How to Build a Sales Dashboard for Your SME

Dashboard

By Jenna Bunnell

A sales dashboard is a crucial yet often overlooked element of running a successful business.

It’s important to keep tabs on your sales data to ensure you’re making the best decisions based on what’s selling, what’s not selling, and your KPIs. However, using raw data to do this can be incredibly time consuming and turns a complex matter into an even more difficult one.

That’s where sales dashboards come in. Sales dashboards are handy tools that can improve organization and planning across your business. From improving your SMMP to boosting employee productivity, they’re must-haves for every business.

This guide will provide you with all the information you need to understand what a sales dashboard is and how to build a successful one for your SME.

Let’s begin.

What is a Sales Dashboard?

Essentially, a sales dashboard is a graphic representation of your sales data.

Building a sales dashboard makes it easier for you to track your sales as you can do this without having to carry out manual calculations. Not only does this make the sales data collection process quicker, but it makes it easier for you to examine overall sales performance.

The Benefits of Building a Sales Dashboard

One of the greatest benefits of sales dashboards is how easy they are to build. They’re collated using advanced software that does most of the work for you, so you don’t need any special technical skills.

Once you’ve decided which software you’d like to use (we’ll move on to that soon), it’s simply a matter of linking your data to the dashboard and filtering it down to ensure it shows the information you need.

Due to its visual nature, a sales dashboard makes it effortless to read and analyze data. It also updates information in real-time so you can view the details of sales as and when they happen. This helps you make quick, up-to-date decisions as you don’t have to wait weeks or months to access this information.

Additionally, most sales dashboard software is customizable so you can decide what type of dashboard you want to create. You can make many different dashboards depending on your goals.

For example, you can build a dashboard that shows your current, overall sales performance and another which shows your predicted future sales based on existing figures. This will give you a birds-eye view of your performance data to help you elevate your brand in the long term.

The Limitations

Like all business processes, sales dashboards also have limitations that need to be evaluated before building one.

The effectiveness of your sales dashboard depends on the reliability of your data collection. If your data collection methods are inaccurate, the details on your dashboard won’t be trustworthy.

Also, as helpful as sales dashboards are at presenting data, they won’t read the results for you. Analysis of the sales data is still required to understand what it means for your business and whether action needs to be taken to improve.

If your team is not able to read the data properly and relay that to the rest of the business, your sales dashboards will become redundant and your business may suffer.

How to Build a Sales Dashboard

Knowing what you know now, building a sales dashboard may seem overwhelming, especially if this is something you’re completely new to. That’s why we’ve broken the process of building a sales dashboard down into four helpful steps.

Dashboard - Sales

1. Choose your software

First thing’s first, you need to decide which software you’ll use to create the sales dashboard. There are endless choices when it comes to software that can help you, but it can be collated into two main categories: CRM software and business intelligence (BI) software.

CRM (customer relationship management) software is usually the best choice for businesses when it comes to creating sales dashboards. It’s not only fast and easy to use, but most of your data should already be on your CRM system. 

This makes it easy to transfer all the relevant information onto your sales dashboard, and you won’t have to convert files or enter any data manually.

There are countless CRM software options to choose from. For example, HubSpot and Salesforce are both great choices. It may be a good idea to spend some time researching to choose the best CRM software for success.

BI software isn’t as easy to use as CRM systems, but it’s useful nonetheless. BI systems are complex and require slight technical know-how to be used effectively, but they’re great for businesses with lots of data.

This type of software is incredibly robust and reports data at a much higher level than CRM software, so unless you’re a beginner looking for a basic sales dashboard, BI software could be the way to go.

2. Choose what you want to measure

You now have the software you’ll use to create your sales dashboard, but before you can start building, you need to establish what you want to measure.

Making this decision may require an evaluation of your business to discover what information means the most to you. There’s no point measuring something such as call queue information if that’s not something that’ll improve your business.

For instance, if your business has been struggling to prepare stock levels for specific seasons, creating a dashboard that can predict future sales will help. 

Or, if you discover you’re losing out on deals more than ever before, you can create a win/lose dashboard to help you understand why you might be losing those sales. This will allow you to implement changes to increase your number of won sales in future.

You can use this data alongside AI to improve your business processes and get the results you’re aiming for.

3. Create the dashboard

Now you’ve decided what you want to measure, it’s time to create your dashboard. Many software systems will provide pre-made dashboard options to allow you to choose the best one for your needs. If you find one that’s suitable, choose that and the ball starts rolling.

If you struggle to find a dashboard that would fulfill your specific needs, there’s also an option to create your own dashboard from a blank template. This will give you full control over all aspects of your dashboard and allow you to customize it even further.

After creating your dashboard, you can then choose which reports you’d like to receive. For example, you can opt to receive reports on ad clicks or focus on sales call reporting.

Once your reports have been selected, simply give the dashboard a name and allocate access to the relevant individuals. Remember, you may not want all members of staff viewing all data.

4. Analyze the reports

Analyzing your reports is the most important step in building a dashboard. After all, if you don’t plan on examining your data, there’s no point in creating a dashboard in the first place.

Evaluating your sales data will help you identify weak points within your business and allow you to implement changes and improve.

You will also be able to add or remove reports as and when required. This will allow you to receive only the most relevant reports depending on your business activity.

Types of Sales Dashboards

There are many types of sales dashboards available to you – so much so that it can be overwhelming trying to choose which one to use.

Here, we’ve broken down the three main types of dashboards to help you make an informed decision. 

Overall sales performance

Overall sales performance dashboards are perfect if you need a complete view of all sales aspects. They’ll show you how your business is performing, revenue information, ongoing deals, and more.

This will help you make the best business decisions. For instance, if your sales are getting too much to handle in the office, you may consider opening a fulfillment center to allow you to accept more orders.

This type of dashboard is ideal for sales managers and business executives looking to keep an eye on their team’s performance. With an overall view, you can identify and focus on the most relevant strategies.

Performance Dashboard

Sales productivity

This type of dashboard helps you keep a close eye on your team and their productivity levels.

It gives you a detailed look into how each employee has been spending their time and how efficiently they’re completing tasks. For example, you can keep an eye on call logs for each employee to determine who’s meeting their targets. This can also help you implement training strategies more suited to your staff.

Upcoming tasks

This type of dashboard is greatly beneficial for sales staff. An upcoming tasks dashboard allows them to plan out their day and/or week and keep on top of all tasks they need to complete. It shows them what’s still to be completed, as well as any urgent cases whose deadlines they may have missed.

Your team will also be able to schedule tasks in order of urgency. For example, they can mark improving your company’s online visual merchandising as more important than filling in their call log sheet.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that sales dashboards can be of huge benefit to small and mid-sized businesses. Although they have their limitations, the upsides arguably outweigh these, which is why you should consider building one.

Research the best software for you and decide which type of dashboard most suits your company. Remember to keep your goals in mind because, after all, a sales dashboard is there to improve your business.

Most importantly, keep your customer at the forefront. Improving the customer lifecycle should be your top priority, so be sure to think of them throughout this process.

About the Author

Author - JennaJenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted enterprise phone system that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. Here is her LinkedIn.

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