January 02, 2020

Forecasting

Top Sales Dashboards for Revenue Leaders

Michael Lowe

Michael Lowe

Michael Lowe
Michael Lowe

Director, Content Marketing, Clari

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As a sales leader, you know that every minute your reps are spending at their desks, logging data into CRM or poring over reports for specific sales metrics, is a minute they're not in the field doing what they do best. At the same time, they can’t do their best work without accurate, real-time sales data and analysis to guide and support them. Neither can you.

That’s where the sales dashboard comes in.

What is a sales dashboard?

A sales dashboard collects and displays the most important sales metrics and sales activities—sales performance, sales cycle length, sales funnels, and more—so that sales reps, sales managers, and sales leaders can quickly review the most important key performance indicators (KPIs) side by side, in a centralized place.

Sales dashboards can be customized to show the key metrics in the most helpful format for different individuals within the sales organization. This reduces the amount of time sales leaders need to spend hunting around for various sales reports, reveals new sales opportunities, and ultimately helps teams reach their sales goals and targets.

Why use a sales dashboard?

By aggregating all of your important sales metrics in a unified place, sales dashboards quickly show sales reps and managers where they’re succeeding, and how. Sales dashboards also uncover at-risk opportunities so sales teams can intervene early and save more deals.

Thanks to automation and AI, sales dashboards can also provide sales leaders with deep insights pulled from historical data, offer accurate predictions for future performance, and reveal larger sales trends within sales cycles.

  • How long are deals taking to close?
  • Have average contract values changed?
  • What steps can you take to save deals or steer your sales team members back on course?
  • Who uses a sales dashboard?

Since sales dashboards can be customized to the needs of each user, individuals from every level of the sales organization can benefit from using them. For example, while sales reps might focus on the sales activity levels of their current deals and review their quotas, C-suite executives may prefer quick access to larger-scale metrics that show the overall business picture and how the quarter is shaping up.

Sales dashboards are particularly helpful for sales managers and regional vice presidents, as these professionals are in charge of monitoring a large number of opportunities and likely need a regular status recap as well as guidance on where to focus their reps’ time.

What makes a good sales dashboard?

A successful sales dashboard:

  • Is intuitive and simple to use
  • Brings the most relevant KPIs together in real time
  • Offers the option to drill down as needed

What sales metrics should your sales dashboard track?

Tying your sales metrics to your revenue goals helps ensure you’re tracking the most critical numbers for your business, as well as for optimizing your sales process.

For example:

Gap to go. How close or far are you from your quota attainment? What about your sales forecast attainment? Understanding where you are and the gap you have to close is critical to making key business decisions to affect your quarter.

Sales rep attainment. If your goal is getting your reps to meet their quotas, you might want to focus on your sales activity data, which includes data such as emails sent, phone calls made, and meetings booked.

Out-quarter coverage. Achieving predictable revenue is no easy feat, but it helps when your reps are spending time in the current quarter building the pipeline coverage needed to support next quarter targets.

Every sales dashboard should fit your needs as a revenue leader. We share some examples of key metrics to track below.

How do you build a sales dashboard?

When it comes to building a sales dashboard, you have a few options: Excel, CRM and revenue operations platforms like Clari. Here’s how to build a dashboard using each service.

How to build a sales dashboard in Excel. One of the most basic ways to throw together a dashboard is to import the data you wish to evaluate into Excel, or to enter the raw data manually, if importing isn’t an option. Each data point has its own row and you can compare time periods by column. While essentially free, this method is time consuming, prone to human error, and becomes quickly outdated since each time the data changes, the dashboard would need to be manually updated.

How to build a sales dashboard in a CRM system. You can also use a CRM like Salesforce to build out a dashboard. You’d click on the dashboard tab and create a new dashboard with data that’s been logged into Salesforce, such as deal amounts, deal stages, and projected sales pipeline. While you’d cut out the step of importing data, this method is dicey for many of the same reasons as mentioned above: time consuming, prone to human error due to manually entered data, and quickly outdated. The truth is, most reps don’t enter deal data because they’re busy selling. Creating dashboards based on incomplete data sets mean any potential insights are likely inaccurate.

How to build a sales dashboard in a revenue operations platform like Clari. The most effective and accurate way to build a dashboard is to use a revenue operations platform like Clari. Clari automatically captures sales activity data between reps and prospects, and also features a bi-directional sync with Salesforce so the data is always accurate and up-to-date so sales reps and managers don’t have to waste their time (or accidentally introduce errors) by manually inputting this information. Clari automatically updates all of this data in the highly customizable dashboard widgets so you can view it in real time. In addition, Clari applies AI and machine learning to analyze the data and provide additional actionable insights.

How a Sales Dashboard Should Look

Here are some sales dashboard examples from Clari:

1. Current quarter won, averages, open, sales pipeline, and commit

Every dashboard should include the most fundamental sales metrics for your business, including the current quarter’s won deals, average deal size, total open deals, and pipeline generation. These are important to have in your dashboard because it gives you a side-by-side snapshot of where your business currently stands. Equally important is for the data to be in real time so you and your team can take action on the most up-to-date numbers.

In Clari, these widgets not only are automatically updated in real time, but also have a drag-and-drop functionality to make your dashboard flexible and easy to customize. No more waiting 72 hours for sales ops to pull the data and create a sales report; the numbers are at your fingertips when you need them.

2. Current quarter forecast

Your sales forecast is another critical piece of the sales dashboard puzzle. It shows you where you are (in the example above, this is $27 million in booked deals), where you’re headed ($42.5 million in committed deals), and where you want to be ($45 million in planned revenue) for the quarter.

In your dashboard, you should be able to view your forecast in three different ways: overall forecast, new business, and renewals. You should also be able to sort these forecasts by rep to give you a better picture of how your people are performing.

