If you’re like most businesses, your data dashboard is where you follow all the goings on in your business and it’s where you get information on changes that need to be made, optimization opportunities, and even where your business is falling short. This can be through finance, marketing, human resources, sales, or any number of other metrics. But are you actually using your data dashboard to its full potential? The answer, unfortunately, is probably no. With so much information out there for the taking and so many integrations, tools, and numbers it’s easy to overlook information, set up your dashboard incorrectly, and even forget items.
We’ve put together a list of seven common mistakes that most businesses and marketing agencies are making with their dashboards that should be corrected immediately. Your dashboard is your control center and if it’s not set up in the best way to support your business then you’re either getting just a portion of the picture or even getting an incorrect picture altogether! Let’s dive into our seven mistakes to avoid and how you can correct them today
Focusing on the wrong metrics (or all metrics)
MISTAKE – One of the easiest things to do with your dashboard is to add every metric you can and then just glancing over the numbers. Your dashboard should not be used to measure every single metric possible. It should be used to measure the RIGHT metrics. We see all the time that businesses or marketing agencies are focusing either on all metrics that they possibly can or they’re focusing on the wrong metrics.
CORRECTION – In order to determine which metrics are the RIGHT metrics for your business or your clients, you’ll need to determine which KPIs (key performance indicators) matter most to the success of the business. Your dashboard(s) should be fairly simple. They should focus on just the most important metrics that have a direct impact on the success of the business, so, if your Instagram followers aren’t vital to your business, it probably shouldn’t be a major focus of your sales dashboard. If you don’t know where to start in determining the right key performance indicators for your business, download our FREE The Beginner’s Guide to Choosing the Right Marketing KPIs for Your Business eBook!
Only focusing on vanity metrics
MISTAKE – Nearly every business gets hung up with vanity metrics. These are the numbers that we use to pat ourselves on the back or feed our ego. Typically, they end up being things like our follower counts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or our Klout Score. While we all need to have a good number of followers in order to successfully market our business on social media, it’s unlikely that your follower counts are as important as other metrics that you’re likely ignoring. And yes, it is important to have a high Klout Score (the Klout Score measures your overall influence across social media. It’s a score from 0-100 and the higher your Klout Score, the higher your perceived influence. You can read more about Klout Scores here.) If these are the metrics that you’re really focused on, it’s likely that you need to make a shift and determine the KPIs that are really important to your business.
CORRECTION – Now is the time to take your ego out of the equation. Unless your follower numbers directly correlate to the overall success of your business, move those metrics to a less vital dashboard where you can measure your social media growth and use your main business dashboards to measure more vital (yet maybe less exciting) metrics that will help guide you through business decisions and to profitability. These metrics likely include income, expenses, messages in your project management software, accounts receivable, and customer support metrics.
Only having one dashboard
MISTAKE – If you’re running your business off of only one dashboard, well, you’re doing it wrong. There is far too much data about your business from marketing, finance, operations, human resources, sales, and many other categories to only be using one dashboard. It’s also likely very hard to really understand what you’re looking at and how it relates to your business success if you’ve got marketing metrics next to your sales metrics which are next to your human resource metrics.
CORRECTION – You should be building out as many dashboards as are necessary to help you understand every piece of your business. Most businesses are also building out special dashboards for individual departments or people that are responsible for certain pieces of the business. This is a great practice. For example, your HR Manager is really only concerned with human resources. If this person is viewing a dashboard with analytics from all different departments, it’s likely very difficult for them to get a good idea of how happy employees are throughout the company. We recommend building out these dashboards (at the very least):
- Marketing Dashboard – measure each of your marketing initiatives and how it relates to sales and new customers (ROI).
- Sales Dashboard – measure how well each of your salesmen are performing.
- Operations & Finance Dashboard – You’ve got to know your numbers in order to run a successful business.
- CEO Dashboard – this dashboard should be used to give the CEO a 30,000 foot view of how the business is performing and should only include analytics that are vital to decisions about the company. The CEO does not necessarily care each detail, just that the company is moving in a profitable direction.
Not sharing your dashboard
MISTAKE – Whether your business consists of a team of 2 or a team of 5,000, keeping all information to yourself is detrimental to the overall health of your business. So, having analytics dashboards only for yourself is not helping you grow. Obviously if you’ve got a company of 5,000 employees, you probably don’t need to be sharing your data with every single employee, but your key team members need to understand where your business stands and where it needs to improve. This should extend (at least) to the C-level employees within the company.
CORRECTION – SHARE! We were taught as children that sharing is caring! In all seriousness, keeping all of your data to yourself will doom your business. We recommend allowing every vital employee to view your important analytics so that they can do their job better and more efficiently. This is not to say that you can’t have your own data dashboard, but an educated employee is an employee that can help you achieve your overall business goals. Keeping them in the dark only hinders their ability to perform. Sharing this content with your team will also make them feel valued and create a culture of teamwork.
Not tailoring your dashboard to your audience
MISTAKE – Data dashboards are frequently used in presentations to stake holders, clients, and superiors, but we see far too often that the presenter does not tailor that information to their audience. These people likely do not care (or have time to review) the small details. They want to understand the overall impact and how it affects them.
CORRECTION – Before you present your data dashboard, think about who you’re presenting to and what they actually care about. If they want to see every detail, give it to them. If they want to see a 30,000 foot overview to help them determine if the project is being successful, give them just the information that helps them determine that. Don’t waste your time building out a huge elaborate dashboard if the person that you’re presenting it to only really cares about a handful of metrics. They’ll appreciate you getting right to the point and if they have questions about the details, they’ll ask.
Not living in your dashboard
MISTAKE – A lot of businesses and marketing agencies out there only really view their analytics on a monthly (or even yearly) basis. Once the dashboard(s) are set up and functioning properly, they are using them to just monitor progress on these timelines.
CORRECTION – Your data dashboard is meant to be an every day tool for your business. You should be living in your dashboards. Those businesses that are not frequently visiting their analytics are going to end up being behind and making decisions late. Data is ever changing and if you’re in your dashboard you can make adjustments in real time instead of playing catch up later.
Failing to explain your dashboard
MISTAKE – This mistake applies most frequently to marketing agencies, but can also apply to anyone else that is providing analytics to a superior or stakeholder. Nearly every marketing agency provides analytics to their clients, but that’s all they’re doing. They don’t go into detail on how data was collected or even what any of it means. You are likely making this mistake if clients that have been with your business for several months start to ignore their analytics or don’t open them.
CORRECTION – Taking the time to explain what your clients are looking at is just as important as providing the analytics. You may know exactly what you’re looking at, but your clients probably don’t. Explaining it to them will foster a much stronger relationship and will go a long way to having them renew with your business once their current agreement is up.
Every business is different and every person within your business likely has different needs from a data dashboard. Avoiding these mistakes will help you, your team, and even your clients get a clearer picture of the business. Start building out your dashboards today for FREE with Cyfe!