Skip to main content

The Role of a Salesforce Metrics Dictionary in Promoting Team Cohesion

Salesforce Metrics meeting

To understand Salesforce metrics challenges, let’s evaluate a common situation. Your executive leadership asks Sales, Marketing and operations to present last quarter’s results. Everyone shows up with slides and reports pulled from Salesforce or a Business Intelligence platform like Tableau. Frustration grows, as presented numbers and statistics may not align or contradict each other. Instead of discussing strategy and tactical adjustments to improve performance, time is wasted asking for clarification on the validity of information. If this sounds like your experience you are not alone. Prioritized, correct, and consistent information does not happen overnight. In this article we will explore our approach to help create a better foundation, working with the people, process, and technology you already own.

Salesforce Metrics Meeting

Most enterprises have multiple sources and approaches to acquire data and transform it into information. We love Salesforce because of the relative speed and ease to build and make changes to process, with clear and easy reporting. There are over 150K organizations like yours that have standardized marketing, sales and/or revenue operations on the Salesforce platform. So why would a team with a system of record and  “source of truth” from Salesforce still struggle reporting and understanding and maintain continuity of information as change happens?

Avoiding people, process, and communication blame game

If you have been a part of reporting and analytics initiative that goes sideways, it’s sometimes based on these factors:

  • Flawed requirement gathering
  • Change management or lack thereof during implementation
  • Incomplete or incorrect definitions
  • Lack of consensus across lines of business for goals and metrics
  • Data completeness, availability, and quality

Building an inventory of metrics and KPIs can be an exhaustive process leading to gaps in requirements as a result of not having the right people or experience on hand. In other cases, data quality and availability becomes a friction point that leads to failure. Modern data and analytics technology will help you move faster, dig deeper, model and blend data but not solve un-resolved definition and alignment problems.

In many organizations, there isn’t a solution in place to maintain a unified record and historical log of goals, metrics and data relationships together. Documents, PowerPoints and Excel are typically the system of record for metrics and KPIs until they are coded into data and analytics tools.

If your previous data lake, analytics, and business intelligence initiatives fell short, the blame is all to often put on process, people, and communication often encapsulated sometimes as “poor requirement gathering”. Experienced and tenured data and analytics leaders understand this excuse wont fly in 2024, so our team learned into these challenges to see how we can help!

Our DataTools metrics glossary approach

1. How do we capture and encapsulate the previous work that has happened inside of Salesforce to understand existing metrics and KPIs are adopted and in-use?

2. From this understanding, what is the knowledge that we need to capture and resulting information assets that we need to produce and distribute? One of those key information assets is Salesforce Metrics Documentation

.3. Eliminate most if not all of the manual and redundant work that typically occurs between teams that can be easily extracted from Salesforce metadata?

4. Knowing that this is a live, organic, information asset how do we understand and surface changes that stakeholders should be aware of?

From those questions, we constructed our vision of a metrics glossary that not only captures the metrics but all of the relationships that stem from those metrics.

Lean more about DataTools Pro

Automated Salesforce Metrics Glossary

We took these questions and built a Metric Analyst tool that attempts to automate most of the process.

Live Salesforce Metrics Documentation

One of the important pieces of information that anyone in your enterprise wants to know is “what’s important”? A metric and KPI glossary can exist as a word document, spreadsheet, email, or application that organizes the business definitions. Salesforce metrics documentation should inventory the definitions semantics for metrics where data originates in Salesforce. This document should serve as a knowledge asset and guide to to help cross organization collaboration for business, data, analytics, and technology teams. When properly implemented it should ensure everyone speaks the same, specific language in business terms. A metrics glossary can also include technical / data details to help understand some lineage details.

What are Salesforce metrics?

Salesforce metrics are quantifiable measurements that track business processes, and activities that occur in Salesforce. Salesforce is much more than a customer relationship management platform. Some companies run their entire end to end operations on Salesforce. A metric can encompass anything from sales pipeline health to customer support resolution times. However, with a vast amount of data and numerous metrics available, ensuring consistent understanding and interpretation becomes crucial. Learn more: Analytics, Metrics and AI. Oh My!

Why do you need a Salesforce metrics dictionary?

Let’s revisit the scenario at the beginning of this article. If we take a simple measurement for “Lead conversion”, you can imagine the many variations and iterations of this metric. For example marketing could consider a marketing qualified lead, where sales considers “sales qualified” leads. Conversationally they can be interchanged, but at an organizational level, this misunderstanding could be simple semantics and labeling. A Salesforce metric dictionary acts as source of truth ensuring everyone speaks the same language when clarity and precision is mandatory.

  • Standardization: Defines clear and consistent definitions and calculations for all metrics.
  • Improved Communication: Eliminates confusion and fosters better collaboration across teams.
  • Enhanced Data Accuracy: Reduces errors by ensuring everyone uses the same metrics and formulas.
  • Streamlined Analysis: Makes data analysis faster and more efficient by providing a central reference point.

What Does a Salesforce Metric Dictionary Include?

