Data-driven Leadership: How to maneuver with KPIs

In a world that is changing faster and faster, it is crucial for your business that you have up-to-date and reliable status information from day to day. Regardless of the situation, you want to know what’s happening so you can maneuver in the right direction. With clearly defined KPIs and a solid data base to help you make informed decisions, you are far better equipped to guide your team and reach key goals.

Business leaders have long used KPIs (key performance indicators) as a valuable tool for implementing strategies.

In recent years, the focus on KPIs has intensified and KPI-tracking is more important than ever before. Many businesses readily admit they are obsessed with KPIs.

The obsession continues to grow as companies capture more data which they can use to improve performance. With the right application, data can be used to guide decision-making, optimize processes and reach goals across all levels and functions of the business.

While there are many factors to consider when implementing KPIs, there are 3 steps in particular that will help you guide your team to success.

1. Set a course

A KPI is a measurable value that helps guide organisations towards their goals.

To function effectively, KPIs must be linked to the company’s strategic goals. These are then broken down at a tactical level (department) and then at an operational level (individual), so that everyone in the company gets ownership of the goals.

Choosing the right KPIs can be tricky. No matter which KPIs you land on, do not measure too many KPIs just because you can. When there are too many figures to keep track of, goal management becomes too complicated. Each department should only deal with a handful of carefully selected KPIs.

What are KPIs for marketing, sales, finance, customer success and more? See KPI Examples.

2. Navigate

In order to navigate with KPIs, data must be presented in a way that is easy to understand and access. This is done with the help of KPI dashboards.

KPI dashboards use data visualisations to help you continuously evaluate performance and make necessary changes. Easy to understand graphs and charts help you assess what’s happening and what you can do to improve.

By using KPIs effectively you will be able to answer questions such as:

  • What is the  current performance level (status)?
  • How close the company, team, department or individuals  to their target (actual versus target)?
  • How is performance changing over the past days, weeks, months (trend)?
  • How is our performance compared to  to internal or external standard (benchmark)?
  • What an we do even better (segment analysis)?

With these answers on hand, it’s easier to anticipate and adapt to changing conditions.

Visualise KPIs on a dashboard

Picture: Individual, regional and overall goals compared to progress on a KPI dashboard.

3. Implement and follow-up

It is essential your organisation has a common understanding of goals and what you are trying to acheive. Many strategies fail because goals were communicated once, but not continually reinforced. Leaders must gain and maintain commitment by ensuring their teams understand what they are trying to acheive and why they are focusing on exactly these measurements.

Once teams are committed, KPIs are the basis for coaching, acting and motivating the organisation. Every step towards reach targets is an accomplishment which should be recognized.

The real value of working with KPIs is realised when KPIs are used consistently and regularly in leader meetings, team updates, and one-to-one meetings. If all indicators are pointing in one direction, it doesn’t help if no one follows them up.

Final word—Make it simple.

Many organisations struggle with the complexity and diversity of their company’s data. Data specialists, sales operations, department managers and upper management can spend a lot of time gathering data and charting KPIs.

Businesses should set up modern systems to organize KPI-data without manual routines. The majority of businesses have more than enough data in their current databases.

An effective business intelligence tool will gather performance data, organize it into meaninful information, and help you motivate your team towards successful goal acheivement.[o

Additional resources: Visit the KPI Gallery to see best practice examples of how to visualize KPIs for sales, service, finance and more

Automate your KPI-tracking and get data-driven insights

Let us take you take you on a tour of KPI dashboards in action. You’ll get practical ideas on how data can help you boost performance.

Einar Gynnild, CEO/Daglig leder

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    Real-time insight into channel partner performance

    Channel Partner Sales KPI-tracking and analytics

    Business Analyze enables organisations to effectively track performance (Partner KPIs) and gain insight into their channel partner relationships.

    By providing a simple way to analyze and share data, both Channel Partner Managers and their agents, resellers, distributors or other partners can monitor the activities that lead to success and work proactively to build strong partnerships.

    Why channel partner KPIs are important

    Companies invest time and effort into finding the right sales partners. Once the stage is set, the relationship must continue to generate clear and measurable value. If partners aren’t regularly reminded how their work generates value, they lose motivation and sales die out.

    While this may seem obvious, it’s easier said than done.

    A key problem channel managers struggle with is poor visibility into the pipeline. Without being able to see down the pipeline and track change over time,  it’s impossible to gauge revenues and assess forecast accuracy.

    Partners, on the other hand, may feel that sharing their pipeline is not worth the effort. “What value does it bring?” they ask.

    That’s where channel analytics come in:

    Channel analytics provide visibility into the relationship and enable partners to see how much value they generate. Transparency and communication is key to building trust.

    The benefits of channel analytics include:

    • Improved sales processes due to greater visibility into what works and what doesn’t
    • Greater transparency in revenue generation and financial compensation
    • Increased motivation by providing channels with real-time metrics and commission reports
    • Better forecasting accuracy
    • Less administrative paperwork with automated reporting

    When Channel Managers provide partners with real-time visibility into earnings, partners are more likely to provide quality sales data in return.

