Choosing the appropriate date field and the appropriate range of dates is an essential part of the Salesforce reporting process. The date field you use (Close Date, Created Date, Last Activity Date) and the range of time you choose (Last 30 Days, Current Fiscal Year, TODAY) impacts every cell of data that shows up on the report. It is essential that you choose the right date information if you want to glean sales intelligence from your reporting.
Some of the most commonly used date fields in pipeline reporting are:
Create Date: The date the opportunity was created. Once set, this date does not change.
Close Date: The date the opportunity is expected to close. This date often changes throughout the sales cycle.
Last Activity : The date the user last did something like complete a task or the date of the last event. Emails synced with Salesforce are most likely recorded as “Completed Tasks” and will impact the “Last Activity” date.
Once you’ve settled on the appropriate date field to use, the next step is to decide how you want the date to appear on your report. If you are comparing year over year stats, you’ll want the data to be grouped by year. If you want to see how many opportunities were created each month for the past 18 months, you’ll want the data grouped into columns (or rows) of months.
A common occurence in reporting building is that you drag the date field into a report and the data becomes grouped by days when you wanted to show months. Or the data is grouped by year when you wanted to show quarters. It’s very easy to change the grouping of the date field. If you click on the arrow next to the date column, you will see the option to “Group Date By..”. From there, you can choose how you would like to group the rows or columns.
Here is an example of a summary report grouped by Close Date and the dates are shown in Months.
When you add a bar chart to the report, the bars will be grouped by Month as well.