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Sales Manager Dashboards

In a previous page, we looked at how sales analytics are defined for use with sales analytics tools. We now take the KPI measures and data defined at this phase and configure them into an effective sales managemend dashboard.

Sales performance management seems simple enough to define on the surface, but once we start attempting to display a complete view on a single Sales Managemen Dashboard, things get more complex pretty quickly. The dashboard acts as the pinnacle for a whole performance framework underneath, that cannot be defined in this one page. For this reason I have recommened three key guides in The Logical Organization MIS series that provide you with all the information you need to ensure that your dashboard is more meaningful and effective.

There are key best practices for the design of sales management dashboards that have a significant impact on their usability and effectiveness. For the ultimate guide in defining and using sales data to improve performance I recommend two key books:

  1. Sell More And Have Your Customers Love You For It - details how to use BI tools and sales performance tools to improve the return on investment in the sales pipeline
  2. Effective Dashboard Design - the secrets behind design just a visual version of your reports, or a dashboard that provides actionable insight into improving productivity and profit

Considerations for Sales Dashboards

Dashboards are single view displays of dense, related information that support a single role or purpose. Their effectiveness is largely impacted by:

  1. Selection of KPI - and the supporting data
  2. Selection of the right graph type per KPI
  3. Overall design - use of colors, layout, juxtaposition of KPI, ink ratio
  4. Relevance to the user

Display Density

As displays of dense information, dashboards should focus on delivering as much relevant, related information as needed that enables the user to make the decisions they need to make, faster and with more confidence. Nothing less, nothing more.

All information should be readable in a single view - one screen view - so that relationships between metrics are clearly seen, and a complete picture of performance in provided.

Avoid any information that does not contribute real value - it is better to have more white space, than black clutter.

KPI Selection

The selection of KPI is highly unique to the current strategy and to the user of the dashboard. Do not be tempted to adopt a generic set of KPI. The KPI on your dashboard must relate to your current sales goals that support higher strategic objectives. If you do not have a clear line of sight in how sales metrics connect to strategic KPI, I recommend the book Leading with SPI. This will provide you with a fast to implement, simple framework to ensure the right activity is being done, and measured.

In selecting KPI, we must consider the availability and accuracy of the data feeding that KPI. We must also ensure that all metrics are consistent in their definition and the calculations used to compile the value reported.

Chart Selection

When considering charts for a dashboard we must remember that their purpose is to provide rapid insight - not look sexy in a powerpoint presentation. What you may thinks looks better, most likely takes longer to decipher than something that appears rather basic.

Overall Design

The design of the dashboard includes both the framework, the layout, the colors and the formatting of both the dashboard template and chart areas. It also includes any interactivity on the dashboard - such as links to other dashboards and drill down tools.

Dashboard design is not intuitive - most dashboards are badly designed in terms of their overall effectiveness at providing rapid insight to specific users. A core test of any dashboard is how well the user interacts with the dashboard without guidance - using pure intuition.

The technical aspects of design consider access and security to the dashboard, and how well it displays across multiple devices and printers.

Next: Dashboards for Sales Reps

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