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How to Kill a Sales Opportunity in 3 Simple Steps Garrett Mann

Senior Director, Corporate Communications

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In a market where both upstarts and 800 lb gorillas are competing for business, it is critical to make the most of every opportunity. But creating and capitalizing on technology marketing and sales opportunities in today’s economy is no easy task. It takes a lot of hard work, collaboration, and sometimes, long periods of time to achieve success.

Unfortunately for you and your sales teams, it takes far less time to kill an opportunity than it does to create it.

In order to prevent this from happening to you, you must recognize the things that will nail the coffin on your opportunities and avoid them like the plague.

3 things that will kill all marketing and sales opportunities

There are lots of things that can negatively impact deals, some of which are out of your hands. But most deals are killed from the inside and here is why:

1. Carts are not meant to come before horses 

Ever heard the expression “time is the death of all deals”? There certainly is some truth to this, but a much more powerful expression to consider is this: “Impatience causes wise people to do foolish things.” It is not time that kills deals, it is impatience. In your rush to follow-up immediately on that lead that came in, you forgot to apply common sense.

To illustrate this point, let’s take a look the most common form of lead generation for technology marketing and sales teams: white papers. According to TechTarget’s latest Media Consumption study, the vast majority of technology buyers think that vendor sales reps should wait at least 3-5 days before following up with them after they have downloaded your white paper. Only 8% want to be followed up on immediately. Remember, the average buy cycle is 3-6 months long – not 1 day.

It’s not about your instant gratification – IT guys are very busy planning and researching projects that they need answers for. Your white paper is merely one piece of that research. Waiting just a couple more days may allow that buyer to consume your information and place it into context with their current project which will put your outreach on their terms and make it much more timely.

Let them get past Chapter 1 – As much as it may hurt to hear, most technology buyers will not always read through your entire white paper. That being said, unless they are speed reading savants, there is no chance they will read it if you follow up immediately.

2. You don’t bring a knife to a gun fight

Being an under-informed sales rep is the equivalent of bringing a knife to a gun fight. In other words, the less you know about your prospects, the more un-prepared you are to win the battle (i.e. their business). But fear not knife-wielding sales reps, there is a remedy for what ails you: intelligence.

Without the proper intelligence, this would be impossible. It is up to marketing to get the right info at the right time to fuel sales opportunities. it is is up to sales to use it.

3. No shirt, no shoes, no content…

You guessed it: no service.

Content is a technology buyer’s lifeline to the projects they are managing. The proliferation of content available allows buyers to self-educate themselves about your brand and your solutions. Without content, your marketing and sales opportunities are truly dead in the water. In fact, you never even get the chance to make mistake #1 and mistake #2 if you make mistake #3.

Set up your sales teams for success, not failure: If you don’t have the right mix of content to offer to buyers, I would suggest working with a third party or your media partners to help fill any gaps you have in your content portfolio.

Deal, No Deal image via Shutterstock.

B2B marketing, b2b technology buyers, conetnt marketing, content development, media consumption research, opportunity generation, opportunity management, sales and marketing alignment, sales opportunities

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The Surface Pro 3 Opportunity

The Surface Pro 3 Opportunity

Third time looks to have been the charm for Microsoft, with the Surface Pro 3 proving to be a surprise hit among most reviewers – even those who are usually ardent Apple fans. As Vincent’s glowing judgement of the adaptable tablet suggests, there’s a lot of value to be found in a flexible form-factor. The glaring omission, though, is in not taking that flexibility to its logical conclusion: it wouldn’t take much for Microsoft to really tip Surface into must-have territory.

Clip on the keyboard, and you have a high-resolution, processing-capable – in the Core i5 form of the Surface Pro 3 I was playing with – ultrabook. The new hinge, with its steeper recline, and the extra magnetic strip to stop the wiggle in the Type Cover add up to something that’s surprisingly stable, whether you’re using the tablet on your lap or a desk.

As someone who spends most of his days typing, the keys aren’t the finest. It would take some getting used to, switching from a regular laptop ‘board. Meanwhile, the trackpad – though a clear improvement over the glitchy rectangle on the previous Type Cover – lacks the size and smooth reactions of, say, an Apple trackpad.

Microsoft’s opportunity, then, is in filling the niches that leaves open. For instance, plenty of avid typists I know would jump at the option to have a better keyboard, even if it made for something slightly thicker and lighter.

