Dashboards and reports deliver substantial benefits to Salesforce.com users.
Setup correctly, they provide the sales pipeline and performance visibility needed to drive revenue.
However, you can optimize the design and layout of Lightning reports and dashboards to maximize these benefits.
I’ve built hundreds, probably thousands, of Salesforce reports and dashboard components. So, here are my ten best practice tips and tricks for creating awesome Salesforce Lightning dashboards and reports:
- Use metrics with Charts to flash up totals.
- Add relevant Details fields to reports.
- Highlight critical dashboard charts with background shading.
- Use dashboards filters for territories and team members.
- Pre-define colors for picklist fields.
- Use dashboard tables for a quick view of multiple records.
- Double and triple-check dashboard titles and sub-titles.
- Use stacked summaries on reports (most of the time).
- Apply conditional formatting to highlight critical numbers.
- Choose the right report for the job.
Let’s have a close look at each one.
1 – Use Metrics With Charts
A dashboard provides users with critical information, such as revenue won by month for this financial year, for example.
Of course, you can hover over each month to see the sub-total. Or Show Values on charts that are not stacked.
Nevertheless, there’s a vital piece of information missing:
The total for the year. That’s likely something we need to know immediately.
Drilling down from the chart to the report is one way to get that information. But that’s an unnecessary click.
Instead, here’s my first tip. Place metrics alongside the chart to give the summary. :
This time we know, straightway, the total won revenue for the year is $1.1M. We can also see the total revenue for this quarter is $181K.
The dashboard chart to the right reveals the month-by-month breakdown for these figures over time.
In other words, using metrics alongside charts is a critical way to increase the value of that dashboard row to the user.
2 – Add Relevant Detail Fields
Using dashboard metrics like those above means users can avoid drilling down to the underlying report.
However, sometimes you need a lower level of detail. For example, you may want to know about the individual deals making up the total funnel with pipeline charts.
To do this, you can drill down to the report. Then, click a number in the report to see the deals that make up that figure.
This facility is an excellent feature of Lightning reports, compared to their Classic predecessors.
However, here’s a common mistake I see:
Many unnecessary fields are frequently displayed, making it confusing for the user. And often, vital information is not immediately visible.
This poor design happens because, by default, Salesforce adds multiple fields to the Detail section. Critical information such as Stage, Owner, Type, and Amount is often pushed too far to the right to be visible on the screen.
It’s simple to avoid this problem.
I recommend you carefully review the Detail section of the report. Remove any irrelevant fields, and make sure the most useful information is close to the top.
It only takes a few moments, and the result is much better information for the user.
3 – Highlight Critical Dashboard Charts
Often, there’s one critical chart on the dashboard. The importance of this chart outweighs all the others.
In other words, if the user only looks at one chart, it should be this one. Therefore, use background highlighting to draw the eye to this chart.
You achieve this effect by editing the dashboard chart and adjusting the background color.
Simple but effective. I recommend you only do this on one chart, or at the most, one row in the dashboard.
4 – Use Dashboard Filters
In most sales organizations, you want to see performance and pipeline information for the company, team, and individual.
However, you don’t want to create separate dashboards in each case. That’s much work building the individual reports. And a headache to maintain.
Instead, use dashboard filters.
Selecting a filter value such as a salesperson runs the dashboard for that opportunity owner—even the reports filter by that value when you drill down.
You can have up to three filters on each dashboard and 50 values on each filter. That’s enough for most sales organizations.
Here’s where you can find more information about dashboard filters.
12 Must-Have Charts For Your Salesforce Dashboard
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5 – Define Colors For Picklist Fields
By default, Salesforce assigns colors dynamically to dashboard charts.
What does this mean?
It means the color for any picklist value is assigned ‘in the moment’ when you run the dashboard. In other words, there’s no advance color setting for each picklist value.
Unfortunately, this means you can end up with, for example, Won showing in yellow on one dashboard chart, and turquoise on another.
That’s confusing for users.
However, you can solve this problem by assigning fixed colors to all picklist values.
That means whenever the field is used in a dashboard chart, the color for each picklist is consistent.
That makes it much easier to compare information between charts or across dashboards.
6 – Use Dashboard Tables
Sometimes it’s essential to see much more detail on the dashboard.
For example, you might want a list of opportunities due to close this month.
You can achieve this by using a Table component.
In our example, you can see the essential standard fields, plus the pipeline quality metrics and KPIs we recommend.
Of course, you might be wondering:
How can I get more information on these additional pipeline quality metrics and set them up in my own Salesforce system?
3 Pipeline Quality Metrics That Highlight When To Be Sceptical has a full explanation of the metrics and instructions for downloading them for free.
7 – Double (Triple) Check Chart Titles
Here are two BIG mistakes people commonly make with dashboards:
First, the title and sub-title either don’t tally with the information in the chart.
Or second, the titles don’t give the person enough insight into the precise parameters of the data.
Solve this problem by carefully writing each title and sub-title.
Remember, the Lightning interface inserts the Report Title into the dashboard chart title. That may not be sufficiently clear for users.
Instead, craft the title yourself.
If the chart has a complex set of filters, you can also add a footer to make this clear to users.
Now it’s easy for users to understand what they are looking at immediately.
8 – Use Stacked Summaries (Most Of The Time)
Stacked summaries change the way reports group data. It’s often a subtle difference, but a powerful one.
Here’s the same report with Stacked Summaries switched on.
Toggle between the two using the control at the bottom of the report.
You’ll likely immediately know which version you prefer report by report.
9 – Use Conditional Formatting
Sometimes a report can have a lot of zeros or low numbers. This makes it hard for users to see vital information.
To solve this, use Conditional Highlighting in the report. However, be careful as this can result in a sea of colors that makes it hard for users to absorb the information.
Therefore, I recommend that you apply a little trick. Give non-essential values a null color.
This way, only the critical values are highlighted.
This way, you draw the eye to the vital numbers and make the report much easier to read.
10 – Use The Right Report For The Job
People often make a poor choice of the chart to display their information.
For example, a funnel chart:
As you’ll see in this blog post, it’s not my favorite type of pipeline chart.
Instead, a stacked bar chart if often a better choice.
Salesforce Dashboard Tips and Tricks Summary
Salesforce dashboards and reports deliver the management information and metrics needed to drive revenue in your business.
Unfortunately, that significant benefit is watered down. That’s because the reports and charts’ design makes it hard for people to get the insight they need quickly.
However, you can quickly change this. Use our tips to boost the power of your Lightning Dashboards and Reports.
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Track targets in Salesforce including won and pipeline deals
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