Here’s a scenario. A sales dashboard and metrics won’t make an immediate appearance in this story, so stay with me. You’re in an automobile showroom with your partner and you’ve narrowed your purchasing choices down to two models. There’s the sexy vroomer that turns heads and goes faster than a jet rocket. That’ll get you both noticed. But how often can you really open up that engine and drive fast? Is there even a trunk? And how much fuel is it guzzling? Then there’s that 0.8-liter engine car – a discreet vehicle where the dash can navigate you home, it straightens you up when you swerve and helps you to reverse park like an Olympic figure skater. All the useful stuff you actually need.
Putting this into the context of finding your perfect sales data dashboard match, if you’re a small business currently making good sales in a single concentrated region then seeing a dashboard designed for those operating in and entering numerous territories wouldn’t hold much value for you. And conversely, if you’re a global concern that’s about to make a huge splash across a whole continent then you’ll require the dashboards to fit that territorial expansion pattern.
By breaking down the key considerations in sales analysis and knowing what are your immediate, mid-range, and long-term business needs, you’ll be better informed when purchasing your sales software solution.
Seeing the Wider Sales and Compensation Data Picture
Whether you are overseeing the commission, performance, and earnings of a small team of five or leading a sales force in its thousands, all things need to be fair and equal. And all dashboards need to be interpreted and accepted on the same basis.
Problems in this area often start if you’re stuck with a legacy system or relying on the much-maligned spreadsheet. For example, any slip up in paying a fair compensation such as decimal point in the wrong cell and you could face widespread dissent and a permanent breakdown of trust among your sales force.
Investing in a sales performance management solution (SPM) that provides the controls, insight, and accuracy should therefore be a given. And if there is a dispute you want software that helps to easily evaluate and potentially fix an error.
For those that have worked in sales management, they are likely to argue that the most important feature is for both the sales rep and manager to know and see on a weekly, monthly or annual basis what their earning capacity is, how close they are to target and whether these align with key performance indicators - which can all be displayed and shared in a dashboard format. Whether this is how individuals rank against other team members, or how they are getting on in comparison to last year or last month, a performance dashboard provides the commission payment evidence needed to congratulate, encourage or even consider dismissal for all members of the sales team.
Comparable graphs are an essential part of the dashboard display capabilities so the whole team effort can be measured. Presenting this clearly can be highly motivating, while putting out an unclear or inaccurate account may cause the opposite effect. Heard that phrase ‘A poor tradesperson often blames their tools?’ Eradicating any hint of that blaming and shaming is easier than you might imagine. Being better and more confident with all aspects of sales performance management is simple when operating the right machinery.
Understanding how well a sales rep is doing is only a part of the metrics story. After all, a round of applause or a virtual fist bump won’t pay the mortgage. Neither will a hand-drawn success graph drawn by a Sharpie pen. For the finance team and operations staff, a strong performance needs to translate a tangible, data-led result. And this needs to be an automated process that is practically bullet-proof from bad data and corrupted cells -the type of thing that may have resulted in underpayment or over-compensation in the past.
By going down the end-to-end automated solution route, you’ll gain full visibility of how a sale translates into a bonus, which in turn reduces time and resources wasted in disputes or querying poor reporting.
Think that automated variable compensation may be the key focus for your dashboard metrics? Discover more reasons why this is working for many businesses here.
The dashboard features and information related to compensation software are also about future planning. If there is a widespread failure to hit KPIs, why not arm yourself with the software solutions that can improve and embolden your incentive program? Sharing a screen with your team that’s easy to read and giving them access to this is more likely to bring in positive results and higher enthusiasm than a broken spreadsheet.
Perhaps you want to measure current performance or the success of an incentive scheme? With the right software, you can easily schedule a report that automatically updates a dashboard, so all graphics are in real time. Whether wanting to get into the granular detail of a year-on-year payout or work out a tiered commission plan, you can reduce resources and see the results by investing in compensation plan software that works for you and your business.
Get a Firmer Grip on Your Territories
If you’re in the position of growing your geographic reach or managing a global sales corporation, you require constant visibility of sales, strong performing regions or possible weak links managing to hide in the plain sight of a bigger and stronger team.
What better way to understand the potential of your sales territories than harnessing and seeing the power of current and comparable dashboard data?
Software designed for territory management is incredibly intuitive. Map-based data – whether country, state or town-wide - enables you to see where your ‘hot deals’ are happening and where you are likely to secure an entry point for customer acquisition. These and sales graphs will aid the process of assigning new territories or rethinking boundaries. You can also use the dashboard data to manage sales hierarchies if there is an overlap of staff or an issue with under-resourcing.
The power of the territory dashboard can further help in other SPM areas, ensuring the right sales executive is getting the credit and compensation for a closed deal.
If you have identified a problem in your business which may be down to the wrong people in an area, visit Varicent’s quick wins on assigning sales territories.
Make Quota Management Work for You
Going hand-in-hand with territories management is the key field of quota management software and dashboards. Invest in this and the first thing you have access to is a suite of bespoke maps that display the reach and size of a rep’s sales area. In addition, are easy-to-digest reports on securing quota distributions, sales capacity and market potential. In short, nicely curated, constantly updated data that makes light work and analysis of what has historically been a laborious part of the sales process.
Again, the information you see with a Quota Management software package is clearly evidential, making quota planning conversations with your sales team as well as stakeholders much easier. If they can see for themselves both the potential wins and risks of a particular quota distribution, the chances of querying these are reduced.
See the Future Today with Augmented Intelligence
If you’ve already experienced the positive payback that clear and reliable dashboard analysis can bring to your sales department, then you’re likely to have some awareness of the next-stage thinking and reward that Augmented Intelligence (AI) can potentially bring.
This holistic deep-dive into data detects sequences and connects the dots without the need for extensive coding or instructions. This next-gen solution does not simply address one issue and present one dashboard – it partners your customer attrition records to your territory maps and breaks down patterns in pay and reward among your sales team.
It can even help with sales forecasting and the detection of buying trends and fiscal uncertainty. By breaking down such a range of relevant queries, you back the analysis in a digestible interface. Want to know more? Take a look at Symons.AI from Varicent and be fully prepared for the rewards dashboard data can bring to your business.
Integrate to Accumulate
With all this buzz around AI and specialist sales performance software and dashboards bringing deeper insight and reports, it’s also possible to take a lighter approach – especially if, as discussed at the start, your business is relatively new. You can embrace a host of integrations that work together with your existing systems – but make it better.
Seemingly small but vital enhancements provide the power to add new tables and columns to your existing charts as well as scheduling data imports, so what appears on any dashboard is pretty much live information.
These integration opportunities have been designed to go and grow with your business, and shouldn’t necessarily be overlooked in favor of more bespoke packages.
Summary – Understand What You Need, Utilize What You See
Even after careful analysis of your requirements, it’s still possible to get lost in the hype or be blinded by the dazzle of a dashboard that promises to give the winning lottery numbers for the next six months in full, technicolor- 3d spinning balls and all.
Still overwhelmed by the options? Our cool versus not-so-cool piece provides the answers.
It’s worth taking a bit more time and booking some demos so you can confidently put your trust in a platform that delivers as much value as it promises.
Whether you want to witness more accurate reporting, understand how one state is likely to love a product than another, or give your sales team reason to be more brilliant, make sure your dashboard delivers the goods.
Visit Varicent today and discover more on how the right dashboards can transform your sales teams and their results.