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On the surface, it seems the most that dashboards can do for you is to organize data on a beautiful screen. You can then use the data in any way that you like.
But here’s the thing: the benefits of dashboards run much deeper. From helping you save time to making data more useful and improving decision-making, there’s a lot that dashboard reporting offers. So, it’s no surprise that live dashboards are one of the most popular report formats, according to recent research on business reporting.
In fact, the benefits that dashboards offer are a chief reason explaining why all 39 respondents that we talked to are dashboard users. In fact, 87% have been actively creating and using dashboards for some time whereas 13% just started creating and using them.
Most of these respondents (82%) have between 2 to 10 dashboards.
To break down out respondents’ profile further, 72% are small businesses and 28% are agencies/consultants working with small businesses.
Let’s dig into how these companies have benefited from using dashboards in various departments of their business.
Most companies that we surveyed agreed that they’ve experienced several benefits in using dashboards for their small business. The leading benefits are:
So how are these companies creating dashboards that drive such valuable benefits?
It turns out 44% are using specialized software (like Databox) to build data dashboards for their small business, while 56% lean on several different data sources to build dashboards (like Google Analytics, Google Data Studio, Semrush, etc.)
Speaking of creating dashboards, we also asked our respondents which dashboards they are using the most. Interestingly, an overwhelming majority, 90% of the small businesses say they use dashboards in marketing.
However, in an open-end question, most SMBs ranked CRM dashboards as dashboards that influenced their small business the most.
Related: 10 Common Dashboard Design Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
With that, let’s dive into the specific benefits of dashboard reporting. Here’s a broad list of the most helpful business dashboards, followed by the details of how each helps:
Marketing dashboards fall within several categories such as social media marketing dashboards and email marketing dashboards. You can also create a dashboard that deep dives into any marketing campaigns you’re running.
Here’s how these dashboards will benefit you.
To start off, marketing dashboards make it easy for both sales and marketing teams to refer to one dashboard as a single source of truth.
Naturally, this improves their alignment over several factors such as how well-targeted the leads that the marketing team brings in are.
Take it from the ClearPivot team. Ashley Parkinsion shares, “Using the marketing dashboard has really helped our sales and marketing teams align. By meeting once a month to [talk about] wins and things we would like to improve or just stats that we want to discuss, we have come up with new initiatives and aligned everyone on common goals.”
“Being able to see the effects of marketing initiatives and the big wins of the sales team has been a great boost for our team,” Parkinsion adds.
Another one of the leading benefits of dashboards for marketing is that you can see all your campaigns’ performance on one board. Not only does this boost team morale but it also helps you identify what you’re doing right so you can replicate it for future marketing campaigns.
Brenton Thomas from Twibi Agency agrees. “Our Marketing dashboards have significantly contributed valuable answers to questions concerning the efficiency and effectiveness of the marketing campaigns and strategies we execute.”
“Some of the questions our marketing dashboards help provide clarity on include our growth speed compared to our competitors, our conversion rates along the pipeline within a given period, the volume of qualified sales-ready leads, and so on,” Thomas says.
On this note, Charlie Garcia from WP Dev Shed points out, “I suggest a digital marketing dashboard can be used to monitor the success of your company’s online marketing efforts.”
“Because this type of dashboard allows you to track your campaigns and other digital marketing initiatives in real-time, allowing you to make informed decisions about how to spend your marketing money most effectively.”
“Digital marketers must monitor a range of data across numerous channels, including social networks, marketing, email campaigns, website traffic, and lead generation,” Garcia continues. “The digital advertising dashboard displays statistics for lead generation KPIs including site analytics metrics, as well as progress toward targets.”
Like most marketers and marketing managers, you want to know how your efforts are translating into results each month. How is your website performing? How well are you converting traffic into leads and customers? Which marketing channels are performing best? How does organic search compare to paid campaigns and to previous months? You might have to scramble to put all of this together in a single report, but now you can have it all at your fingertips in a single Databox dashboard.
