Good decisions are often based on good information. Knowing the right metrics and information can allow you to better understand your business’ strengths and weaknesses and provide insights into key datasets that will help you work more efficiently and effectively. Of course, the real question is, “How can I quickly gather the right information to make my decisions, understand my business, and guide my work?” Well, CRM systems are designed to not only help you track the data important to your business, but also allow you to organize and access it in a way that will be most helpful to your organization.
Zoho CRM offers many ways we can view data, but the two we would like to focus on will be list views and reports. Both options allow us to view a spreadsheet-like page of data, but there are certain circumstances where each of these options shine. Let’s take a moment to review each option and determine the strengths of each option and when it is best to use each feature.
List views are one of the main ways that Zoho users can interact with their data. Whenever a user switches to any module’s tab, they will be greeted by the list view screen. The list view screen allows users to examine specific records in detail, but also offers a quick overview of record groupings.
The main advantages of list views are:
- Ease of use: Because list views are available for all modules and are accessed directly from the module’s tab, list views are easily accessible and simple to use. Additionally, on some entities (such as contacts and accounts) Zoho will add helpful items to list views, such as the next activity data and type in an easy to understand and intuitive manner, making these views excellent for users to review.
- Ease of filtering: List views can be further modified by adding additional filter criteria through the “Filters” side panel. This allows users to quickly narrow the dataset they are looking at without having to create a whole new report. They can see how their filter changes the list of data in near-real-time.
- Additional actions: From the list view screen, additional actions such as the ability to mass update, mass delete, and reassign owner are available. Additionally, individual records can be selected from the list view to perform these mass actions, or the entire list can be modified.
Because of these advantages, list views are perfect for data that needs to be quickly and frequently reviewed by various users. Plus, list views shine in situations where a base list needs to be filtered by varying criteria. Additionally, if any data is being reviewed for accuracy, or a list of records need to be updated in some way, list views are a great option as they enable the use of Zoho’s additional record actions, such as the ability to mass update, delete, reassign, and de-duplicate.
It is worth noting that list views in Zoho do have a few limitations. List views cannot filter based on a related record’s information, only information that is directly on the record itself. For example, if I wanted to see a list of all contacts that belong to an account that has the “Account Type” of “Distributor”, I would not be able to accomplish this directly through a list view because the constraint of “Account Type” = “Distributor” relates to the account (the related record) and not the contact (the main record). Additionally, the ability to export records from a list view is limited and not suited for moderate to large datasets.
Reports in Zoho CRM are another way that groups of targeted information can be presented by the system. Reports are accessed from the “Reports” tab and can show data in several ways. Reports can be stored in a folder-based file system so your company can organize reports that matter to different individuals and functions.
The advantages of Zoho Reports are:
- Data grouping: Zoho reports allow for more than just standard tabular reports. Data can be grouped by nearly any field and other data can then be summarized for that grouping, allowing for aggregate calculations and more organized reporting.
- Reporting from multiple modules: Zoho reports also allow for reports to show fields from related modules/records and can even use related records when defining the filter criteria for the report. This allows for a greater degree of control over what datasets can be selected and captured.
- Ease of data export: Records can be easily and quickly exported from a Zoho report on a large scale. Generally, pages of 2000 records at a time can be exported from any given report to Excel, PDF, or CSV formats.
- Scheduled report sends: Zoho reports allow users to set up automations that will automatically send a copy of a report to specific Zoho users or email addresses on a regularly scheduled basis. These reports can be sent out at a specific time, on a specific repeating interval, and can be sent in either XLS, PDF, or CSV format.
Because of these advantages, you can create reports with complex criteria or reports that require special formatting or grouping. Because reports can both use related records in their filter criteria as well as within the report itself, they allow for a greater range of datasets to be identified as compared to list views. Likewise, the ability to group data can be an especially powerful tool, as it can be used to collate your records into meaningful groups, such as grouping all accounts by account type or getting the sum of opportunities won per state.
Likewise, because reports can be exported to spreadsheet formats and can be scheduled to be sent on a regular basis, they are excellent in situations where a specific dataset needs to be sent to certain individuals on a regular basis or when individuals may want to process or examine datasets further in other programs, such as Excel.
It is worth noting that there are some limitations to Zoho reports. Special actions, such as deleting, mass updating, and reassigning records cannot be performed from a Zoho report. Thus, reports are often ill-suited for situations where data needs to be directly updated, deleted, or undergo any kind of special action. Additionally, reports are more limited on what filters can be dynamically assigned to the report. As a results, if you have one dataset to which you will want to apply a lot of varying filters, you will most likely end up directly updating the report each time, which may be more time-consuming than using the filter option in a list view.
Both Zoho list views and reports are great ways to find the right information in your Zoho system to enable you to make better decisions and work more effectively. However, knowing when to use list views and reports can even further boost how useful these tools can be to you and help you truly leverage the power of Zoho CRM to make your life easier.
For more great tips on using your Zoho system to its fullest potential, check out our other blog posts. If your team would like additional help managing your Zoho platform and creating the reports relevant to you and your team, contact us here or give us a call at 1-800-880-1960. We would be happy to assist you and your team as well as explore how Topline Results can further benefit your organization.