Reporting

How to Create and Use Reporting Snapshots in Salesforce: A Step By Step Guide

Wondering how to use Salesforce reporting snapshots to analyze historical performance and previous trends? Here’s what you need to know.

Filip Stojanovic Filip Stojanovic on April 22, 2022 (last modified on April 18, 2022) • 14 minute read

Tracking your company’s historical performances and analyzing previous trends can be beneficial for a number of reasons.

By having insight into historical data, you will get a clearer overview of your business’ health and see whether you are closer to achieving the overall company goals.

Also, it will be easier to create future strategies once you know which trends have proven to be the most successful in the past.

However, gathering historical performance data can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t have the right tools at your disposal.

This is why many executives and agency owners choose to use Salesforce reporting snapshots for this purpose.

Reporting snapshots allow users to ‘freeze’ specific data sets and later use them for historical data reporting.

In this guide, we are going to review this feature in-depth and show you how to incorporate Salesforce reporting snapshots in your own company.

HubSpot CRM – Sales Analytics Overview Template

What Is a Reporting Snapshot in Salesforce?

Reporting snapshot is a Salesforce feature that allows users to report on their company’s historical data. It means that you can take snapshots of specific record sets and freeze particular data that could be useful in the long run.

The snapshots you create serve as data collections that showcase historical performances and you can later compare them with current trends and opportunities.

To put it simply, reporting snapshots work in the same manner as mobile phone screenshots. You capture the exact content you are seeing at the moment. Except, with reporting snapshots, you store data sets and generate reports that will be useful for future analysis and comparisons.

Related: HubSpot CRM vs. Salesforce: How to Choose the Right CRM

What Comprises a Reporting Snapshot?

There are three key elements to reporting snapshots:

  • Source Report – Tabular or Summary
  • Custom Object – Includes fields that match other source report columns
  • Target Object Fields – For operating the snapshot time frames

Authorized users first save the source report results in a custom object field. Next, they mark a specific field on a target object and decide when to schedule the report to load.

To give you a clearer picture of how this works, let’s say that you want to create a reporting snapshot that shows how many investors join your company each month. You first have to create a report called ‘Current Investors’ that displays how many investors your company currently has. Next, you create a custom object called ‘Investors’ where you can store data for each interval.

Lastly, you will need to make fields in the ‘Investors’ object so you can capture the exact numbers displayed in the ‘Current Investors’ report and see the date when the snapshot was taken.

The Benefits of Using Salesforce Reporting Snapshots

If are still unsure whether to incorporate reporting snapshots in your company, reading through these benefits may help you make up your mind.

Track Changes in Your Sales Pipeline

Sales pipelines are constantly changing and staying on top of these changes is easier when you have well-organized historical data segments.

Reporting snapshots provide you with insight into how past trends succeeded or failed, which will also help you understand customers’ behavior and their shifts in priorities.

What’s more, reporting snapshots include data that can be used for identifying weak spots in the overall sales process of your company.

Monitor Forecast Accuracy

Using reporting snapshots can help you estimate the accuracy of your team’s projected forecasts. If you have snapshot reports categorized, you can simply pull them out and check whether your team is achieving the set goals.

Also, you can compare their previous forecasts with historical performances for additional insight.

Track Changes by Case or Account

The reporting snapshot feature in Salesforce also comes with the option to manage individual case/account historical tabs.

This option is especially helpful for B2B businesses since it allows you to acquire revenue overviews for specific partnerships and more granular performance analyses.

Serve as Compelling Evidence for Proposals

Reporting snapshots can be used as backup evidence to persuade your senior management to take action in certain cases.

You can pull out snapshots to better illustrate how the current state of affairs looks like and show the executives that your strategies are based on sufficient data.

Related: Why Agencies and B2B Leaders Need Scheduled Performance Snapshots

How to Create a Salesforce Snapshot Report

Earlier, we compared snapshot reports to phone screenshots and while the latter only requires two clicks of a button, creating a snapshot report requires a bit more work.

Here are a few steps you can follow to create a great salesforce snapshot report.

Step 1: Create a New Report

To create a new report, you should click on ‘Report’ > ‘New Report’ and choose which type of report you need.

Press the ‘Opportunity’ object and click on ‘Create’. Once you determine which exact columns you want to monitor, just drag them in and press ‘Run Report’.

You should know that the report has to be in either tabular or summary format. Also, for utilizing the full power of Analytic Snapshots, we recommend that you pick fields that will be constantly updated.

