Data should be a springboard for better business decisions and boosted performance. But it can be a nightmare to analyse if you’re not a data engineer. 

Imagine that each time your head of sales needs to make a data-driven decision, they have to send a request to the data engineering team and wait for as long as it takes to get back.

During the waiting period, neither the engineering team nor the head of sales can focus on doing their primary jobs. This negatively impacts performance, decision-making and, ultimately, revenue. 

Adopting a business KPI dashboard can change this by democratising access to data and allowing your team to make data-driven decisions without causing a backlog of data requests.

If you want to know how a KPI dashboard can support your business growth goals, and learn how to set one up, this article can help.

Table of contents

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What is a KPI?

A key performance indicator (KPI) refers to specific business outcomes, or goals, that can be measured in relation to business objectives.

For example, if you target 50% revenue growth by the end of the year, you need to set strategic goals to meet that target, e.g.100 user signups each month.

The number of user signups you get each month is a KPI because it indicates how well you’re progressing towards your target of 50% revenue growth.

What is a KPI dashboard?

A KPI dashboard is a tool for collecting, grouping, organising and visualising data. It automates the collection of important metrics, summarises them, and renders the information in charts and graphs.

This helps you make sense of a large amount of business data, eliminate data requests that slow you down, and make data-driven decisions. 

6 benefits of KPI dashboards for growing businesses

Your ability to answer critical business questions from time to time can make the difference between growth and stagnation. To grow, you must be able to uncover trends as they unfold and turn them into growth-driven actions. 

Unfortunately, there’s too much data to make sense of manually.

A KPI dashboard does the heavy lifting for you by providing a KPI report that covers only what’s important for you to know.

As a result, you’ll be able to:

  1. Evaluate business performance. Monitoring business performance in real-time will allow you to refine your goals or change your strategies as needed. For example, keeping track of hours worked could let you know if you need to make new hires or if you should readjust your target.
  1. Make decisions efficiently. Effective decision-making relies on timely and accurate information. For instance, you may need to cut some operational costs immediately if your dashboard reveals that you’re on a trajectory to run out of funds.
  1. Discover new trends and opportunities. Sorting through an enormous amount of data can help you uncover new trends and opportunities that will empower your team to perform better. However, as you probably don’t have a dedicated data team at this stage, a KPI dashboard can fill that gap.
  1. Uncover business issues at scale for the deployment of timely solutions. A KPI dashboard displays your performance vs your goal. Suppose your churn rate is too high, this means spending more acquiring new customers and that will affect your growth. A KPI dashboard can alert you to this so that you can arrest the trend immediately. 
  1. Analyse ROI in real-time. ROI monitoring will help you spot negative growth on time and arrest it.
  1. Enhance collaboration. A KPI can serve as an important teamwide communication channel. Since visualised information is easier to study and digest, you and your team can get accurate information from the same source and collaborate on what to do next.

KPI dashboard examples 

You can create KPI dashboards to suit teams across multiple industries and different departments in your organisation. To put this in context, here are some KPI dashboard examples.

Sales KPI dashboard

A sales KPI dashboard lets you track sales activities across your organisation. It presents you with simplified, summarised data on how your sales team is progressing towards your sales target and revenue. 

Some of the things you’ll see on a sales dashboard are sales growth, sales target, churn rate, and lead-to-conversion ratio.

This is a KPI dashboard with a summarised record of sales, revenue, profit, and other key sales information. (Photo credit)

Marketing KPI dashboard

A marketing KPI dashboard tracks your marketing campaigns and results across different channels. 

This helps you see how your marketing efforts are coming along and how to improve them to meet business objectives. The KPIs you’ll be tracking here include clickthrough rate, bounce rate, cost per acquisition, and website traffic conversion rate.

This marketing KPI dashboard tracks organic search activities and gives you an at-a-glance view of how your business is performing in organic search marketing (Photo credit)

Operational KPI dashboard

An operational KPI dashboard is a tool for measuring business performance in the short term. 

It gives you insights into the day-to-day scorecard of different departments so that you can take steps to boost their efficiency and improve outcomes. Examples of these metrics are absenteeism rate (HR), sales by region (retail), lead to opportunity ratio (sales), and customer satisfaction.

This operational KPI dashboard monitors the overall progress of a project by tracking the progress of individual team members (Photo credit)

Financial KPI dashboard

A financial KPI dashboard provides a quick window into your organisation’s financial health and forecasts. 

It tells you how well you’re doing in terms of revenue and profits. Some important KPIs you’ll be tracking on your financial dashboard are revenue sources, revenue growth, and profitability over time.

A Trevor.io dashboard can track financial KPIs like work capital, current ratio, and cash flow ratio.

SaaS KPI dashboard

A SaaS KPI dashboard provides real-time insights into how your SaaS product is faring in the market. It tells you where your business is today and where it’s headed.

Typically, a KPI dashboard for SaaS will measure customer acquisition cost, customer lifetime value (CLV), monthly recurring revenue (MRR), and customer retention.

SaaS KPI dashboards can track key metrics like MRR, new subscriptions, and reactivations. (Photo credit

How to set up a KPI dashboard for business wins

There are many types of BI dashboards for different business needs, but a KPI dashboard for a startup will be different from bigger businesses because they have separate goals.