Another option could see a slim battery pack included in the Type Cover, helping boost the Surface Pro 3’s runtimes to true iPad Air-rivaling lengths. Microsoft seemingly chickened-out on the Surface Remix Cover, with its touch DJ controls, but that’s not to say dedicated key layouts are a bad idea.

It’d also have the added benefit of helping justify Microsoft’s otherwise frustrating decision not to bundle the Type Cover, but instead sell it as a $130 add-on. The (mediocre) official line is that, since it comes in several colors, including it in the box with the Surface Pro 3 while still catering to every hue preference would be too complex. Far better, though, to be able to point to a range of keyboards as the justification.

Then there are docks. Microsoft has a desktop dock in the pipeline, true, but why not a speaker dock with meaty amplification for multimedia use (sensible, too, to factor in Windows Phone streaming as well, with NFC for neatly streamlining the hook-up process with your Lumia), or a gaming dock with control sticks.

What’s even more exciting is what Microsoft could do down the line, and how the current Surface Pro 3 ecosystem might evolve. Intel has unveiled a number of chip technologies this week, several of which have some serious potential for Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 tablet line.

Broadwell, the newest ultra-frugal processor range that Intel expects to see in ultrabooks and tablets later this year, seems ideal for Surface, particularly the oft-rumored Surface Pro 3 Mini. Intel’s reference design is a mere 7.2mm thick, and fanless: they’d be admirable traits for a smaller – say 8-inch or thereabouts, with the same 4:3 aspect ratio – version of the current model, running full Windows rather than the little-loved RT variant.

It’s not hard to imagine a WiGig accessory suite for a future Surface Pro. A keyboard, perhaps, that not only clips to the tablet for use on the go, but which pulls off but stays wirelessly connected for more ergonomic desktop use.

In that desktop setup, meanwhile, the Surface Pro could instantly link to a set of displays, fast enough for gaming and video editing to take place.

Modularity is edging into fashionable right now; Google, for instance, is expected to detail Project Ara, its modular smartphone, at I/O in just a few weeks time. Being able to customize and shape a device to better suit your own needs is increasingly relevant, and with a little thought, Microsoft could position Surface Pro at the heart of the same thing for tablets.

How To Create A New Instagram Account & Optimize It In 10 Simple Steps

Whether you’re bored, procrastinating, looking for inspiration, killing time, wanting to connect with others, in need of a quick laugh, or anything in between, you’ll most likely find yourself on social media. Not just any platform, but one that’s easy to scroll through, even easier to use, and one that everyone else is on: Instagram.

You may already be familiar with Instagram from a consumer perspective, but what about Instagram for your business? It’s no secret that this platform is key to finding social media success. However, it’s just a matter of getting started. But if you’re left feeling a little intimidated by making a new Instagram account, don’t be. We’ll help you through every step of the way by covering:

How to create a new Instagram account for your business.

How to best optimize after making your new Instagram account.

Tips to get started and grow your Instagram following.

Why should I create a new Instagram account?

If you’re unsure about taking the plunge onto Instagram for your business, consider how Instagram is a powerful social media marketing tool.

It’s the 7th most trafficked website in the world and the 4th most popular social media site of 2023. In fact, there are almost 1.5 billion Instagram users worldwide, and 81% of those users are on Instagram to research products and services. Not only that, but 50% of people have visited a website to make a purchase after seeing it on Instagram and nearly 140,000 users are visiting a business’s page on Instagram each minute.

You’ve probably heard friends chatting about the site before, or even browsed it yourself. This acts as proof that you’ll find your target audience on Instagram, and be able to connect with them in a more meaningful way.

Plus, creating a new Instagram account is easier than you think! It takes five minutes to get started.

How to create a new Instagram account (and optimize it!)

Don’t worry too much about making the perfect account initially. Set yourself free from the idea of achieving perfection, and instead focus on just getting started. Remember, you can tweak your account as you become more comfortable using Instagram.

Step 1: Go to the sign-up page

You can sign up for an Instagram account on either mobile or desktop. Instagram will ask you to enter your contact information (which is either your email or phone number), your full name, a username, and a password.

One common way to sign up for Instagram is through your Facebook account. But keep in mind that you will not be able to make an account using the same email or phone number as another Instagram account. Instagram will show a big red X to mark any incorrect information. You must create an account using an original username and cannot take one that’s already in use.

An important note here: while you can create a brand new Instagram on your desktop, Instagram is made to be mobile. That means it’s best to create Instagram posts from a mobile device.

