This article explains how to create a sales dashboard in Tableau in an easy language. Anyone can understand these instructions and doesn’t require a data science background.
Sales agents and representatives often create sales strategies based on previous experience. While experience is of paramount importance, they also need to go through the current sales data to craft a customized sales plan.
The best way to visualize the current sales pattern of your business is by creating dashboards. There’s no better sales dashboard-making tool than Tableau. Keep reading until the end to learn how to get started with dashboards for sales, creating a dashboard design, building a dashboard in Tableau, and publishing it.
What Is a Sales Dashboard?
A sales dashboard is a consolidated data visualization for every sales figure between two dates. It helps you to see how you’re doing in terms of selling your products or services.
Dashboards are often big, colorful pictures that use charts, graphs, and numbers to show important information. This information includes things like how many products you sold, how much money you made, and if your business is meeting its goals.
Experts in data analytics and data science call this a dashboard because it’s highly related to the card dashboard. A vehicle dashboard shows you a speedometer, odometer, fuel gauge, temperature gauge, and so on. Similarly, the sales figure dashboard shows the inventory status, sold items, pending sales, earned revenue, profits, sales goals, etc.
Why Do You Need a Sales Dashboard?
Primarily, you must use a sales dashboard to visualize the overall sales performance of the business. It helps you to drive sales growth if you’re not meeting your monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, or yearly sales targets.
Find below other major reasons to create and follow a dashboard of sales figures of your business:
You can create and share view-only sales dashboards with your sales team to always keep them informed of the sales performance of individuals and the whole business.
If you’re presenting business performance to investors or other audiences who have got limited understanding of raw data, sales dashboards are great options.
Such dashboards allow you to let your customers and clients interact with data in an easy way so they can feel more engaged with your brand.
If you’re a sales agency or a large business and manage multiple sales projects, dashboards allow you to create project portfolios and visualize sales data from all such projects.
Also, you can create sales forecasts by creating sales dashboards and projecting the sales using forecasting algorithms like Exponential Smoothing, LSTM, Temporal Fusion Transformer, Autoregressive, and so on.
Sales dashboards work like data storytelling to motivate your sales reps. When sales agents see how they are selling in a day, week, month, etc., they feel the urge to do better and sell more.
Characteristics of an Outstanding Sales Dashboard
Find below the qualities your sales dashboard must include:
The layout and filtering system of your dashboard must match the skill levels of the target audience. If you plan the dashboard for professionals who have got intermediate understanding of the tool, you can include complex filtering options. On the contrary, if the dashboard is for customers, include easy filters and content so they can digest the message.
The sales KPIs and metrics are different for various sales projects in different businesses. So, monitor the metrics in your sales dashboard that match the business’s goals and also the audience’s interest.
Ensure the connected data source updates frequently so the audience can see the latest sales figures.
Choose an effortless dashboard sharing mechanism like online link-based sharing or linking to the apps of your brand.
Creating a Winning Sales Dashboard Strategy for Tableau
Before you start creating a dashboard on Tableau, you must create a layout for it. There, you can plan what KPIs and metrics you want to monitor. Also, this practice enables you to add the best data visualizations that you actually need.
If you don’t want to invest a lot of time in creating the dashboard and find out it’s not aligned with your business’s goals, create a dashboard design with collaboration. During the collaborative design phase, include key stakeholders of the sales department so you don’t miss out on things that the sales rep needs on the dashboard.
Find above a mock-up I created for a sales dashboard on Miro. Similarly, you can also use Miro to create the blueprint of the dashboard. The tool allows real-time collaborative design so you can invite guests to help you with the design process.
How To Create a Sales Dashboard in Tableau
It’s ridiculously easy to create a working dashboard in Tableau. You just need a few data visualization objects in separate worksheets. Then, you can just drag and drop these data visualizations on a new Dashboard page of Tableau to create a basic dashboard. Find below the steps you can follow along with
#1. Connecting Data Source to Tableau Workbook
To create a dashboard, first, you need to import your raw database to the Tableau desktop app. Tableau enables you to import datasets from 50+ sources, including the following major ones:
A Tableau server
Microsoft SQL Server
Generic JDBC and ODBC sources
Here are the steps to link datasets to a Tableau workbook:
Choose your favorite dataset connector on the Connect panel.
I’m importing a CSV file so I clicked More under the To a File option.
Navigate to the database file you want to link to Tableau.
Select it and click Open.
All the content of the dataset will open in the Data Source tab of Tableau. To start creating calculated fields or visualizations, you need to create new worksheets.
You can create multiple visualizations from your dataset in worksheets. These worksheets will later become inputs for the dashboard.
When creating a sales dashboard, you must insert a Tableau Parameter to easily filter through large datasets. Here’s how:
On the Data pane, click the drop-down menu and choose Create Parameter.
Give the Parameter a name.
Switch the Data Type to String.
Choose List for Allowable values.
Under the Value column, enter the field names as given in the Data pane.
Click Display As to populate the same names.
Click OK to close.
