Are you looking for an alternative to using business metrics dashboards?
It’s no secret that having consistent access to the right data will help your business grow. By tracking valuable KPIs for your business, you can make smarter marketing and sales decisions that bring in new leads and generate profit.
One popular solution marketing report agencies use is a 3rd-party business dashboard. But these tend to add friction for you, your team, and your clients.
So, in today’s post, we’re going to talk about the problem with business metrics dashboards. Then, we’ll tell you a much easier way to compile your marketing reports to get the data you need, when you need it.
But first, let’s get clear on what a business metrics dashboard is in the first place.
What Is a Business Metrics Dashboard?
A business dashboard compiles all your key KPIs and metrics. Then it displays the data using easy-to-read graphics and charts so you can quickly see what’s happening and whether anything needs your attention.
A great way to think about what a business dashboard does is to think about how your car dashboard works.
When you’re driving, your car’s dashboard holds all the important information you need – how fast you’re going, how much fuel you have left, whether you need to change gears, and if are any alerts that need your attention.
That simple visual display lets you immediately see if you need to take action so that you get to your destination safely (and without a speeding ticket).
Most businesses deal with an overwhelming amount of data daily. Making sense of all that information is essential to managing your business’ performance and spotting issues before they escalate. A business dashboard simplifies the process by displaying key information and trends in a way that’s easy to understand.
Many dashboards integrate with other business monitoring tools and update themselves in real-time. That means you always have the most relevant information at your fingertips.
Depending on what your company does, your dashboard might display:
- Sales figures
- Digital marketing metrics
- Advertising costs and campaign performance
- Customer relationship stats
- Conversion rates
- Inventory reports
- And more...
Some businesses will have dashboards that show every aspect of their operation in one place. Others will have specialized dashboards that each team, or even each employee, can customize to show the most relevant KPIs for their area of work.
Plus, most business dashboards will also let you go further down into different data streams.
So even if you’re seeing a high-level display that gives an overview of your whole company’s operations, you should still be able to focus on one area of your marketing strategy when needed.
And while I can’t honestly say I’m a fan of business metrics dashboards, they do offer some great qualities. So let’s start on a positive note and look at the pros of using a business metrics dashboard.
Pros of Building a Business Metrics Dashboard
As your business grows in scale and complexity, being able to make smart, data-driven decisions and quickly identify potential issues is essential to keeping your company moving forward.
While you might have been able to get away with Excel spreadsheets and manually updated reports in the past, times have changed. Your business will need to remain agile and responsive even as the amount of data you are dealing with grows.
Building a business dashboard for your company can help you to maximize opportunities, collaborate with your team, and head off issues before they start to affect your bottom line. Some of the key advantages of having a business dashboard are:
1. Keep Your Team on the Same Page
When everyone has access to key data about the business, without needing to be a data scientist to understand what they’re seeing, your team members have a more holistic view of the company’s work and their place within it.
Most of us have experienced working in a company where the sales team had no idea what the marketing team was up to or vice versa. A business dashboard is an easy way to let teams easily share key information about their work.
Knowing that their colleagues and managers will be able to see the impact of their work also holds employees accountable and can increase productivity.
2. Save Time Compiling Reports
Manually compiling reports and presenting data can be a huge time suck for any business, especially if you need to bring together information from lots of different places.
Having a dashboard that integrates with your other business management tools and updates in real-time saves your team from having to create reports themselves, freeing them up to concentrate on other tasks.
3. Always Stay up to Date
If you or your team are pulling together data from different sources manually, you won’t be able to do it on a moment-by-moment basis. That means you’ll need to wait for reports to be compiled and updated before you can use them to make decisions.
A business dashboard, on the other hand, is always up to date. All you need to do is download the information when you need it. This ensures you can respond quickly to changing situations, with all the data you need readily to hand.
4. Understand Data More Easily
The best business dashboards automatically create clear data visualizations that let even the least analytical of us understand the information quickly. This makes it much simpler to track performance and apply business insights without needing an expert to do the analysis.
But now that we’ve seen the positive side of business metrics dashboards, it’s important to be aware of the drawbacks.
Let’s go over a few of the things about dashboards that I don’t like.