When you create an Instagram account for the first time, you should be prompted to create either a personal or business page. Choose the business option—it’ll give you access to more analytics and the ability to pay to boost posts.

Step 2: Choose an original username

Your username is one of the most important elements to choose. Your username is different than your full name! Your full name appears at the top of your biography section and should reflect your personal or business name. Your username will be big and bold on your profile and should be a play on the full name of your business.

But with roughly one billion users already on Instagram, it can be tricky to come up with a recognizable username that’s available to use. It may take some brainstorming!

Here are a few things to keep in mind when developing an original Instagram username:

Instagram usernames are not case-sensitive. @HANDLE will be the same as @handle. However, you should make the username you choose accessible by capitalizing the first letter of each word,

Avoid using numbers, dashes, or dots‌. These characters are hard to read and make your account resemble a spam account. If you must, use an underscore between each word instead.

Try to keep it simple. You don’t need to have a long username to be effective.

Ideally, your user handle should match your other social media accounts. That’s not always possible (because someone else may have your handle) but this brand consistency can help you be discovered by your audience on any platform.

Make sure you spell it correctly! If you spell your words wrong or include typos, it makes your brand seem unprofessional and makes it difficult for people to find you.

What do you do if your ideal username is already taken? Simply add a small alteration. This is a great time to add a keyword to your username that you can rank for. For instance, if your business is called “Sugar Mama Sweets,” adding the word “Bakery” will help you rank in results.

Some brands and individuals will even add the word “official” to show that they are a genuine account. This is very common with celebrities, but anyone can do it. Instagram usernames have a limit of 30 characters, so make the ones you choose count.

Step 3: Optimize your Instagram name

Instagram’s algorithm searches the words in your Instagram bio and name fields every time someone makes a search on the platform. Optimizing your Instagram bio and name ensures that you pop up in those results.

Here are a few examples of keywords that you could add to your Instagram name field:

Try adding the name of your occupation. If you’re a doctor or therapist promoting your services, add those words to your profile. Likewise, if you’re an author, mechanic, or chef, add that information!

Try adding a keyword about the service you provide. If you create graphic design templates, try a keyword like “Graphic Designer” or “Social Media Templates.” If you’re a BBQ chef, add keywords targeted to the food you create like “Vegan Chef” or “BBQ Brisket.”

Step 4: Optimize your Instagram bio

Writing an Instagram bio for the first time will take some creativity. Think about the first impression you want to leave.

Here are a few quick tips on how to optimize your Instagram bio:

Use emojis sparingly. While emojis are fun, they don’t help with search optimization. Try using a few emojis to space out the different sections of your bio. You can also use emojis to call attention to your call to action (like how the Instagram bio example below uses the finger emoji to point to a free guide).

Ask people to give you feedback on your bio! They can give you honest feedback about the first impression they get from your profile.

In short, your Instagram bio needs to have the following elements:

A clear explanation of what your business does

A succinct tidbit about who the business services

A bit of personality that’s consistent with your brand

Get tips to adjust your business description for your Instagram bio here.

Step 5: Add a website to your Instagram profile

Use the “Link in Bio” section to lead visitors to your website’s homepage, newest blog post, or even your portfolio of work. Guide potential customers to your email newsletter sign-up or a freebie giveaway promotion. The sky’s the limit!

The way you use the “Link in Bio” section depends on what you need it for. Here are a few examples of how professionals use Instagram:

A hairstylist may include a link to her website where clients can book an appointment.

A consultant may include a link to their Calendly where people can book a free consultation.

A journalist may include a link to their portfolio of work.

A news organization may link to its website homepage or its newest story.

A company may include a link to its newest blog post.

The options are truly limitless, so think about what you’d like to link to most. If you don’t currently have a website, you can create a simple Instagram link using Linktree, Koji, or Milkshake. However, if you already have an existing website, it’s better to create a social media landing page just for Instagram. That way your Instagram traffic will go directly to your website instead of a link list generator.

Step 6: Add your location to your profile

If you run a location-based business, it’s important to make sure your audience can find you. Turning on your Instagram location services will automatically create a location tag on all of your posts and stories, which can help people in your area discover your services.

Go back to the “Edit Profile” tab. Select “Profile Display.” Make sure that the “Display Contact Info” is turned on. This should turn on automatically when you enter your contact info, but check just to make sure. Then you’re done!

