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How to tell if your sales funnel is emitting warning signals

How to tell if your sales funnel is emitting warning signals

It’s easy for sales managers to get distracted with the here and now. Especially when there’s constant pressure to hit this month’s target.

Today may look rosy. Or not. But your sales pipeline shape may be a warning signal of a future revenue problem.

And that problem is a missed sales target three, four or five months from now.

Sales managers need to understand whether they’re storing up a problem for the future. They can do that by looking at the shape of their sales pipeline.

It needn’t take long.

Here are two eyeball checks to see if your sales pipeline shape is emitting a warning signal. The checks will tell you whether you should be initiating marketing and business development activities now, to meet sales targets in the future.

Let’s say your sales cycle is typically 3 months. The shape of your sales pipeline tells you whether you have enough early stage opportunities to win revenue three, four or five months from now. That’s the first check.

The second check is to look at the timing of these opportunities. You need to understand whether the early stage opportunities that you do have, are in the right place.

Sales pipeline shape

Take a look at the pipeline chart below taken from a salesforce dashboard.

Sales pipeline shape showing opportunities by stage.

The chart shows all open opportunities grouped by opportunity stage. What we’re interested in are the shape of each segment. They show the breakdown of the sales pipeline by opportunity stage.

In this case our early stage pipeline looks good. The colour shading and numbers on the chart show that we have progressively more pipeline at earlier stages in the funnel.

Now have a look at the pipeline chart taken from another business.

Pipeline shape with not enough early stage opportunities.

This time it’s not so good. The early stage funnel is smaller than the middle or later stages. Just one look at the chart suggests we’re storing up a problem for the future.

In other words, the pipeline chart shows at-a-glance, whether the overall shape and composition of our funnel is a cause of concern.

And of course, you can run this chart at any level in the sales hierarchy. So examine the pipeline shape at individual, team and product level to understand the health of the pipeline.

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Sales pipeline timing

The funnel chart gives an immediate indication of the shape and health of the pipeline.

But we also need to know about timing. Specifically, are the early stage pipeline opportunities related to deals that are due to close some months from now? If your sales cycle is 3 months and these early stage opportunities are all due to close this quarter, then you might have a problem.

Look at the chart below. It relates to the second funnel chart we looked at a moment ago.

Significant proportion of the early stage opportunities are due to close this month.

We saw in the funnel chart that the early stage pipeline is too small. And now look at the timing. A significant proportion of the early stage pipeline is due to close this month. So now I’m immediately sceptical that I’ll meet the revenue target for this month.

In this case there is relatively little early stage pipeline three to four months from now. In many B2B sales environments, that’s a sure sign of an impending revenue problem.

In comparison look at the dashboard chart below. It shows the time-based spread of the opportunities in the first funnel chart.

Most of the early stage opportunities are due to close in later months.

There’s relatively little early stage pipeline due to close this month or the next. In contrast, most of the early stage opportunities are due to close three to six months from now. There’s a good head of steam built up to meet future sales targets.

By the way, we’re written a blog post specifically on using and creating the Open Opportunities by Stage dashboard chart. The article includes a video of Gary demonstrating how to apply the information in the chart and step-by-step on how to create it. It’s chart #2 in our series of the ‘12 Charts that should be on your salesforce dashboard’.

Investigate the pipeline shape further

These dashboard charts tell you in one eyeball glance whether you’ve enough early stage pipeline. If you think you’ve a problem then the first thing to do is look into more detail. Find out exactly where the funnel shape is wrong.

Drill down on the charts by team and opportunity owner. Look to see whether the shortage of early stage opportunities lies predominantly in one territory or geographical area. If you use products on opportunities (which you should!) then create the same reports based on opportunity line items. That way you can determine whether the problem is confined to one product family.

Also check there’s not sandbagging going on. In other words, are sales reps deliberately holding opportunities outside salesforce until they’re confident the customer is going ahead? If that is the case, then you’re missing the visibility of sales performance needed to manage a team effectively. It also makes it impossible to accurately assess how deals are leaking from the sales funnel.

Once you have a detailed understanding you can decide on the marketing and business development actions that will protect future sales volumes.

So act now – create the dashboard charts that tell you about the shape and size of your sales pipeline. Then have a quick glance to check they’re not giving off warning signals!

And now, read our 5 tip guide to creating high impact salesforce reports.

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How to Increase Your Revenue by Measuring Sales Velocity

How to Increase Your Revenue by Measuring Sales Velocity

The quicker your sales velocity the more you sell.

