Creating Dashboards In Salesforce That Really Work

Every day more and more companies start using Salesforce for handling customer relations in all phases of their business. This powerful software suite can even become the backbone of a company's entire information system with the right plug-ins and applications. Salesforce includes plenty of robust reporting features to help you convert all of your information into powerful insights. Effective dashboards are one of the most powerful reporting tools available to you in Salesforce. Here's how you should go about creating dashboards in Salesforce properly.

Choose Your Metrics Carefully

As you're probably already aware, a dashboard is simply a visual overview that combines choice Salesforce reports into a single at-a-glance tool that shows your business's current state of affairs. The basic nuts-and-bolts on creating dashboards in Salesforce is simple -- it usually requires very little besides dragging and dropping - so you should focus on *what* information to put on your dashboard rather than how or where your show it.

Different groups within your company will likely want to pay attention to different metrics. The best place for you to start your dashboard-building process is as close to the top as you can get. Survey executives and managers to find out which figures they pay attention to on a regular basis. These will be the perfect metrics to start with.

The KISS Principle Is In Full Effect When Creating Dashboards In Salesforce

Boiling down a system as complex as your business into just a handful of measurable statistics is a frightening prospect, but it has to be done. Your dashboards have to be simple in order to be effective. The more information you include, the further you get from the idea of presenting a snapshot of your company's current state. If dashboards need extensive analysis and interpretation, then they're not working properly.

The best way to keep your dashboards simple is to zero in on the figures that are most important to particular working groups. Remember, with Salesforce's flexible user roles you don't need to design a single dashboard that's supposed to fit every employee! You can customize dashboards for individual departments and teams so that they're presented only with the data they need.

Let Dashboards Evolve Over Time

While starting at the top is a good way to begin building your dashboards, you should expect to tweak and change them over time. The best input to follow as you do this is not necessarily at the executive level. The individual workers who input the data that feeds your dashboard metrics have the best understanding of exactly what the dashboards show.

You should meet regularly with the employees who feed fresh data into the system to find out what they think of your dashboards. You may discover that you're polling the wrong fields to measure a given metric, or that one of your metrics is better displayed in a different kind of dashboard report. As time goes on, you should be continuously improving your dashboards to make them into more useful -- but not more cluttered! -- reporting tools.

Salesforce is such a huge software suite that it can take time to really grasp all of the possibilities it makes available to you. Dashboards are a particularly important tool because they allow employees at every level to take advantage of Salesforce's robust reporting features without requiring any intensive training. Get started on creating dashboards in Salesforce today and show everyone in your organization what the program is really capable of!
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