This blog post was originally published by Rekener, now a Brainshark company.
What’s the difference between a sales dashboard and a sales scorecard? The main difference is around measuring the progress toward particular goals or outcomes. Here are the definitions according to Google’s web dictionary:
Sales Dashboard: a graphical summary of various pieces of important information, typically used to give an overview of a business.
Sales Scorecard: (in business) a statistical record used to measure achievement or progress toward a particular goal.
Sales dashboards are mainly designed to pull in and visualize raw data. Their purpose is to give sales leaders and other leaders in the company a general overview of what’s going on. Dashboards are good at counting and summing individual statistics. Typically, dashboards cover lots of KPIs across different topics. But dashboards typically don’t provide context around the data being viewed, and they are not designed to help achieve a goal or objective.
Sales scorecards are designed to track progress toward a goal. That goal is usually achievement of quota, or becoming a top performer within the sales organization. Sales scorecards have a more focused scope than dashboards do. Scorecards revolve around just one rep at a time, with the purpose of looking at that rep’s performance, and how it can be improved in order to achieve the objective (hitting quota, or becoming a top performer).
Sales Dashboard Example
In the sales dashboard below, we have data on calls, demos set, and opportunities created by rep, for the current year. This dashboard does a good job of showing me the total number of calls, demos and opps. It also shows me how many of them each rep has had.
What it doesn’t do is let me easily answer a question like “how is Mimi doing?” Because each of the elements on the dashboard are independent, the dashboard doesn’t tell me a story about how Mimi is performing. Instead, it shows me the overall counts of each of the numbers, and requires me to do a bunch of work to figure out how Mimi is doing, if that’s what I want to know.
Sales Scorecard Example
In the sales scorecard below, we’re looking at all the same data as what’s in the dashboard above. But the difference is that the scorecard is specific to Mimi, and is completely oriented around helping me understand Mimi’s performance.
The sales scorecard is designed to answer the questions “how is Mimi doing?” and “how do I help Mimi achieve her goals?” The sales scorecard provides context by highlighting metrics as red, yellow or green depending on whether Mimi’s in the bottom, middle or top bucket of performance. The scorecard also lets you zoom in to a particular metric (in the example, it’s calls), to get more information about the distribution of the team. There, you can see that Mimi’s not the lowest, but she’s made about 2,000 fewer calls than the top performer, Sam.
Tracking Multiple Metrics
Another difference between dashboards and scorecards is the way they handle multiple metrics. Measuring how several metrics move together over time is very challenging in a dashboard. This is because in a dashboard, each metric is typically its own report or graph.
Scorecards excel at showing multiple metrics together on one graph. The benefit is that graphing multiple metrics together allows you to see how metrics impact each other. Sales scorecards can do this well because they aggregate data by rep first, and then plot that per-rep data. This lets you see multiple metrics from different data sources together in the same graph. Geeks call this cross-object reporting.
As you can see in the dashboard example below, dashboards are not very good at cross-object reporting. If you want to see how many demos and opportunities Mimi has had over time, you need to try to stitch together two of the graphs below.
Sales Dashboard with Multiple Metrics
However in the sales scorecard example, you can see that because all the data is already rolled up to the rep (Mimi), we can see how her demos and opportunities are trending over time. This is really helpful because we can see that there’s a really strong relationship between the two. When Mimi sets more demos, she usually creates more opps as well.
Sales Scorecard with Multiple Metrics
Usability by Sales Managers
Sales dashboards and sales scorecards have very different purposes. Therefore, they also have different degrees of usability and functionality for sales managers and other users.
Sales Dashboard Usability and Functionality
Sales dashboards offer a wide range of KPIs and metrics. Not all of the metrics on a dashboard are focused on the same level (like a rep or a team). On a dashboard, you might have a mix of high-level information like total revenue for the company. You may also have some further breakdowns by team or by region. There might be activity data at different levels as well. Dashboards offer nice flexibility because they can pull in data from all different levels within the company, and present lots of graphs showing that data.
This is what dashboards are designed to do. It makes them very useful for people senior in the company because dashboards give a birds-eye view of everything going on. Dashboards can also be great for analysts who will be looking into a particular metric or KPI, and then digging several layers deeper. Analysts often end up pulling data out to spreadsheets for further analysis and modeling.
Sales Scorecard Usability and Functionality
Sales scorecards need to be much easier to use than dashboards, because their purpose is different. The purpose of the scorecard is to make it easy for sales managers to coach their reps or team toward hitting their target.
This is why data in sales scorecards is pre-processed to aggregate it by sales rep. Having the data pre-processed makes the display of that data much simpler. In a dashboard, you start by reporting on the whole company and then slice and dice your way down to reps. In a scorecard, you start with the rep, and everything you see on the screen is related to that rep. This makes the experience way simpler. It also allows sales managers to get insights faster.
In a scorecard, there is very little work required to figure out what’s going on with a particular rep; all their data is right there, easily consumed, and has context (like comparisons to benchmarks, goals, or previous periods).
Having a scorecard page for each rep also allows for some useful functions for sales managers. For instance, because a page in a scorecard app is completely geared toward a rep, you can track notes for a rep in scorecards. This lets managers and reps coordinate on to-do’s, set goals, talk about deals, and have it all recorded in the same place that their KPIs and other data live.
Tracking Against Goals and Targets
Sales scorecards and dashboards also differ in their ability to track progress against goals and targets. Many dashboards are able to display gauges showing progress toward a goal. For instance, in a Salesforce dashboard you can configure a progress gauge to show performance of a metric against a goal (shown below). But dashboards can struggle to display progress toward goals over time. Again, this is because of the fact that a dashboard isn’t pre-processing data, so the goal isn’t really tied to a particular person.
Sales Dashboard – Progress Toward Goal
Scorecards have an advantage in showing progress toward goals, because they are pulling in a 360 degree view of a sales rep. In a scorecard, the goals are already defined by rep, so it’s easy to show progress toward goals over any time period. The benefit of this is so that a manager can measure a rep against their target for a whole period, and also see the trend. This allows the manager to make sure that a rep is making consistent progress toward their goals, and if they are falling off course, they can make corrections.
Sales Scorecard – Progress Toward Goal
Sales scorecards and sales dashboards are both incredibly useful. Dashboards are great for high-level reporting to senior management and getting trend information about the business overall. They’re also good starting points for analysts who want to dig deep into specific parts of the business. If you need to track simple metrics in real time, dashboards are great.
Scorecards are more user-friendly and focused. They let sales managers quickly and easily understand the performance of a rep or team. They provide a 360 degree view of a rep, and they compare that rep to benchmarks, goals and previous periods. They have a specific purpose, which is to help reps achieve their goals and become better performers.
Most companies need both sales dashboards and sales scorecards. Dashboards to feed high-level information out to stakeholders and to provide starting points to analysts. And scorecards to give sales managers and reps a tool to help them make progress toward their goals. A properly implemented sales scorecard is not complicated, and breaks your sales process down to 7 to 15 key metrics, which can be used to provide coaching to a rep.
Learn How to Implement Sales Scorecards at Your Company
Rekener (now Brainshark) provides powerful sales scorecards that improve sales performance.
Schedule a meeting with us to find out the right way to implement scorecards for your sales reps and teams. We will assess your sales process and recommend the KPIs that belong on your sales scorecards so that sales managers can help reps make progress toward their goals. You can also request a demo of our data-driven sales readiness platform.