At least that’s the theory.

But experience with one of our customers shows this isn’t necessarily the case.

In fact, slowing down during the investigation and discovery stages decreases the overall sales cycle velocity BUT increases win rates.

And that results in increased revenue.

There’s also a great deal more insight on how to manage the sales team by analysing how long opportunities spend in each stage of the sales cycle.

So read about Modernis’ experience in using sales velocity charts and reports in salesforce to discover the full story.

Measure overall sales team velocity

Take a look at the sales velocity chart below. It’s taken directly from the dashboard of one of our customers, Modernis.

Salesforce dashboard chart comparing sales cycle velocity for closed won versus lost opportunities.

The chart shows the average duration of the sales cycle in days.  It compares the time spent at each stage in the sales cycle for Closed Won deals versus Closed Lost opportunities.

Closed Lost opportunities have a shorter sales cycle than Closed Won. This is good news. It means that in Modernis, non-viable opportunities are being qualified-out at relatively early stages in the sales cycle.

In other sales teams we often see the reverse.

In these cases, the sales cycle for Closed Lost deals is significantly longer than Closed Won. But these sales pipelines often contain a disproportionate number of lame duck deals. There are drifting opportunities in the funnel that have long over-stayed their welcome. It’s easy to spot these deals by counting the Number of Close Date changes.

Take another look at the chart or examine the underlying report below. The report shows the Average Time in days for each Stage.

salesforce report comparing sales cycle for opportunities

In Modernis the length of time spent on Investigation is significantly different between Closed Won and Closed Deals.

This is deliberate. Time spent uncovering the prospects needs and buying process is viewed as time well spent. It enables the information to be gathered that allows a tailored proposal to be created. Like the hare and the tortoise, quicker is not necessarily better in Modernis.

Individual sales person velocity

But let’s see what else we can learn. Let’s study the sales velocity for selected members of the sales team (the names of the Modernis sales people have been changed in the interests of confidentiality).

Compare the velocity of opportunities owned by different sales people.

The chart shows there’s significant variation in both the length of the sales cycle and the average time spent in each stage.

Dave Apthorp’s sales velocity

Dave Apthorp is the leading sales person in Modernis. He has been for several years. It’s not the first time he’s featured in one of our blogs – The True Story of the Best and the Worst Sales Person on the Dashboard – demonstrates the importance of using more than one metric to assess sales performance.

But let’s look here at the length of Dave’s sales cycle by stage.

salesforce dashboard chart comparing sales cycle speed for dave apthorp.

Dave Apthorp has the shortest sales cycle. But he has the longest Investigation period – by some distance.

In other words, it Dave is taking more time than any other sales person to understand fully the customer’s needs. This means he can tailor and customise his proposal to align it with the customers’ expectations. And that goes a long way to explain why he has the shortest Proposal and Negotiation stages. Customers see the value in what he is proposing.

Here’s what Dave himself said when we showed him the sales velocity chart. “There are only two secrets to selling. One, qualify your deals. And two – get any objections out and on the table early. It doesn’t mean you have to answer the objection there and then. But get them into the open early so you can work out how to answer them in your proposal.”

And that in my view is the secret to improving win rates, reducing the sales cycle and successfully concluding deals. Ask open ended questions to fully uncover the customers’ issues. And then tailor your proposal accordingly.

So let’s look at what else we can learn by looking at the sales velocity of selected other reps.

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Shaun Yates’ sales velocity

Shaun is the second highest revenue producer in Modernis over the last 12 months. He’s also got the slowest sales velocity.

Shaun Yates sales cycle

Shaun’s deals spend a lot of time in the Prospecting Stage. The Investigation Stage is comparatively short, at least compared to Dave’s.

However, we dug into some of Shaun’s opportunities. We found the level of information he was gathering during Prospecting was far in excess of the other sales people. In other words, he’s effectively doing the Investigation.

When we discussed this with Shaun we made an interesting discovery. His interpretation of what constitutes a qualified opportunity – the difference between the Prospecting and Investigation Stages – was different to everyone else’s.

In fact when you combine Prospecting and Investigation, Shaun is spending nearly as much time as Dave on understanding the customers’ needs, issues and buying process. And now that we’ve clarified the terminology, Shaun is moving his deals into the Investigation Stage earlier in the sales cycle.