Our Monthly Marketing Performance Dashboard includes data from Google Analytics 4 and HubSpot Marketing with key performance metrics like:
Now you can benefit from the experience of our Google Analytics and HubSpot Marketing experts, who have put together a plug-and-play Databox template that contains all the essential metrics for monitoring and analyzing your website traffic and its sources, lead generation, and more. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in marketing reports, and best of all, it’s free!
You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.
To set up the dashboard, follow these 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Get the template
Step 2: Connect your HubSpot and Google Analytics 4 accounts with Databox.
Step 3: Watch your dashboard populate in seconds.
Since dashboards are easily shareable, you can also present them to your project stakeholders to share the progress you’ve made and/or the results you’re driving.
At Twibi Agency, Brenton Thomas notes the marketing dashboards help with this too. “Our marketing dashboards also help us establish the size of an influence we have on our business and those of our clients while providing updates on our progress towards goals and objectives.”
Related: Client Reporting 101: Tips and Best Practices for Agencies and Freelancers
To add to all these benefits of dashboard reporting Thomas notes the advantage of getting timely alerts for when something is wrong.
“One vital importance of dashboards to our business is its function to alert us when something is wrong,” in Thomas’ words.
“For example, we get alerted when our qualified lead rates and our average order value go below expectations, and when customer churn exceeds the required level. As a result, we can make informed decisions on changes required to correct these issues.”
Marketing reporting software also help with better managing (tracking and completing) projects in your pipeline.
For The Hovi, for instance, this is the biggest advantage of using dashboards.
Rami El-Hajjar from the team comments, “The content dashboard we’ve built has helped us identify how loaded our creators are and if they’re meeting deadlines, made it easier to see the number of content types we have and the number of pieces per type, and that structure has then helped us with our scheduling and inventory of content.”
Related: 14 Best Agency Project Management Tools to Manage Projects Efficiently in 2022
And, finally, by giving you data on a central screen, marketing dashboards, in particular, social media marketing dashboards help you make data-backed steps.
AdQuick’s Chris Gadek talks about this benefit of dashboards. “Using a social media dashboard enables us to monitor and track mentions and notifications, so we can engage and interact immediately with clients and potential leads.”
“While we can watch the activity across all of our channels, we position LinkedIn — our go-to B2B social platform — at the top of the dashboard,” Gadek explains.
“The content we post on LinkedIn targets the specific pain points of various stakeholders. Placing our most vital social channel within my line of vision enables me to monitor how a piece of content is performing in real-time rather than scrolling through our feed later on.
And by quickly engaging and interacting with people who comment on our posts or use our hashtags, we’re able to develop trust and grow relationships, generate leads, and increase sales.”
Related: 7 Data Analysis Questions to Improve Your Business Reporting Process
CRM dashboards present all your sales key metrics on one screen — giving you a full overview of the ongoing sales activity in real-time. As a result, you can reap the following benefits from these dashboards:
“The dashboard that helped us the most and influenced our business the most is a CRM dashboard,” writes Internet Advisor’s Sean Nguyen.
“This is because, when we started to use CRM software, it changed our perspective on how we looked at our business. Rather than creating a product which was directed at what we thought our audience wanted, using a CRM platform allowed us to make assessments of our audience first and therefore make more informed decisions about our business,” Nguyen elaborates.
Nguyen recalls, “Basically, CRM software helped us become more customer-focused. After collecting data, we made a number of changes to our website to improve the user experience, make it easier for site visitors to look for different ISPs in their areas, and create a more intuitive journey on our website. It really changed the way we looked at our business, and even changed the way we market ourselves to different audience groups.”
Related: How to Leverage the Right Data to Increase Website Traffic & Conversions
Since a CRM dashboard can give you a full overview of your leads — who they are, where they are in their journey, and more — it helps you understand customer journey better.
To top that, the dashboard can help you with customer service too. How? By helping you track relationships with not just leads but also customers.
At Prestige Home Buyers, Warner Quiroga shares this is exactly the dashboard they use. “We are using a dashboard for CRM to manage our leads and help improve customer service by knowing the customer journey, demands, and needs.”
