Some of you are finding out how to use Salesforce so that you can run reports for powers-that-be, and Salesforce offers a lot of reporting features. You don’t have to be a quant jock to understand all these, though some logical thinking skills will help. The rest just takes practice!

In the following list, just a few of the many reporting features that Salesforce offers are described:

  • Bucket fields: These are custom formula fields on a report that help group (or “bucket”) data into categories that you get to define. So if you capture the employee size of a company that’s trialing your product or service, you can create a bucket field in a report to automatically group records into a small business, mid-market, or enterprise bucket, depending on which range that Employee Size field falls in. Using bucket fields helps you save costly time from editing and re-editing picklist ranges that don’t match historical ranges as your business evolves.

  • Scatter charts: These reports graph out information using a traditional x- and y-axis. What is especially useful is that the points on the chart can themselves be summaries of information, which actually give you another powerful way to visually display data. With enough data points, you can also see correlations that can help with your analyses. You can build scatter charts from any report formats that contain some summary of information — these are summary, matrix, or joined reports. Think about what group your points on the chart should represent. This is the “Plot By” dimension.

    To see whether any correlation exists between customers with a high number of closed-won opportunities and their total revenue, create a scatter chart. This could be accounts whose associated opportunities are all grouped together (by account name). So one plot point would represent the total number of won opportunities that belong to Acme Corp. Another dot represents the opportunities won by Beta Inc. You can then determine the x- and y-axes: The x-axis could be the record count of closed-won opportunities, and the y-axis could be the sum of the opportunity amounts.

  • Joined reports: Combine two or more reports into a single report so that you have one easily scannable view of information, as long as all the reports have relationships with a common object or objects. Each report comprises a “block” in the joined report. For example, you may have three case reports: one that shows all the ones where the Status is Closed, another where the Status is New, and another where the Status is In-Progress. If all three reports also happen to be grouped by Case Priority, you can quickly scan a grid of cases by both status and priority.