Shaun also has the longest Negotiation stage. Shaun and his manager, Jim Peters, think this is because Shaun is relatively inexperienced at closing deals. He’s hesitant to ask for the sale. So Jim has arranged for Shaun to accompany Dave on several sales meetings and has lined up some external training.

So that’s two further benefits of measuring sales velocity. Iron out variations in the understanding of terminology that may be distorting management visibility of the sales pipeline. And identify training needs that will help sales people increase their revenue performance.

John Davies’ sales velocity

John is the third ranked performer on the Modernis team in terms of overall sales volume. His conversion rate is also the lowest – he wins a lower percentage of his opportunities than anyone else.

Let’s look at the average time his deals spend in each stage of the sales cycle.

john Davies sales cycle

Opportunities owned by John and Shaun spend a similar amount of time in the Prospecting Stage. However unlike Shaun, John is quite slow to respond to new Opportunities. We know this from the Activities charts on the sales dashboard.

Is John spending enough time on Investigation? Certainly it’s less than Dave and Shaun (if you include Shaun’s Prospecting stage).

But look at his Negotiation stage. It’s significantly longer than Shaun and Dave.

In addition to having the lowest conversion rate, John’s opportunities experience the greatest number of Close Date changes.

salesforce dashboard chart comparing the number of Close Date changes on opportunities

This shows that not only is John slow to qualify new opportunities, he’s not doing a great job of it. In other words, his deals consistently move from one month to the next. That means he’s expending significant amounts of time and energy on deals that are in the later stages of the sales cycle. And many of these deals fail to close successfully.

To improve John’s velocity and revenue, Jim Peters has arranged one-to-one coaching to help John improve his qualification process. Jim is also tracking the speed with which John gets to grips with new deals – and John knows this is a metric on which he is being scrutinised.

Jim has also arranged for John to go on an open-ended questions course to improve his investigation and discovery skills. That will allow him to spend more time on Investigation and do a better job of creating a tailored proposal that genuinely meets the customer needs.

Sarah Watson’s sales velocity

Here’s an interesting one. Have a look at Sarah’s sales velocity and form a view on how her sales volume compares to the other reps.

sarah watson sales cycle

If you think that Sarah is the lowest overall sales producer then you’re absolutely right.

She’s spending minimal time on Investigation. And a huge amount of time with her deals are in the Proposal stage.

So what can we infer about the way Sarah manages her opportunities? Quite simply she needs to do a lot more work during Investigation and create a more tailored proposal to the customer.

But let’s not jump to too many conclusions too soon. She might not be spending enough time in the early stages – but is that because she feels under pressure from the management team to get the customer proposal out of the door? Is this a management rather than a sales person issue?

Jim tells us that Sarah is the newest member of the sales team although she has worked for Modernis the longest. Her previous role was a technical team leader on the implementation team. Jim is confident she has the knowledge and inter-personal skills to succeed in sales. He’s coaching her to ‘calm down’ and work smarter not faster!

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12 Must-Have Salesforce Dashboard Charts | With Video And Examples

12 Must-Have Salesforce Dashboard Charts | With Video And Examples

Salesforce dashboards to increase visibility of the sales pipeline and improve forecasting accuracy.

There’s no doubt about it.

That’s the number one reason businesses invest in Salesforce licenses.

Yet many sales managers are frustrated.

They still do not have the Salesforce dashboard charts that give visibility into the size, quality and trend in the sales pipeline needed to forecast accurately. They also can’t look back at historic results to gain the insight that will drive improvement in future sales performance.

But that problem can be fixed.

Here are examples of the 12 must-have Salesforce dashboard charts that every sales manager needs.

These Salesforce dashboard charts, and the underlying reports, give tremendous visibility into the sales pipeline and sales performance. For each dashboard chart, we also point you to a dedicated blog post and other resources for even more in-depth information.

In the interests of brevity we’ve ignored variations of these charts. These variations can provide additional insight for your business by analyzing sales performance by product, campaign, territory, customer type and so on. Use the charts examples recommended in this blog post as the core building blocks to create your organization-specific Salesforce dashboard and reports.

1) Closed Won Opportunities by Month

We all want to know how much sales revenue has been won. That’s what the Closed Won Opportunities by Month dashboard chart tells us.

The chart shows how much sales revenue the company has achieved during the financial year.

Closed Won Opportunities chart on the salesforce dashboard measures revenue achieved this financial year.

In this example, the dashboard chart and underlying report summarize the information by individual sales person. If you have a larger sales organization, then group the chart by team, country or territory.

