Sales dashboards: How to coach sales teams to use these data-centric visuals effectively

Productivity 4 min read

Sales dashboards: How to coach sales teams to use these data-centric visuals effectively

Sales dashboards can distract, confuse, or even discourage your sales team if they’re not implemented and used effectively. But when a sales dashboard is easy-to-understand, shows relevant (useful!) data, and is combined with effective coaching, it becomes a supercharged cornerstone of your team’s workflows.

In this article, we’ll explore sales dashboards and, most importantly, how to use activate them with effective coaching to optimize their value as a tool for your sales organization.

Types of sales dashboards

Individuals and leaders customize data-visualization software to drive action. However, too much information or the wrong kind of data confuses your team. Dashboards that integrate with your CRM, and other frequently-used apps or software, assist your sales force in making informed decisions. Sales dashboards typically fall into one of three areas. 

Operational

With real-time data and an overview of sales KPIs, individuals and teams can glance at an operational dashboard then immediately take action.

Strategic

Leaders develop goals, track progress, and deliver recommendations with data from a strategic dashboard. 

Analytical

This data-rich dashboard delivers information on trends and historical data, which helps business analysts identify patterns and opportunities. 

While all three types are crucial to an organization’s strategy, operational dashboards provide a dynamic experience that’s full of actionable information for sales reps and teams. 

Individual sales reps’ dashboards

Closing a sale isn’t getting easier, which is why more organizations strive to place critical information at eye level. According to CSO Insights World-Class Sales Practices report, “The percentage of salespeople making quota has dropped from 63% to 53% over five years.”

To boost performance, leaders use a transparent process and data-visualization software. Create a dashboard that displays an overview of performance and KPIs to empower reps to take strategic action.

Examples of metrics include:

  • Prospects contacted or quota attainment.
  • Response rate or a conversion/win rate.
  • Average deal value.
  • Time-to-close rates.
  • Deals per stage of the sales process.
  • Forecasted value of leads and upcoming sales.

For those on the road, mobile apps provide an overview of data while increasing accountability. In-house, dashboards that load essential information first saves time. The Nielsen Norman Group reports, “Web users spend 80% of their time viewing the left half of the page and 20% viewing the right half.”

That’s why implementing design principles with the right KPIs improve sales outcomes. 

Team sales dashboards  

The need to break down silos, share data, and interact as a team reflects in both customer experience and company revenue. Unfortunately, a study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Dun & Bradstreet finds, “80% of companies report high or moderate degrees of data silos.”

Unite teams with sales dashboards that encourage friendly competition while providing data-sharing and mentorship opportunities.

Team dashboards offer an overview of:

  1. Aggregated averages for prior stats;
  2. Industry insight like best outcome data;
  3. Individual and team performance metrics.

How leaders use sales dashboards

From monitoring performance to identifying problems in the pipeline, data-visualization software helps leaders support their sales team. The visual format improves sales meetings and coaching results.

“Companies with dynamic coaching programs achieve 28% higher win rates.”

Research from a CSO Insights Sales Enablement study

Leaders use information from dashboards to:

  • Align teams behind shared objectives.
  • Identify flaws in the pipeline.
  • Define sales activities that boost performance. 

By implementing data-based training programs, you’ll help individuals and teams identify key areas for improvement, visualize progress, and balance sales activities. The key is to not just create and display a dashboard but to use it as a tool to help reps understand the ‘why’ behind the performance. This provides an opportunity for data-driven feedback, which helps meet sales objectives.

“Companies that provide quality coaching can reach 7% greater annual revenue growth.”

According to the Sales Management Association report

So, let’s dig in further to how you can use dashboards as coaching tools.

Use dashboards to coach individuals

A sales dashboard provides real-time feedback for both leaders and individual reps, making it a useful tool for self-directed performance and productivity improvement. One of the most important things that a sales manager can do to maximize the value of a dashboard is to help reps understand and implement it as a tool in their day-to-day workflow.

During one-on-one coaching sessions, help reps to understand what they’re seeing on the dashboards and the significance of the data that’s being visualized. Why are these datasets the focus of a particular dashboard? What can the rep do to influence the results on the dashboard? 

If it’s a productivity-based metric like the number of calls per day and they’re struggling to keep pace with higher-performers, help the rep to identify ‘why’ this is the case. Are they spending enough time dialing? Or are the calls they take too long? 

Show them that the data provides a signal… but the insights (and solutions) come from their ability to analyze the data and adapt their approach accordingly.

Use dashboards to coach the sales team

Turn your team sales dashboards into a coaching tool during team meetings. These conversations encourage dialogue, group problem solving, and shared learning. Plus, sales leaderboards help you reward top-performers and identify mentorship opportunities. Harvard Business Review reports that companies who dedicated “at least three hours per month managing each rep’s sales pipeline saw 11% greater revenue growth.” 

  • Use a pipeline visualization to brainstorm why deals close, lag, or where your sales funnel leaks. 
  • Benchmark the team’s collective pace against previous periods or even industry benchmarks.
  • Visualize won-deals collectively to help surface best-performing markets, personas, campaigns, etc. and then hold a team discussion on what can be learned and implemented based on the data.

One word of caution, however, is that reviewing dashboards in a sales meeting is not a good use of time. It may be tempting to use a dashboard review as an agenda item but it will rarely provide value on its own without thoughtful, prepared analysis. 

To this end, sales leaders should review the dashboards prior to the sales meeting and come prepared with highlights, insights, challenges, or discussion topics that they want to discuss with the team as a result. The dashboard should be a visual supplement to a sales meeting discussion, not the sole focus or activity to be checked off the agenda.

Sales dashboards can help individuals and teams achieve sales objectives… but only when they’re combined with smart coaching on HOW to interpret and use dashboard data to inform their workflows, activities, and strategic approaches.

Bethany Fagan

Bethany Fagan Content Marketing Manager at PandaDoc

Bethany is the Content Marketing Manager at PandaDoc. She has over 10 years in the sales and marketing industry and loves crafting new stories and discovering new distribution channels. Outside of the office, she spends her time reading, working out at Orangetheory or trying a new Brooklyn brewery with her husband and two French Bulldogs, Tater Tot and Pork Chop.

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