Sales data can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, data can help you make smart decisions, uncover new opportunities, and crush sales targets. But it also just as easily can misinform, overwhelm, and send you down the wrong path. So how do you separate the signal from the noise, and only deal with the sales data that matters most? The answer: with a sales dashboard.
As Ezra Fishman, VP of Business Intelligence at Wistia says:
When we let data drive our marketing, we all too often optimize for things that are easy to measure, not necessarily what matters most.
The same goes for your sales team. Choosing, tracking, and optimizing for the wrong sales metrics is a death sentence for you and your team. Instead, the best sales dashboards only show you the sales metrics that matter.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how to set up actionable sales dashboards; from what metrics to track, to how to design a dashboard your team will actually understand and use, including:
Ready to get started? Before we dive into the deep end, let’s start with a few basics to make sure we’re all on the same page.
What is a sales dashboard?
A sales dashboard is a tool used to provide a quick, visual representation of your most important sales data so your team can make good decisions faster. Sales dashboards are a complementary top layer for your CRM, presenting key sales metrics in an organized manner.
The easiest analogy is to think of the dashboard in your car. Glance down while you’re driving and you’ll quickly see key information like your current speed, gas level, trip length, and so on. Now imagine if you didn’t have easy access to that information. Instead of a quick glance to make sure you’re not going to run out of gas, you need to pull over and manually check levels.
Seems ridiculous, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, too many sales teams keep their data and sales metrics hidden away. Or worse, they try to cram every piece of sales data into a single dashboard. Neither of these is the right approach.
A sales dashboard is only as good as the data it displays. And if your data isn’t actionable, it’s useless.
Without a way to quickly glean actionable insights, sales data is useless. While on the other hand, using the wrong sales data can drive customers away and hurt your bottom line.
According to the 2018 Global Data Management Report, 89% of C-level executives believe that inaccurate and misleading data is undermining their ability to keep customers happy.
A sales dashboard filters out the noise, and presents your team with insights into your sales KPIs (key performance indicators) so you can see how you’re progressing towards your sales goals, identify issues before they get serious, and adjust your sales plan based on real data. It’s an important part of every team’s sales stack.
So how do you go about building the right sales dashboard for your team?
How to create a sales dashboard catered to your sales team
You might think we’d start with picking the right sales dashboard tool. However, before we can do that, we first need to understand the core elements your sales team actually wants to use. This means identifying the sales metrics and data that impact and influence your team’s day-to-day activities.
Here’s a 5-step process that will allow you to build out a basic sales dashboard for your team in 20–30 minutes.
Step 1: Define your most important sales metrics and KPIs to monitor and where this data currently lines
Are there specific sales goals or targets you’re trying to reach? Or are you trying out new sales strategies and want to track how effective they are? A sales dashboard can help you visualize and track your progress towards all sorts of goals.
It’s likely you already know some of the sales metrics that matter to your team. To fill out the rest of your list, you need to ask a few basic questions:
- Are there sales metrics your team regularly views during the day or during sales meetings?
- What metrics or data points come up during one-on-ones?
- What are the sales KPIs that are driving your strategy and plan?
- Do you have multiple sales teams with different goals and sales dashboard needs?
Don’t worry if you’re still unsure about which sales metrics are most important to your team. We’ve listed the most essential sales metrics to track in the section below.
Once you’ve identified the sales metrics you want to monitor, you need to uncover where this data currently resides. This could be your sales CRM, an Excel doc, Google Sheets, customer service software, or some other sales management tool. Create a quick list of all your sales metrics and their source to work off of.
Step 2: Identify how the sales dashboards are going to be used, and by whom
Now that you know what the raw materials are going to be, it’s time to give your sales dashboard some shape. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for how you put together a dashboard. Instead, sales dashboard design depends on a number of factors:
- Who needs to see this information? Will this dashboard be used by sales reps, managers, VPs, or executives?
- What purpose does it serve? Will the dashboard be used by individual sales reps to track their daily progress towards hitting sales quotas? Or will it be used by a sales manager or leader to track overall performance metrics to award bonuses and create incentive plans?
- How often will it be looked at and in what context? Is the dashboard going to be checked daily, weekly, or monthly? Is it used to see real-time information, track trends, or forecast future sales? Will it be used by outside sales teams who might need a mobile version, or an inside sales team that wants something more personalized and in-depth?