The dashboard chart and report give top-level insight into sales performance. In our example, Dave Apthorp is consistently the top performer. Sarah has improved her performance significantly after a poor start to the year. Peter, in particular, can benefit from coaching and training to improve his performance.

Combine this information with your personal knowledge of each team or individual to get an immediate overview of sales performance across the company. Use the other dashboard charts that analyze historic performance (for example conversion rates, average deal size) to determine the specific support and actions each person needs to take in order to increase their sales results.

Incidentally, the trick here – as with many Salesforce dashboard charts – is to create the graph as a stacked bar chart and the underlying report as a Matrix report. Yes, it’s slightly easier to create a Summary report. However it’s only a small step further to create a Matrix report. And the results are so much more powerful.

Of course, the Closed Won Opportunities by Month dashboard chart doesn’t tell us anything about future revenue performance. That’s where the other pipeline charts we recommend come into play.

Blog posts related to this salesforce dashboard chart:

10 Illuminating Ways To Measure Closed Won Deals. Examples of other ways to analyze historic sales performance.

When Is A Report Not A Report. Demonstrates why Matrix Reports are nearly always better than Summary Reports.

2) Pipeline Deals by Close Date and Opportunity Stage

If you only use one dashboard chart to manage the sales pipeline then make sure it’s this one.

Opportunity pipeline report and chart on the salesforce dashboard shows deals due to close over the coming months.

The chart shows the value of Opportunities that are due to close each month. Within each month, we can see the deals in terms of the Opportunity Stage. Stacking the chart by Stage gives visibility of the overall health of the funnel.

The Pipeline Opportunities By Close Date and Opportunity Stage dashboard chart delivers the fundamental information needed to manage the sales funnel. Sales managers and executives can use this chart to assess the size of the pipeline and to begin forecasting future revenue.

This dashboard chart also tells us whether the pipeline is sufficiently mature this month and next month to achieve revenue targets. This means managers and salespeople have an early warning that tells them when remedial action is necessary

For example, let’s assume we are in January.

There’s a substantial amount of pipeline due to close this month that is still in Prospecting and Investigation. If, for example, our typical sales cycle is 3 months, are we confident these deals will close in January? Are they at the right Opportunity Stage? Should these opportunities be scheduled to close in a later month?

What about the deals in April that are in the Negotiation Stage? Is it really going to take 4 months to close these opportunities? Maybe. Or are there steps we can take to bring these deals forward?

A key variant of this dashboard chart is the Pipeline Opportunities by Close Date and Owner.

Examine the pipeline by opportunity owner using this salesforce dashboard chart.

Use the summary by Owner to identify which teams or salespeople have the most pipeline due to close both this month and in the longer term.

Blog posts related to this salesforce dashboard chart:

If You Only Create One Dashboard Chart Make It This One. This blog posts gives more examples of how to use this dashboard chart and includes a video by Gary demonstrating the chart in action.

If You Only Create One Dashboard Chart Don’t Let It Look Like This! Explains what to do if too many opportunities with Close Dates in the past make your beautiful chart look like a washing line!

3) Traditional Funnel Chart

The traditional funnel chart should be on your sales dashboard because it’s a good graph to look at – once a week.

The traditional funnel salesforce dashboard chart reveals whether the pipeline shape is in proportion.
Here’s the thing about this chart. The shape never changes.

It doesn’t matter how big or how small your pipeline is. The outline funnel shape will always be the same size and shape on your dashboard.

So why bother with it?

Well, the answer is because of the value of the information the segments within the funnel give you.

If the funnel was in perfect shape, the value of the pipeline in each segment would get progressively smaller.

But that’s not always the case. In fact, if you look at our example, the value of deals in Investigation is less than the value in Customer Evaluating. In other words, the later Stage has more pipeline than the preceding Opportunity Stage.

Look also at the Prospecting Stage. A significant number of deals may be qualified out at this initial stage. So, should the Prospecting Stage be larger?

In other words, the chart is warning that your pipeline may be out of shape. Potentially we need to initiate marketing campaigns to boost the size of the early-stage funnel. We may also need to examine our qualification and investigation processes in order to move deals more effectively through the sales cycle.

Is the shape of the traditional funnel chart in your business a cause for concern? Only you know the answer to that question within the context of your sales team.

But that’s why it’s a good chart to look at once a week.

