"The art of moving forward lies in understanding what to leave behind." This quote, from marketing guru Seth Godin, sums up the importance of good data in making better decisions.
Failing is a natural part of life, what matters most – especially for salespeople – is how you move forward.
Think about the last time you made a quick decision that yielded disappointing results. Did you use data to inform that decision? Chances are, you used intuition.
Analytics inform decisions, lead to new ideas, and unveil opportunities for growth. In fact, the 2018 Global Data Management Benchmark Report found that 52% of the organizations surveyed said data and analytics would be a key source of opportunity in the coming years. And as more organizations rely on their data for strategic decision-making, their ability to derive actionable insights will be fundamental to their success.
So, how can you visualize your sales data to make key decisions and analyze performance?
The answer: A sales dashboard.
What is a sales dashboard?
A sales dashboard is a visual representation of your sales data. This information can often be filtered by different time periods, and many sales dashboards can pull in real-time data. Common metrics that are tracked include quota attainment, conversion/win rate, average deal size, revenue, sales funnel leakage.
Sales dashboards provide an overview of your key performance indicators (KPIs) and show you how your sales team is tracking towards your goals and revenue targets. And sales leaders use these metrics to track progress toward goals, make decisions and plans, adjust compensation, award bonuses and incentives, and identify issues before they become large problems.
How to Create a Sales Dashboard
- Determine which sales metrics you'll track.
- Identify how the dashboard will be used.
- Pick a sales dashboard provider.
- Pull data into the dashboard.
- Build reports for the sales dashboard.
1. Determine which sales metrics you'll track.
The most challenging part of building a dashboard is knowing how to begin. Are there specific goals or targets you're trying to reach? A dashboard can help you visualize your progress towards those goals. But first, start out by identifying the sales metrics you'd like to track.
- Which metrics are regularly reviewed in company, sales team, and one-on-one meetings?
- Are there metrics that are considered more important than others?
- What are your key performance indicators (KPIs)?
- Do you have multiple sales teams within your sales organization?
The sales metrics that you choose from, often fall into one or more of these categories:
- Activity Sales Metrics
- Pipeline Sales Metrics
- Lead Generation Sales Metrics
- Sales Outreach Metrics
- Primary Conversion Sales Metrics
- Channel Sales Metrics
- Sales Productivity Metrics
- Rep Hiring and Onboarding Metrics
- Sales Process, Tool, and Training Adoption Metrics
If you don't know where to begin, check out this guide to sales metrics to determine which pieces of information are most important to your sales organization.
2. Identify how the dashboard will be used.
There's no one-size-fits-all sales dashboard, so you need to know how the dashboard will be used and who will use it.
Is the dashboard going to help individual sales reps track their progress towards their monthly quota? Or will it be used by sales managers to see the top-performing reps for the quarter?
Here are a few things to consider.
- Who will be using the dashboard: Sales reps, managers, VPs, or executives
- How they'll use it: Are they checking the dashboard daily, weekly, monthly, etc.?
- What information they'll want to see: Which metrics, visualizations, and calculations will they look at?
Think about where the dashboard will be viewed as well. For example, if you have an outside sales team who'll be on-the-go, consider making a mobile-friendly version of the dashboard so it can be viewed from a mobile phone, tablet, or computer.
3. Pick a sales dashboard provider.
If you're already using a CRM, it likely comes with reporting features that allow you to create dashboards for your team. However, if you're not using a CRM, there are standalone reporting tools that allow you to either sync or import your data to create dashboards and reports.
Sales Dashboard Software Providers
- Klipfolio: This software allows you to use data from your CRM and combine it with data from the other services to create dashboards.
- HubSpot: Create custom reports and dashboards for your team that pull data directly from the HubSpot CRM. Data can be synced from a wide range of apps and web services.
- DataHero: Pull in data from a wide range of services and tools to create custom reports.
- Zoho Analytics: Track key performance metrics by creating a custom report or using one of Zoho Analytics 60+ reports and dashboards.
- Slemma: Build dashboards that centralize your sales and marketing data.
- Visible: Automate report creation, build dashboards, and drill down to see the details of your reports.
- TapClicks: Address sales challenges by creating reports and dashboards that identify warning signs and notify your team so you can proactively resolve any problems.
