You Ask, I Answer: Best Practices for Reporting to Leadership

Warning: this content is older than 365 days. It may be out of date and no longer relevant.

You Ask, I Answer: Best Practices for Reporting to Leadership

Tiffany asks, “What are some best practices and templates for reporting out at high-level meetings. Too often analytics can get into the weeds. No one wants that. What metrics should leadership actually care about?””

You Ask, I Answer: Best Practices for Reporting to Leadership

Can’t see anything? Watch it on YouTube here.

Listen to the audio here:

Download the MP3 audio here.

Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s episode, Tiffany asks best practices and templates for reporting out high level meetings.

Too often analysts get caught in the weeds.

Nobody wants that.

What metrics should leadership actually care about? What are you getting paid for? Right? One of the things that we often say is, what number? Are you going to get your bonus for this year? Right? And what number or what? Are you going to get your get fired? For? Those two really important questions.

If you the answer to both those questions is I don’t know that I would say it’s time to update your LinkedIn profile, because you’re kind of in a really bad situation where you don’t know why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Anytime that you’re dealing with reporting.

You got to consider who the audience is.

Right? So if your boss is making a dashboard for the CMO, well, what is the CMO care about what metrics are they held accountable for? are they accountable for lead generation sales qualified leads ecommerce carts? What is that person is paid for? What is it that that person gets a bonus for? That’s what goes on a dashboard, right? That’s what goes in your analytics reporting, because it’s fundamentally, building a customer centric reporting model, where you say like this is I know, this is the piece of information that you really actually care about.

So here it is front and center.

And then we can dig into the explanatory metrics, like why is sales qualified leads up 30% this month? Why are abandoned shopping carts? Down 17%? What is what’s going on? The explanatory metrics can go with that.

But front and center on the big high level reporting is, what does everybody in the room getting paid for? One of the challenges and really big mistakes that a lot of people make when it comes to analytics and reporting dashboards is they try to do that whole, you know, the One Ring to rule them all.

There is no such thing as one dashboard to rule them all.

If you think about your organization, think about your org chart, right? That’s a big rectangle.

And you have rows in this rectangle, the different levels, you know, C suite, President, Vice President, Director, manager, regular staff, interns, you’d have all these rows that are in your hierarchy.

And then you have all these columns that are like verticals like finance, operations, HR, marketing, and so on and so forth.

Imagine this table, every square in this table, needs to have its own dashboard.

Because what the VP of HR cares about is not what the CMO cares about is not what the VP of Sales cares about, is not what the marketing manager or the web manager cares about.

It’s not what they’re getting paid for, right? The website manager is getting paid for essentially keeping the website running.


So uptime would be a core metric, a KPI that they really care about.

VP of Sales doesn’t give a rat’s ass about uptime, right? VP of sales is being held accountable for closed one deals.

And so their dashboard should have closed one deals front and center.

And then the explanatory metrics go in with that.

That’s how you build effective reporting, right? It’s not about what you think belongs on there.

It’s not about the insights you find it’s about what the audience who’s consuming the dashboard really cares about, and what they’re getting paid for.

And if you can change up how you approach dashboarding, to that more customer centric approach that user centric approach, you’ll have a lot more success when it comes to getting people to look at your data, to review it.

And to take action on it to do something with the data, do something with the insights, do something with the results.

A lot of the times if people are not making decisions based on the data and the analysis of the insights you’re creating, it’s because they don’t know what to do.

Right? The data is, you know that your dashboard may have a ton of stuff on it.

They don’t care about the analysis may be unclear, like what happened.

And the insights and the recommended actions that you take are not there.

And so, as you go through and build this, reporting these analytics dashboards, that’s the focus you got to bring with it.

leadership cares about what they’re getting paid for.

Put those metrics on the dashboards.

And everybody else in the organization who needs a dashboard should have been focused on those things.

Now, one other caution I will have is that tools like Google Data Studio are really good at connecting you to your data, and being able to visualize it easily and in a friendly way.

But as people build their own dashboards, sometimes what happens is, well, maybe that first time that you started a Word document, or spreadsheet, or whatever, maybe you were like a kid, and you found the font menu, and you used every single font in that document.

Dashboards are the same way people have a tendency to do the same thing.

There’s dials and speedometers and line charts and bar charts and they kind of throw everything in the kitchen sink at it.

And all that visual clutter does is it makes the dashboard less effective.

So when it comes to delivering metrics to leadership, streamline, make it as easy as possible so that when they look at they go, Oh, okay, I see what happened.

I see why.

And I know the decision that you want me to make increase the budget for this decrease the budget for that whatever the case is.

Leadership should never be in doubt about the decision that you were asking them to make.

Really good question.

You might also enjoy:

Want to read more like this from Christopher Penn? Get updates here:

subscribe to my newsletter here

AI for Marketers Book
Take my Generative AI for Marketers course!

Analytics for Marketers Discussion Group
Join my Analytics for Marketers Slack Group!


One response to “You Ask, I Answer: Best Practices for Reporting to Leadership”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This