Creating a new report in Salesforce

Step 2: Create a Custom Object for Data Storage

To create a Custom Object, you should go to Setup > Create> Objects > New Custom Object.

Use a simple name for the Custom Object and don’t forget to check the boxes under ‘Allow Reports’ (located in ‘Optional Features’) and ‘Deployed’ (located in ‘Deployment Status’).

Once you are finished, click on ‘Save’.

Next, we will need to create Custom Fields so you have a place to store the data generated in the source report. The name of your Custom Fields should match the names of the columns in the source report.

You can do this by going to Custom Fields & Relationships > New.

Creating a custom object for data storage in Salesforce

Step 3: Create an Automation Job

Analytic Snapshots provide you with the ability to specify the time and frequency of when your source report should run.

To create them, go to Setup > type in ‘Reporting Snapshots’ in the Quick Find Box > Click on ‘Reporting Snapshots’.

Choose a name for your Analytic Snapshot and then check if the Running User has access to view the report you are placing in the custom object.

In the ‘Source Report’ and ‘Target Object’ list, choose ‘Source Report’ and the ‘Custom Object’ you just created.

Lastly, click ‘Save’ and then ‘Edit’ (located in the Schedule Reporting Snapshot column) to set the time and frequency of your Source Report.

Creating an automation job in Salesforce

How to Schedule a Reporting Snapshot in Salesforce

After you have completed the steps above, we can move on to scheduling the salesforce reporting snapshot.

To do this, you should fill out these next few sections:

  • Frequency – Choose how frequently you want your snapshot to run (daily, weekly, or monthly)
  • Start and End Date – Type in on which date you want the snapshots to start/stop.
  • Preferred Start Time – Type in the exact time you want to run the schedule

Don’t forget to check the success of the past runs by using the ‘Run History’. Once you click this option, you will see the complete history of successful runs (stores up to 200 records).

If the scheduled runs fail for some reason, you can see the details in the ‘Row Failures’ option.

How to Analyze Reporting Snapshots from Salesforce

Okay, so now you have successfully configured your snapshots.

The next thing you should do is monitor how the snapshot reports are progressing and analyze any new trends and data that they capture.

One of the main benefits of salesforce reporting snapshots is that it is extremely simple to create summaries and acquire filtered reports once the relevant data has been captured.

However, you should keep in mind that reporting snapshots are only useful if they have been operating for a specific period. It will take time for the data to pile up in order for it to be useful for the historical trend analysis.

Also, you can try using the ‘Historical Trend Reporting’ feature on Salesforce for additional information regarding the snapshots. This option provides you with insight into the highlights/changes between five snapshot dates. For a more detailed analysis, you can try out the four historical filters that Salesforce offers.

Related: How to Analyze Data: 30+ Experts on Making Sense of Your Performance

How to Use Scheduled Snapshots in Databox

Scheduled Snapshots in Databox allow you to share the PDFs/JPGs of your Databox reports with the rest of the company members. This way, your whole team will be kept in the loop when it comes to the latest data.

Before we show you how to use Scheduled Snapshots in Databox, let’s first talk about the two different use cases of Scheduled Snapshots. Snapshots can be used both to archive and monitor data.

Snapshots to Archive

Depending on which type of reporting schedule you run, it can be useful to set scheduled snapshots to archive historical reports.

For instance, if you practice weekly reporting, it can be a good idea to schedule the delivery of the snapshot on Sunday at 11 PM. In this case, the last week’s data will always be captured and you can pull it out any time in the future if you need to check out some specific piece of information.

If there are a couple of snapshots already scheduled for delivery on the exact same day, you can use the inbox filter to store them all in one folder. To make the process easier, you should make the ‘Subject’ same in all of the snapshots.

Snapshots to Monitor Data

One of the main problems of monthly reporting meetings is that a lot of time is spent on piecing the activities that took place to influence the data you are sharing. By using scheduled snapshots, you make this process much less time-consuming.  

Even if you don’t check Databox on a regular basis, you probably check your inbox. Scheduling snapshots allows you to monitor the data in your Databox account without having to even log in.

To provide recipients with access to real-time Databoard overviews, you should include the Streaming URL in the ‘Personal Note’ section of the snapshot.

Now, to actually use scheduled snapshots in Databox, you first have to fill out these next sections with appropriate information. We will explain each one.

Delivery Options

You can receive snapshot alerts via Email, Mobile, or through Slack notifications. Choose a channel that you most frequently check to stay informed on all the latest data changes, no matter where you are.