“Looking at the dashboard gave us insight into how to improve our process to serve our customer needs better,” Quiroga observes.
“It provides us an overview of the KPIs of our marketing strategies and determines which method generates the most ROI so we can focus more on that. In our case, we have observed that we are getting more inquiries in our TV commercials than with other approaches like cold callings, SEO, and websites. So we have decided to allocate a bigger budget to the TV approach since it gives us the most returns.”
Related: How to Set Measurable Customer Service Goals for Your Team
What’s more, a CRM dashboard helps you track and anticipate trends.
Kevin Callahan from Flatline Van Co. talks about this benefit of dashboards. “By using a CRM dashboard, our business has been able to better anticipate market changes.”
“For example, a report on sales performance gave us insight to adjust prices relevant to inflation,” Callahan shares. “This real-time adjustment based on current trends allowed us an opportunity we would have otherwise missed. A CRM dashboard can be good for mitigating risks in the same way too.”
Related: 12 Best Tools Marketers Use for Market Research
“Our CRM has also helped BDRs and AEs keep track of their numbers and how many more calls/emails/messages they need to send compared to their previous week, and the status of deals and accounts in the sales pipeline,” says The Hovi’s Rami El-Hajjar, adding another way the CRM dashboard has benefited their team.
“Best dashboards are generally performing their primary function, presenting us with the data essential for our operations and decision-making,” summarizes El-Hajjar.
Related: 18 Tips for Increasing Your Sales Team’s Activity
A dashboard can help you refine your buyer persona too as it has helped VisualHunt.
Lily Wright from the team explains, “Our CRM dashboard allowed us to visualize our actual typical user. That allowed us to move from a theoretical user persona to the real world grounded on data.”
Sharing some of the things they have learned, Wright points out: “Our actual average user appeared to be older than we thought. This insight pushed us to update our messaging throughout our user journey, and the number of sign-ups grew immediately.”
In addition to helping you understand your buyer persona and sales journey, a CRM dashboard also helps break down and visualize your sales pipeline. In doing so, the dashboard also helps you identify bottlenecks in your process.
“Our CRM dashboard helped us visualize the current state of our sales pipeline,” Charles Cridland from YourParkingSpace shares.
“We literally discovered the bottleneck in our nurturing process. We updated the respective marketing collateral and engagement frequency based on the findings. That allowed us to push the significant part of the ‘stuck’ leads along the funnel. But most importantly, the new updated funnel does not have the bottleneck anymore.”
Related: Sales Pipeline Report: How to Build One, What to Include In It, Benefits, and Best Practices
“The thing I adore about dashboards is the ability to cross-match data from entirely different sources,” comments Vs Mattress’s Tom Greenspan when we asked about the benefits of dashboards.
“We recently combined the social media and CRM data. That allowed us to evaluate which types of content brought us better quality leads,” Greenspan highlights. “With these learnings at hand, we updated our social media calendar and enjoyed the 20% engagement increase since then.”
Web analytics dashboards are visual reports helping track your web performance metrics such as traffic, bounce rate, session rate, conversion rate, and so on.
Here’s how they benefit you:
By reviewing what’s gaining traction on your site, you can better double down on them. Here’s how PaternityGo’s T.A. Jackson did so.
“I am a manager for a small business called PaternityGo. We provide private, confidential, and accurate mobile paternity testing and other DNA testing services in Central Indiana. We are a mobile service covering multiple cities, so I have worked to increase the online visibility of our business,” Jackson explains.
“We are interested in knowing what cities in our mobile service area are searching for our services the most. To that end, the dashboard that has influenced our small business the most is the Google Analytics dashboard that provides us with pertinent information about those who visit our website.”
Says Jackson, “Using the Google Analytics dashboard, we are able to get timely information about the number of visits to our website, which website pages visitors go to, and the demographics of the visitors.”
“We are particularly interested in the cities where visitors are located,” Jackson goes on. “This information helps us know how to direct our marketing efforts for our mobile DNA testing services. For example, most of the visitors to our website are located in Indianapolis, IN.