An important note: adding your location to your Instagram profile is currently only available for business accounts, not personal ones. Personal accounts can simply note their location in the bio section.

An example of a small business Instagram account with a location added to it.

Step 7: Add a professional profile picture

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and Instagram profile photos are no different! Instagram is a visually-driven platform, so the profile picture you choose will be under extra scrutiny.

Never leave your Instagram profile picture blank. Your account will look spammy, fake, and unprofessional with a blank profile picture. Avoid choosing photos that are pixilated, awkwardly shot or cropped, or out of focus.

Instagram profile photos are small and circular. Because your profile picture is a small image on the home page feed and on your profile, you should avoid adding lots of hard-to-read text to it.

Your profile photo can be anything you want, but if you need some ideas, we’ve got you covered:

Try using your small business logo when creating a new Instagram account. If you don’t have one, consider a high-resolution image of your product or storefront.

Step 8: Create your first Instagram post

Now that you have the hard part over with, the fun begins! There are many strategies you can use when deciding what to post on Instagram first after making your new account. The important part is to get started. You can always refine your strategy later.

To create your first Instagram post, tap the square at the top right of your home page. Instagram will give you the option between creating an Instagram post, reel, story, or live video. For your first Instagram experience, creating a post will be easiest.

Need some ideas of what to post first? We’ve done the brainstorming for you!

As you continue posting to your Instagram account, make sure you adhere to community guidelines so you don’t risk getting shadowbanned. Find out what a shadow ban is (and how to avoid or fix it) here.

Step 9: Follow other people and brands

Instagram makes it really easy to find new people to follow. Use the search bar to search for related brands to follow or people you’re interested in. If you’re not sure who to follow, try searching hashtags that are relevant to your work.

The hashtags you use will depend on your business and interests. Hashtag options will pop up after you plug in your search terms, so start by searching common words.

Do some research to find what hashtags are common in your niche.

Local businesses often use the hashtag #SmallBusiness.

Look for businesses and people near you by hashtagging your city or town name.

Use keywords that are used in your field. For example:

Photography is often tagged with the words #Photography or #PhotoOfTheDay

If you own a bookstore, you might want to search for #books, #bookstore, or #Bookstagram.

If you love dogs, try #DogsOfInstagram or #PuppiesOfInstagram.

As you search and engage with Instagram posts, the Instagram algorithm will present posts it thinks will interest you. For example, if you like home decor or books, Instagram’s search page will be filled with results catered to book photography and bookshelf decor. The more you interact with your followers and social trends, the more your page will show up in results.

An example of posts you might find when searching for #shoplocal.

Step 10: Share your Instagram

If you’re already active on other social media marketing channels, let people know that you’re on Instagram too! Your audience will want to follow you on multiple channels. Promote your Instagram widely for maximized marketing ROI.

Any website you have (or create in the future) should include links to your social media profiles, including your new Instagram account. Some website themes even make it possible to have a revolving carousel of Instagram photos on your site. Take a look at other websites for inspiration on how to incorporate your social media into your site.

Related: The LocaliQ website grader can help you maximize your social presence in a flash for free!

Get started making a new Instagram today

Creating a new Instagram doesn’t need to be difficult. Sign up for a new account and then get to work optimizing your Instagram for success! Remember to optimize both your Instagram name and bio, and add a profile photo along with your location. Add a link in your bio to your new Instagram account to drive business directly to your website.

Don’t forget to enjoy your new Instagram by following other accounts, posting new content, and sharing your Instagram widely— #winning!

Want more Instagram how-tos? We’ve got you covered!

Kaitlyn Arford

Other posts by Kaitlyn Arford

5 Simple Steps To Viral Video Results

Let’s start off funny. The following are NOT the 5 steps to viral video results:

Sit around drinking and talking about funny video ideas.

List a bunch of successful viral videos and come up with knock-off ideas to copy them.

Call every funny video idea “viral” before it’s even created and before someone has ever seen it and before anyone has ever passed it to anyone.

Let your clients disapprove all your good ideas and then run with the lame ones.

Create videos without thinking about distribution because OF COURSE it’s going to go viral after just the first person views it.

You get the point.

I recently interviewed a couple of people for my Social Media Expert Interview series – Scott Stratten of UnMarketing fame and Carrie Wilkerson, The Barefoot Executive – who gave me a new perspective on viral video creation.