The (Real) Problem with Business Metrics Dashboards
At their best, business dashboards are a powerful tool. But the major problem with any dashboard is useability. If the dashboard hasn’t been well-designed, with the needs of the end-user in mind, it will become a source of frustration and overwhelm them.
But, to be fair, this is true with any marketing report whether it’s in a dashboard, in a PDF attachment, or in a user’s inbox.
So what’s the real problem with business metrics dashboards? They add a layer of unnecessary friction for your team or your clients which can impact how effective they are.
Here’s what I mean:
When you’re building marketing report dashboards, it means you either have a team or clients that need access to this information. Because if you were working alone, your business probably wouldn’t require marketing reports in the first place.
This means you need to create a business dashboard and organize login management for your users to see it.
This can be cumbersome for agencies with clients who come and go and, usually, come back again in the future. There are so many potential problems with giving clients access to their dashboard (and not your other clients’ dashboard) in an efficient way.
Then, once your clients have their login information, it’s likely that they won’t check in with their user dashboard as often as they should. Instead, it’ll sit on the back burner until someone realizes they don’t use the tool and, therefore, don’t want to pay for it anymore.
So let’s say that it takes one hour a week to handle all the administrative tasks. That would include things like:
- Setting up usernames
- Sending our secure login passwords
- Creating reminders and automatic emails when reports are ready
- Handling customer questions about where to find their department’s reports in the dashboard (customers ask LOTS of questions, as you likely know)
Budgeting an hour a week to handle all these things is a fairly conservative average estimate, too.
And let’s say that you work 48 weeks out of the year.
That means you’ll spend 48 hours just dealing with the nuts and bolts of business metrics dashboards for your clients.
Even if you’re paying an intern $15/hour to do this, you’ve just added $720 to your annual bill for your marketing report service. If a manager is doing it at a rate of $50 an hour, you’re looking at closer to $2500.
But let’s stay conservative and give these tasks back to your paid intern.
Now, look, $720 is not a game-changing amount of money. And hopefully, that wouldn’t make or break your business anyway.
But if you’re spending $1000/year for a business dashboard, and losing another $720/year just handling administrative tasks (not building the actual reports), it seems like a silly investment.
Especially if there’s a simpler solution out there...
An Alternative to Business Metrics Dashboards
While business dashboards definitely have advantages, we just covered what my real problem with them is: they waste time which means they waste money.
Let me rephrase that: they unnecessarily waste time which means they unnecessarily waste money.
That’s why I built Metrics Watch in the first place:
Metrics Watch is a marketing report tool that compiles all the data you’d normally keep in your business metrics dashboard. But instead of making your team or clients go to a 3rd-party site to access that information, you just send it straight to their inbox automatically.
These email-based reports have all the advantages of business metrics dashboards, including:
- Keeping your team on the same page
- Saving you time compiling reports
- Always staying up to date
- Understanding your data more easily
But there are a few other advantages to note:
- Zero Friction for the User: Whoever needs the data has it sent straight to their inbox. They don’t need to open a PDF attachment or click a link to a 3rd-party site to access it.
- Data Gets More Attention: Since there is zero friction, it ensures that whoever needs to see the data will actually take a look at it.
That last one is particularly important. Because while your team member or client is going through their inbox, there are TONS of distractions to take them away.
They may have the best intentions of clicking the reminder to their business metrics dashboard, and suddenly see a push notification from Facebook, for example. They take a slight detour, and, before you know it, they’re looking at funny cat videos on YouTube.
Because everything always ends with funny cat videos on YouTube, doesn’t it?
But if the information was in their inbox, they could quickly and easily give it the attention it deserves before clicking to an external site.
This gives your team or clients the information they need to make smarter data-driven decisions and grow their company.
Plus, you don’t need to waste time, money, and energy on tedious administrative tasks like setting up user accounts.
In the end, this is what we call a “Win-Win.”
Want to see how it works for yourself? Click below to start your 100% risk-free Metrics Watch account today (no credit card required):
And that’s it! I hope you found this post helpful. If you did, you might want to check out the following resources:
- The Best Klipfolio Alternatives for Marketing Reports
- How to Build a Social Media Report to Generate More Profits
- The Best Marketing Analytics Tools to Ensure Your Company’s Growth
These will have everything you need to build better marketing reports to track and improve on your ROI.