Sales Dashboard – What Real-Time Data Sales Managers Need to Manage Successfully

Sales Dashboard - What Real-Time Data Sales Managers Need to Manage Successfully

What is a dashboard in a car for? It gives information to the driver about the fuel consumption, speed, mileage, and other pertinent information. These data are helpful while driving a car. Anyone who has ever driven a car or traveled in one knows that dashboards provide information that helps in driving better. Low fuel levels, for example, should be an indicator that the driver needs to refuel at the closest gas station. You can also use the mileage to determine how far the car is from your destination. If the battery level is low, you can avoid driving at night.

Sales dashboards are helpful in the business world, particularly for sales. A sales dashboard is a control panel that displays all information/data on one platform. It can be used to help achieve sales goals. Stephen Few, author and designer of Information Dashboard Design, offers a great definition of a dashboard. “A dashboard is a visual representation of the most important information required to achieve one or several objectives. It fits completely on a single computer monitor so that it can be monitored quickly.”

Sales managers and executives can see a complete view of their sales organization with all the juxtapositions at a glance. The data is concise, current, relevant, comparative, as well as concise. It can be called a “Performance Dashboard,” a “Business Dashboard,” an “Executive Dashboard,” a “Metrics Dashboard,” or whichever name you prefer depending on its nature.

Depending on their sales organization’s goals and the type of dashboard they are reading, sales managers can create any of these dashboards. A dashboard will inform a sales manager about: sales per region, call-to-close ratio, margin analysis; what is the success level of any sales representative in comparison to other members of his sales team; whether sales figures for the current quarter are on track to reach sales goals; and if the quarter’s sales figures are better than those of the previous quarter. This rich and valuable data is just a click away.

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The Ideal Sales Dashboard

A sales dashboard with real-time data provides a single interface that allows for quick and easy access to all the data needed in an organization. A sales dashboard that displays real-time data eliminates redundancy and unnecessary waiting. Information is available immediately or with minimal latency.

A well-managed real-time sales dashboard will reduce wasted time and overhead. It will give you access to data and help you make decisions. Avinash Kaushik, a web analytics expert, says that dashboards enable a quick understanding of business performance by tracking critical business data in an easily understood manner. Dashboards that are effective can be a potent communication medium and significantly contribute to driving actions.

The following are some of the most critical components of the statement:

1- Key business data
2- Simple to understand
3- Additives to driving actions

Essential Business Data- All data that is entered into a dashboard must be vital to the business. It is essential to bridge the gap between operational behavior and strategic objectives. Data should be aligned with strategy. There should not be any disconnect between the data and what has been achieved. All data should be relevant, as dashboards must be brief and not long like reports. This means that they must be accurate and not misleading.

Simple to understand – Another essential characteristic of dashboards is their simplicity. Dashboards should be easy to comprehend and simple. They should be able to identify critical metrics and include charts where necessary.

Accretive to Driving Activities- A dashboard’s purpose is to help you take further actions. Nearly 80 percent of Web Analytics dashboards contain extra Excel sheets that do not assist in taking further action. Wayne W Eckerson suggests in his book “Performance Dashboards” that “Performance Dashboards allow busy executives, managers, and staff to view key business metrics at once and then move through successive layers in a carefully guided fashion, so they can get the insights they need to solve their problems quickly, efficiently, and effectively.”

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A dashboard can detect deficient and indecent activities by pressing a button.
Sales managers need to ensure they are aware of these points when preparing dashboards.

o Concise – They don’t tell a tale, but they give specifics. They simply tell whether sales are doing better or worse. But they don’t tell why. Dashboards are helpful for business decision-making. They present key performance indicators (KPI) and must be clear.
Relevant data- Any data that is not remotely relevant should be removed from real-time dashboards. Such data could make a dashboard excessively long.
o The latest data must be accurate. Old data can be used to present a comparison picture. Data that is redundant is useless.
o Clearly Visible – All data in the dashboard should clearly be visible and accessible on one page or platform.
o Accessibility – Dashboards should always be accessible easily by those for whom they were intended.
o Dashboards that are updated in real-time – Dashboards that contain real-time data should be able to get updates in real-time from remote locations, if necessary.
o Graphs & Charts – You can include maps, charts, graphs dials, traffic lights, and dials in your dashboard to make the data clearly visible but not make it flashy.

Sales managers and organizations should recognize that a sales dashboard can only be an enabler, not an answer. A sales dashboard should only be a part and not the whole picture. If managed well, real-time dashboards can be powerful tools for aligning strategy with resources and realizing business goals and initiatives.