An effective Salesforce metric dictionary should encompass the following key components:

Mandatory definitions that are managed and governed across lines of business

Metric Name: The name of the metric, clear and concise. There should be 1, official name that ties to a definition. If there are multiple names for the same metric, that is captured and tracked independent of the official name.

Definition: In simple terms what is the metric measuring. This definition may require some detail to how it is calculated but should be readable and understandable to business information consumers and owners.

Ownership: Who is the person ultimately responsible for the metric? The premise is that if there is no clear ownership and accountable person to sign off or accountable for the metric then it shouldn’t be managed.

Important context and ownership information to support usage of definitions

Description (optional): A detailed explanation of what the metric measures and its significance to your business goals. In a world with AI agents, my recommendation is the longer the description and the more context, the better!

Calculation (optional): The specific formula or steps used to calculate the metric. This ensures everyone understands how the value is derived. This work can be time consuming and requires salesforce admins to acquire these definitions.

Target Value/Benchmark: (optional): A target or benchmark to measure your metric against is common practice. Not all metrics will have a target, but a KPI absolutely should!

More reading on metrics, OKRS and KPIs: Analytics, Metrics and AI. Oh My!

Salesforce Metrics Dictionary Template

While Salesforce doesn’t provide a built-in metric dictionary, you can create using a spreadsheet tool like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, and now a live connected Metric Dictionary like DataTools Pro. The following table showcases a sample structure:

Additional Tips for Managing Salesforce Metrics

  • Maintain and Update: Schedule regular reviews to assess the dictionary’s accuracy and completeness. As Salesforce evolves and your business needs shift, update metric definitions, calculations, and target values to reflect these changes. This is an important component for information stewardship, governance, and safeguarding the integrity of your organization’s management information systems.
  • Access and Distribution: Don’t let your metric dictionary become a hidden and outdated document. Share it widely with all Salesforce users – sales reps, marketing teams, customer service agents, and anyone who interacts with your CRM data. This is a big part of fostering a culture of data literacy and ensures everyone interprets metrics consistently.


By implementing a Salesforce metric dictionary, you empower your organization to leverage the true potential across teams and lines of business using a language that should be universal (business performance and outcomes). Standardized metrics ensure clear communication, accurate analysis, and ultimately, data-driven decision-making that fuels business success. Here are some resources to help you take control of your Salesforce metrics today and unlock the key to a more informed and strategic CRM strategy.

Creating a Metrics Mind Map with DataTools Pro

Metrics Mind Map

One of the best tools for visualizing and conceptualizing relationships between any topic is a mind map. We with a mind map when we started DataTools Pro in late 2023. The mind map is easy to conceptualize visually as we connect the dots between people, process, metrics, and data. This is something that all enterprises struggle with while transitioning from service and product based businesses to information based businesses. Businesses are not static, so managing complex relationships that change regularly requires building and understanding these relationships at the speed business happens!

As we started turning our mind map concept into reality, we knew relationships between metrics, topics, data and analytics assets like reports and understanding changes that occur is hard enough.

That is where data visualization delivers immense value to bring data to life. The same way data professionals understand “Entity Relationships”, business professionals should have “Metrics Relationships” to understand how business initiatives, operations, and strategy connect.

That is why we created our Metrics Map visualization, powered by DataTools Pro to systemize this process. The first iteration makes each metric the center of the universe (in our visualization visualization). From a single metric we want to know what influences a metric or KPI and what the metric has influence over. With this starting point to discover, understand and relate metrics, we can work backwards to data and forwards to outcomes!

Metrics Map

Many analytics industry tech companies have focused on solving problems for accelerating data acquisition, transformation, and delivery. Generative AI, without contextual metrics glossaries jam packed with meta data will produce negligible results. It is the equivalent of hiring a data analyst and not explaining goals, metrics and analytics relates to the decisions out outcomes they influence.

We are excited to work with a number of like-minded partners in the realm of AI and data management to demonstrate profound improvements we are seeing when feeding our soon to be released metric maps API into generative AI analyst agents!

Create your first Metrics Mind Map from Salesforce and Tableau Pulse!

DataTools Pro is freely available for individuals and supports Salesforce and Tableau Pulse to build metrics glossaries and metrics maps.

Sign up for free

Learn more about DataTools Pro

Analytics, Metrics and AI. Oh My!

Recent AI advancements with large language models have broken through and forever changed how we think about information access and retrieval. Metrics and AI is at the top of my mind as AI agents today provide universal translation and curation of information. Here, in our data tools niche where we wrangle and transforming data into information, we are seeing incredible results using AI to write code and deliver the same results that traditionally required an analyst. We don’t believe AI will replace analysts, but we know already that AI augmented retrieval for researching large bodies of information a job better suited for machines. Enterprises need to re-frame documentation as context data generation for people and AI. You will likely see a rise in “knowledge graphs” as a hot topic. Unstructured data has always been deemed “untapped” gold, so now the race down the yellow brick road is on!

