4 Replies Latest reply on Dec 7, 2018 9:40 AM by Monica Van Loon

    Salesforce Dashboard Starters - Tips and Tricks

    Monica Van Loon

      Tableau Dashboard Starters for Salesforce:
      18 Lessons Learned



      Looking at Salesforce data in Tableau can be tricky. Pulling together a full data-rich picture requires the technical knowledge to correctly join data from Salesforce Opportunities, Accounts, Users, Contacts and Leads. To help Salesforce customers quickly build visualizations in Tableau seven Dashboard “Starters” for Salesforce are now available.  To ensure the Salesforce Starters were accurate and worked properly for all of the Tableau and Salesforce Users we did a deep dive into each of them.  Below you will see some of our "lessons learned". 

      Update 08-22-2018 : One really great thing is once we brought our discoveries to the Product Team at Tableau they were really responsive and fixed many of the issues.  If you have downloaded the Salesforce Dashboard Starters earlier than August 10 2018 I would suggest you download them again.  I think you will find them much improved!

      See below for an image of the 7 Dashboard Starters for Salesforce:

      Salesforce dashboard starters 2

      • Marketing Leads

      Salesforce dashboard starters 3

      • Open Pipeline

      Salesforce dashboard starters 4

      • Opportunity Overview

      Salesforce dashboard starters 5

      • Opportunity Tracking

      • Quarterly Sales Result

      Salesforce dashboard starters 7

      • Top Accounts

      Salesforce dashboard starters 8

      We immediately put the Salesforce Dashboard Starters through their paces to see if they were a viable option for us and our customers. What we discovered is that while the idea of the Salesforce Starters is great, they needed a little work. For example, while the Starters look great with demo data some didn’t work properly when connected to our real data and we got some blank worksheets. Sometimes there was an easy fix to the problem; in other cases not so much., however, we decided that once the handful of issues are resolved these pre-built dashboards will provide a good starting point for visualizing Salesforce data in Tableau.


      Following are the lessons we learned during our deep dive into Tableau’s Salesforce Dashboard Starters. While you may not encounter all of the issues we describe, this information should help get you up and running as quickly and painlessly as possible.