Blog posts related to this salesforce dashboard chart:

Big is Beautiful: 4 Easy Charts To Measure Pipeline Size. Demonstrates the traditional funnel and other dashboard charts to measure pipeline size.

12 Must Have Charts For Your Salesforce Dashboard

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4) Top 10 Pipeline Accounts

In most companies, the sales team will be able to nominate immediately the top one or two prospects.

But what about the top 5? Or the top 10?

The Top Pipeline Accounts table shows customers and prospects ranked by total pipeline. This helps managers and salespeople in prioritize their time. It means salesperson effort, time and other resources is focused on areas where it is likely to have the greatest impact.

Prioritize salesperson time and effort using the Accounts with most pipeline salesforce dashboard chart. Displaying the information on a dashboard table is a good way of focusing attention on the top Accounts. Limit the dashboard table results to the top 5, 10 or 15. Then on the underlying report, list all Accounts with Open Opportunities.

In our example, we can see that High Hill Estates has the greatest amount of pipeline. In fact, it has twice as much sales pipeline as the next nearest Account.

Are we proactively managing the relationship with this Account? Is a robust key account management plan in place? Do we understanding their buying process? Have relationships been established at multiple levels? Has a clear close plan been established and validated with the customer for each opportunity?

The underlying report shows the constituent Opportunities for each Account. Can a large, single deal be done if the report reveals the total figure for High Hill Estates comprises multiple, separate opportunities? Indeed, if the CEO has time to visit only one Account, let’s make it this one.

In short, the Top 10 Pipeline Accounts dashboard table and report provide the essential information that helps executives prioritize the companies’ sales, account management and business development activities.

And don’t forget, like any other dashboard chart, replicate the table at territory, team and individual salesperson level to prioritize activity at all levels in your sales organization.

Blog posts related to this Salesforce dashboard chart:

How To Build Key Account Plans In Salesforce. Demonstrates examples of key account planning within Salesforce.

Stop Guessing, Start Measuring Key Accounts. Reports and Salesforce dashboard charts that measure key account performance.

5) Long-Term Pipeline Trend

Dashboard chart numbers 2 to 4 describe the sales pipeline as it stands right now.

But what about the trend in the size of the sales funnel over time? Is the pipeline increasing or decreasing in size?

The Sales Pipeline As-At chart gives us the answer. It measures the size of the pipeline ‘As-At’ the 1st of each month. As such, it shows the long-term trend in the size of the sales pipeline.

The Long Term Pipeline trend dashboard chart shows the size of the sales pipeline on the first day of each month. Grouping the information by Historical Stage gives additional insight on the make-up of the sales pipeline. It allows us to understand the overall trend by Opportunity Stage.

In our example, the pipeline has been growing over recent months. This is largely due to a significant increase in deals in the Prospecting Stage. That’s good news. Do we understand why it has happened?

We may also want to investigate why the size of the pipeline in the Customer Evaluating and Negotiation Stages has declined. Are the sales team having trouble moving deals through the sales process? Was the pipeline created over the last few months of the right quality?

The As-At Pipeline chart has a little sister. It’s called Opportunities with Historical Trending. This chart measures the short-term trend in the pipeline. For example, the trend in the size of the pipeline over the last 4 weeks.

Use the dashboard charts in tandem to understand the trend in the size of the pipeline. The As-At report gives the big picture – it tells whether efforts to grow the pipeline in the long-run are effective. The Historical Trending chart demonstrates whether short-term initiatives to boost funnel size are successful.

Blog posts related to this Salesforce dashboard chart:

Measure The Trend In Your Sales Pipeline. Demonstrates the Long-Term Pipeline Trend and Short-Term Pipeline Trend Salesforce dashboard charts in action.

6) Open Opportunities by Created Date

Size isn’t everything. Quality matters too.

Here’s a simple but effective way to assess pipeline quality. It’s the Open Opportunities by Created Date dashboard chart. The Pipeline by Created Date dashboard chart is an excellent way of examining the age and quality of the sales pipeline. The chart shows the existing funnel, summarized by Created Month and current Stage. You may also want to create a similar report and dashboard chart that summarizes the information by Created Month and Opportunity Owner.

Let’s say it typically takes three months to close a deal in your business. If there are significant number of opportunities open much longer than this, then are these genuine, viable deals?

As such, the chart and underlying report give executives the information they need to start the process of validating the sales pipeline.