- How much data should you include and with what limitations? What are the most important pieces of data for this dashboard’s goal and usage? What time-period should they be shown over?
Every sales dashboard requires vision and a real need. Understand who it’s for, what they’re doing with it, and what your ultimate goal is, and the rest should fall in place.
Step 3: Determine the best way to visualize your key sales metrics
When it comes to visualizing data, clarity is key. There’s no point in overcrowding a sales dashboard with too much information or showing it in a way that could be misleading to your team. Instead, it’s all about intention and purpose.
From a high-level view, sales dashboard design needs to accomplish a few key goals:
- Tells a story – A sales dashboard should answer questions about a specific part of your sales process or strategy. A clear layout should create a strong narrative about your business goals and progress towards them.
- Simplifies complicated ideas – Too much (or wrong) data leads to confusion. A sales dashboard should organize and highlight only the most important sales metrics for your team to act on.
- Only focuses on the most necessary information – Sales dashboards will differ by the goal, team, or individual rep. Make sure you don’t bog down your team with too much extraneous data.
Those are the golden principles of sales dashboard design. But what about the specifics? To make sure that your dashboards are actionable and clear, you need to follow a few key rules:
First, you need to stay consistent with your design across all sales dashboards. If your team is using multiple dashboards to track different goals, they need to be able to quickly parse information from each one. Make sure you maintain consistent styles across your naming structures (i.e. don’t use different names for the same metric), units of measurement, dates, colors, and icons.
Next, be a minimalist with your sales dashboard metrics and display. As a rule of thumb, you should only include a maximum of 6–10 data points per dashboard. If this feels restricting, try adding filters to break down large data points (like sales by region) into more manageable insights.
As you design your dashboard you should strive to create a logical layout. Think of the hierarchy of data and how it will tell a story for your team. One suggestion is to include high-level insights at the top and then slowly get more granular and specific as you move down.
Lastly, pick the right visualization for each metric. Whether you’re showing your sales data as dials, leaderboards, historical trend graphs, pie charts, funnels, plotted points, or any other visualization, always remember the golden rule: If your data isn’t actionable, it’s useless.
Speaking of actionable, if you want actionable advice on scaling a company from zero to 1,000 customers and beyond, download a free copy of the book I co-authored with my friend Hiten Shah.
Step 4: Connect your sales management software to your dashboard
Now that you know what’s going to be included in your dashboard and how it’s going to be displayed, it’s time to wire the dashboard up. A sales dashboard needs to connect to where your sales data is being collected in order to stay up-to-date and relevant.
You have a couple of options here.
- Create a Google Sheet as a KPI dashboard and compile all of your sales data from other places into individual reports.
- Pros: Cheap and flexible.
- Cons: Manual data entry (not up-to-date) and constant tab switching (unproductive).
- Use a sales CRM that bakes in all sales communication with a prospect in one place with built-in reporting functionality.
- Pros: Up-to-date information, flexibility in reporting, customizable to your needs.
- Cons: More expensive.
If it works with your budget, we’d always recommend going with the second option by using a tool like Close, HubSpot, or Salesforce. This way, you have access to all your latest key metrics and can take action on them (rather than worry about human error or dealing with bad/old data).
Step 5: Regularly revisit your sales dashboards and evaluate their effectiveness
Sales dashboards are living tools; just because you set them up doesn’t mean they’ll be good forever.
Business goals and needs change and your dashboard should change with them. Set aside time to regularly go over your sales dashboards and make sure they still align with your business objectives. Talk to your team and see if they’re getting the information they need to make smart decisions and close more deals.
17 sales dashboard KPIs to track and choose from
You need to know what data your sales dashboard will display. But what if you’re still unsure about what sales metrics truly matter?
There are hundreds of different sales metrics and KPIs you could choose from. But it’s not enough to just have a lot of data. You need to be able to interpret and read that sales data in a way that gives you actionable insights.
Way too many people get hung up on meaningless metrics and sales dashboards overloaded with graphs and charts. At Close, we like to take an action-oriented approach to sales metrics by focusing on each step in our sales funnel.
The easiest way to do this is with what we call the AQC formula:
TrackWhat it meansExamplesActivityWhat is your team doing on a daily basis to close more deals?
- Inbound/outbound calls
- Revenue per rep
- Number of demosQualityWhat are the current results of those efforts?
- Email open rate
- Trial starts
- Sales opportunitiesConversionHow well are your sales strategies working?