The following steps will help you build a dashboard that enables business growth:

1. Map out your business goals

KPIs are indications of progress towards your goals, and setting those goals is the first step to working out how to achieve them

When setting goals, ensure that they’re aligned with your business growth stage. For instance, if your business is in the survival stage, your focus should be on generating cash to sustain the business over making a profit, e.g. operating cost vs revenue.

Since you likely just need to prove that there’s a market for your business at this stage, try setting a target for monthly recurring revenue (MRR). If you’re reaching it consistently, you know you’re on the right track. If not, you can cross check with other metrics to see where the issue lies.

It’s also important to take note of your resources to make sure you’re setting realistic goals. Some of the resources you’ll be looking into here include the number of employees, their current capacity and the available funds.

2. Find out what your team members need 

To build dashboard that’ll work for your busy team and allow them to use data autonomously, you need to understand their needs.

Hold an ideas session to work out what business metrics your team wants to track in order to meet their goals, and how best to present the data. You can start by familiarising them with the business objective and get their opinion on whether it’s feasible. That will help you set the right KPIs in the first place.

You can also show them some BI dashboards examples to give them a realistic expectation of what a KPI dashboard can do.

3. Choose your business intelligence software

The next step is to choose what business intelligence (BI) dashboard software you need to build your KPI dashboard.

As a growing business, these are some KPI dashboard features you must consider:

  • Ease of deployment
  • Self-service approach
  • Affordability
  • Ease of use (learning curve)
  • Scalability

Trevor.io and Microsoft Power BI are two good options.

Trevor.io is user-friendly and doesn’t require SQL knowledge to operate. This will save you the money and time required to train your team members on writing SQL queries. But most importantly, it’ll empower them to find data on their own.

Trevor.io’s query builder lets your team perform lookups and get ad hoc answers in a matter of a few clicks.

Microsoft Power BI is also a self-service BI tool, but it has a steep learning curve and you’ll need to be a skilled data engineer to set your dashboards up.

Want to see how Trevor.io can help you turn data into accelerated business growth? Try it free for two weeks.

4. Gather your data sources

Now, you should make a list of data sources from which your data will originate and connect them to your BI software. 

This requires you to work with your tech team to build some SQL queries and use APIs to automate data retrieval. But not all tools require this and that’s why it’s important to choose a tool that can automate as many parts as possible.

If you’re using Trevor.io, it’ll only take a few minutes to set up. We also have a dedicated support team who can help you build your dashboard if you need it.

5. Create your data visualisations

How well your team members adopt your KPI dashboard is a function of visualisation. At the end of the day, you want to build a dashboard that your team members will adopt.

To nail data visualisation, here are some tips to follow:

  • Make sure that a dashboard is fit for a specific purpose, and not one-size-fits-all.
  • Pay attention to the arrangement and orientation of the visualisations.
  • Less is more when it comes to using colour
  • Inject comparison values where possible.
  • Use drill-downs, drill-throughs, and filters to make your visualisations interactive.
  • Strive for a clean and user-friendly interface. 

6. Schedule a feedback session

Now that you’ve built your KPI dashboard successfully, don’t deploy it until you’ve shown it to the target users and heard their feedback. If they need you to tweak a few things, go ahead and do that.

This may be a headache at first, but eventually, it’ll provide relief as your colleagues will actually enjoy using the dashboard. Remember that the success of your KPI dashboard depends on how well users adopt it.

7. Launch your KPI dashboard

Now it’s time to launch your KPI dashboard and make it accessible for all your team members.

You can distribute your dashboard in a few different ways. A wall-mounted TV is a good place to start since it encourages data transparency and also looks really cool.

Other options include email reporting, integration with internal chat tools like Slack, direct access to the dashboard, and so on.

Related Post: A Simple Guide to Using Non-profit KPI Dashboards for Mission Success

Setting up a KPI dashboard for business growth: Key takeaways

A growing business is normally characterised by:

  • Limited time
  • Lean team
  • Running on a shoestring budget
  • Learning on the job

Using a KPI dashboard can improve your outcomes because it reduces your margin of error and also shows you how to forge ahead with your limited resources.

And that’s the essence of business intelligence.

If you’re looking for a BI dashboard to give your team members the autonomy they need to make the right decisions, consider Trevor.io. It‘s easy to use and requires no SQL knowledge to operate.

Want to see how Trevor.io can help you turn data into accelerated business growth? Try it free for 2 weeks!

Frequently asked questions about business KPI dashboards

What are dashboard KPIs?

Dashboard KPIs are the business goals you are tracking in your business intelligence dashboard. This ranges from operational KPIs like lead-to-conversion rate (marketing) to strategic KPIs like sales growth.

What is an example of a business KPI?

ROI, return on investment, is a good example of a business KPI because it’s a specific business outcome that fits into an overall objective.

What makes a good KPI dashboard?

A good KPI dashboard should be easy to use, adaptable to your specific needs and have a self-service approach.

How many KPIs should be on a dashboard? 

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for this. The number of KPIs in your dashboard should depend on your verticals.

How do you set KPI targets?

You set KPI targets by understanding your business goals and the business outcomes that will help you realise them.