This article is part of a larger series on CRM.
Found in customer relationship management (CRM) systems, CRM analytics tools help businesses gather insights on performance, activity, and trends based on stored data. By centralizing sales information and analytics features into one platform, the data interpretation process becomes more streamlined. In this article, we explore what small businesses need to know about CRM analytics and which CRMs provide the best analytics features.
What Are CRM Analytics?
CRM analytics organize data collected within a CRM system into measurable units known as metrics, such as revenue dollars or activity type. They then summarize this information, allowing users to gain data-driven insights on performance and operational activities. Analytics tools ultimately help business owners, managers, and executives make decisions, identify opportunities, and improve team performance using real data rather than guessing or emotions.
Benefits of CRM Analytics
When used correctly, CRM analytics give a business a distinct competitive advantage over competitors by seeing things raw CRM data will not show. Some of the main benefits of using analytics features include:
- Improves conversion rates: Using data to understand customers and find bottlenecks in your sales process improves lead quality, efficiency, and conversions.
- Helps you predict spending capabilities: With sales forecasting analysis tools, you are able to estimate how much revenue will be generated and in turn, how much you can spend on other expenses or investments.
- Lets you see in detail what your team is doing: In-depth breakdowns help you evaluate how sales reps are spending their time and which specific activities are most crucial to sales production.
- Allows you to optimize resources: Through a comparative analysis of various lead sources and campaigns, you can determine which methods and channels for producing leads are worth your team’s time and resources.
- Offers insights and advice on how to improve: Some of the more advanced platforms have CRM artificial intelligence features that not only analyze but interpret data for you. This can tell you how to improve your operation and performance based on those data-driven results.
- Improves customer satisfaction and retention: Customer analytics regarding their likes, dislikes, experience preferences, and why they prefer your brand helps improve a customer’s satisfaction with your business.
How CRM Analytics Are Used
CRM analytics features help you better understand both pre- and post-sale activities with leads and customers. Some of the measurables for activities, production, and efficiency before a deal is closed to improve new business sales include the following:
- Lead conversion rates: Percentage of total leads that convert into a deal or to the next stage on the sales pipeline.
- Total sales activity: Total number of calls placed, emails sent, proposals generated, meetings scheduled, or product demos given. These can be used to compare individual reps or teams as well as find connections between activity and sales production.
- Quality of prospects: Measuring how well reps are researching leads, typically done as a percentage of total qualified leads compared to the total contacts with their data added to a CRM.
- Top opportunities: Insights on the top lead or deal opportunities based on total expected value and the likelihood of closing the deal.
- Sales pipeline bottlenecks: Based on conversion rates of the different stages on the sales pipeline, you can see which areas need more resources, additional training, or new sales tactics to improve.
Plus, using CRM analytics for post-sales activities, production, and efficiency helps improve customer retention and service productivity. Some of the best measurements CRM analytics can be used for after a deal is closed include:
- Cross-selling or upselling conversion rates: Percentage of successful sales compared to attempts by an account manager to convince a customer to buy complementary products or services or upgrade their current solutions.
- Top customers: A look at the best customers to maintain excellent service based on what they spend and provide more nurturing or additional promotions to those who are less active.
- Product or service performance: Comparison of products and services to see which ones are bringing in the most revenue and should be pushed more. It helps businesses evaluate which ones need improvement in its features or more dedicated sales resources.
- Sales rep production: A look at individual or team performance in terms of total deals closed and revenue generated.
- Service ticket efficiency: The average time it takes to close a service ticket request as well as how many tickets can be resolved by a team or individual in a certain time period.
Who CRM Analytics Tools Are Best For
Anyone responsible at an organization for making business decisions about sales or marketing initiatives or tasked with providing their advice should be using CRM analytics tools. This includes high-level decision-makers such as business owners, CEOs, VPs, and directors. It also includes sales managers who oversee a department, region, or specific team.
Furthermore, financial personnel like accountants, CFOs, and financial analysts at a business should also take the information gathered from a CRM to make their recommendations using real data. Individual reps might also find CRM analytics tools useful for discovering opportunities and patterns that help improve their own performance.