- Quote to close ratio
- Sales by contract method
- Average conversion time
More specifically, here are the most essential sales dashboard KPIs you should be tracking.
1. Sales targets & closed opportunities
This sales dashboard KPI answers the question: What is your sales team working towards?
Sales targets aren’t just future forecasts. By comparing closed opportunities over different time periods, you’re more easily able to see how different sales strategies impacted your bottom line and set attainable goals that motivate your team.
2. Pipeline status
You’ll never hit your sales targets if you don’t have any deals in motion. This sales dashboard KPI tracks the current value and status of all deals in your sales pipeline.
It gives you a “best-case scenario” look at the deals being negotiated so you can track individual rep’s performance, see where you should be doubling-down your efforts, and adjust sales targets and goals.
3. Calls and emails per sales rep
The most powerful way for sales reps and managers to quickly track the effectiveness of your sales funnel is to start at the top. This sales dashboard KPI tracks the volume of calls and emails your team is making over days, weeks, and months.
Not only does this give you insight into what you’re doing now, but it can also tell you where your funnel is failing. For example, using sales benchmarks like the 30/50 rule for cold emailing and calling, you can analyze your sales funnel from the top down to see where you need to make adjustments.
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4. Leads by source
Moving down the funnel, you’ll want to know the quality of the outreach work your sales reps are doing. Tracking leads by source visualizes where your leads are coming from. Are you more likely to move someone down the funnel if you reach out over email, phone, or social?
Once you know the medium your ideal customer prefers, you can optimize your sales strategy around it.
5. Win/loss rate
Also known as the lead conversion rate, the Win/Loss Rate answers one of the most important questions for sales reps and VPs: How many leads are converting into sales?
Depending on how you filter your sales dashboard, you can dig further into this sales data and uncover issues before they become too serious. Are you losing more deals than winning? It might show that your leads are getting stuck somewhere in your funnel or that your pitch needs to be adjusted.
6. New business vs. upsells
New deals are exciting, but it’s much easier to sell to a happy existing customer. This KPI helps you understand the balance between new business and upsells. Are you spending significantly more time and effort on new business and not hitting our quotas? Why not try turning your strategy around and selling to your existing customers?
7. Sales cycle
If you want to forecast future sales, set realistic goals, or know when to follow-up with a lead, you need to know how long a deal normally takes to close.
The sales cycle KPI sets a benchmark for how long it normally takes a lead to move through your funnel. Not only does this help you discover bottlenecks, but it also helps you judge whether a lead is a likely buyer or an at-risk opportunity. In many cases, you can generate tremendous value for the company if you shorten the average sales cycle length.
8. Open opportunities
Sales opportunities are the lifeblood of your team. Tracking open opportunities in your sales dashboard gives you a pulse on the health of your sales team and process.
Again, you can filter and compare this data to gain all sorts of powerful insights into your sales funnel:
- Are your outreach efforts working? Compare # of opportunities created to # of calls/emails per rep.
- Are you reaching the right people? Compare estimated purchase value to # of opportunities.
- Is your pitch effective? Compare # of opportunities created to # of sales made or trials started.
9. Opportunities past due
Too many opportunities is a problem most sales teams would love to have. But it’s also important to understand when your sales reps are overloaded. Tracking opportunities past due in your sales dashboard is a quick reminder of people you need to follow up with and deals that are at risk of slipping away.
10. Open activities (calls, demos, visits)
Depending on your sales process, pipeline, and product, your sales reps will have a variety of tasks they need to do to keep up with their sales efforts. The open activities sales KPI is like a to-do list for your sales team. It lists all the calls, demos, visits, emails, etc… that need to be dealt with.
In our sales CRM, we’ve built Inbox as the one unified workspace that shows a sales rep every to-do item they have to tackle, so they don’t have to switch between different tools and windows.
While it’s good to have a healthy number of open activities, too many might indicate time management issues or problems with moving leads through your funnel.
11. Open cases
Opportunities aren’t the only thing your sales team needs to be able to quickly see. Cases are opened when a customer gets in touch with your sales reps and needs help. By tracking these in your sales dashboard, you know when a deal is in jeopardy and can handle it quickly.
12. Average deal size
There are lots of ways to increase revenue. But the easiest is simply to sell more to each customer. Tracking your average deal size lets you quickly see which way your sale value is trending.
