| By Chuck Schaeffer
Pretty much every CRM system has a sales forecast dashboard which delivers a snapshot view of revenue progress toward a period end date. But not all sales forecast dashboards are created the same, and in fact most simply display a watered-down version of the pipeline or forecast report. This overtly simple approach makes for some interesting eye candy, but doesn't really help sales managers understand the root causes behind performance variances or revenue shortfalls.
What's needed are connected and deeper views which lead managers to quickly see what's working and what's not. From a business intelligence perspective, this is the difference between looking at eye-candy and getting data driven insights that quickly hone in on the most influential root cause analysis factors and facilitate actionable follow-through.
Taking sales forecast dashboards to the next level means three things.
First, sales organizations are time and resource constrained so when nearing the end of quarter you've got to pick which opportunities are going to get the most time and focus. A good sales dashboard will make this exercise self-evident, and good sale opportunity dashboards will prioritize and lead sales managers to the opportunities which will most benefit from the scarce time.
Second, sales managers need to know if sales person forecasts are accurate, and if the deals forecasted are really going to close. This is where tracking forecast accuracy and opportunity scoring brings truth to the forecast. The Forecast Validation dashboards apply science to corroborate predictability.
Third, when meeting the sales forecast is in jeopardy you've got to have additional information to see if any opportunities not currently forecasted can be accelerated with some type of sales action or flexibility. Sales modeling dashboards can often find additional revenue opportunities.
To meet these real world objectives, it's important to understand that a sales forecast isn't a single panel dashboard, it's a set of related dashboards that deliver dynamic information to varying business challenges.
Here's an approach and several sample sales dashboards that I've used several times with good success.
The Starting Point
Here's a macro view which acts as a starting point.
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