Behind the Curtain: Unveiling the Reality of Modern Bots

Chatbots have propelled large language models into the forefront. The benefit of these AI chatbots to individuals is the way an LLM can breaking down knowledge and experience into personalized bite sized information chunks. We are not too far from this being a shared experience in a collaborative setting. This is where we can see early adopters super charge team productivity. The big opportunity is how how enterprises will use AI to curate and deliver information us using the vast collections of empirical knowledge created over time. It goes without saying there are lots of smart people working tirelessly on these problems. Here at DataTools Pro, we are obsessed with this problem as a small scrappy team.

Does self-service analytics help?

Analysts, data scientists, and data professionals have always been required to distill complex business concepts into quantifiable analytics. Business Intelligence (management information systems) and Analytics disciplines still have the same problems today as 15 years ago. AI, LLMs and data platforms will not solve these problems without radical changes how people work.

  1. Age old “multiple versions of truth” problems still exist. It has moved from spreadsheets to self service reports and dashboards
  2. Empirical knowledge gained from pulling data together becomes disparate in spreadsheets, documents and PowerPoints, and email.
  3. Methods to build a live, connected semantic layers to categorize and measure quantitative performance remain siloed and technology oriented.

Reports, dashboards, and data remain the primary delivery mechanism for performance metrics and KPIs. The need for speed to prepare and deliver self-service analytics has shortcut slow moving BI platforms of yesterday. Similarly, modern cloud data platforms have helped democratized working with structured and unstructured data that historically required database administrators, software engineers, expensive technology components. “Deluge” is the best word to describe the state of most enterprises in regard to the number of data and analytics assets flowing thus creating newer “data mesh” and “data fabric” methodologies to help strategize designing systems and process to tackle the deluge problem. We are experimenting with this ourselves with Azure Co-Pilot while our team, data, and metrics library is small.

What about Self Service via Natural Language Requests?

Natural language queries is a feature and not a solution. Many professionals simply do not know what data and metrics are available to start asking questions. This is where AI agents armed with a glossary, semantics and a large body of context data will be transformational. AI co-pilots are still very new, so we are experimenting ourselves what is real vs art of the possible. The keystone is aligning AI and business professionals with a common taxonomy and language and where we are working to build a common thread between business, data, analytics, and soon auto-pilots aiding these teams.

What about data?

Many enterprises do not have enough resources behind data governance and management. I still think this is a massive area of opportunity to somehow democratize and distribute data management in a way that is non-intrusive. Otherwise our point of arrival for AI automation will be autopilots and agents spitting out useless information. Incorrect information leads to mistrust and failed adoption of “co-pilots”.

Data storage is dirt cheap and modern data platforms make it fast and easy to analyze and model data into sophisticated analytics. How do you create universal focus?

All roads to AI metrics and analytics mastery leads back to goals and data governance

Every company has a set of metrics that indicate the health of the business. Your financial metrics within your income statement and balance sheet don’t get a lot of love on social media, but they are the bedrock to your performance (assuming you are a for profit business). Highly sophisticated metrics or amassing hundreds of metrics wont translate to good performance. Universal understanding, consistency, correctness and execution against a finite set of metrics will!

Quick metrics maturity quiz:

  1. Do you have an inventory of all of the metrics your operational team is using?
  2. Who are the owners, stakeholders, and oracles (keepers of institutional knowledge)?
  3. Are you certain those metrics are calculated and deployed consistently across teams and individuals?
  4. Are your business, technology, data and analytics teams aligned how to implement these metrics into analytics?

Fact Finding Process:

Traditionally, this is the process most consultants utilize to thoughtfully acquire and organize your metrics glossary. Many enterprises already have documents, presentations, or spreadsheets with this information formally gathered. Rarely are they universally understood and up to date.

Metrics requirement gathering

Getting consensus and universal understanding is slow and cumbersome. It is one of the challenges we wanted to tackle at DataTools Pro

From Metrics to Key Performance Indicators and OKRs

There are a number of different organizing principles and methodologies to translate your organizational goals into metrics. A KPI differs from a metric in that it has a specific target, timeline, and direct impact on your organizational goals and objectives. You may have dozens of metrics without targets, and that is okay. There are a number of widely adopted models to help you formally structure and organize your KPIs:


SMART created by George Doran that offers a system for organizing and defining and measuring your business goals.

  • Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
  • Assignable – specify who will do it.
  • Realistic – state which results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
  • Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.

OKR – Object Key Results

  • OKR – An objective is a clearly defined, inspirational goal aimed at driving motivation and direction. Key results are specific, measurable outcomes used to track the achievement of the objective.

As you get deeper into the performance management, process improvement, you will discover what works best for your corporate culture.

How are metrics and KPI is evolving with AI

No article is complete in 2024 without a hot take on AI. A lot of the focus in technology and analytics is centered on amassing feeding large volumes of quantitative data into machine learning models to predict outcomes. Now with generative AI, we are vectorizing large bodies of data to train, fine tune or simply retrieve data using natural language requests. Unfortunately, without the right semantics, definitions, governance, and context data, your AI investment won’t feel magical. Our team is racing ahead knowing the path to have meaningful dialogue and results with AI co-pilots requires context. We have taken a novel approach to run along side enterprises on their journey down the yellow brick road to help with our upcoming DataTools Pro metrics analyst!

Join us for a webinar March 13 where we will formally introduce our Metrics Analyst AI.