A declining average deal size means you’re working harder for fewer results, while an increasing one can offset high customer acquisition costs and help you open up new opportunities.
13. Average profit margin
While deal size is important for sales reps to see on their sales dashboard, managers and VPs are often more concerned with profits. The average profit margin visualizes the average profit made across all products, services, bundles, and sales channels to highlight your most profitable efforts.
14. Product gaps
This sales KPI ranks your product by revenue performance against your forecasts to see what customers are actually using. When you track product gaps over time, you get insight into more than just your sales, but your sales strategies, market changes, and desirability of your product.
For example, a widening product gap might mean a competitor just released a similar product or that industry-wide changes are impacting your sales.
15. Follow-up rate
Your customers are busier than ever and this sales dashboard KPI tracks the average number of activities—calls, emails, SMS—your reps make to try and close a lead. This is important both as a way to understand how your customers act as well as see if individual reps are giving up before they should when trying to close a sale.
The follow-up is one of the most under-appreciated aspects of the sales process. It’s probably also where your sales team has the biggest potential for maximum ROI for minimum effort—I found that in most sales teams, simply implementing a couple basic follow-up methodologies can yield huge performance improvements. That’s why I wrote an entire book about the follow-up. You can download it free today!
16. Sales by region
There’s a ton of important sales data you can get from a closed deal, but one of the most impactful is understanding where your customers come from. By tracking your sales by region in a sales dashboard, you get a deeper understanding of your ideal customer profile as well as where, geographically, you might want to target future sales campaigns.
17. Sales by closed date
Tracking sales by closed dates in your sales dashboard is a powerful way to filter your sales information and get more out of it. This sales dashboard KPIs will give you the full picture of how effective your sales team is being, see if reps are hitting their monthly or quarterly sales quotas, and find seasonal trends.
Sales dashboard examples: Which type do you need to use?
It’s probably clear by now just how much sales data you could visualize on your sales dashboard. But once again, let’s remember our golden rule of sales data: If it’s not actionable, it’s useless.
One of the best ways to understand how to make your dashboard actionable is to look at some real-world examples. Each of the examples below combines the key sales metrics and KPIs we listed above in a way that tells a clear story about a specific part of your sales process or team.
What’s the current status of your sales efforts? The sales status dashboard gives you a quick overview of your most important metrics like calls made, opportunities won and lost, sales rep activity leaderboard and more.
By seeing these sales metrics compared to previous months you can also quickly see how your sales are trending and where you need to focus.
Sales opportunities dashboard
How many opportunities and leads are being made and when? Filling the top of your sales pipeline is something all sales managers want to do, and this dashboard shows you how your efforts are paying off.
You can also filter this data by date to dig into seasonal trends or look at only specific opportunities to see how new sales strategies are working out.
The monthly sales dashboard gives you a quick look at your progress towards your sales targets and compares it against previous days, weeks, or months. This is a powerful view for tracking the health of your sales team and see how your daily efforts are stacking up.
Sales leaderboards are a great way to develop friendly competition within your sales team and also track individual performance. See who’s performing best on your team and filter via real-time data on calls, emails sent, open and response rate, opportunities created, and more.
What products are selling the best? This sales dashboard gives you insight into all your different products to find which ones are performing best and which ones are lagging behind.
You might want to filter this sales data by product categories (if you have a lot of different individual products) or look at the source of sales and track product performance by re-sellers, sales channels, and other methods.
Where are your sales coming from? Can you see if customers from certain areas more likely to buy specific products? This sales dashboard example zooms in on buying patterns of your customers by region so you can dig in further and find trends. As an added bonus, it also compares your current monthly sales (or MRR) to previous ones so you can see how your sales are trending overall.
A sales rep dashboard is one of the most important tools for your sales team. Each rep needs to know the results of their efforts, if they’re on track to hit targets, and how their stats stack up against other reps on their team.
But this sales dashboard isn’t just about what has happened. For sales reps, easy access to his data helps them know what to do next. Are their bookings low this month? Maybe they need to up their call volume or reach out to existing customers and try to upsell. Seeing their stats all in one place helps them adjust on the fly and hit quotas.
Sales managers have very different needs when it comes to visualizing data. Instead of individual performance, they need to know how everyone on their sales team is performing as well as how that relates to the bigger picture of sales quotas and forecasts. This dashboard packs a ton of information into one space and helps answer key questions such as:
- What are your sales reps on track to hit this month?
