Choosing the best project management tool for your business can seem like an uphill task, but we help you narrow down your choices.
Management | Aug 12
Rebecca Reynoso on February 4, 2021 (last modified on April 20, 2021) • 12 minute read
Some people learn best by reading; others learn best visually.
Regardless of your preferred learning style, management dashboards are a business tool that compiles words, numbers, and visual elements into one easy-to-read format that’s both aesthetically pleasing and appeals to a numbers-centric mind.
We cover the following to help you come up with a winning management dashboard for your business needs:
A management dashboard visually presents all important business key performance indicators (KPIs) in one place. Management dashboards are presented in an easy-to-read format, shared with company executives up to the C-level, so that all goals, metrics, action items, and KPIs are laid out for everyone to see.
These dashboards help teams keep track of the progress and success of company-wide metrics and enable management to make data-driven decisions on future business goals.
Management dashboards may include graphs, images, tables, numeric data, and data from case studies, or a combination of these elements. These dashboards are crucial tools for streamlined management processes that are widely shared and seen.
Management dashboards streamline all business metrics in one spot, in an easy-to-understand, visually appealing format for company executives to get a snapshot of the goings-on in your business, with details of how each team is excelling or failing to meet their annual or quarterly metrics.
To elaborate on the importance of management dashboards, Catriona Jasica of Top Vouchers Code notes, “The management dashboard is all about managing all-important KPIs in one place, sharing insights, and making fast decisions based on the latest information received.”
Management dashboards are a universal language that everyone speaks. Encompassing visual elements, numbers, charts, and graphs, you can’t go wrong with making one. Let’s find out what to include in your management dashboard to make it the most valuable for your executive team.
*Editor’s note: Databox has nearly 300 different templates from which you can choose so that you can create dashboards for any business need. Whether your focus is tracking web traffic, annual recurring revenue, or the number of leads acquired, Databox has the right dashboard template for you.
Okay, so we’ve convinced you to make a management dashboard. But you have absolutely no idea what kind of content it should include. That’s why we’ve asked 10 experts for their help on crafting the perfect management dashboard.
They said that the following components should be included:
As an astonishing number mentioned customer acquisition cost and revenue growth, so we’ll definitely expand on those two points in great detail.
Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the cost of acquiring a new customer, or the sum of the money your team spends marketing to, attracting, and enticing the customer to make a purchasing decision.
Because this can be a big spending area for your team, it’s an important metric to get right or as close to right as you possibly can. Even if you’re making money hand over fist, if you aren’t taking the CAC per customer into consideration, your net profits may likely be lower than whatever you’re estimating them to be.
Michael D. Brown of Fresh Results Institute elaborates on this point. Brown notes, “Losses can masquerade as growth in business. A customer may be buying, the sales number and revenue may be pumping up, but if you don’t know how much you’re spending in getting that buyer and measuring it against what they are giving you back in purchases, you would be in a mess in no time.”
You might be thinking: if we’re making money, does it really matter how much it actually costs to acquire a new customer? It absolutely does. Why? Because, as Brown explains, once you know your CAC, you’ll “know if a specific customer’s patronage is actually worth it or not. With the CAC established and measured against the customer lifetime value (CLV), you can know which customer acquisition channels work and which need to be totally or partially overhauled.”
If one way of acquiring customers costs more than the net value of the acquisition of that customer – or of multiple customers – you’ll know to cut back on your spending to bring the margin of earnings back to an appropriate level.
Along with customer acquisition cost, you’ll want to calculate and display your customer equity, which is all of your customers’ (past, current, and future) lifetime values.
Teresa Bartaseviciute of AptBacs explains that this isn’t a “simple metric, but it is a fundamental one. It measures discounted future profits generated by those customers. Customer equity is a forward-looking customer profitability tracking system enabling understanding of a company’s long-term capability to generate shareholder value.”
In other words, customer equity is part of a package deal when discussing customer acquisition cost.
RAG status indicators are a visual element (perfect for your management dashboard) that use the colors red, amber (yellow), and green to indicate which projects and deliverables need the most immediate attention.
Sometimes known as “traffic lighting” indicator values, the colors stand for:
As Adam Chase of Music Minds explains, “RAG indicators are really helpful to help prioritize what needs attention. Managers are busy and don’t have time to dig into the analytics. A dashboard needs to quickly convey critical information, and these labels help to do that.”
Timeliness and criticality of focus points is a big issue that RAG status indicators help identify and solve. The stoplight colors are easy ways to visually demonstrate areas of progress, those that are stagnant, and those in danger of getting out of hand.
Alejandro Rioja of So Influential goes into this further, noting: “It’s extremely important to have RAG statuses on the management dashboard because they help the team know about the immediate focus. If the measure is green, they can skip over and pay more attention to the red indicators. Having fancy charts on the screen is one thing, but you also need to have an overview of your targets to evaluate your performance.”
All in all, using this visual tool is an easy way to highlight what needs the most attention, when, so that executives know where to allocate more time, funds, and resources to turn red values to green – or amber, if something takes a long time to resolve.