Why You Shouldn’t Try To Be Funny

The upshot is: funny videos are the hardest to get to go viral. Sense of humor is very personal. And it doesn’t matter if 100,000 people see your skateboarding dog catch fire and faceplant if you don’t get anything out of all those video views. Unless you’re just trying to have fun. But if you care about results, keep reading.

There’s a simpler way. And you can tie it to a conversion event you want to get.

A More Effective Viral Video Style

Just create what I call the “Emotional Slideshow” (because there was no name for it and that’s all I could think of on the spot) type of viral video.

These are nothing new, but they work like gangbusters.

The Time Movie has received 1.4MM views despite being very simply and cheezier than Fabio movie backed by a Yanni soundtrack. Scott admits to being sick of it. But his goal was to get motivational speaking gigs and launch his speaking career without years of painful free gigs- and it worked.

The Boss Movie helped Carrie Wilkerson build a list of 24,000 work-at-home women to market to in just 9 months.

The Crappy Day Movie just debuted and is my first attempt at one of these Emotional Slideshow movies. But it has its own Facebook page and I hear those are really hard to start and very, very expensive.

The Five Steps to Creating An “Emotional Slideshow” Viral Video

Know your audience

List their three biggest problems and three biggest obstacles (you’ll have 6 points)

List their three biggest dreams (not goals), then three examples each of life with those dreams fulfilled (you’ll have 9 points)

Create a line of negative and positive affirmations for each of those 15 points above

Find an emotionally evocative image for each point, and music for the entire slideshow, and create the movie

You can have more points, but you want each image and sentence to last about 7 seconds, and the full movie to be 3-4 minutes.

Then, of course, watch it on several occasions and have other people proof it, especially if they’re your target audience.

Getting Results

Make sure you have some social media monitoring going on, to check on the virility and reputation of your video. If you watched The Boss Movie, you’ll notice Carrie brings up an opt-in page after the movie for a pdf about the 7 Things Your Boss Doesn’t Want You To Know. This is a bribe that goes straight to the audience’s core problem- the limitations of employment. When conceiving your bribe, make sure you start with titles and think like a copywriter before you create the content you’re going to give away.

How To Kill A Process Using Terminal In Macos

The Terminal app on the Mac can help identify which ancillary services and processes running in the background may be causing your Mac to slow down. The Terminal application helps the user get inside macOS via a command-line interface. While typing in the commands in Terminal ensure that spaces, characters, and capitalizations are accurate. 

Note: For this guide, we’re using a MacBook running macOS Big Sur.

Table of Contents

How to Kill a Process Using the Mac Terminal Application

The basic steps required to kill a process using Terminal:

Backup your files and folders 

Launch Terminal application

View the list of running processes 

Find the process you want to close

Kill the process using a Terminal command

1. Backup Your Files and Folders 

It may be a good idea to backup your data, files, and folders using Time Machine, to avoid having to restore your Mac from a backup because of accidental deletion. Time Machine is easy to set up and use. 

With Time Machine, you can also go back in time and see what a file looked like in the recent past. Check out the link above to read our article on setting up Time Machine. 

2.  Launch the Terminal Application

There are several options you can use to open Terminal on your Mac, which include using a keyboard shortcut, Launchpad, or opening Terminal from the Applications folder.

You can also open Terminal through the Launchpad. Select Launchpad on the Dock, select the Other folder, and then select Terminal.

A standard Terminal window will open showing the date and time you last logged in, and the command prompt where you’ll type the command you want to execute. You’ll also see the current (working) directory that defaults to your Home Folder. 

3.  View the List of Currently Running Processes 

If you want to quickly view all the active processes on your Mac, you can open the Activity Monitor and see each process sorted by its CPU usage. You can also see the same processes ranked by the amount of RAM used in the Memory tab. 

Follow the steps below to view processes in Terminal.

Type top in the Terminal window you just launched and you’ll see a list of processes currently running and the resources they’re consuming. 

You can also type ps -ax to list the running processes along with their PIDs, elapsed time running, process name, and location.

4.  Find the Process You Want to Close

You can quickly identify a process from the process list based on the PID or the name in the CMD column. You can use the following methods to find the PID:

The result you may see will look something like this:

This example shows that Garageband has a PID of 547 and also the folder where Garageband was launched from. 

5. Kill the Process Using a Terminal Command

You can Force Quit the application by using the Command + Option + Esc key combination, but only individual apps are listed in the Force Quit Applications window instead of all the processes running on your Mac. 