- Are your reps’ pipelines full and setting them up for success?
- How do the sales cycles of different sales reps compare?
How do you know if your sales process is working? This sales dashboard example digs into each step of your funnel to understand why products are selling (or not). For example, you can look at the net change on specific leads over a specific timeframe to see the impact of new sales strategies.
As a sales manager, you want your reps to do their best work possible. This sales dashboard helps you uncover where reps are losing deals to help them improve their pitch and process. It can also help you see when a competitor is taking a larger chunk of the market share and optimize your strategies to offset this.
Time is money. This sales dashboard gives you insight into the time each rep is spending on individual activities to help connect their effort to outcomes. Are reps spending too long on certain deals? Are there places in their sales process where they need to speed up leads and go for the close? This dashboard will help uncover those opportunities.
You’ll never hit your sales targets if you don’t have a healthy pipeline. This sales dashboard gives you a high-level look at the value of your open opportunities, their current status, who brought them in, and your confidence level that they’ll close.
As far as sales dashboards examples for sales managers go, this is a big one. Use it to keep your team organized, understand trends and track deals as they progress.
Sales managers have the unique job of keeping their team focused and on target. With this example, you get a beat on how your team is progressing and where you might need to make changes. For example:
- Are you on track to hit this month’s sales target?
- Which recent opportunities were won or lost?
- Is your pipeline growing or shrinking?
- Who is doing especially good work?
Are your reps on track to hit their quotas? What about full sales teams? A sales forecast dashboard gives you deep insights into the deals your team is making to help you highlight and reward high-performers or uncover flows in your sales process.
Want more help with sales forecasting? We’ve put together a list of 23+ sales forecast templates for any sales team.
Sales dashboard templates (that make your life easier!)
Now that you know what metrics matter to your team and have seen some examples of how they look in specific sales dashboards, it’s time to dig into the details. Building out sales dashboards from scratch is a lot of work and doesn’t guarantee you’ll end up with something actionable.
Instead, using a sales dashboard template ensures you’re combining the right sales metrics in a view that is clear, tells a story, and gives you actionable insights.
Depending on the dashboard or sales reporting tool you’re using, you might already have access to built-in templates. However, these examples will give you a better understanding of what specific metrics to include in each of your sales dashboards.
Sales lead & opportunity tracker: Spreadsheet CRM template
Provided by: Close
SalesTable is a spreadsheet CRM template for nascent sales teams to keep track of your sales leads and opportunities.
How it saves you time: View all your sales leads in one central place, and get an instant visual dashboard view of your opportunities in different stages.
- Open opportunities
- Opportunity stages
- Value of individual opportunities
- Accumulated value of open, closed, and won opportunities
- Lead information
Overall sales: Sales performance dashboard template
Provided by: Datapine
How it saves you time: This sales dashboard template is all about growth and offers a powerful snapshot of your sales over time.
- Sales growth
- Sales targets
- Average revenue per unit (ARPU)
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
- Customer lifetime value (CLV)
Pipeline health: Performance overview sales dashboard template
Provided by: Zoho Analytics
How it saves you time: This sales dashboard puts all your pipeline’s most important metrics front and center so you have a clear understanding of what opportunities are on the horizon.
- Pipeline status
- Leads by source
- Monthly sales
- Average deal value
- Sales forecast
For sales managers: Sales rep productivity and leaderboard template
Provided by: Close
How it saves you time: Sales rep productivity is one of the most important factors in sales success. This sales dashboard combines everything you need to know and presents it in a clear and concise leaderboard.
- Calls made by rep
- Average call duration
- Sent and received emails
- Sales rep leaderboard
For executives: Executive sales dashboard template
Provided by: InsightSquared
How it saves you time: Whether you’re talking to stakeholders, C-suite executives, or investors, this sales dashboard template combines all your high-level sales metrics into one easy-to-digest format.
- Sales made vs. sales targets
- Average deal size
- Sales cycle
- Quarterly sales
- Win/loss ratio
- Lost opportunities
- Team activity vs. goals
For sales reps: Sale rep activity dashboard template
Provided by: Close
How it saves you time: Sales reps need insight into their day-to-day activities in order to see where they should put their efforts. This sales dashboard template gives them quick insight into their most important performance metrics.