PRO TIP: You can customize the email address that Scheduled Snapshots are sent from with the white-label add-on. Learn more here.

Recipients

Once you know who will need to receive snapshot alerts in the company, you can add their email addresses in the ‘Recipients’ box. If you are choosing users within the Databox account, simply select ‘Users’ in the drop-down menu. On the other hand, if they don’t use the Databox account, you have to manually type in their email address.

Frequency

In the ‘Frequency’ section, you should set the exact time and day at which the Schedule Snapshots should be sent out.

PRO TIP: Make sure the frequency you select works with the Primary Date Range on your Databoard(s). Since a static version of the Databoard(s) will be sent out, the Recipient(s) will not be able to switch between multiple Date Ranges on the Databoard. 

File Format

This refers to the format in which you will receive the Snapshot. If you choose the JPG option, you will get separate JPGs of each part of the Looped Databoards, while selecting the PDF option means you will get a single PDF that includes the entire loop of Databoards.  

Subject

Make any changes you need to the Subject line of the Scheduled Snapshot. The Databoard Snapshot Email will be sent to the subjects you include.

Message 

Type in any specific message you might have for your Scheduled Snapshot.

Pro Tip: To give the recipients of the Scheduled Snapshot real-time access to the report in addition to the JPGs or PDF they received via email, include a link to the Shareable Link in the Message section of the Scheduled Snapshot. 

Shareable Link

If you want to acquire a live version of your report as well, you should tick the checkbox underneath the ‘Shareable Link’ option.

Looped Databoards

This option lets you choose whether you want separate snapshots of Databoards within the loop, or the entire Databoard loop.

Databox Snapshot Dashboard Examples

Using dashboards for gathering snapshots in one place can make the reporting process much easier for both you and your team.

You will be able to quickly communicate the data you receive and report the performance to your team, clients, and managers.

Here are some dashboard examples of data you can use to make snapshots.

Google Analytics User Experience Snapshot Dashboard

Creating snapshots of user experience metrics on a regular basis will provide you with information regarding the way visitors consume data on your website.

By using the Google Analytics User Experience Snapshot Dashboard, you can capture user experience changes that occur and apply new strategies needed for driving growth.

Some of the key metrics you will capture include average session duration, bounce rate, revenue/channel, users, sessions, top channels, and top pages by pageviews.

Google Analytics User Experience Snapshot Dashboard

Google Analytics Acquisition Snapshot Dashboard

Taking snapshots of GA acquisitions on a weekly or monthly basis helps you stay on top of your traffic sources and identify which campaigns and keywords are generating the most visitors.

Capturing the data seen in the Acquisition Snapshot Dashboard over longer periods will inevitably help you understand and improve your traffic performance.

Key metrics you can capture include bounce rate, sessions by organic keyword, sessions by source, sessions by social network, and top paid keyword by sessions.

Google Analytics Acquisition Snapshot Dashboard

Better Snapshot Reporting with Databox

While snapshot reporting is certainly one of the best ways to gather and report your company’s historical data, it requires a lot of time to capture all the different snapshots and send them out to your team.

You would have to log in to several different apps each day or week, manually screenshot the reports you need, and then share them with other members. This is an extremely tedious process and executives simply don’t have enough time to do it on a regular basis.              

Databox solves this issue through Scheduled Snapshots.

By scheduling the exact time for your snapshots to run, you won’t have to go through the hassle of organizing Friday meetings to brief your team – you will be able to send out the same information regarding the essential KPIs through the scheduled snapshots.

HubSpot CRM – Sales Analytics Overview Template

Scheduled Snapshots in Databox can be set to capture dashboard views each day at a specific time and you will receive the snapshots via email, Slack, or any other channel you most frequently use. They also simplify the monthly review process since you will be up-to-date on all the latest performance summaries.

Executives won’t be the only ones reaping the fruits of Scheduled Snapshots – they can be of great value to agency clients as well. You can set up Scheduled Snapshots to be sent to your clients on a weekly basis, keeping them informed on the latest data. This way, they will be more focused on preparing meaningful questions when the time for a monthly review comes.

Interested in trying out our Scheduled Snapshot feature? Sign up here for a free trial.

About the author
Filip Stojanovic
Filip Stojanovic Filip Stojanovic is a content writer who studies Business and Political Sciences. Also, I am a huge tennis enthusiast. Although my dream is to win a Grand Slam, working as a content writer is also interesting.
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