Examples of Must-have CRM Analytics Tools
Though there is limitless potential for what CRM analytics tools can do, there are a few basic “must-haves” users should prioritize when choosing a CRM provider. Some of the main metrics include:
Lead & Deal Conversion Tracking
Lead and deal conversion metrics show how well your sales team performs at getting opportunities through various stages of your sales pipeline. This CRM analytic is necessary for pinpointing parts of your sales process that are slowing down your ability to generate new customers.
Zoho CRM is a popular product that stands out for its reporting and analytics capabilities, particularly when monitoring the pipeline. In addition to the ability to generate reports, Zoho CRM lets users view comprehensive conversion metrics on a dashboard to see how well leads and accounts are converting stage-to-stage. There are even filtering options to view conversions based on region or sales rep.
Sales Performance Monitoring
Sales performance refers to the activities completed by individual reps or teams as well as total production in deals closed or revenue generated. While much of this will be raw data, CRM analytics tools can break down things like calls made, emails sent, or meetings created by rep, team, or product line to let you see how everyone is performing.
HubSpot CRM is known for its clean reporting features that include customizable charts and the ability to easily gather data and insights for analysis. Users can break down total productivity by sales rep and aggregate various activity data into one report, such as notes created and tasks completed with prospecting activities.
Forecasting is a powerful feature that lets you estimate how much revenue is expected over time based on current deals pending in the pipeline and typical conversion rates. Creating these projections keeps your team on track to complete their sales goals and plan for future expenditures.
Salesforce is a highly acclaimed CRM for its advanced analytics features. Sales managers can easily view a dashboard to see revenue projections by quarter, division, product or service line, and individual rep in one dashboard view.
Lead Source Tracking
By tracking where your high-quality leads come from, you optimize your resources and time spent on the channels that produce the best results. CRMs let you track this by indicating where that opportunity came from on your deal and lead records, such as at trade shows, networking events, online, or inbound from marketing campaigns.
Bitrix24, for example, takes all of the aggregated lead information and generates visual reports for opportunities in the pipeline. In addition to the sales funnel and conversion analytics, users can see the proportion of their leads based on how they were generated. There are also filtering features that allow you to see if certain channels have higher conversion rates or revenue potential than others.
Want more insights on reporting and analytics CRM features? Here are our picks for the seven essential reports every small business should use.
Best CRMs for Analytics
Most CRMs have analytics features to some extent. Some stand out for having more advanced capabilities than others or could allow analytics features to be accessed for a lower cost compared to others. Here are a few of our picks for the best CRMs with analytics tools.
Free for up to 3 users
$25 per user, per month
$14.90 per user, per month
Key Analytics Features
Zia AI feature for predictions and suggestions on workflows and assignments
Comprehensive and customizable sales forecasting
Visual dashboards with activity reports and goal tracking
Business that want robust artificial intelligence features for insights
Larger sales teams looking for advanced sales forecasting
Small teams that want low-cost reporting and analytics
*Pricing based on annual billing. Monthly billing is also available at a higher monthly price.
Zoho CRM can take analytics to the next level by using artificial intelligence (AI) to offer suggestions based on the system’s findings. The Zia AI feature can suggest what tasks to complete next, which workflows can be automated, and ways to boost team performance. This CRM offers standard reporting for free, while the advanced features require the Enterprise plan for $40 per user, per month.
Salesforce provides users with reports and sales analytics similar to other CRM platforms. The main differentiator, however, is how advanced the sales forecasting features are. In addition to general revenue predictions, Salesforce helps users estimate custom data fields specific to their business. There’s also the Einstein AI feature to make predictive forecasts on revenue, deals, and pipeline efficiency as well as insights behind its prediction.
Pipedrive is a sales-focused CRM that offers many of its reporting and analytics features, such as deal reports, activity reports, and user-goal tracking reports, on its lowest-priced plan. More advanced features also let users project revenue, including recurring and subscription-based revenue, for businesses that use those models.
CRM analytics lets sales teams see the full picture of their sales operation and performance by interpreting the high volume of data collected in their CRM. When done successfully, analytics can help improve conversion rates, resource allocation, and customer retention—yielding higher revenue and profits. While most CRMs offer this feature, certain products stand out for feature sophistication, ease of use, and budget-friendliness.