In a previous blog, we offered tips to supercharge Salesforce reports. But most executives using Salesforce don’t have the time to click through multiple isolated reports. They need the ability to see all of their relevant data in the same place, so they can quickly compare metrics from across their organization and spot significant trends.
A Salesforce dashboard provides precisely that — if built correctly. As with reports, however, the best functionality of these dashboards may not be readily apparent to new users. So in this blog, we give you 5 super-user tricks that can take your Salesforce dashboards to the next level. But we recommend switching to Lightning when trying these out, as many of these tips only work in that interface.
Setting up meaningful filters for your dashboards.
One view is rarely sufficient for the data-driven executive. Their businesses are multi-faceted, and they rightly expect their reporting to reflect that complexity. Luckily, Salesforce Lightning’s dashboard filter functionality has significantly improved in the past few years. You can now filter all of the data in your dashboard at once, even when pulling information from different objects.
This feature is especially useful with date fields because the system allows you to choose which date field the filter applies to, report by report (see image below). Pairing this functionality with relative date filters like “This Year” or “Next Month” is especially revealing; one dashboard with the right filters now takes the place of multiple ones.
These filters also work with picklists, so long as the same field exists on every report in the dashboard. For example, you can filter a dashboard about accounts, opportunities and contacts by industry so long as each underlying report can reference the same account "Industry" field.
Creating dynamic dashboards (or not).
By default, a Salesforce dashboard will display values from one user’s perspective, no matter who views it. This feature lets users briefly shed their security restrictions to see high-level data summaries. For example, when creating a sales dashboard, selecting a sales manager as the running user allows any sales rep to understand the entire team’s performance.
Dynamic dashboards, meanwhile, make sure that different users see a dashboard differently based on their security access. You can use this feature to build one that shows a single sales rep his/her deals, a sales manager all of his/her team's deals and the sales director everything across the company. You’d need a different standard dashboard for each user to recreate that same functionality!
Salesforce provides you a limited number of dynamic dashboards, so you can’t overuse them. For each one, think about the audience and its functionality: Do I want everyone to see the same thing, or do I want each user to see only their information?
Using custom coloring in a Salesforce dashboard.
In the Spring ‘18 release, Salesforce added the ability to customize dashboard colors. Choose an overall palette and set the background of each specific component (light or dark) to style your dashboards however you wish. If you don’t see the option to do so, ask your admin to add the “Change Dashboard Colors” permission to your profile.
And with specific components like gauges and metrics, you can customize the individual colors shown in each value range. These items default to green/yellow/red, but Salesforce gives you numerous ways of finding the perfect hue.
Building the perfect table.
For a while, table components offered limited flexibility to dashboard builders, but with the new Lightning Table feature, you can do much more. “Legacy tables,” as they are called now, are still available and allow you to view your data grouped as it is in the source report, but they only display two columns. Lightning tables, meanwhile, show every row of data and support up to 10 columns (with a broader selection of fields to choose from). It helps to try out both types and see which one fits your needs.
Legacy table of won opportunities by owner
A lightning table of the same data lets you pull in more fields
Both kinds of tables now support conditional highlighting, which adds the same options for custom coloring and thresholds mentioned above.
Reusing the same report multiple times in a single Salesforce dashboard.
Dashboards in Salesforce offer a fantastic breadth of functionality, so it’s critical to manage that breadth by building them as efficiently as possible. While every graph, table and metric needs to tie to a source report, it’s often quickest to reference the same one multiple times if you want to see similar data in slightly different ways.
For example, if you’ve created one report that shows open Opportunities, with Amount and Expected Revenue grouped by stage and closed date, you can build the following charts and metrics from it:
- A funnel chart of Opportunity amount grouped by stage
- A gauge on total current pipeline amount
- A bar graph of expected revenue by closed date
- A metric component showing total expected revenue in the pipeline
Any tips or tricks we should add? Comment below, and we might feature them in our next blog on Salesforce Lightning dashboards.