You just started collecting some data and you are now looking to put this data to work. You want to get true insights into your company's performance. Or maybe you are looking to create a baseline from which you can improve. The question is; Where do you even get started from? How do you make sense of the data you are collecting?
What dashboards do I need & what should be on them?
Before we can build anything we must first decide what dashboards we will need and what metrics will be presented on them.
To ensure your dashboards are an integral part of the business analysis and not just something that gets barely looked at, or worse still, ignored, there are three questions we must ask ourselves before we begin our build.
- Who is the dashboard for?
- What questions should the data answer?
- What data would you need to see in order to answer those questions?
By asking these questions we make our dashboard actionable. Too often we decide that we want to use our data - preferably all our data - and we just sit down and begin building something that we think will look good. Adding one metric and another and another until we have a dashboard that means all sorts of things to all sorts of people.
The issue with that? Such dashboards become hard to read and understand and as a result, these dashboards quickly become forgotten about and we find ourselves not using the data we have at our fingertips.
By asking the three questions above before we start building the dashboards we are able to create personalized dashboards from the start. Here is an example of what your answers to these questions might look like.
Who is the dashboard for?
Different people will need different dashboards. Avoid the mistake of creating one-size-fits-all for your team members. The dashboard needs to answer questions specific to each role/department within your company. Let's say we are creating a dashboard for your salespeople...
What questions should the data answer?
- How long is the sales cycle and what variables make it longer or shorter?
- Who are my best-performing reps?
- What makes them the best performers?
- What is the forecasted closed-won amount each month?
- What did we actually close vs forecast?
- What is my close rate?
- What variables affect my close rate?
With this information, we can go ahead and build the dashboards knowing we are providing all of the information that the sales manager needs to do their job, deliver on company targets, and improve performance.
Where to build your dashboards?
The answer to that question is that it is really up to you. Many CRMs now offer built-in dashboarding functionality but there are also purpose-built tools such as Databox and Tableau. It does not matter where you build your dashboards so long as you get the visibility into the data you need in order to ask the right questions and use your data as an improvement tool for all areas of business performance.
Now you not only have a process for designing and building dashboards that provide you with complete visibility into your company data but also make that data actionable. The final step is to put in your calendar regular meetings where you will review the dashboards, answer the questions you defined in your brief, and agree on the next steps where you will look to improve the metrics.
This process creates the foundation for continuous improvement within your organization and the promise of long-term success.