What’s on your sales dashboard


The process of developing your sales dashboard and defining your sales KPIs and metrics

What are the sales KPIs included in your sales reports? Hypothetically if someone can look at your sales dashboard she should be able to get a clear picture of what is going on with your sales performances by simply looking at your sales metrics. Is this the case with your reports? Your reporting should be simple, effective and obvious so even an outsider can understand your strategy and how successful your execution is.

Without sales tracking and measuring progress it is possible but very difficult for you to successfully manage your sales performance. Is it really possible? Yes, of course it is possible if you are a good manager and really understand your business however you’ll definitely waste a lot of time looking for the data and information you need on a continuous basis. The information you need daily related to your sales growth progress and business development success is essential for you to make the right moves. If the old saying ‘you can’t manage what you don’t measure’ is true than it is a must for any sales manager or sales executive to have a well organized sales tracking and reporting system.

This is about sales reporting and sales dashboards however this is not about the fancy tools and technology but it is about the meat of any sales success. What you measure is first and how you organize your reporting is second. Many sales professionals go with the fancy tools they can get without good planning first and they miss the real benefits.

What should be really on your dashboard? Here are a few simple steps you can follow to make sure you develop the best sales management system for your organization:

1. Look at your overall strategic plan or organizational goals and strategies. If your company doesn’t have an official strategic or business plan focus on what is most important for your executives and what is their primary focus (what are the most frequent topics they talk about during your sales meetings). Start from there. Write down in a few sentences what your major objectives are.

While most business organizations want to grow their sales there are different strategies they might use and execute. For example, there are organization where the only obsession is getting new customers, others try to develop long-term relationships and are more focused on the lifetime value of their client, customer or consumer, still other companies are focused on pushing new products into the market, while others are into developing sales in new regions and territories…

So as you can see all of these examples show companies that have strategies in place and they all want to grow their business however their strategies and tactics will be very different. Make sure you define your sales and marketing strategy before you start planning your sales dashboard. What makes one sales professional a hero in one organization can make him a poor sales man in another so make sure you understand your organizational strategy first.

2. Define your top metrics. Once you have your sales goals defined and you understand the business strategy which is supposed to execute the plan and deliver the target results it is time for you to start thinking about how you’ll measure your sales progress.

Defining and focusing on the right sales metrics or sales KPIs is very important for you to successfully execute your sales plan. Define your top sales metrics. Your top sales metrics should be not more than 7 KPIs – you can start with your top 3 to 5 sales metrics first and then you can drop or add some later. Mr Dashboard explains the top 3 sales metrics everyone should track in this article (make sure you read this article because it will help you in the process of identifying the right KPIs for your business).

3. Once you have defined your top KPIs for sales performance reporting you can test them. How? Look at what you have on your list and answer the following questions: ‘By looking at these metrics am I able to understand the entire progress and success of my sales management?’. You don’t go into the ‘How’ and ‘Why’ now but you just need to be able to see the execution progress or your overall sales results. You need just the few metrics that will explain the story to you anytime you need to analyze your sales… nothing more.

4. Get tactical. At this point you need to get into the tactical level or operational or activity based sales performance metrics. While your top sales KPIs shows you the overall results, the activity metrics will reveal the entire situation for you – they should be able to communicate the reasons behind your level of sales performances.

For example, your ‘Sales Growth’ which is part of your top metrics will show the result (what is your sales growth over a certain time period) and your activity based KPIs will show what is really going on behind the success or the failure shown by your top sales metric. In other words, the operational metrics show how and why the actual results are as they are. At this point you can review the article about strategic vs tactical KPis by Mr Dashboard which will help you define your operational KPIs.

5. Putting everything together. Congratulations! You have successfully defined your overall business strategy, your sales strategy, your top sales metrics and you have the entire list of operational sales metrics. Now it is the time to organize everything together.

Your main goal and priority at this point is to define the most efficient and effective way to present all of your metrics. Your sales dashboard should be more than a sales report but ideally it should represent an effective sales management system that you are going to use on a daily basis to better manage and grow your sales and exceed your sales targets.

As a summary, your sales dashboard is your sales management system so make sure it represents the reality of your organizational and sales strategy - it is about what is really expected from you in terms of sales performance and results.

Now, some sales metrics examples. The following are some samples of frequently used sales KPIs. You might get some additional ideas for your sales dashboard development.

The idea of using this list is not to overwhelm you with a huge list of metrics but to help you think and use different KPI perspectives and categories:

Category A metrics – Who is the customer?

Market segmentation. This group of metrics should identify different segments of your market – different types of customers and different markets. There are many ways to segment a market so you need to use the right segmentation for your business.

Examples here include: sales from different demographic based segments (for B2C or sales to consumers this is going to be age, gender, social status, location, occupation, hobbies and interests – what they read, watch, follow and groups or associations they belong to), for measuring and using B2B or business to business sales performance metrics use the industry, region, location, company size, age of account, type of account, average transaction, size (annual revenue)…

Your category A sales metrics:

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Category B metrics – What generates the revenue?

Sales metrics related to measuring the performance of your service or product. This category of sales metrics is used to analyze product based sales growth and performance – examples include measuring and tracking: sales from new service, sales from new product, sales growth from new service, sales growth from new product, sales from new product group or product category, sales from top 5 products vs sales from bottom products, sales trends of existing products vs sales trend of new products, main product sales vs sales of additional service, number of units sold, average price per product category, average unit price…

This category of metrics should be used by any organization however it is especially important and crucial for organizations with strong R&D and technology based businesses. For traditional businesses or commodity sales again you should use this group in order to identify the most profitable products and service you should push or the potential products and services you should sell and promote in a different way.

Your category B sales metrics:

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Category C metrics - Who sells and generates your revenue?

Different organizations promote, market and sell their products and services in a different way. Some companies sell directly to the final consumer and some of them use intermediaries. In addition, some businesses use heavy advertising to generate leads (pull strategy) while others sell by using sales reps (push strategy).

Regardless of the type of your sales organization, it is important to measure the sales performance of different sales mechanisms and in addition measure specific groups. For example, sample of sales metrics here will include sales by distributor, sales by sales rep, direct sales growth, sales by new reps, average sales by type/group of intermediary, number of transactions by group, profitability, conversion rates, commissions…

Your category C sales metrics:

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Finally, the sales metrics every sales manager needs which are the KPIs included in your sales funnel. You have to report, measure, track and manage your sales pipeline or funnel in an effective way so you can make smart decisions regarding new opportunities, new customers, profitability, closing ratio, number of prospects in your funnel at anytime…

Do you have the right tools? While this process might seem overwhelming it is very simple and easy to do it if you follow the steps and have the right tools. The Sales Manager for Excel by Mr Dashboard is a collection of software, templates and easy-to-use tools for creating sales dashboard and managing sales funnel with Excel (no Excel skills are required to use them and create professional sales reports in minutes).

 

 


 


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