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Set Your CRM Up For Success With Great KPIs

When implementing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform such as Salesforce, it is essential to set the project up to deliver the intended ROI.

Successful implementation of a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform can significantly improve your customer interactions and drive increased revenues, and although some of the statistics on the number of CRM implementations have been overblown, it is certainly true that many organisations and users don’t get the value they expect.

In order to be successful, it is important to be clear on the reason why you are implementing the tool in your organisation, what success looks like when the project is complete, and who the major stakeholders are. Setting up and rolling out your chosen platform effectively for each of the key stakeholder group is essential for successful adoption of the tool.

Deliver Leadership / Executive Level Value

From an executive perspective a successful implementation CRM is about delivering improvement on key metrics that define the business success.

Start by understanding the key metrics that the CEO would want to see improvement on if they were out of the business for any period of time, these are often referred to as ‘desert island numbers,’ or the essential metrics you would want to know if you were stranded on a desert island.  

Understanding how these key strategic metrics cascade through your business will help you set up your CRM instance to deliver reporting to drive the right discussions to deliver those outcomes.

Enable Functional Level Decision Making

Usually, they will cascade through Sales, Marketing and Customer Success. Leadership for each of those groups have different data requirements. Each needs a clear summary of high-level data with the ability to drill down, if needed.

Understanding the metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that matter to this level of leaderships is vital to setting up the reports you’ll use to enable decision making. Sales needs to track their pipeline, marketing needs to know about lead generation, and CSM needs to track the customer journey and upsells.

It is important to be clear on goals like these in advance of setting up your Salesforce account because the data you need will determine the fields that you customise. Those, in turn, will require users to fill them in.

Getting this just right is important because if you over complicate the user requirements, you’ll struggle for buy-in. On the other hand, if you don't customize enough, you won't see the ROI you're looking for.

Simplify User Interaction

Your sales reps are busy, right? And let’s face it, admin isn’t their favourite part of the job. So don’t make it hard for them to use Salesforce. Few sales reps will be overjoyed at the prospect of more process, so your goals need to be crystal clear. If you can motivate them with a genuine ‘what’s in it for me,’ your task becomes much easier.

So then, how do your sales team win? The team wins if we make it easier for them to succeed, if they are able to get clarity on their priorities, manage their pipeline and increase their commissions by closing deals. Most salespeople thrive on competition and ‘winning,’ so choose metrics in Salesforce that deliver transparency regarding performance and progress across the team. Drive a positive competition, emphasizing success, and you'll create a work environment where top people thrive.

Ultimately, setting the platform up for the team to win gives the best chance of collecting data that drives the right conversations to improve performance. And that gives sales managers the best chance of running successful teams, ensuring everybody wins.

Outcome, activity and effectiveness metrics

Understanding the data that, when organised, will most improve your decision-making process will ensure you get the best value from your CRM.

Metrics that Matter in your business come in three types:


What you measure should relate directly to what you are ultimately looking to achieve. Start with your strategic goals and objectives, and logically follow how they cascade down to the daily 'business as usual' activities of each team using the CRM. Those are the metrics you want your teams to pay attention to. 

The next two Metrics that Matter are the ones that drive your Outcomes.


This is a measure of the quality of work. It is important to select the right effectiveness metrics to drive the right behaviour for your particular strategy.

For example, 'opportunity to win ratio' is a classic effectiveness measure. Your people may be full of energy, always on the phone or meeting with prospects...but what is their close ratio? Once an opportunity is created how successful are they?

In other words, what's the quality of their work? Do they get results? If you focus your team on those people who do, then others can learn from them, and you begin to accomplish your strategic goals. 

This type of metric is often calculated as a percentage. Effectiveness measures are often where The three rules that make KPIs work are most prominent. You should always be asking whether your metrics pose good questions, drive robust discussions and demand affirmative action.


By closely connecting your activity KPIs to the outcomes that they drive, you'll focus discussions. Your team can ask good questions around how to can improve performance. This is particularly engaging and meaningful for them when their outcomes clearly contribute to high-level strategic goals.

Setting up your Salesforce account up so that the fields you populate capture information that will provide the most valuable data ensures that as a business you are tracking the right activities.  When you know what the right activities are to drive your effectiveness metrics up, then you can capture the data and manage your activities for a positive result.

Write Quality Reports

Having spent valuable time understanding your strategy and how this defines the drivers that will focus user effort and discussion it is essential to deliver the data in simply structured reports that meet the requirements of the key stakeholder groups, pull critical strategic numbers into one place, enable functional decision making and give clarity to the key tasks for delivering results.

Many CRMs such as Salesforce have standardised reports. You can pick up and run with them, but you can also customise them. It is worth taking time to think about the best way to structure your reports, again remembering to require your users to fill in as many fields as necessary—but no more.

Here are a few tips from the Salesforce Community to help understand what type of data can be structured in different ways.

And these are the three main different report types and how they're used:

Tabular reports are the simplest and fastest way to return your data in a simple list view format. Keep in mind that tabular reports can’t be used to create dashboard components.

Summary reports return your data with subtotals and other summary-level information.  Summary reports are great for showing average dollar values for closed won opportunities by salesperson or number of cases by status by support representative.

Matrix reports show data summaries against both horizontal and vertical criteria; for example, total sales per sales rep per year by quarter.

Implementing a new software platform is a significant change. To get early buy-in, setting up the implementation with clear wins for each stakeholder is vital. Getting your metrics right maximises learning and performance improvement, and that will help everyone adopt your CRM enthusiastically and meaningfully.


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Andrew Ritchie

Fueled by a passionate belief that work and business can be better, Andrew Ritchie is one of RESULTS' top experts at strategic planning and creating exactly the right goals and metrics to execute that plan.

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