    Better quality data helps Channel Managers work proactively to help partners close deals. It’s a win-win situation.

    What partner KPIs to measure

    There are many KPIs and supporting metrics that may be useful in building relationships. Channel Managers define these together with partners based on growth goals and sales strategy.

    Some examples include:

      • Total and average revenue per partner
      • Revenue per product/segment
      • Number and value of open sales opportunities
      • Number of new opportunities registered
      • Lead time and other conversion rates
      • Contribution margin
      • Sales commission earned

    How to measure channel partner KPIs with Business Analyze

    Business Analyze collects sales data from spreadsheets, customer relationship management systems (CRM) or other databases and presents reports on live dashboards.

    Dashboards make important information about relationship visible and easy to understand – across channels and on channel-by-channel levels. Rather than emailing around spreadsheets, important data is readily available for review and analysis.

    Partners access their own information through secure portals. When the underlying data changes, dashboards are updated to ensure partner managers and their partners have the latest insight into sales processes and commissions.

    Each dashboard is customized to user requirements.

    Start with setting goals

    One of the most important steps in successful channel partnerships is to agree clear measurable goals.

    Once this  is done, you can start capturing data and track performance with  Business Analyze.

    For more information, contact

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      How to hold effective meetings with Business Analyze

      As a Business Analyze customer, data is readily available at your fingertips. Data helps you answer questions, gain insight and make better decisions.

      Best of all you don’t have to use time gathering data for weekly meetings. It is continuously updated and ready-to-use on dashboards.

      But don’t keep data to yourself!

      Share data directly from dashboards with meeting participants. Using data to support discussions is a good way to build trust and credibility. Data is power!

      If people have different opinions,  it’s easier to build agreement with fact-based information than subjective opinions.

      Meetings become more effective because you avoid pointless discussions and focus on what really matters.

      It’s well worth investing a few minutes to organize dashboards to be meeting-ready.

      These 4 tips will help you lead successful data-driven meetings.

      Set up dashboards to match agenda

      Before the meeting, check that dashboards are set up to support your agenda. Then check filters to ensure your audience sees the correct level of data – and can’t see any information that is sensitive.

      It should be easy to switch between levels of data for different types of meetings.

      E.g. Sales Directors with access to all data can switch between views for:

      • CEO/Management team (all data)
      • Department/team (by departments)
      • Partner/sales channel meetings (by partner)
      • Individual /one-to-one meetings (personal level)

      Communicate Clear KPIs

      Gather your most important  key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics on one dashboard. This helps focus people’s attention on what you want to acheive during the meeting.

      Every participants has the same starting point for discussion.

      You should have one or two overarching performance indicators (KPIs).  Too many will be overwhelming.

      Each KPI should be clear and self-explanatory. This includes each element of the data visualisation. If people are struggling to understand what is shown on the dashboard, they won’t be listening to each other.

      As you review KPIS, keep the conversation positive and ask questions such as:

      • Why is the status the way it is?
      • What has helped or held you back?
      • What things could be better?

      Your data may hold the answers to these questions.

      If your KPI is ‘Growth in Sales Revenues’, for example, but you see your pipeline isn’t filling up fast enough to hit targets (i.e.pipeline refill report), you can discuss ways to fill it up.

      See example of KPIs and metrics

      Follow-up actions

      Once you have reviewed data and agreed next steps, follow up each meeting with activity dashboards. Activity dashboards keep everyone focused on key activities between meetings.

      Let’s say you agree with your team a revenue target for a new cross-selling opportunity. Your first action is to book meetings, within the next 6 weeks, with all customers that already have purchased Product X.

      You create a new dashboard for potential cross-sales and track progress. Because your team shares this dashboard, everyone knows who to target and how it going.

      At your next meeting, you discuss what is going well and what isn’t. Some people have probably put a lot of effort into booking meetings already. Their contribution is important and should be recognized.

      That’s the next step.

      Recognize achievements

      Every meeting should highlight some positive developments. Sharing successes builds team bonds.

      You can recognize acheivements on dashboards or leaderboards.

      Continuing on the example above, for example, you may add to the ‘A Customer Meeting’ dashboard a report of ‘New Meetings Booked This Week’.

      Every new booking is a new ‘win’. Everyone pulls together to acheive goals.

      If you are offering an incentive for good performance, add a picture of the reward or incentive to the dashboard.

      For more meeting tips, contact Ann, our Head of Customer Success,

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        Sales gauge

        5 Sales Dashboards to Drive Better Outcomes

        What is the purpose of sales dashboards? What KPIs or metrics should they include?

        In this article we share with you 5 types of dashboards and the metrics that can help you guide your team to success.

        This includes:

        • Sales overview dashboard
        • Sales pipeline dashboard
        • Sales commission dashboard
        • Motivational scoreboards
        • Self-serve analytics dashboard

        Some sales teams have all of these, while others choose a select few.

