Running an incentive compensation program is no small task — when there's money on the line, everything needs to be perfect! From dealing with time constraints to minimizing errors and reducing cross-functional friction, organizations must ensure they get every detail right. After all, we're talking about sales reps' hard-earned cash!
The sensitive and critical nature of calculating employee commissions accurately (and quickly) led to the CaptivateIQ platform. Our founders recognized early on that “everybody wins” if we could help more businesses manage this complex problem with greater ease, automation, and intelligence.
- Sales reps would have greater trust that they are accurately rewarded for their efforts.
- Commission teams would get weeks back in their day-to-day to focus on more significant initiatives.
- Leadership and sales managers would have better visibility and insights into quota attainment across their various incentive plans.
All of the above starts with sound sales compensation dashboards.
This article will define (and show examples of) a sales compensation dashboard, detail why they are so important, discuss some of the “must-have” features, and more.
Let’s start with a definition.
What is a sales compensation dashboard?
A sales compensation dashboard is like a GPS for sales organizations. It can help track how much money (revenue) your sales team brings in, how many deals have closed, profit margins, and other crucial sales performance metrics. It can also give you real-time insights into an individual’s performance against quota, commissions, and other key performance indicators that help evaluate the effectiveness of each rep on the sales team.
Think of them as one-stop shops for sales data. The dashboard typically includes the following:
- Sales goals: The targets that the sales team is expected to meet.
- Sales performance: The actual sales achieved by each team member (and the team as a whole).
- Commissions earned: The amount each salesperson makes due to their sales.
- Sales pipeline: The opportunities currently being pursued by the sales team.
- Customer acquisition costs: The cost of acquiring each new customer.
- Sales quota attainment: How close (or far) to reaching sales quota.
Sales compensation dashboards arm leaders with information that lets them monitor progress towards commissions and other incentives in the compensation program, empowering them to make informed decisions about compensation plans and the overall sales strategy. In addition, sales reps and managers get real-time views into performance and attainment. All in all, it's an excellent way for teams to visualize results in an easy-to-access format!
Why are sales compensation dashboards important?
Other than visibility and transparency (both huge!), compensation dashboards are essential to:
Gain trust and accountability: When compensation dashboards are visible to all in the sales organization (as well as the C-suite), an inherent openness and confidence come along. There is no hiding when you can see where everyone sits with sales and compensation — in real-time. All are accountable.
I love that it's clear to understand and doesn't confuse me when I look at the commissions for the month. It's great to have a graph view as well as a list of the different opportunities but also insights on the quota attainment and quarterly bonus. — Lucia B., Strategic Account Manager
I love that I can see my compensation calculations up front, and with a relatively easy-to-read breakdown available so I can compare my shadow accounting with what's being reported. Also, it's very easy to escalate/audit concerns to the ops team and have a conversation about what's missing. — Darren S., Account Executive review on G2
Streamline the processes: Managing sales commission processes can be time-consuming and full of potential (human) errors. Sales compensation dashboards help to streamline the entire process saving time and improving accuracy.
Commission teams get weeks back in their day-to-day to focus on more significant initiatives.
Commissions calculations now happen in seconds. We went from spending a few days calculating and sending statements to reps to spending just a few hours on this. — Jeff M., Head of Finance, Harness
Managing commissions is a pain, and it takes time away from other more important tasks. This helped me stop wasting time building my own spreadsheets to track everything. — Jay W., Enterprise Sales
Make better (data-driven) decisions: Dashboards are a good way to tell us “here’s what happened” but may not necessarily tell us “why did this happen?”. It’s important to have the ability to apply filters so you can slice and dice the data any way you see fit to see what’s really going on. For example, suppose you have teams spread across the globe. In that case, you can create a global dashboard and apply geographical filters to understand each market’s performance without creating multiple reports.
Create alignment with a single source of truth: Sometimes, applying a filter isn’t enough. Instead, you want to see the underlying data to know where this number comes from. (CaptivateIQ allows users to double-click on any data point to easily see the raw, underlying data table from which the visualization is pulling from! You can even export this data into a spreadsheet to further apply your Excel Ninja skills.)
And ultimately, sales compensation dashboards create a better rep experience.
CaptivateIQ’s custom dashboards give sales reps and managers enhanced visibility into performance — including leaderboards, top performers, and the like.
The best thing about CaptivateIQ is the time it has saved me when calculating commissions. It also has the flexibility for us to report data being used in our calculations thus allowing transparency and confidence in what our sales reps are being paid. — Laura H., Analytics Manager on G2
What are the guiding principles when creating a "winning" sales compensation dashboard?
A handful of “must-haves” exist for a top-notch sales compensation dashboard.
Relevance and alignment: Metrics and data being presented must align with the goals of the sales team and the organization; otherwise, the insights generated could be misleading or unhelpful. For example, a sales compensation dashboard tracks the total number of calls each salesperson makes, but the sales team's strategic objective is to increase customer satisfaction.