Alternatively, you can use the killall command to kill a process by its name and kill all the processes containing its name. For example, killall GarageBand will terminate all processes that have GarageBand in their name. 

Note: Check the processes carefully before using the killall command. 

Force Quit Unresponsive Applications

Terminal is a quick way to force quit a process or program in macOS if the program fails to respond or unexpectedly hangs. Hopefully, the steps mentioned above resolve your issue. If the issue resurfaces, consider updating the application or finding an alternative application. 

3 Steps To Easy Bullet Graphs In Excel

Bullet graphs were developed by data visualisation expert Stephen Few to address the need for visually rich displays of data in small spaces which are typical of a dashboard report.

They enable you to compare your actual measure to a target/budget and also a qualitative range as denoted by the background fill.

While Excel is an ideal tool for creating dynamic and interactive dashboards it unfortunately lacks a built-in bullet chart. Although you can coerce a combination of Excel’s built in charts to create a bullet chart look-a-like, it’s an onerous task.

A simple alternative is to apply Conditional Formatting to a 3 row x 20 column grid of cells like so:

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Conditional Formatting Bullet Graphs – 3 Step Guide:

Step 1: Format your columns

Decide how many columns (or rows for a vertical bullet chart) you want to use and set the width/height – I’ve used a 3 row x 20 column grid set to 1.43 wide.

We will be scaling our actual values down to fit into the number of columns available therefore the number of columns/rows you choose will depend on the level of accuracy required.

Since I have used 20 columns I can only be accurate to 1/20. If you require more granular accuracy simply use more columns – even 100 if you want. You can make them super skinny so they don’t make the graph any bigger while allowing for accuracy to 1/100.

Number each of your columns as shown below in row 3 (these numbers are used in step 3 for your Conditional Formatting – you can hide this row later, likewise the gridlines):

Step 2: Get your data ready

Set out a table for your graph source data. Mine is horizontally laid out (see below) but you can set it out vertically if you prefer.

In row 6 enter your qualitative scale upper limits, and your Target/Budget and Actual figures.

In row 7 scale your values to the number of columns/rows available for your graph using this formula in cell C7: =ROUND(C6/$E$6*20,0) – copy across cells D7:G7.

Note: I’ve multiplied the ‘Good’ value in my scale (cell E6) by 20 as is the number of columns I’m using for my graph – change this value to match the number of columns/rows you use.

Step 3: Insert your Conditional Formatting Rules

There are 5 Conditional Formatting rules for each graph and they all use a simple logical test formula which compares the ‘Scaled Values’ in row 7 to the ‘Scale Workings’ in row 3:

Enter your formula in the Rule Description field and set your format. Take particular care to set your absolute and relative references correctly. For more detailed instructions on setting up Conditional Formatting using formulas, including when to use absolute or relative references, see here.

Formula 1 =$F$7=K$3 applies the Target marker which is simply a right border.

Note: the order of your formulas is somewhat important as this sets the precedence; for example, formula # 2 must be above the qualitative rules in the Rules Manager list otherwise it will be overridden by the other rules.

Vertical Bullet Graphs

While vertical bullet graphs are more easily achieved with the built in column charts, you can also create them using this Conditional Formatting technique by simply switching the layout from columns to rows:

Formatting Tips

The graph title, scale and tick marks are simply entered in adjacent rows/columns. Merging cells or applying ‘Center across selection’ will allow you to align the scale values to the tick marks which are cell borders.

Copy and paste a Linked Picture of your bullet graphs into your dashboard so that you don’t have to fuss about with column widths in your actual dashboard worksheet. You can then resize the linked picture easily using the pull handles (as seen below).

You can easily add another marker to your graph, for example you might want to have a ‘Prior Year Actual’ marker. Simply add another value in your source data and apply another conditional format for it in a different colour.

You can change the colours of the qualitative bands etc. but don’t go silly with it. Stephen Few makes some good points here on how too much colour can make your dashboard appear cluttered and visually overwhelming.


I’d like to thank Peter Urbani for this technique. Peter originally shared the examples below with me which I thought were very clever.

I simply made a few cosmetic modifications like changing the target marker to a cell border so that it is a solid line instead of dashes.

Chart Based Bullet Graphs

If you prefer to build bullet graphs using the Excel charting engine, then check out this technique from Clearly and Simply.

Excel Dashboards

If you’d like to learn more about building dashboards using Excel then take a few moments to check out my Excel Dashboard course here.

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