- Sales activity (calls, emails, SMS)
- Opportunities created
- Opportunities won
- Opportunities lost
Best sales dashboard providers to make the tracker for you
There are tons of different ways you can show your data on a sales dashboard. And each sales dashboard provider has a different take on what’s most important to show. Is it a depth of data? Transparency? Forecasting? The sales dashboard provider that’s best suited to your company is the one whose values align with yours.
But where do you start? Here are some recommendations for the best sales dashboard providers on the market.
Close’s built-in reporting feature is one of the best and easiest ways to display your most important sales data. Each report is automatically compiled and displayed in a simple, yet actionable way.
Plus, because Close’s sales CRM records end-to-end communication with each prospect (calls, SMS, emails, etc…), your sales dashboard will contain the most accurate data possible.
Best feature: Seamlessly connects with Close’s powerful CRM to highlight the most actionable data sales reps need to close more deals.
Price: $35–$145/month per user
Geckoboard is a sales dashboard provider that specializes in large-format and TV dashboards showing real-time data. Because their dashboards are designed to be seen from afar, they keep them simple and clear, using basic layouts and charts. However, if you need to show your team more, you can set it to cycle between several dashboards on one screen.
Best feature: Designed for large screens and team transparency.
InsightSquared is focused on the metrics that lead to revenue growth. Their AI-powered dashboard software digs into your pipeline and sales data to recognize patterns that lead to more wins and accurately forecast future sales.
While the focus is on forecasting and actionable insights, it also reports on key SaaS metrics and the overall health of your sales team.
Best feature: AI-powered sales forecasting and pipeline analytics to help you understand what actions lead to more sales.
Cost: By request
Klipfolio is all about customization. By connecting over 100 different services to their dashboard, you can pull in data from all across your company that can be filtered, segmented, and manipulated. While this might sound overly complicated, Klipfolio also provides a number of pre-built templates or “Klips” to help display metrics in a simple way.
Best feature: Connects with hundreds of sources to pull in all your company’s data.
Formerly known as Zoho Reports, Zoho Analytics is a drag-and-drop analytics tool that lets you pull data from multiple sources into custom dashboards. If you don’t want to connect to your sales CRM or other services, you can also manually add data in a ‘spreadsheet-like’ interface. Maybe its most interesting feature is Zia—a ‘smart analytical assistant’ that uses machine learning to answer questions about your data.
Best feature: A smart, AI-powered assistant to help you get actionable insights from your data.
Sales dashboards are a powerful way to motivate your team. Plecto takes this a step further by adding in gamification tools like leaderboards, contests, and achievements to help push your sales team to hit peak performance. However, by focusing on specific KPIs and comparison graphs, it’s best suited as a team-building and motivation tool more than a deep dive into your metrics.
Best feature: Gamification dashboards to help motivate your team.
Cost: $17–$35/month per user
5 tips for building the sales dashboard design that measures your team effectively
From the start, we’ve been saying that a sales dashboard has to be actionable. And while a large part of that equation is using the right sales data, how that data is displayed is just as important.
The truth is that bad sales dashboard design can do real harm.
Unclear and bad sales data costs businesses 30+% of their revenue, or, according to research firm Gartner, anywhere from $9.7 – $14.2 million per year.
It’s important that your dashboards are both simple to use and actionable. But what does that mean in practice?
Here are some tips to help you design the best and most accurate sales dashboards for your team.
Tip #1: Embrace simplicity
The ultimate goal of all sales dashboards is to make complex data sets and information accessible to everyone. However, while you might dream of designing a single view that shows all necessary information, trends, risks, and updates, that’s probably not going to happen (at least not without it looking like a jumbled mess).
Instead, a well-designed sales dashboard is an at-a-glance preview of crucial information curated for the user. It embraces simplicity and only shows the right information in the simplest way possible. If you feel you need to show more complex information, do it in a way that keeps the simple story intact. As UX designer Taras Bakusevych writes:
Don’t tell the full story, instead summarize and surface only key info. You can use additional interactions as a way to fit more content, and not overwhelm the user with data.
As part of this, you might also want to consider where this sales dashboard is going to be displayed. Is it for personal use by an internal sales team? On mobile for reps out visiting clients? On a TV for everyone in the office to see? Each use case will change how you think about simplicity and functionality.
Tip #2: Be consistent with layout and content
One thing that will go a long way in keeping your dashboards feeling simple and clear is consistency. The human brain has something called cognitive fluency. In simple terms, this is a snap judgment we make as to whether something—a dashboard design, website, blog article, whatever—will be easy or hard to use.