In our example, let’s assume we are in January 2017 and that our sales cycle is typically 3 months. What about the opportunities opened in February, March and April 2016? Are we confident they are legitimate opportunities? Did the Close Dates shift regularly simply to maintain the size of the pipeline? What action should we take to bring these deals to fruition?

Reviewing the pipeline by Created Date is a simple, but effective way of identifying potentially dormant deals in your pipeline. But it also gives valuable information on how much pipeline is being created month-on-month.

Look again at our example chart. Progressively less pipeline was created over the last 3 months of the year. Should we be concerned about this? Perhaps it’s due to a strong focus by the sales team on closing existing deals before the end of the year. On the other hand, is it an early warning that we may have insufficient pipeline to meet our sales targets in Q1 2017?

Either way, we may need to implement marketing and business development initiatives to correct the trend.

Blog posts related to this Salesforce dashboard chart:

How To Tell If Your Sales Funnel Is Emitting Warning Signals. Salesforce dashboard charts that indicate the pipeline may contain ageing deals of low quality.

12 Must Have Charts For Your Salesforce Dashboard

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7) Pipeline Quality Metrics Table

If you want to predict tomorrow’s weather here is the most statistically reliable way to do it. Whatever the weather is like today, forecast that is how it will be tomorrow.

Sales deals are similar.

Deals that are stuck today will probably be stuck tomorrow. Opportunities that slipped last month are more likely to slip this month.

Here are three pipeline quality metrics that act as a barometer for managers and salespeople.

Three metrics on the salesforce dashboard highlight deals that are likely to slip from one month to another and result in the sales forecast being missed.

1. Number of Close Date Month extensions. This counts the number of times the Opportunity Close Date has shifted from one month to another.

2. Number of Days Since The Last Stage Change. This is the number of days since the Opportunity Stage was last updated.

3. Number of Days Open. This is the number of days the Opportunity has been open. The clock stops counting when the deal is Won or Lost.

Display the information in a dashboard table. In our example, we are showing the metrics for the top 10 deals due to close this month, ranked by the number of days they have been open.

This is high impact stuff. The table is a powerful way to draw the eye to deals due to close this month that need to be scrutinized.

Are we relying on these deals to hit our sales quota this month? How confident can we be that each opportunity will not slip to another month? Will the sales cycle complete satisfactorily on those deals not updated for a significant period? That may be unlikely.

Use the table to improve the accuracy of sales forecasts. The three pipeline quality metrics do not give the answer in themselves. But they do give a heavy hint on which deals should be reviewed and need an urgent action plan.

Blog posts related to this Salesforce dashboard chart:

3 Killer Pipeline Metrics That Highlight When To Be Sceptical. Explains how to use the three metrics to identify deals that might slip from your sales forecast for this month.

8) Opportunity Conversion Ratios / Win Rates

A small increase in Opportunity conversion rates has a disproportionately high impact on overall sales revenue.

That’s why measuring opportunity conversion ratios / win rates is critical.

The opportunity conversion rate salesforce dashboard chart shows the win rate by salesperson for each month of the year.

The Opportunity Conversion Ratio / Win Rate chart shows the percentage win rate over time. It does this in two ways:

  • Win Rate by Amount.
  • Win Rate by Count.

Measuring the win rate in both ways means we can understand whether salespeople are more effective at closing higher value or lower value deals.

In our example, the win rate by Amount is higher in most months. This means we successfully closed a greater proportion of large value deals compared to smaller opportunities.

In September and October, the situation reversed. The team successfully closed a greater proportion of lower value deals.

Did the sales team lose focus on the higher value deals? Did we discount more heavily during these months? Or did we have new joiners that had less experience with larger deals?

The underlying report gives detail about win rates at the individual salesperson level. This is crucial information for identifying coaching, training and support needs.

Nevertheless, be careful. An over-emphasis on win rates can have unwanted consequences. Do not risk encouraging sales people to leave opportunities out of the pipeline until a deal is on the table (i.e. sandbagging).

Conversely, don’t discourage salespeople from setting deals to Closed Lost when opportunities no longer have legs. You need an accurate pipeline, not one full of dormant deals that salespeople are afraid to close-out.

Blog posts related to this Salesforce dashboard chart:

How To Use Opportunity Conversion Rates For Superior Results. More in-depth examples of how to use conversion rates and opportunity win rates for effective sales performance management.

How To Measure Opportunity Win Rates Across Teams. Examples of dashboard charts that compare team and pan-company conversion rates.

