Salesforce.com Adds Dashboards to Sales Wave Analytics

It's no secret that the world of sales is fast-paced and competitive. Reps, and those who manage teams, will always prefer to save a minute on a task if it allows them to move on to the next. And, rather than spending time toggling between various applications in the hopes that they discover a trend, opportunity, or solution, it’s much more efficient if reps can get the insights and instructions in one centralized location. This week, Salesforce.com expanded the capabilities offered within its Sales Wave data analytics application with the goal of giving sales professionals convenient access to insights about their forecasts, pipelines, and performance, ultimately so that they can outline more effective sales strategies.

Building on the product originally launched last June, the newest release includes several dashboards that enable users to take actions with potential customers based on data rather than conjecture, according to Jamie Domenici, vice president of product marketing at Salesforce.com's analytics cloud division.

Included in the update is the Pipeline Activity Management feature, which allows sales reps to evaluate and compare their performances during various stages of the sales cycle. With it, users can see the average duration of a sales period as well as how long it takes to complete a particular task, which helps to pinpoint the actions that should be taken to meet sales goals.

This "dashboard lets [sales professionals] identify trends from won opportunities and apply them to open deals to establish sales best practices," said Katie Hurley, product marketing manager at Salesforce.com's analytics cloud, in a video presentation of the product.

A common use for the tool is in determining why pipelines dropped, what pushed them, and who pushed them, Domenici says. "[Managers] can take action by creating a Chatter post that instantly alerts the rep to do something about it," Domenici says. Traditionally, she says, these activities were not tracked through a CRM system, and required elaborate communication processes.

End users can also dig deeper into the details of their opportunities to determine where they should be focusing their attention at any given time. The Opportunities to Close dashboards highlight activities, logged tasks, and upcoming events so that salespeople can figure out which ones are the most pressing, and how they should act to push them forward.

"Some reps have hundreds of activities, so they don't know how to prioritize or plan their day, and they [haven't had] the ability to get visibility into where they should focus," Domenici says. An "inactivity monitoring" function, Domenici points out, shows on a bubble chart where they should focus and outlines a path from within Salesforce so that they stay organized.

Salespeople can get also better understanding of their performance, as well as how they fare compared to their peers. Productivity and Leaderboard dashboards place a magnifying glass, so to speak, on day-to-day work activities. Reps "can see where [they] stack rank, the number of deals [they've] closed, how much quota [they've] attained, and if [they are] opening and closing as many new activities as [their] teammates," Hurley said in the video. Managers, meanwhile, can access a visual summary of their team members' performances and determine if they are living up to the forecast numbers.

The new functionality will be going live next week, Domenici says.


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