Especially when using multiple dashboards for different teams, you need to ensure that reps, managers, and executives can bounce between them and quickly get oriented. Consistency is what makes your sales dashboards feel simple.
There are two aspects to dashboard design consistency that you need to consider:
- Consistency in the visual layout – Use a similar structure and grid for each dashboard. Naturally, the top-left corner of the screen gets the most attention, so try to position key information from left to right and top to bottom.
- Consistency in labeling and content – Use the same naming structures, fonts, and labeling styles across dashboards. Don’t use different names for the same sales metrics. When presenting graphs, put the name in the top-left corner and align controls (like views or filters) in the top-right corner.
Tip #3: Use the right data visualizations for each metric
While your sales dashboard should be simple, the data it shows usually isn’t. Data representation is complex, especially when showing multiple data sets beside each other.
As part of your ultimate goal of simplicity and actionable insights, you want to be careful about which type of chart, graph, or data visualization you choose.
To help you choose the right representation type for each metric, ask yourself a few questions:
- How many variables do you want to show in a single chart?
- Will you display values over a period of time, or among items or groups?
- How many data points do we need to display for each variable?
One of the most common situations you’ll find yourself in is wanting to compare data points over time. For example, if you want to look into your call volume by sales rep and see if it’s trending up or down. It’s so much easier to see this in a line or bar chart than try to compare numbers in a graph.
However, even these comparison charts can get complicated or messy if not treated properly. Here are a few recommendations:
- Time should always flow left to right (and be shown on your X-axis)
- When using a horizontal or vertical bar chart, sort the columns by value, not randomly
- Don’t show more than 5 values on the line chart (and no more than 7 on a bar chart)
Tip #4: Use your dashboard flow to reinforce your priorities
How you present each data visualization on your sales dashboard tells a story. You want your sales data to mirror the natural way we perceive information. When we read a document, we start in the top-left corner, move across the page and then scan down to the next row. You can use that same flow when highlighting your dashboard’s priorities.
You can also use the vertical hierarchy of the dashboard to tell a story and show priorities. One basic way to do this would be to structure your sales metrics like this:
- Keep high-level, at-a-glance metrics on top
- Show trend-based data in the middle
- Dig into the smaller details at the bottom
One last note. If there are dependencies (i.e. your team will want to look at information from two different charts to make better decisions), keep them close so the viewer doesn’t have to bounce back-and-forth around the dashboard.
Tip #5: Fuel transparency and create friendly competition
Sales data empowers your entire team. Instead of closing off specific sales dashboard to just sales reps, managers, VPs, or executives, make them available to everyone on your team. This level of transparency helps motivate your team on a number of levels.
For one, a 2015 study found that workers who feel trusted not only produce higher-quality work but also create more financial value for their companies.
Transparent and open design can also help foster friendly competition within your team and drive sales reps to hit their peak performance. For example, the built-in sales leaderboards in Close’s reporting features give you real-time displays of key performance metrics for your sales team.
Make sure your dashboard design is both transparent and allows reps to benchmark themselves against their teammates. This was, everyone on your team feels trusted and motivated to do their best work.
BONUS: Get your team involved in the design from the beginning
As a final note about sales dashboard layout, it’s always a good idea to include your team in the process. Not only will this help you understand how they work and what layout and design empower them but it will also help with adoption as they’ve been involved in the process from the beginning.
Sales dashboards help your team make better decisions, faster
The best sales teams in the world are driven, motivated, and above all else, organized. Sales dashboards support your team on all those fronts, from showing actionable insights to helping them hit goals to fostering a transparent and open culture.
However, in order for a sales dashboard to be truly impactful, you need to follow a few key steps:
- Choose the sales metrics that matter most to you
- Follow the steps listed to create a sales dashboard design that is clear, concise, and actionable
- Connect your dashboard to your sales CRM for the latest, up-to-date data
- Take advantage of sales dashboard templates to learn from others
- Use your dashboard to report, optimize your sales funnel, and motivate your team
You wouldn’t drive a car without a dashboard to tell you how fast you were going or how much fuel you have left. The same goes for building your business. The easier it is for everyone on your team to see the sales data and metrics that matter most, the easier it is to drive growth.
Want more advice on building and scaling a winning sales team, covering not just sales operations, but also managing a winning sales team, measuring what matters, forecasting and coaching your reps to success? Download our complete Sales Library today!