9) Average size of Closed Won Deals

Recent research with one of our customers shows a 65% variation in average deal size between salespeople in one team.

That is a huge range.

All salespeople are working comparable territories. And selling the same products to similar customers.

Increasing the average deal size for salespeople at the lower end of the scale was a business development priority for this company. Addressing this issue resulted in increased sales revenue without any increase in the number of deals in the pipeline.

This salesforce dashboard chart shows the average size of closed won opportunities for each salesperson.

Many things explain variations in average deal size. These include differences in experience between salespeople, variations in the average number of products sold per opportunity and different levels of discounting by sales teams.

These are challenges that our customer addressed through training, coaching, personal development and adjustments to sales process and pricing strategy.

Nevertheless, unless you quantify this essential metric you will lack the information needed at salesperson level to identify the right course of action to boost revenue.

Blog posts related to this Salesforce dashboard chart:

Why You Need To Compare Average Closed Won Opportunity Size. Additional information on using average deal size metrics to identify potential improvements in sales performance. Includes examples of how Opportunity Products can be analyzed to understand which salespeople need to add more optional or non-core products to their deals.

10) Completed Activities per Salesperson

Sales deals do not close themselves. Pipelines do not grow automatically.

Tracking the number of completed sales Activities can provide valuable insight to explain varying levels of sales performance. Review Activity reports in conjunction with the other dashboard charts outlined in this eBook to analyse trends and variations in sales performance.

Sales deals don't close themselves so use the Completed Activities dashboard chart to track salesperson effort in winning opportunities.

In our example, there is an upward trend in the number of Activities completed by the sales team. That’s a positive sign. Indeed, the increase in Activity volume by Sarah may be a strong contributory factor in the improvement in her sales performance over the year that we saw on other charts.

However, we can also see that there are variations in the number of Activities completed by each salesperson. Shaun and Peter have recorded significantly lower levels of Activity compared to Sarah and Dave.

Consider tracking Activity levels by salespeople in several different ways. For example, compare activity with new customers versus existing customers. This will show whether the activities undertaken by salespeople are consistent with the overall sales strategy.

Improve the effectiveness of this dashboard chart by making two small configuration changes in Salesforce.

First, modify the Activity Type picklist to values that suit your business. Make the field mandatory, This will provide additional insight on the type of activities that salespeople are completing.

Second, make the Due Date mandatory. This means activities will always be associated with a date. This is essential for producing dashboard charts that accurately count the number of activities completed each month.

Blog posts related to this Salesforce dashboard chart:

How To Spot Key Accounts You Should Be Focusing On. Explains how to use Activity Reports and dashboard charts to identify key accounts that need a renewed focus.

11) Leaking Funnel Report

Every sales funnel leaks. That’s the nature of the game. It’s why the traditional sales pipeline chart is shaped like a funnel.

But there’s two things that sales managers need to know about funnel leakage. Is the funnel leaking excessively? And is it leaking in the right place? The Leaking Funnel report tells you both of these things. Use the leaking funnel salesforce dashboard chart to analyze deals that have been lost from the sales pipeline. This dashboard chart measures the number of times Opportunities have moved to Closed Lost from each preceding Opportunity Stage. In our chart, it does this for deals that have been set to Closed Lost in the last 120 days.

For example, the dashboard chart shows that 8 Opportunities have moved from Prospecting, directly to Closed Lost.

All other things being equal, it is good that the first Opportunity Stage has the largest number of Opportunities that move to Closed Lost.

This implies we are qualifying-out deals we are unlikely to win. It means salespeople are not wasting time, effort and resources chasing deals when there is no clear competitive advantage.

However, look at the Negotiation Stage. Five Opportunities went directly from Negotiation to Closed Lost.

Again – all other things being equal – that movement in Opportunity Stage is bad news. It means we invested a considerable amount of time and effort moving the deal through the sales cycle, only to lose the opportunity at the last moment.

Of course, we need further investigation on the movement from Negotiation to Closed Lost before deciding on the right course of action. Is the trend attributable to one particular salesperson? How does the data compare for existing versus new customers? Does it apply only to opportunities with certain product groups?

Blog posts related to this Salesforce dashboard chart:

3 Steps To Plug A Leaking Sales Funnel In The Right Place. How to measure where and when the sales funnel is leaking in order to take the right action.

12) Sales Performance versus Target

Measuring sales performance against target is a fundamental aspect of managing a sales team.

However, there is no Target tab in Salesforce.