        Either way, the main benefit of a sales dashboard is it provides you and your team with instant information about performance, processes and activities. Dashboards are role-based, so each team or user should be able to easily find the information he/she is looking for at the right level of detail. Better insight leads to better outcomes.

        Let’s look at the different types:

        Note: These are just examples. Every sales team should carefully select KPIs which are connected to their overarching goals and sales strategy.

        Sales Overview Dashboard

        The overview dashboard tracks actual and forecast sales compared to targets.  The target is the revenue budget or quota that you are trying to acheive this month, quarter or year.

        The dashboard should provide information on different levels from company-wide through to region, team or individual. This ensures the leaders have the facts they need make decisions while managers have can monitor progress and better coach their team.

        Some KPIs which are often included on ‘overview’ dashboards include:

        • Amount sold vs. budget
        • Amount  of revenue forecast
        • Number of opportunities
        • Top performers – value and percent of target acheived

        The metrics are available for the current week, month or quarter, as well as for historic periods.

        Sales Pipeline Dashboard

        Sales reports on a dashboards

        Sales pipeline dashboards help you understand where opportunities are coming from and how they are developing.

        They provide current views of data, helping you track progress and ensure all possible opportunities are handled in the best way possible going forward. They also provide historic information, so you can look back to see how your pipeline (or multiple pipelines) is growing or shrinking, and use this data to generate even better results.

        Sales pipeline dashboards often include:

        • Open sales by stage
        • Sales velocity metrics
        • Pipeline by close date
        • Pipeline fill versus requirements
        • Activity reports (e.g. number of customer meeting, offers sent etc.)
        • Number of opportunities without planned activity

        Sales Commission Dashboard

        Sales commission calculation

        Commission dashboards calculate earnings based on the bonus structure and return the results on graphs and tables. Instead of doing manual calculations in spreadsheets, commissions are calculated automatically.

        The dashboard tool should support you, whether you have a basic or flat commission model or have tiered calculations using advanced formulas.

        A system administrator decides who can access the commission reports, the same way as other dashboards.

        Commission dashboards can report and filter data for almost any time period or level:

        • Commission per category or org. unit
        • Sale commission per period
        • Earnings per person

        Motivational Scoreboards

        Scoreboards are specific types of dashboard which show the lstanding of a sales contest. Sales contests are a fun way to focus salespeople efforts around a common goal and boost activity levels.

        The right kind of contest can be highly motiviting. The 4 most common formats include:

        • Individual – complete against yourself
        • Challenge – compete against others
        • Common goal – entire group work together towards specified target
        • Team vs team –  teams compete to see who reaches the target

        When scoreboards are streamed to strategically placed TV screens or monitors, they can have an extra motivational effect and help to keep everyone involved.

        To work effectively, each element of a scoreboard is carefully developed for maximum effect. This means:

        • Function and design is fit to purpose
        • Calculations are automatic
        • Information is updated dynamically

        Self-service Dashboards

        Self-service dashboards enable leaders and managers to run their own queries to company databases and navigate multiple layers of information – without needing technical skills.

        System administrators manage user access, ensuring that users only see information they are authorized to view.

        In the example below, sales managers can tap into order, purchasing or payment data to understand customer demand, optimize product mix, adjust pricing or identify cross-selling or upselling opportunities.

        Here’s how it works:

        • select relevant filters
        • choose grouping
        • export results to other formats like Excel or Powerpoint

        How to set up your dashboards

        Now that you’ve seen some dashboards, you may be wondering what’s involved in building them.

        There are many software tools on the market, but the general process is the same for all:

        • Define your KPIs and metrics
        • Connect to data
        • Build custom reports or adapt standard reports

        Once you start tracking your most important KPIs, you can analyze the data to better understand what your doing well and where you can improve.

        Would you like to know more about how to set up a dasbhoard for your business? Contact us


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          Viking Venture provides SaaS KPI dashboards to portfolio companies

          Viking Venture has developed new KPI dashboards for its portfolio companies.

          KPI dashboards are an online benchmarking tool which makes it easy to track recurring revenues and other key metrics.

          Benefits for investor and portfolio companies

          The dashboards include important KPIs within software-as-a-service industry (SaaS). These are based on Viking Venture’s experience from multiple exits and investments.

          Each portfolio company has their own set of dashboards with relevant reports, graphs and charts.

          The dashboards provide a way for companies to:

          • learn from each other
          • gain insight into operations
          • provide a healthy competition

          According to Erik Fjellvær Hagen, Managing Partner at Viking Venture:

          From Viking Venture dashboards, portfolio companies can monitor their own performance, gain insight and continually improve. They are also able to see how other portfolio companies are doing on specific KPIs and then reach out understand what they are doing right and what they can do better.

          See video

          The dashboards are powered by business intelligence (BI) platform Business Analyze.

          Business Analyze assisted Viking Venture in customizing and designing their solution.

          For more information about subscripton revenues and KPI tracking? Contact


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