Dozens of details can choke the efforts of an unfocused marketer or executive. How can you keep distractions and demands on your time from derailing you? KPI dashboards can hold your existing projects on target. They can give you space for new marketing initiatives and track your business performance.
How can you use this tool to push your marketing to new heights?
What are KPI Dashboards?
A KPI dashboard is a document that shows you visually, at a glance, how important parts of your business are performing. It uses metrics, or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), that you choose for measuring your success. This document could use Excel, PowerPoint or other software.
You’ll make better decisions when you have a dashboard like this, with the right level of detail.
Only include necessary details
Experience proves the best dashboards show only about 5 to 9 metrics or KPIs. Add too many and you won’t be able to focus on what’s important.
Jim Collins, in his book Good to Great, emphasizes, “If you have more than three priorities, you have no priorities.” What are your three? What two or three factors can you use to measure the success of each priority?
On an executive-level dashboard, return on investment or cost to acquire a customer is far more important than Facebook likes.
Why are KPI Dashboards so powerful?
You should collect and manage all the data you can for your business. Yet you need a simple, easy summary. With the right overview, using exact, real-time data, you’ll make superior business decisions.
What software options do you have?
Zoho offers an easy, drag-and-drop dashboard builder. They also make it easy to work with your dashboard on your phones and devices. Hubspot offers several free features. Other options include Klipfolio, Geckoboard, and Databox.
You can also find many free Excel and PowerPoint templates to customize and make your own.
Here are the steps to create KPI Dashboards
- Know your user. A CEO will need a far different dashboard than a customer support department.
- Keep it simple. Include all the vital information at a glance.
- Use only what’s needed. Don’t be tempted to display more details than necessary.
- Consult with your team. Decide which KPIs will help you reach your goals.
- Create a dashboard mockup. Choose the right visuals for the job. For example, line or column charts work best for trends. Pie charts are great for showing composite data, meaning parts that make up a whole item.
- Select your dashboard software or tools.
- Connect your tools to real business data.
- Start creating visuals from your data.
- Get feedback.
- Deploy your dashboard and continue to get feedback.
Why should you make one of the best KPI Dashboards?
Data is vital to every winning business, so you need to get more value from your data. Building the best dashboard will ensure the right people understand the data you have.
This is how you can rally key company players, get the right people involved and make better company decisions.
KPI Dashboards Examples
Most dashboards fall into 4 categories, based on their audience and purpose: executive,
operational, tactical, and analytical.
Let’s say you’re making an executive dashboard with a financial focus. You might display year-to-date revenue as a gauge. Green or red lights accompany your Quick Ratio, Current Ratio, and Debt-Equity numbers.
You could show your financial performance as a vertical bar chart, using colors for each business division. You might present short-term assets, like cash, investments, and accounts receivable as a stacked vertical graph.
Here’s another dashboard example with revenue goals:
A customer support department might use an operational dashboard to track call volume and location.
Their dashboard could have a big number showing the number of calls in the last week. A heat map might use colors to show which areas placed the most calls. Bar charts are great for showing how many calls per hour you get. Use a pie chart to show different colors for each type of call you are measuring.
Tactical dashboards are also useful for department-level details. You can show numbers and percentages in red or green, depending on whether the value is positive or an issue.
For the marketing department in an e-commerce business, your dashboard might show the average shopping cart value, the total amount purchased, the value of abandoned carts, the number of sessions, and how many visitors you have. A line chart depicting the number of sessions each day for the last month could also be useful.
Analytical dashboards dive deeper into the data. Middle management and analysts use these to assist executives.
Data analytics goals vary greatly. Besides marketing KPIs, you might forecast growth, show metrics to improve your customer service, or even use historical data to find trends.
How often should KPIs be reviewed?
You’ll want to review your data regularly – weekly, monthly, even daily – depending on what you’re measuring.
When you see something unexpected, get others involved. Work to find out the cause of the anomaly. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Did you fall short of reaching a goal? What else can you include on your dashboard to help you reach your new goal?
However, always make changes slowly to your dashboard. If you change too quickly, you won’t be able to tie your results to the changes you made.
What does this all mean for you?
Winning companies promote a data-driven culture. This means everyone is involved in and excited about collecting, interpreting, and using data to make better decisions.
Stay on track by using your KPI dashboards often. They are the vital compass, guiding you to achieve your marketing goals.