So how do you measure sales versus target or quota? Well, there are three ways to do this in Salesforce.

  • Use a gauge on a dashboard.
  • Use the Forecasts tab.
  • Use the GSP target tracker solution.

It’s the first of those options we illustrate here. There are three ways to track sales performance against target in salesforce; the dashboard gauge is the quickest and easiest to implement. The dashboard gauge runs from a report that measures Closed Won opportunities. Manually calibrate the red, amber and green settings within the dashboard chart settings.

The dashboard gauge option is quick and easy to implement. The downside, compared to the other two options, is that it provides no insight on whether there is sufficient pipeline to meet the sales target next month or this quarter.

Separate gauges need to be used to track performance versus target for each individual salesperson and sales team.

The Forecasts Tab provides advanced functionality for target tracking, including the ability of managers to override their subordinates targets. It is, however, relatively complex to operate and salespeople and managers need significant training to use it effectively.

The GSP Target Tracker App provides easy-to-understand charts and additional metrics to measure sales versus target. It also automates the forecasting process and avoids the need for sales people to create or update manual sales forecasts. The App also allows sales managers and salespeople to determine whether there is sufficient pipeline to meet target for this month and future months.

Blog posts related to this Salesforce dashboard chart:

3 Ways To Measure Sales Versus Target in Salesforce. Explains the options for measuring sales performance against target in Salesforce – dashboard gauge, Forecasts tab and the Target Tracker.

Is Your Sales Funnel Big Enough To Make Your Revenue Target. Using a custom solution such as the Target Tracker to measure expected revenue against target.

Recorded Webinar | 12 Must-Have Salesforce Dashboard Charts

Join Gary Smith, CEO of The Gary Smith Partnership and Senior Consultant Dan Bailey. Gary and Dan demonstrate the 12 charts in action and the contribution each makes to performance improvement and pipeline management.

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Are You Everybody’s Nightmare Sales Person on the Dashboard?

Are You Everybody’s Nightmare Sales Person on the Dashboard?

Modernis is a capital equipment manufacturer. Everyone in Modernis knows Dave Athorp is the best sales person in the company. The league table at the top left of the dashboard shows it’s true. But the chart alongside it show’s he’s the worst. Fortunately the third dashboard chart explains why Dave is simultaneously the best and the worst salesman. Dave’s family have never seen a Salesforce dashboard but they also know he’s the best. That’s because later this year they’ll be going on a luxury holiday to Mexico paid for by Modernis as a reward for Dave’s efforts. Last year Modernis paid for them to go on safari in Africa. Before that it was Egypt.

But hold on. The chart in the middle of the top row of the dashboard shows that Dave Apthorp is the worst sales person in Modernis. It measures Opportunity Win Rate. The percentage of deals that each person has won. Dave is ranked last. He converts fewer deals than anyone else.

best worst sales person dashboard

How can this be the case? The chart to the right explains it. It shows average deal size. Dave isn’t just top of that league he’s top by a country mile. Dave doesn’t convert that many deals, but when he does, you can be sure it’s going to be a big one. This is enough to consistently make him the top sales person.

Sales Director Jim Peters explains. “When you drill into some of the other charts on the dashboard you can see that all of Dave’s activities are focussed on a small number of major Opportunities. He puts all his efforts into the three or four biggest deals each quarter. He virtually ignores everything else.

“That’s OK. He enjoys working on these deals and he’s good at it! So now, we’re giving Dave’s smaller deals to some of the other guys to work on. Dave can carry on doing his stuff but this way we’ll generate incremental revenue from those small deals that would otherwise be left untouched”.

What’s the moral of this story?

Managing a sales team isn’t just about one metric. The value of Closed deals or the size of the pipeline for example. It’s about having a number of charts and graphs that give information on a variety of measures. The ones that are important to your business.

By having around 10 graphs on his Salesforce.com dashboard Jim is able to get the visibility he needs to take effective management action that results in an overall increase in sales.

What happened next?

Jim Peters made those changes at the end of 2012. Dave again landed some big deals during 2013. That put him in his usual place at the top of the Average Deal Size league table. For the first time ever he’s also top of the Conversion Rate chart. But – and this is the first time that anyone can remember – he’s only third on the Won Deals Revenue leader board. And Jim Peters is ahead of his target.

There’s 6 weeks left in the year. Dave Apthorp has told his family he’ll be taking them to the Far East. We’ll update you in January on whether Dave will be paying for it himself.

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