To expand on the forecast and gain some additional insights, you would compare the sales forecast with the current quarter’s committed deals (in Clari, this is the “CQ Commit” widget, on the right in the image below).

For example, a manager can see a gap of $15.5 million between booked and committed deals. By scanning the committed deals on the right, you can determine where that gap lies and also brainstorm how to close it, thanks to included details such as:

  • Deal amount
  • CRM Score, which denotes the likeliness that a deal will close based on Clari’s AI
  • Sales activity data, such as whether there’s a next meeting booked

In the example below, you can see that Seattle Office and Storage Upgrade both look likely, with CRM Scores of 95 and 93, respectively. They make up $610,000 that of that $15.5 million gap. Meanwhile, one of the largest deals for the quarter, Data Storage, has a CRM Score of 79 and has no next meeting booked. Closing a deal like this could go a long way in filling that gap and hitting your forecast, but you’ll need to ensure the right next steps happen to get the deal across.

Now it’s time to understand why this deal is flailing by checking your team’s activity—and the beauty of a well-crafted dashboard is being able to see these widgets side by side.

3. Activity by Account

Your sales activity across accounts encompasses all the work your reps are doing on deals, such as emails sent, calls made, and meetings set, in real time. Your dashboard should track the engagement of your potential customer with these forms of outreach, so you can assess the health of an opportunity.

Also make sure your dashboard allows you to sort your sales activity data by account, so you can compare the activity levels of each deal side by side and assess how sales reps are spending their time across their accounts. Your dashboard should also allow you to sort by sales rep, so that managers can review how active their reps are and intervene with sales coaching and guidance as necessary.

This brings us back to our example with the Data Storage deal. It has only a 79 CRM Score. By scanning the Account Engagement widget, you can see there’s no next meeting booked and there’s generally low activity on this deal—only a few emails have been sent and just one meeting set. Clearly, Data Storage needs some TLC. As a manager, you could use this data to coach the rep who owns the account to bump up activity for this deal. Send some emails and some swag, and invite them to a meeting to help move it along.

4. How your quarter is progressing

A next-level sales dashboard will allow you to triangulate three key sales metrics for the quarter:

  • Your sales team commits
  • Your quota
  • Predictions for closed deals, based on historical data

Basically, your dashboard should take the sales forecast and other pertinent data—the team’s call, how much revenue is being closed, and amount of pipeline—and plot it out week by week, so you can gain better visibility into how the quarter is progressing. This can help reveal at-risk deals or other gaps in your pipeline so you can course-correct quickly.

This is especially helpful if you have an AI projection that can be used to gut-check what you’re calling based on historical sales data.

In the example above, you can see that while the team is calling $42.5 million in hard commit, Clari is projecting $41 million. Where is that $1.5 million gap coming from? You can cross-reference again with the committed deals and team activity widgets to try to determine where the weakness lies.

5. Deal Prioritization Matrix

One of our all-time favorite widgets is the Deal Prioritization Matrix. Bear with us—this one takes some explaining:

  • Each dot on the matrix represents a deal
  • The size of the dot corresponds to the revenue associated with it
  • The color of the dot represents that stage of the deal

So, a large green dot signifies a deal in pipeline with high potential revenue.

Equally important to size and color is the dot’s position in the matrix. The higher the deal is to the top of the grid, the more sales activity and engagement there has been (emails, meetings, attachments sent and opened, etc.). Meanwhile, the farther to the right the dot is means the more likely the deal is to close, based on Clari’s AI-based CRM Score.

Now this is where the fun begins.

Let’s say our dashboard shows one of our large deals recently slipped out of the quarter and now we’re at risk for missing the forecast. We can come to this Deal Prioritization Matrix to locate a deal that is large (substantial revenue), yellow or green (either best case or pipeline) and in the upper-right-hand quadrant (the deal is behaving like previous deals that have closed and has significant activity meaning the prospect is engaged).

You can do this same exercise during one-on-ones with reps.

If a turquoise dot (commit) is in the bottom left quadrant (low engagement from the prospect and low likelihood to close based on AI) should it really be in commit?

If a green dot (pipeline) is in the upper-right-hand corner (high prospect engagement and high CRM Score) could this be a deal the rep is sandbagging?

6. Changes to commit

You’ll want to ensure your sales dashboard tracks how the quarter’s deals have moved from commit to other stages, including ones that have slipped out of the quarter (more on that below). In this widget, you can not only see how many committed deals have moved to other stages, but also the exact opportunities in order to dive a level deeper and understand why. No more manually clicking into each account in a CRM to review each deal’s progression.

7. Slipped pipeline

A dedicated widget showing how many deals have slipped in the quarter, and how much revenue that represents, allows the manager to discuss with the rep why the deals slipped and what they can do about it, including whether it makes sense to try to close them early in the next quarter. You’ll want to be able to view the results by current week to pinpoint which deals are floundering and strategize with the rep on how best to save them. Trying to do this in CRM is heavily manual and time consuming, so Clari automates this data in real time to give you the most accurate information at your fingertips.

8. Next quarter deals

There are numerous ways to leverage automation and AI in your sales dashboard to inspect your pipeline. Kyle Coleman, Clari’s VP of growth and enablement, explains how to use dashboards to build sales pipeline for predictable revenue, engage in a data-driven inspection of your pipeline to determine its true health, inspect next-quarter pipeline, and drive strategic deal acceleration.

Why Sales Dashboards Are Critical to Driving Predictable Revenue

Visibility into how your quarter is shaping up, where your reps are spending your time, and how you can prioritize deals as you move through the quarter are all critical to taking action and hitting your number. Without these insights, managing your team to a successful quarter can be tricky at best.

For more on driving predictable revenue and forecast accuracy, download our free ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Forecasting Confidence.

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