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Management | Feb 19
Melissa King on January 28, 2021 (last modified on January 26, 2021) • 8 minute read
A Harvard Business School study that focused on how CEOs allocate their time among various activities found out that executives actually spend one-quarter of their time performing reviews.
If you are a busy executive, you would probably want to know how can you maximize your use of that time? And that’s where an executive dashboard comes in.
Thanks to today’s analytics technology, you can use an executive dashboard to monitor your company’s performance efficiently. Plus, tracking the right metrics can bring you even more benefits.
Are you new to the concept? Not sure which executive dashboard metrics to include? We can help. Here is everything you need to know about executive dashboards, including which metrics to track as recommended by business owners and executives.
An executive dashboard is an interface that shows an organization’s most important key performance indicators (KPIs) at a glance. It provides an overview of the organization’s progress to drive further analysis and action.
The advantages of executive dashboards include:
One of the best advantages of an executive dashboard is its potential for customization. You’ll get to tailor the dashboard to show the KPIs in a category you previously defined. For example, you can create the following types of dashboards for high-level overviews:
Financial dashboards: These dashboards deliver primary metrics related to spending and revenue. QuickBooks + HubSpot CRM: Financial Performance dashboard is a financial dashboard example that helps users to keep high-level tabs on their overall financial health
Marketing dashboards: Marketing Overview dashboards help users make a quick pulse check on their marketing performance whenever they like.
Sales dashboards: Sales dashboards, like the Sales Manager KPIs dashboard, that help you to see your sales department’s numbers at a glance, including metrics such as average deal size, the number of deals won, new deals created, amount closed, and more.
Project management dashboards: To keep tabs on your team’s ability to track and complete projects, try implementing an executive dashboard like the Asana (Company Overview) dashboard.
When designing your executive dashboard, some metrics will provide a better snapshot of your business than others. We asked dozens of executives which metrics they recommend prioritizing on their interface, and here are the top 9 metrics they recommend.
In digital marketing, revenue as a metric is obvious at first glance, yet complex when you take the time to measure it. For Laura Cavenay from Ruler Analytics, understanding your revenue is worth every bit of effort.
“Whether you’re in eCommerce or work in B2B marketing, revenue is the only metric that is measurable, actionable and quantifiable,” Cavenay asserts. “Metrics like conversions, leads, and link clicks are great at highlighting the potential of your marketing, but the best way to communicate marketing performance is to link it back to revenue.”
Cavenay continues, “For B2B marketers, this may be difficult to do. But with marketing attribution, you can track your offline sales back to your online leads, you can pinpoint what in your marketing arsenal is working to drive sales. What more could a marketer want?”
Another seemingly basic stat, unique website visitors, also provides quick insight into your results. “When you measure unique website visitors, you get an overall idea of how many unique eyeballs have seen your brand,” says Messagely’s Will Cannon. “Growth in this metric means you’re building a brand that will stand the test of time.”
Rick Wallace from Navient Settlements adds, “Profit generation begins with this metric. Without high numbers of visitors to an eCommerce site, it is hard to increase sales and then earnings and profit. While time on page, number of pages visited and other metrics are useful, good executives should keep the keenest eye on visitor numbers to ensure they continue to grow and that’s why this metric is included on all our dashboards that go up to executive level.”
Editor’s note: Databox features a wide range of dashboard templates to capture top-level website metrics. The Top of Funnel Website Performance dashboard combines data from Google Analytics and HubSpot to help you track your site’s numbers.
As an eCommerce professional, Rosie Axford from Wicklewood has to consider metrics that go beyond fundamental sales numbers. “In 2021, competing on products is no longer enough,” Axford says. “Customers have become accustomed to next day deliveries from companies such as Amazon, and we need to replicate this efficiency within our own business as best as we possibly can.”
To conclude, Axford elaborates why is on-time delivery (OTD) so important for their company to track. “Our customers expect our orders to be delivered on-time, and therefore, OTD is a key metric that is directly correlated to our customer satisfaction and customer lifetime value.”
At AdNudging, Lars Larsen uses a custom KPI called “Marketing Profit,” defined as the difference between gross profit and ad spend, to measure their results for clients. “By removing the noise of VAT, COGS and other order-related expenses from top-line revenue numbers, and then subtracting their ad spend, our clients get a far more accurate view of how their business is performing and can make better investment and budgeting decisions,” Larsen explains.
For PathFactory’s Jeremy Mazzurco, company annual recurring revenue (ARR) “is a bit of a lagging metric but it is important to show that our revenue is growing” and “balances new sales with churn.” ARR measures the yearly ongoing revenue from a service, making it a critical metric for subscription-based businesses.
Mazzurco concludes, “There are a few leading indicators that you should be looking at as well, but if I had to choose just one, it would be company ARR, as growth is the most important metric.”
“One of the most important metrics we measure and include in an executive dashboard is goal conversion rate,” Simon Dagget of Access Box Storage states.
Why track goal conversion rate? “It helps communicate the performance of new offers we’re promoting or changes made to content or functionality on the site and is fundamental to calculate the return on investment (ROI) of each campaign that’s being run,” Dagget explains.
Illia Termeno of HARO SEO recommends including conversions by channel on an executive dashboard when you perform marketing for clients. “The executive team is the budget holder. They are not necessarily familiar with the details and challenges of every marketing campaign. Still, they need to know the efficiency of different marketing instruments comparing the actual results (conversions) versus. investment per channel,” Termeno says.
According to Termeno, this metric serves as an ideal solution to that situation. They elaborate, “The chart with conversions per marketing channel gives them a quick insight into marketing performance when they need to discuss resource allocation.”
Editor’s note: Looking for a dashboard that displays conversion data for multiple marketing channels at once? The HubSpot Marketing Inbound Performance Overview dashboard shares conversions for inbound channels such as email and landing pages.
Michal Suski of Surfer SEO suggests monitoring year-to-date sales growth because “While monthly sales growth is fine, it doesn’t really take into account the different timings of the year.”
For Suski, it’s important to track both monthly and yearly sales growth to get an accurate picture of your company’s results. Suski states, “If you measure the sales growth over varied time periods, it gives you a better idea of whether your sales are affected by specific events, time of the year, or the mood of your customers. Year-to-date [sales growth] provides you with more context, and combined with monthly data it gives you a far better understanding of sales and performance.”
If you have a subscription-based product or service, Wynter’s Peep Laja suggests thinking outside of the box and tracking the number of trials your customers sign up for. “For a subscription product, trial starts are by far the best leading indicator for revenue to follow,” Laja explains.
Depending on your analytics setup, you might not have a way to directly measure the number of trial registrations you receive. In this situation, “emails captured daily/weekly is the best leading metric for trial starts,” says Laja.
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