We’ll also need a Calculated Field and here’s how I created it:
Click the Data pane drop-down and select Create Calculated Field.
Create the data analysis formula in the new Zonal Sales field as shown below:
Now, I can easily create a line chart for Zonal Sales vs. Year of Sales in Tableau. The visualization will also add a filter for all the sales regions like EU, NA, JP, and so on. Here’s a screenshot of this visualization:
To show zonal sales figures by Genre, you can also drag and drop the Genre field from the Data pane onto the Marks > Color setting. It’ll look as shown below:
Similarly, I created four more worksheets with data visualizations for Top 10 Names by Sales, Top 10 Publishers, Top 10 Platforms, and Top 10 Genre. All these visualizations also have the dynamic Zonal Sales filtering parameter.
#3. Setting Up a Dashboard Using Worksheets
Now that you’ve got the data visualizations you need, creating the dashboard is a breeze. Follow these steps:
Click the New Dashboard icon.
A blank dashboard will open.
Now, drag and drop worksheets here from the Sheets section in the Data pane.
You can add various objects to the dashboard, like Text, Image, etc., from the Objects section on the Data pane.
How To Share or Publish Your Tableau Sales Dashboard
There are various ways you can publish or share your dashboard on Tableau with internal and external audiences. Find below the methods you can follow:
Publish to Onsite Tableau Server
Click the Server menu on the top toolbar of Tableau.
Hover the cursor over the already signed-in server address.
Now, click the Sign In to Another Server option in the overflow menu.
On the Tableau Server dialog, enter the server IP address.
Wait for the data sync to complete.
Now, sales reps can access the dashboard on their device, provided they access the same Tableau server.
Print PDF and Share Via Email
On the Dashboard worksheet, click the File menu and choose Print to PDF. When you get the Print to PDF dialog, choose the Active Sheet option and a page layout, like Landscape, and click OK.
Now, you just need to choose a destination, and you’ll get the PDF in the selected folder.
Publish Dashboard to Tableau Cloud
If you’re logged in to your personal or organizational Tableau account via the Tableau desktop app, you can access the Tableau Cloud to save sales dashboards online. Employees and vendors accessing the same Tableau Cloud portal can easily access your published dashboards. Find below the steps:
Click the Share icon on the top of the dashboard.
The Tableau Cloud dialog will show up.
Fill in the details and click Publish.
Present as a Microsoft PowerPoint Slide
Do you need to present a sales dashboard during an upcoming online or in-person presentation? You don’t need to redo the same dashboard on Microsoft PowerPoint. Instead, you can convert the Tableau dashboard into a PowerPoint slide. Here are the steps:
Click the File menu on Tableau.
Choose the Export As PowerPoint option.
On the Export PowerPoint wizard, you can choose any of the following:
Specific sheets from this dashboard
Specific sheets from this workbook
On the Save PowerPoint dialog, choose a destination.
Publish to Tableau Public
A great way to showcase your work as an individual or brand is to publish your Tableau workbooks and dashboards on Tableau Public. The data analytics and data science community members often visit this portal to get template ideas.
Here’s how you can also do it:
Click the Server button on the top toolbar of the Tableau dashboard.
Hover the mouse cursor over Tableau Public.
Click the Save to Tableau Public option.
Sign in to your Tableau Public account.
You should now see the Saving workbook to Tableau Public dialog.
Once the uploading is done, the published public version of the sales dashboard will open in your default internet browser.
Best Practices for a Functional Tableau Sales Dashboard
Do the following when creating a dashboard to monitor sales in Tableau:
Define the specific goals and objectives of your Tableau sales dashboard.
Ensure data accuracy, consistency, and reliability for meaningful insights.
Tailor the dashboard to the needs and preferences of your audience.
Prioritize important data using visual cues such as color and size.
Keep the dashboard uncluttered, avoiding excessive information.
Incorporate filters, parameters, and actions for user interactivity.
Maintain a consistent design and naming convention for clarity.
Optimize the dashboard for speed and responsiveness.
Ensure the dashboard is accessible and functional on mobile devices.
Provide documentation or tooltips to explain data sources and metrics.
Keep the dashboard current with real-time or scheduled data refreshes.
Promote cross-team collaboration by sharing insights and findings.
If you’ve followed along with the steps mentioned in this article, you’ve successfully created a basic yet functional sales dashboard. Use this as a foundation and improve your dashboard with more content, calculated fields, filters, object buttons, color coding, and more.
If you don’t want to invest much time in building dashboards on Tableau from scratch, visit this Tableau portal for cool and professional templates for sales dashboards. However, learning how to create a sales data dashboard in Tableau enables you to dive deep into the technicalities of data visualization and personalize the dashboard according to business needs.
Are you looking to get actionable insights for the upcoming marketing campaign from existing marketing data? You must create marketing dashboards on Power BI by following the simple steps mentioned in this article.
Are you working with a huge dataset in Tableau, and bar charts aren’t enough to visualize the data efficiently or make out actionable insights from the chart visuals? You can go a step ahead and use histograms to visualize the insight you’ve been looking for.