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The Elements Of An Effective Sales Dashboard

Johnson headshot1By Bill Johnson, President, Salesvue

Sales dashboards are designed to illustrate key performance indicators (KPIs) and many other pieces of information relevant to the sales process. They are particularly useful given their ability to present a large amount of information in a relatively simple manner. An overwhelming amount of data is entered into a sales system every day.

Johnson headshot1By Bill Johnson, President, Salesvue

Sales dashboards are designed to illustrate key performance indicators (KPIs) and many other pieces of information relevant to the sales process. They are particularly useful given their ability to present a large amount of information in a relatively simple manner. An overwhelming amount of data is entered into a sales system every day.

To make sense of it, a dashboard must be equipped to present that information coherently. Below are factors to keep in mind when looking for an effective sales dashboard.

Relevance: The most important aspect of a sales dashboard is the data that goes into it. Access to real-time data is necessary so a sales manager can consistently see the state and value of the pipeline. Think about the scope and reach of an audience and ask the questions: How many leads have been touched? Are some representatives close to closing a deal? Are any sales activities overdue? All data should help a sales manager understand where the sales team needs to improve, as well as identify trends and patterns.

Organization: A cluttered dashboard contradicts the term “effective dashboard.” The most important metrics should be presented logically and systematically. Display data in groups to make information easier to find. An example of how data can be grouped can be based on product, prospect, recency, campaign, etc. If the dashboard includes graphics, make sure the purpose is to inform. To make reading more accessible, keep the layout simple, consistent and use space on the screen wisely.

Specific metrics: To measure efficiency, productivityand success, a dashboard should have specific measures set. What should a dashboard convey to the person who logs in, whether that person is from management, marketing or sales? It’s important to know each broad area to highlight. Based on these factors, a dashboard should display not only how the business as a whole is advancing, but also individual sales representatives. Specific metrics help readers draw conclusions and show them details about KPIs, conversions and fluctuations.

Situation awareness: A dashboard must show its viewers everything that is current. The data presented should give insight into what is happening right now and how the situation may impact the future outcome. For example, if a sales representative is approaching the close of a deal, a dashboard should be able to highlight that information. Similarly, if there are deviations from a trend, those should be displayed immediately so that remedial action can be taken to get matters back in order. It is of the utmost importance for management to have a handle on what exactly their sales team is doing at all times, and sales representatives must be up to speed with the needs of their leads.

Why Dashboards Are Important

Almost all salespeople have one primary goal: to increase sales. Capturing new leads, cutting costs and generating more repeat sales are all ways to achieve this, but all these tasks must be managed effectively. A sales dashboard gets sales teams to the heart of a sale and provides understanding on the means that are producing increased conversion rates.

Track progress and measure results: With an interactive dashboard, sales representatives and managers alike can seamlessly view an individual’s progress at any time. This practicality helps prevent the danger of losing forgotten prospects in a pipeline. By tracking the progress of the pipeline, sales managers can see which prospects might require an extra push.

Calculate costs and identify best practices: As a sales manager, it is integral to see how profitable a customer truly is. To understand the cost of acquisition, one must have a handle on the amount of time spent on that customer, the amount of interactions that took place and if those interactions were in person, over the phone, through video conferencing, etc.

Comparing these factors with the business generated allows a sales manager to decipher if the customer is beneficial for the company, or if a sales representative’s tactics need to be altered. If managers notice that a particular campaign, methodology or individual is closing quicker and more often, they can encourage the replication of those practices across the board to generate increased sales.

Bill Johnson is President of Indianapolis-based Salesvue, a provider of prospecting automation software since 2006. As a career sales professional, he is committed to solving the important problems that exist in sales and sales management today.