Setting up personal dashboards, whether you are a Sales Director or a new executive starting out, can be the instant check you need to find advantages and maximise them throughout the year. A dashboard should be easy to setup and available to you at the touch of a button to check in on your targets every day.

What is a dashboard?

A Dashboard is a collection of (mainly graphical) reports using real-time data found within a CRM system. Often organisations will have a sales dashboard, a marketing dashboard, a service dashboard, and so on for their various departments. 

Each dashboard will contain a variety of charts, and sometimes lists, reporting on key statistics for that department. For example, a Sales Manager may have a dashboard showing:

  • The number of open opportunities each member of their team is currently working on
  • Monthly total sales achieved versus target
  • A year-on-year comparison of successfully converted leads.

Dashboards provide instant health checks, allowing you to immediately see where you are versus a business target or previous effort.

They combine data from your CRM system and present it in an easy and accessible visual format. They also make great shortcuts. For instance, you could click on a bar (let’s say November Open Opportunities) in a bar chart (Annual Open Opportunities) which will then lead you to the filtered list (Open Opportunities by Month) that is behind the graph. All of this will help you take fast action, such as calling the sales managers responsible for the open opportunities and getting updates on their expected closing date. 

Using sales dashboards

A sales dashboard should give instant insights into sales broken down by your personal KPIs. You may be interested in sales by product type, by person, versus target or open opportunities that have not yet been won. 

A Sales Director or manager will typically keep a close eye on overall sales, and on the individual sales of each member of their team. Dashboards make this fast and easy, for example, one screen can show:

  • Total sales by month versus target
  • Individual sales by month versus target
  • 5 year comparison of monthly sales
  • Open opportunity value by estimated close date
  • Open opportunity value by individual

Imagine we have exceeded target in the first two months of the year, but coming up to the Q1 status report the figures are down. The Sales Director can quickly load up the dashboard, skim through the reports above and come to some quick conclusions:

  • The target has been set too high, as the 5-year comparison shows March has always underperformed
  • A team member has taken a two week holiday which wasn’t reflected in target, exacerbating the dip in sales figures
  • However, this team member has solid open opportunities which we expect to close in the first week of April

A five minute review of the information contained in the sales dashboard identified the issue, and provided the information needed for the Q1 review.

Using marketing dashboards

Your marketing dashboard could be focused on generating new leads, or customer retention campaigns. At a glance, you should be able to identify where your leads come from and which lead sources are most likely to convert. 

You will also want to identify which campaign activities are moving leads along towards the sales team most effectively. If you have a customer retention focus in your marketing team, you are likely to look at campaign engagement and follow-on additional sales or satisfaction scores.

Let’s assume you’re in a lead gen marketing team, your dashboard will probably contain:

  • New leads per month by lead source
  • Converted leads per month by lead source
  • 5 year comparison of lead sources
  • This month’s leads by status
  • New customers this year by source

Sales have announced they are overwhelmed by leads and can’t keep up. So you’ve done a great job passing on so many qualified leads, but it’s becoming a waste. The Marketing Director uses the lead gen dashboard to identifies the reasons for the overload:

  • The number of exhibition leads has been significantly over target for 3 months
  • The five-year comparison shows that, historically, exhibition leads were low at this time of year, and so telemarketing campaigns are run to make up the shortfall
  • However, this year’s lead conversion chart shows they are outperforming telemarketing leads two to one

Based on the insights gained from this review, the Marketing Director decides to pause the telemarketing campaign, helping to maximise the higher converting exhibition leads.

Being able to immediately identify an issue and take corrective action could be the competitive advantage you need to beat your targets.

Setting up a personal dashboard

It doesn’t matter if you are a recent graduate with an assistant job title or the CEO of a multinational. We all have KPIs, targets or some other form of measure attached to our job role.

Dashboards make it easy to keep an eye on your KPIs, and in turn improve how you contribute to your company. Take 1 hour out of your day to look at your targets and how you could measure these in your own dashboard. You can also compare any data within your CRM in a dashboard. 

If your position is in customer support, you might create reports on the average length of your support queries, customer satisfaction responses and call length. If you work in sales, you are likely to look at the number of won opportunities, the value of won opportunities and reporting versus target. It’s all down to your own KPIs.

Take your dashboard to your next review, and report on key insights, what went right and what didn’t, and how you are going to use the dashboard to identify issues as they happen next year. Then do it. Look at your personal dashboard every morning, and use it to identify how you can beat your targets. That kind of career progression has got to be a worthy New Year’s Resolution!

Fast and effective management meetings

As a CRM software author, the Gold-Vision team use dashboards to power all of our management meetings. We wrote it, we get it, and we use it!

We look at our business KPIs each year, make sure our department dashboards are fit for purpose, tweak them as necessary, and then keep an eye on them. Each time we have a management meeting we start and finish with a dashboard report. 

Within 10 minutes we can identify where we are against target, and why. If we are up, we work out why by clicking on the bar in a bar chart, or the slice in a pie, to show us what has caused the turn in good fortune. Similarly, if we are down, we identify the cause!

A short and sharp meeting of our management team enables us to:

  • See where we are versus target
  • Identify reasons for beating or dropping under target
  • Assign the follow up to the relevant member of the management team

Then in the next meeting, we can see if the follow up worked.  Have we capitalised on our good fortune and improved the dashboard report further?  Or have we caught the downturn, and is the improvement showing in the next month?

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