It also provides critical information about which cities in our mobile service area are in need of more marketing to direct people toward our website and our services. For example, we do not have as many visitors to our website from Fort Wayne, IN.”
In fact, tracking where site visitors are dropping can help you increase your conversion rate too. For instance, by improving your site’s content or usability.
PRO TIP: How well are you landing pages converting? Watch this data snack to learn how to build an analytics dashboard that will help you discover:
Adam Garcia of The Stock Dork shares another advantage of dashboards. “Since our online business mostly relies on organic traffic that comes from Google, our focus isn’t sophistication but simplicity. In other words, we just need to see how well our pages are doing in terms of hits, comparison features, precise numbers, and dependable trends.”
“For all of that, Google Analytics and Search Console have proved to be the best dashboards for us! Both show as much or as little as you need,” Garcia outlines.
“For example, most of the times we need quick insight into something simple — like generating a chart that shows a traffic trend for a single keyword over, say, 3 or 6 months. Or seeing which of our pages are growing. With such simple tasks, too much information can hurt instead of help. So being able to do a 3-click task across a minimalist interface is priceless.”
Since there are a lot of dashboards that you can create, we decided to add this category to share some more benefits of dashboards.
Dashboards are a great way to easily get an overview of your business’s health.
The team at Five Feet Digital uses dashboards for this very reason. “My team sets up a Data Studio business dashboard for our most popular products,” shares David Nge. “It shows the ad spend performance and key metrics for all our products.
“Having a dashboard like this helps us keep a pulse check on the business. The dashboard is set up to reflect our conversion funnel, so if I spot a downtrend or an anomaly in our performance, I’ll be able to pinpoint the cause of the issue and quickly rectify it.”
Thanks to all the easy-to-read and access data that dashboards provide, they can help you make data-backed, smarter business decisions.
Take it from Charles Musselwhite of Musselwhite Marketing. “I stubbornly fought using dashboards for several years thinking that I didn’t have the time and bandwidth to add another thing to manage and maintain on my to-do list (lol),” Musselwhite admits.
“Once I realized my team and I could save time, make faster and better decisions and improve communication with our clients and customers we went all in.
“We have implemented a few different proprietary dashboards that we use alongside Google data studio. During our monthly agency brainstorm meetings, we review our dashboards looking for ways to continually improve,” Musselwhite explains.
“The benefits have been strong!” Musselwhite counts:
“Making the decision to design our dashboards for sharing with our customers and clients has had a big impact on client/customer communications,” Musselwhite adds.
“We believe sharing our dashboards with our customers and clients 24/7/365 allows them to pop in whenever they want to see what is going on. They like the ability to see progress and calculate their ROI.”
And, finally, dashboards deliver the benefit of helping with strategy refinement too.
At The Word Counter, for instance, Gerald Lombardo shares the team uses dashboards to improve their content-building strategy.
“Using a dashboard to track our marketing, web analytics, and social media has been crucial since we started The Word Counter. Being able to analyze the data from these metrics has helped us build our site from 0 to 600,000 visitors a month over the course of one year,” Lombardo reveals.
“Social media has played a major role in gaining more web traffic because we highlight our blog content on Instagram as much as possible. Using the analytics to see which content resonates most with web visitors has helped us evolve our content-building strategy.”
From improving business decision-making to helping you understand your target buyer, there’s a lot that you can reap from dashboard reporting.
The key, however, is to ensure you’re creating easy-to-read, visually engaging dashboards.
If your dashboards are a cluttered mess featuring tons of metrics that are difficult to understand, you won’t be able to make the most of them. If anything, your team will start taking reviewing dashboards as another chore on their to-do list.
So what’s the solution, you ask? Predetermine the metrics to add to each dashboard. Make sure you pick only the most important metrics then design your dashboards, that fit the purpose of the dashboard.
And no, designing dashboards isn’t rocket science.
All you need to do is to plug in your data sources into Databox. From there, the software will create a beautiful, easy-to-read dashboard for you. Simple as that!
Ready to create engaging dashboards so you can drive the most benefits from them? Sign up for Databox today.
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