      Tableau Dashboard Starters for Salesforce: 18 Lessons Learned
      1. Tableau Dashboard Starters for Salesforce are available in Tableau Online (version 2018) if you have the Creator License. You will see them as options when you create a New Workbook.  If you don't have Tableau Online they are also available for download at https://www.tableau.com/products/dashboard-starters-downloads.  We noticed Dashboard Starters on the download site may not be as up-to-date (with fixes) as the Dashboard Starters in Tableau Online.  Update: Dashboard Starters are scheduled to come out on Tableu Server as well in a future release.
      2. Dashboard Starters are written in Tableau 2018.1, which can be a problem if your Tableau Desktop users are on 10. Get around this by using the “Export as Version” feature to export as version 10.5
      3. Dashboard Starters only work with Tableau extracts (they use Tableau’s Salesforce Cloud Connector). As a result, they take a while to open because they are building the extract (we experienced waits of 5-30 minutes). This data is static and must be refreshed periodically.
      4. Dashboard Starters may not present all the Salesforce data you need.
      5. Performance can be unacceptable and can’t be tuned easily. If the source data came from a database instead of a Tableau data extract, performance could be improved by using database functionality like indexed tables, materialized views, summary tables, etc.
      6. Swapping out Tableau’s Salesforce Cloud connector for a local Salesforce reporting database can be difficult. Problems arose due to datatype mismatch and different column names. We especially noticed problems when dealing with Boolean datatypes.
      7. When opening Dashboard Starters, Tableau will build an extract using all of your Salesforce data. Unfortunately, with the Salesforce Dashboard Starters  you can't use extract filters to limit the data retrieved to the most recent years.
      8. Many of the tables in Salesforce use the same column names (i.e. CreatedDate and ID). Therefore, it’s easy to make a mistake when choosing the correct fields. We found such a mistake in the Open Pipeline Dashboard Starter. In this workbook, the “Created Date” field used to calculate the Age of Opportunity comes from the User table (aka Owned By table). Done this way, all of the opportunities for a particular Sales Representative will have the same Age of Opportunity, which is incorrect. The correct field is “CreatedDate” from the Opportunity table. UPDATE 08-22-2018: In the Open Pipeline Dashboard Starter the Age of Opportunity calculation has been modified, Created Date now comes from the Opportunity table!
      9. Many important fields were hidden. Unhiding fields requires rebuilding the extract. NOTE: We realize this behavior is normal and expected when using Tableau data extracts. Hiding fields makes the extracts smaller, which can be a good thing, but it is time consuming and painful to rebuild extracts every time you unhide a field.
      10. In the Open Pipeline Dashboard Starter, the data model contains both Opportunities and Opportunity History. While you may need the level of detail provided in the Opportunity History table, be aware that joining data in this way can cause data duplication and result in incorrect numbers when summarizing measures UPDATE 08-22-2018: Open Pipeline now has a LOD calculation Total Expected Amount that takes care of this.
      11. The default ranges of the default filters may exclude most of your values (i.e. the date filters had upper limits that defaulted to 2017 in many cases) the first thing you should do when opening the dashboards is widen the filters to 2019 to see if you have data.
      12. Once you bring your Salesforce data into Tableau, data integrity issues become apparent. Your maps may not build properly. City, state and country information may have been entered without data validation in your Salesforce instance. Hence, country abbreviations can be inconsistent (e.g. U.S. or United States or USA). This can lead to problems when trying to visualize Sales by Country. You can get around this issue by creating a calculated field or by using Groups in Tableau. We found it is better to fix this issue at the source.
      13. Ideally, data integrity issues (see 12 above) are resolved on the back end using something like Tableau Prep. Unfortunately, Tableau Prep 2018.1 cannot use the Salesforce Cloud Connector. For more details on Tableau Prep, read Tableau Prep – 10 Favorite Features. If you have a SQL Server database of Salesforce data, Tableau Prep can be used.
      14. In the Maps for Top Accounts and Opportunity Overview  many US cities were not displayed on the map as they had ambiguous names. Fix this problem by unhiding the field Account- Billing State and putting it on the Detail Mark on the maps.
      15. Top Accounts had blank worksheets and missing data. This was because a default Action Filter had Industry set to Agriculture (you may have different values). Doing so excluded most of our data and caused some of our worksheets to be blank. Once we changed the Industry action filter to All and applied the filter to all the worksheets on the dashboard, we got the data we expected.UPDATE 08-22-2018: This has been fixed.
      16. You can’t use the Data Grid in the Data Source Tab. This makes it difficult to validate data.
      17. There were some inconsistencies with default formats for dates and currency. Some currencies were set to Euros (Open Pipeline) and Africaans (Opportunity Overview)  also some dates appeared in the European format Day/Month/Year.
      18. By default, users do not have permission to view the workbooks. To distribute/share these you need to modify the permissions. See below:






      At Senturus, we have been using Salesforce for 15 years and we have been a Tableau partner since 2014. We pride ourselves on helping our customers gain valuable insights from Salesforce data using Tableau. And we like to note that we also "eat our own dogfood"…in other words we also use Tableau and Salesforce internally to make better business decisions. The insights we share here are lessons we learned through our own first-hand experience. By sharing them, we hope to get you up running with the Tableau's Salesforce Dashboard Starters as quickly as possible. We also find it very valuable to enrich Salesforce with data from other sources (i.e. Marketo), painting a complete picture of your company’s sales and marketing data.

      Additional Resources

      FYI: You can also embed Tableau Salesforce Dashboards inside the Salesforce Cloud. For more information on this topic see the webinar recording: Embedding Tableau in Salesforce Dashboards.


      Senturus will be presented a live webinar about the lessons we learned using Dashboard Starters entitled: A Deep Dive into Tableau Dashboard Starters for Salesforce. https://www.senturus.com/events/finishing-what-they-started/