If you are looking for a way to keep an eye on how your sales team is performing, or keep your finger to the pulse of how your current prospective sales are doing, finding the right sales dashboard for you and your team is a natural next move.
However, there are so many dashboard solutions to choose from—and they come at a cost. How do you know which sales dashboard is right for you?
Here’s how to choose the best sales dashboard for your business; I’ll review four questions that you should make sure to answer before you go looking for a dashboard solution, and include a list of some of the most important sales metrics to monitor when using a sales dashboard for your business.
How to choose the best sales dashboard: 4 questions to ask yourself
Before you choose a sales dashboard solution, take some time to evaluate your own use case and the things you value most and hope to see from a dashboard solution.
Plenty of dashboards look flashy and impressive and are loaded with features and tracking abilities, but the reality is that if you are only interested in monitoring a few things, you will not ever make use of the entire feature set. Similarly, if you only ever plan to use the dashboard for your own personal use, one that touts the ability to share with others or present things in a visually appealing, presentable way is probably not an important selling point for you
So, before you choose the best sales dashboard for you, answer these four questions:
1. Who will be using the sales dashboard?
Is the dashboard something only you will be using? Will it be in use by multiple members of your sales team? Will an account manager use it and share the relevant metrics with you in weekly meetings? Consider all who will come into contact with the sales dashboard, and let this help inform your decision.
2. Who is the intended audience?
Is the dashboard something you will use to monitor your own sales performance, to make sure you are hitting the benchmarks you have set for yourself? Or, will you use it to show your sales team where they are succeeding or falling short? Perhaps you plan to regularly update outside investors on key sales metrics, and so need something easy to share with outsiders? Consider who the audience will be before you choose your solution.
3. What is important for you to see on a regular basis?
If you can do it, you can find a metric around it and track its success. O.K., I’m not sure if this is true in all cases, but generally speaking if it’s a tactic your business employs, you can find a way to attach a specific metric to the tactic and therefore track its success.
So, what exactly are you interested in monitoring? New leads? Keeping an eye on what stage leads are in the sales pipeline? Win to loss ratio? There are plenty of metrics you can track to determine the success of your sales team and processes—and we will go over those later on—so take some time to consider what you are actually interested in keeping a regular eye on, and how this information will actually be beneficial to your business on a regular basis (because just because you can track it, does not mean it is something you need to devote energy to monitoring).
4. What purpose does it serve?
The function that the dashboard will serve is important to consider before you pick the best solution for you. Consider the ultimate why behind using a dashboard solution, and let that inform your choice. Is it so that you can keep a pulse on the health of your business overall, increase healthy competition between sales team members, offer a way to demonstrate success to certain team members or outsiders, and so on?
The metrics your sales dashboard should monitor
Like I mentioned earlier, there are a huge variety of metrics that you and your sales team could focus on tracking. You will need to consider your own situation and what will benefit your business and continued growth (and happy clients!); however, here are some of the most common and valuable sales metrics to monitor. Determine what you are interested in tracking, and find a sales dashboard that tracks these metrics.
1. Sales cycle
If you are interested in monitoring how long it takes you and your team to close sales, keep an eye on your sales cycle. You can compare this metric to sales that are currently in the sales pipeline in order to forecast and set goals for yourself and your team.
Be able to see at a glance when new leads come in, and where they come from. This is especially valuable if you are testing out a new lead generation strategy, and want to know if it is proving effective.
3. Stage in the sales pipeline
Tracking this metric will enable you to see where in the sales pipeline your current clients are, and how close you and your sales team are to closing the deal. If you want to learn more about this process, read my recent article on sales pipelines here.
4. Win to loss ratio
What is the ratio of clients who you and your sales team have successfully moved through the sales pipeline and closed, versus deals that did not end up going through?
At the risk of stating the obvious, you should always be trying to close more deals than you lose, so this is a valuable metric to keep an eye on.
5. New sale versus existing client/services or products upsell
If you and your sales team have continual relationships with existing clients and upsell additional products or services, you may want to track what sales are coming from these clients versus new clients that your team has closed deals with.
6. Closed sales
If you have a sales team that uses sales goals and quotas, tracking sales that have been closed successfully is a good idea. You will be able to see at a glance how many sales you’ve generated to date, and monitor revenue.
7. Open opportunities
If you work alone and are the only salesperson for your business, at any given time you might have more potential opportunities than you can currently attend to. By tracking open opportunities, you can easily transition from one client to the next once you have openings in your schedule. Similarly, if you have a sales team, you can use this information to delegate leads to your salespeople.
8. Open cases
Not the same as open opportunities, open cases keeps an eye on the prospective clients where contact has been made, but are not yet closed or lost clients. As with open opportunities, these should be considered time-sensitive.
9. Cost of sale to revenue ratio
This looks at the total revenue you have generated from a successful sale, compared with the cost of acquiring the sale (in terms of salary, commissions, business expenses leading up to a successful sale, and so on). This will help give you a sense of how much your company invests into each sale.
There are many other sales metrics you can track; if you are a software-as-a-service (SaaS) business, you’ll probably want to track churn rate; you’ll also likely want to track metrics specific to your business and your sales activities (number of sales calls made, emails sent, and so on). Spend some more time researching sales metrics to get a clear sense of what you want to be able to track with a sales dashboard before settling on a solution for your business.
What do you think is the most important thing to consider before choosing a sales dashboard? What sales metrics have you found most valuable to track in your business? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.