While this might seem like a more niche metric to include, clicks on your campaigns, along with the cost of those clicks – think campaign performance as a whole – is definitely something you should include on your management dashboard. This is a metric that impacts revenue, so it’s something executives would care to know about.
Bart Turczynski of ResumeLab explains the importance of this more: “We can see how our campaigns are doing by clicks, how much we’re spending, plus the cost per client. It’s great to see the fruits of our efforts so clearly. We use this to boost morale for those who are pushing those campaigns. If we are weak on this metric, we can quickly adjust and help out the team.”
Editor’s note: Using a Google Ads dashboard template can help your team easily visualize the most important metrics: impressions, clicks, conversions, and more.
Comparison may be a thief of joy, but it can also give executives perspective on how well or poorly the company performed on a quarter-by-quarter comparison.
Melanie Musson of InsureFresno.com explains how: “Long-term trends and progress matter more than present-time fluctuations. By comparing progress to previous quarters and years, you’ll be able to keep things in perspective. You may have experienced a recent dip, but seeing you’re doing better than a year ago despite that can be encouraging.”
Whether you’re doing better or worse than the quarter or fiscal year before, putting this on your management dashboard highlights points of concern or praise that the executive team can bring to individual managers’ attention.
Was there an extenuating circumstance that prevented your team from doing its best, e.g. the onset of COVID-19? Or was it just an off quarter? Knowing the reasons for missing the mark can help put things in perspective and helps teams analyze how to get back to more successful times.
While executives are naturally drawn to the financial end of things, i.e. what actually results in dollars made for the business, your overall marketing performance metrics should be included in your dashboard. You should include things like session duration and time on page. Two experts discuss these elements in more detail below.
Michelle Devani of lovedevani discusses a specific marketing metric to include: the average session duration. Devani notes, “It detects how long a user stays on your website, and it can help you to determine whether you have useful content. Generally, you will have a good result if the user stays in your site for a good 2-3 minutes because it means they are interested in your content. This will help you to know if you need to change your topics or your way of writing to attract more users, or maintain what you are doing because you get good results.”
Tracking session duration can, as Devani noted, inform your marketing team about what type of content is useful and interesting for readers and what isn’t. Knowing this can help refine what to include in future landing pages and blog posts.
Similarly, Carlos Rosado of Outlook Studios notes that time on site “helps you know if your page is performing well for users. The better the user engagement, the more likely they are going to spend time on your site. The less time they are on a high-performing page, the more likely there is an obvious disconnect that impacts page views, bounce rate, and conversions. Average time on the site has a major impact on how your page performs.”
As Rosado points out, this metric also factors into what content or which pages are performing well. As mentioned earlier, this may not be a direct impact on revenue, but it does indirectly impact revenue outcomes, so these are great metrics to track for the sake of your marketing team.
*Editor’s note: Using a HubSpot Marketing dashboard to track your marketing efforts, performance across multiple channels, sessions, contacts, and more, is basically your marketing master guide wrapped into one handy, easy-to-read format.
Your management dashboard can be accessed at any time of the fiscal year: the beginning, at the end of each quarter, the half, or at year’s end – which means having the ability to track monthly profit and losses is great for the executive team to keep tabs on.
Karen Gordon of Goodshuffle Pro dives into this more deeply. Gordon notes: “Revenue itself isn’t that telling whether a company is doing well. If they have incredibly high revenue every week, but their overhead/production costs are high, they won’t last. Companies that last are those consistently ending months with a profit. There will always be months where they end in a loss, but the general trend needs to move toward significant profits, which will help take care of those losses.”
Gordon speaks the harsh truth: if your company isn’t making consistent revenue gains, there’s a problem. A missed month here and there is normal. But losses upon losses and regular missed revenue means that something is wrong. Putting this metric on your dashboard for monthly tracking is an excellent way to see dwindling profits before they spiral out of control, months on end – or worse, a full quarter or longer.
Revenue is something pretty much everyone can get behind as every team at your organization is either directly or indirectly involved in the company’s revenue.
Whether it’s the sales team, who have a direct impact on revenue, or marketing, who may have a more indirect hand by means of influenced revenue, being transparent about intended and actual revenue goals on your management dashboard can put earnings into perspective for upper management.
Devin Ahern of Mid Fl Material Handling expounds upon this point. Ahern notes “This metric is critical as it shows how your company is performing versus your sales plan. Being behind revenue projection could signal a number of different problems – anything from a shrinking sales funnel to an underperforming sales team. While this metric won’t show root cause without digging a lot deeper, it gives instant insight to sales performance.”
Not only are you providing transparency to the C-level executives, you’re also potentially identifying any missteps that your sales team had over the past fiscal year, helping pinpoint what those issues are and how to fix them.
So there you have it. Management dashboards are a must-have for any business, no matter the industry. If you were on the fence before, these use cases and sample dashboards will get you ready to prep a management dashboard in no time. You can also always sign up for a free trial with Databox and try our dashboard reporting tool.
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