User-friendliness: Dashboards should have clear, easy-to-use interfaces, with visualizations presented in a logical, appealing, and organized manner. This helps users quickly pinpoint key metrics and trends and take action to improve performance.
Real-time data: Having dashboard data update in real-time makes it easier to spot trends and patterns in sales performance and make informed decisions that optimize sales. The latest (and greatest) data empowers sales leaders to quickly adjust compensation plans, strategies, and resource allocation.
Customizability: No companies are the same, especially regarding goals and objectives. The metrics most important to one organization may be less relevant to another. Customizable dashboards allow organizations to choose the specific metrics and data they want to track and present in the most valuable and relevant way. Customizable dashboards can also improve user experience, making them more engaging and likely to be used.
Integrations: Connecting commission data to your existing software can save hours (and weeks) of unnecessary work. Integrations also help automate tasks and streamline workflows. For example, when a deal is closed in a CRM, a sales commission dashboard can automatically calculate appropriate commissions — a time saver and error reducer!
Integrations can help “future-proof” the sales compensation dashboard by allowing for the addition of new data sources or systems as the business grows or changes. CaptivateIQ connects effortlessly to your CRM, ERP, HRIS, data warehouses, and more. Check out how you can access commission data, no matter where it resides, with our data integrations.
What are some of the more common sales commission metrics?
Sales commission metrics track sales teams' performance and determine compensation. Here are a few of the more common metrics to follow.
Sales revenue: The amount of money a sales team brings in through sales. It can determine the overall compensation for the team and individual salespeople.
Gross margin: The amount of money a company makes on each sale after accounting for the cost of producing or acquiring the goods sold. Think profit margin. It’s often used to gauge the profitability of the sales team.
Sales activity: This is a sales team's “daily hustle” — the number of sales-related activities by individual and team. Activity could include sales calls made, meetings booked, demos given, and follow-up emails sent.
Sales pipeline: This is how sales leaders track the number and value of opportunities — deals in various stages of the sales process. The sales pipeline means managers can better predict potential revenue, use insights to set goals, determine compensation, and plan for the future. Analyzing pipeline also means sales leaders can identify areas where the team may struggle, such as lead generation or closing techniques.
Customer acquisition cost: The amount of money a sales team spends to attract and win new customers – marketing and sales expenses (advertising, promotions, email outreach, various software, etc.). By tracking the customer acquisition cost, sales managers can see how efficient and effective the marketing and sales teams are at attracting new customers. This information can be used to set goals, improve sales strategies, and determine compensation.
But what is the magic number when it comes to metrics to measure? 1? 100?
Mark Kemp, CaptivateIQ’s VP of Customer Experience, suggests:
Line of sight is key. I’ve seen plans with 20-30 sales metrics, but that high of a number makes it nearly impossible for a sales rep to know where to focus their efforts. So 3 is the magic number. More than three is too complicated. Less than three is not maximizing opportunities for incentive levers.”
What are examples of sales compensation dashboards?
If you can visualize a better commission dashboard, you can build it.
Those are words we live by at CaptivateIQ.
We believe in a world where there’s no need to download multiple reports from different sources. No need to paste disparate data into spreadsheets. No need to build charts and pivot tables to attempt to dissect the data.
CaptivateIQ Dashboards give commission admins an easy and powerful way to create custom visualizations using any data set from any commission plan already connected to our platform.
Bonus: If you want to create a different view for reporting needs (i.e., you need total attainment by rep but don’t want to change the source data), you can massage the unified dataset by applying calculations without altering the raw data.
Types of commission data visualizations
Some people like a clean number. Some prefer charts. Others like tables. That’s why these options (and more) are available to help you create that perfect reporting view for your intended audience.
Need to aggregate the total commission payout from last month? Use summary cards to quickly show leadership what they’re looking for.
Want to show a time series of rep attainment over the last quarter? Or a breakdown of sales revenue by compensation plan by territory? Select from any of these standard charts to lay out your data in a straightforward and easy-to-understand way.
- Combo (Line + Bar)
Turn your compensation program from an administrative task to a strategic advantage
Sales commissions make up one of the most significant line items on a company’s P&L. Yet so many companies are managing this complex process using outdated software or manually in spreadsheets. No wonder commission teams spend weeks each month administering payouts instead of improving their compensation strategy.
With so much time spent administering commissions, few teams have the time to look under the hood to ask themselves, “are we incentivizing our reps correctly?” To answer that question, commission admins must spend even more time downloading different reports, running more calculations, and sharing data with leadership to prove their point. And who’s got time for that?
CaptivateIQ’s goal is to automate as much of the commissions process as possible so that revops, finance, accounting, and sales leaders can have more time to process what’s most important.
Want to explore how CaptivateIQ’s Reporting suite can help you drive informed decision-making for your business? Take a product tour!