can design an optimal solution. As an Admin, we should be doing this for our internal users as well. For the purpose of this blog – we want to design a solution with the goal of creating the best possible reports and dashboards for our internal users!

The goal is to create a dashboard that is meaningful, accurate, and tailored to their needs. A dashboard is a visual display of multiple reports so we need to figure out which reports to be created. To do this we need to find out what metrics are important and use those as a starting point. Ask our users to show you the reports they are using today. If Salesforce is a new implementation, review their existing Google Sheets and/or Excel docs. Align these metrics with the goals of the organization and get buy-in from the leadership team. What do they review in their weekly, monthly, and quarterly meetings?

If they already are using Salesforce, ask if they are needing to modify existing reports to work for their own individual needs. Are they exporting reports, putting them in Excel, and manipulating the data to find the answers they need? If so, this is a great opportunity for us to make their lives easier and get buy-in to use Salesforce as part of their daily routine. When all their answers are in one place we will drive adoption!

If data is dirty, clean it. If fields need to be summarized or grouped – we can do that too. Automate whatever we can so they simply have to go to the dashboard and hit refresh to find exactly what they need. Once we have completed discovery we can build, test, gather feedback, and deploy.

Clean up Existing Reports

So many Salesforce organizations we come across have so many reports we don’t know where to start. Nobody can point to the source of truth. There are countless unorganized folders with countless reports buried in each one. At some point in time, someone had to find an answer and they utilized the reporting capability. They saved the report, found their answer, and never used it again.

Our goal? Get ahead of this (through discovery) and create the reports and dashboards they need because we’ve done our homework and understand what matters to them.

But what if it’s too late and the mess has already been made? There is an awesome Salesforce Help Article that explains how to find old or inactive reports and dashboards. DO THIS!! At the very least do it as a starting point. I tend to lean on the more aggressive side, but I’d find it hard for someone to argue they need to keep a report or dashboard they haven’t used in a year.

My coworker loves to compare data in Salesforce to the Hoarders TV Series – people just love to collect and hate to throw away. If necessary there is also a fun trick where you can run the report, export to a CSV file, add the word ‘DELETE’ to each report/dashboard name, update with data loader and tell users they have two weeks to let you know if any reports that contain ‘DELETE’ they’d like to keep. Make sure they make a strong case if you decide to keep it.

The Less the Merrier

It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as the more the merrier, but we want the opposite of that. As mentioned above, it is really critical that our users have a few meaningful reports and everyone is looking at the same dashboard. Besides using discovery to accomplish this, what else can we do?

Limit who can create reports through profiles and permissions. How can we keep it organized if everyone has access? Have a few ‘gatekeepers’ who take report and dashboard requests. Become aware of the existing reports and dashboards so we can point users to the existing report or dashboard, make an edit, or coach them as to why what they are asking for doesn’t align with our organizational goals. If they make a good point, then build it for them!

PRO TIP! Additionally, learn how to use Salesforce Dashboard Filters. We can add filters to provide different combinations of data from a single dashboard. Using the Sales Team as an example, we can create one dashboard and filter on Opportunity Owner, Sales Region, or Opportunity Stage – find a filter that works for them. Dashboard Filters ensure we don’t need to clone dashboards and source reports for each subset of data.


Going back to the start of this blog I hope you remembered our main goal – make reports that users love and that work for them! Salesforce is an amazing tool but can be frustrating when things aren’t built with a purpose. End-user adoption will be the highest when the solution we deploy actually works!

If you’re struggling with your data, be sure to check out this helpful post on Salesforce Data Cleansing Best Practices. If you still have some questions feel free to reach out to us. 

About Roycon
We’re an Austin-based Salesforce Consulting Partner, with a passion and belief that the Salesforce platform’s capabilities can help businesses run more efficiently and effectively. Whether you are just getting started with Salesforce or looking to realize its full potential, Roycon specializes in Salesforce Implementations, Salesforce Ongoing Support, and Salesforce Integrations, and Development. We’re the certified partner to guide the way to increase Salesforce Adoption, make strategic decisions, and build your Salesforce Roadmap for success.