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When is a report not a report? When it doesn’t give the viewer the information she’s looking for – quickly and easily.

Since our blog on the “10 sales and pipeline charts that should be on your salesforce dashboard” a number of people have asked why we insist upon on Matrix reports rather than Summary reports. After all, Summary reports are slightly easier to build than salesforce matrix reports. Well here’s why!

Take a look at the dashboard chart below. It’s #2 on our 10 charts that should be on your salesforce dashboard. It shows the sales pipeline summarised by Close Date and Opportunity Stage.

Example of a salesforce dashboard chart built using either a matrix report or a summary report.

It’s one of the fundamental components for any effective sales dashboard. We’ve created a video that explains the full power of this chart and demonstrates how to create it using a matrix report.

But here’s the key thing. This same dashboard chart can be created using either a Matrix or Summary report in salesforce. So why both to make the small about of extra effort to create it as a matrix report?

Let’s drill down to the underlying report. Here’s what you get when it’s configured as a matrix report.

Example of a salesforce matrix report

But look what happens when the same report is built as a Summary report.

Example of a summary report in salesforce

In the interests of size we’ve had to leave off the bottom half of the report from the screenshot. But it’s the exact same information that’s shown in the matrix report, just in a format that’s a lot harder to read and assimilate.

Clearly the Matrix report gives a much better and more immediate picture of what’s going on. And you get to see the whole set of information in one easy-to-view screen. Watch this video for a full demonstration of the benefits of matrix reports and see exactly how to create one.

A Matrix report doesn’t suit every single situation – but if in doubt, start with a Matrix report. Don’t forget to look at 10 charts that should be on your salesforce dashboard to see some other great examples of matrix reports in action. Or take a look at 10 best practice tips for awesome salesforce dashboards.

And finally, here’s Gary explaining the power of salesforce dashboard chart #2 and demonstrating how to create it using a matrix report.

12 Must Have Charts For Your Salesforce Dashboard

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