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Reporting Baseline

By November 18, 2020No Comments

Reporting Baseline

Learn why and how to create Baseline Reports

Baselining is the initial exercise of pulling together important data which can be summarized into metrics important to the business.

It involves the following motions:

  • Gather data (sometimes from many sources)
  • Analyze and verify data with management, end users, operation, and enablement teams
  • Agreement of the summarized data by business stakeholders

Why Baseline?

Creating a baseline establishes the before-state when making changes to processes or software utilized in an organization.  This is important for any software implementation or proposed change to process and strategy. Knowing the before-state helps managers and operation teams quantify the positive or negative impacts after the changes have been made.

Baselining also helps to highlight what metrics should be focused on and improved. Baselining is not a fruitless exercise, but rather determines what will be regularly reviewed, discussed, and trained on in the near future.

How to Baseline

Is it difficult to create a baseline? The honest answer is, yes, sometimes it can be difficult to establish a baseline. If you are struggling to establish your own baselines, reach out to your XANT Customer Success team. They have lots of experience helping customers chart baselines.

Here are the most common challenges they typically see customers grapple with:

  • Data is from multiple sources in multiple formats. Sometimes it is difficult to obtain from vendors and a support ticket is needed.
  • Data is convoluted; clear definitions of each field/column are needed, and you may also need to know how and when data was populated.
  • Organizations have limited or no resources responsible for tracking data and have skills to analyze data (report gurus). Or the report gurus have other priorities in the business.
  • Organizations have divisions/teams with different processes, adoption expectations, and metrics.
  • Business stakeholders do not agree on either the data or summary. Conversations can then become overly political and veer away from constructive.
  • Hardest Challenge: Sometimes there just isn’t any data.

Acknowledging these obstacles is the first step to overcoming the barriers. Later in this article we will discuss what to do next.

Key Performance Metrics (KPM) to Baseline

The KPMs to focus on varies by the team’s maturity and sales engagement maturity. For example, a team that is new to sales engagement technology like Playbooks should start with the basics (dials, talk time, and emails), but a team with the same the same function that has been using Playbooks for 6-12 months may be positioned to focus on account penetration and persistency.

Before choosing which KPMs to baseline and track, here are some additional best practices to consider:

  • Identify KPMs most important to management and key stakeholders. This will encourage support and accountability from critical internal groups.
  • Baseline as many KPMs as you can before a major implementation or strategy shift but choose 3-5 to focus on improving at one time.
  • Consider a mix of productivity metrics (dials, emails, talk-time) with revenue metrics (closed-won opportunities).
  • Consider KPMs that are tied to an end user’s compensation. If a KPM is not tied to compensation, how will you motivate users?
  • What else? Ask yourself and key stakeholders this question to explore what might not be currently tracked, but what ideal looks like.
  • Align with your XANT Account Team on the KPMs you have chosen. They can work with you to achieve your goals and offer additional insight. We should all be on the same page.

Here are some common KPMs and the data source of where you may be able to find it. Keep in mind when pulling data, the goal is to get it as granular as possible.

CRM Reports Phone System Response Audit Manual Audit Human Resources Accounting
# of Users


Talk Time

Correct Contacts

Response Time


Opportunities Created

Opportunities Won

Average Deal Size

Annual Revenue

Sales Cycle

Rep Time to Contribution

Baselining Next Steps

Once you are ready to begin baselining your data, perform these steps to ensure you are as successful as possible.

  1. For each KPM you want to focus on, design a report or use one of the pre-created reports from the Playbooks unmanaged package to provide visibility. Create reports for each level of visibility (reps, manager, and operations team) and relevant timeframes (daily, weekly, monthly). When possible, use the Salesforce “Reference Line” feature to identify the baseline metric as a visual target.
  2. Analyze the data and review results with stakeholders. The key is to do this at expected intervals and avoid catching stakeholders “off-guard” with the results.
  3. Don’t forget the qualitative data. Conduct rep and manager interviews to narrate the less tangible aspects of a new software platform, strategy, or process.
  4. Use the scientific method to hypothesize solutions and next steps. Always be testing and innovating.

Need Further Help?

If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath because you are not alone. As stated earlier, XANT Account Teams have guided many of our customers through the baselining exercise, but at the end of the day your organization is responsible for your data. Start conversations early with your Data Analytics, Salesforce, or other Business Applications teams.  XANT will help coach when and where we can because we want you to succeed too.

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