4. Pull data into the dashboard.
With dashboards that are integrated with your CRM, you'll be able to easily sync the data between them. For example, the HubSpot CRM allows users to generate sales reports based on data from their customer database. They can create a dashboard and reports to track sales performance, identify top-performing sales reps, create sales forecasts, and more.
In some cases, it might be a more manual process. If your team doesn't use a CRM but uses spreadsheets to manage prospects and customers you'll likely have to build reports from scratch. Luckily, there are sales dashboard templates for Excel that you can use as a starting point.
5. Build reports for the sales dashboard.
When it comes to building reports, you can pick from a wide range of charts to visualize your data. Depending on the data you're adding to your dashboard a variety of chart types can be used.
- Comparing values (e.g., compare sales from two different territories): Bar chart, column chart, line graph, pie graph, scatter plot
- Composition (e.g., total sales broken down by sales rep): Pie chart, stacked bar chart, stacked column chart, area chart, waterfall chart
- Trends (e.g., month over month revenue growth): Line chart, dual-axis line chart, column chart
Remember: the best visualizations are those that are easy-to-read and actionable. The intended user of the dashboard should be able to read and understand the charts at a glance, without having to click into the full report.
Once the dashboard and reports are ready to go, share the dashboard with your team. Don't be afraid to go back to the drawing board if there are reports that don't meet the needs of your sales team.
Sales Dashboard Examples
Since there isn't a one-size-fits-all dashboard that applies to all sales organizations, here's a compilation of sales dashboard examples you can model yours after.
Calculate progress throughout your entire sales pipeline with HubSpot's free Sales Conversion & Close Rate Calculator. This interactive dashboard helps you analyze and set goals throughout by month and quarter and pin down lead-to-MQL rate, MQL-to-customer rate, lead-to-customer rate, and more.
Provide sales reps with a dashboard that allows them to track their individual performance. Include reports for key metrics like meetings booked, open opportunities, the number of deals in their pipeline, forecasted revenue, and any other performance indicators your team uses.
This dashboard provides an overview of many key metrics sales managers use to measure performance. It includes a section for today's stats and it shows monthly progress towards the sales team's new account target and MRR goal.
See who's performing the best out of all your salespeople. Sales leaderboard dashboards typically include information on the number of completed activities (e.g., calls, emails, meetings), new accounts, generated MRR, and customer retention numbers.
With the deal forecast front-and-center, members of your sales organization can see how much revenue is expected to close. The reports that follow show how many deals are at each stage of the sales process and how many have closed compared to the goal.
With a dashboard that includes a win/loss rate report and tracks why deals were won or lost, you and your team can identify what actions closed a deal or caused them to fall through. You can also compare your team's close rates to the rates from the previous reporting period or industry benchmarks.
Where are you making the most sales? And what products are customers buying? This dashboard gives insight into which territories are selling the most of each product type. Plus, it provides an overview of MRR compared to the previous month.
A sales activities dashboard provides sales managers with a visual representation of what they're reps are doing on a day-to-day basis. Plus, it gives them broader information like the average number of activities per won deal.
This dashboard features the key performance metrics, front and center. This makes it easy to read and the most valuable information is the first thing people will see when the dashboard loads.
Do you have a sales team that's always on-the-go? See where sales reps' time is being spent and how much revenue they're generating.
Sales Dashboard Tips
Are you inspired to crunch some numbers and build reports? Keep the following tips in mind as you create your own sales dashboard.
1. Use a clean layout.
Don't make the visuals (e.g., graphs and charts) and colors too busy – this will distract from the data. Many dashboard tools allow you to layout your reports in a grid to help you organize the data even further.
Place the most important chart in the top left corner of the dashboard – user experience research found the left side of a webpage is viewed more frequently than the right. With this information in mind, create a flow of reports so they can be read from left to right, positioning the most important visuals on the left-hand side of the dashboard.
2. Include calculations (when applicable).
Calculations can add additional context to a report and help you save time. For example, you don't want your team to go through the trouble of doing mental math to determine month over month revenue growth.
3. Make the dashboard accessible.
If you make the dashboards specifically meant for sales managers, VPs, or executives available to all, individual contributors can see which metrics and goals are important to leadership. Transparency is one way to motivate your sales reps because they have the ability to zoom out and see the impact their numbers have on the business.
With these tips and tricks in hand, you're well-equipped to start building your own sales dashboards. To learn more, check out these metrics sales managers should track next. Happy reporting!