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Important Metrics for Remote Work Management

We are starting to get a sense of what a post-pandemic world looks like. Per the CDC, fully vaccinated individuals can go maskless, so we are seeing many states returning to the status quo with ...
We are starting to get a sense of what a post-pandemic world looks like. Per the CDC, fully vaccinated individuals can go maskless, so we are seeing many states returning to the status quo with people attending events and going to stores and public spaces. However, many people are not rushing back to the office. Some reports discuss  people quitting jobs as part of a perspective shift. Still others are returning to the job market. Stiff competition has come with re-opening. After a year of working at home, many employees who prefer that arrangement are looking to make it permanent. With talent retention in mind, a lot of employers are offering up the option to continue working remotely. They're tapping into the trend themselves by opening up their own job searches to workers outside their region. What that means is that now, more than ever, remote work management is essential. It’s about keeping remote workers connected, engaged, and productive.  Quick Links The shift to remote work Remote work in the future Challenges of remote teams Remote team tools Metrics to manage remote teams   The shift to remote work With its origins (as telecommuting) in the 1970s, remote work has been around for a long time. Whether it was call center workers (JCPenney) who could work from home, or IBM workers, working from home has certainly changed over the years, growth exploding first with the internet and then wifi and cloud computing. For some, remote work has long been a dream; just search the hashtag vanlife on social media to see how the trend is making digital nomads relish freedom from a traditional office. In contrast though, for some, the shift to working remotely has been difficult. The arrival of Covid-19 on the scene pushed many into remote work situations that, ordinarily, they’d have never chosen. However, most by this point have adapted and some grown to enjoy the perks. In fact, many companies that may not have offered the opportunity prior to the pandemic are now planning to do so. Because they’re now realizing the benefits of remote work, they’re looking more seriously at making the shift permanent.   Remote work in the future During Covid-19, 72% of workers were working remotely with 81% believing employers would continue to honor that arrangement. Further, research from Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) suggests that 83% of executives have found working remotely to be a success. Given that both employers and employees are interested in continuing either fully remote or hybrid work setups, it’s also important to note that both groups are reaping the benefits: Improved productivity  Cost savings on office space, commuting, and more Better work life balance Lower absenteeism Less stress Better focus More time working And more!   While many expected remote work to be a temporary inconvenience, quite the opposite happened. In fact, many found success and happiness with the new work structure. That doesn’t mean it’s without challenges. Challenges of remote teams Despite there being a lot of benefits, remote work situations are far from problem free. In fact, for as well documented as the benefits are, the challenges are equally clear to many teams. Some of the challenges reflect the nature of solitary work such as loneliness and feeling disconnected from team members. Still others reflect that struggling to unplug is an issue. Finally, technical issues related to connectivity, networking, and security have been an obstacle. Team leaders and managers, however, report completely different challenges. For employers, the challenges include:   Difficulty with communication and collaboration Monitoring productivity Employee engagement and motivation Time/geographical constraints Team/relationship building   Thankfully, there are a variety of  tools available to tackle these issues and help your employees hit your goals. Remote team tools It should come as no surprise that the most successful remote teams have been the ones able to identify and adopt the most effective tools available to address their challenges. Though applications to facilitate communication and collaboration existed, older favorites had to make some enhancements when newcomers successfully entered the market. 1. Communication One of the biggest challenges to remote work is keeping everyone connected. Not only does that include formal meetings to discuss projects, goals, clients, or performance, but even the informal communication has value. For that reason, several communication applications immediately came to the forefront: Slack Zoom Microsoft Teams Google Hangouts GoTo Meeting   2. Collaboration and Project Management Even if your teams can communicate, being able to stay on track, follow workflows, manage projects, and share files requires more than just a communication app. This software helps you plan, manage, track, and collaborate among multiple team members who may be in multiple locations or even time zones.   Trello Basecamp Confluence ClickUp Jira 3. Cloud Storage Sending files can be done in nearly every communication tool, but you likely need to be able to store files in a shared space where everyone who needs access can have it. Further, maintaining security and access controls are also vital. Google Drive Dropbox iDrive Microsoft OneDrive All of the above tools can help facilitate remote team communication and collaboration. If used to create space and opportunities for your remote employees, they can also facilitate relationship building and build employee engagement as well. While these tools do an excellent job of keeping everyone connected and workflows moving, data dashboard tools, like BrightGauge’s, can help you both monitor and report on progress as well as help motivate your team. 🗒️Note: If you're interested in learning more about how to successfully manage remote teams, download our ebook here! Metrics to manage remote teams While project management tools may allow you to monitor workflows and project completion, they fall short in monitoring the metrics or KPIs that provide real information about your success. Data dashboards help you monitor your progress on goals and the key metrics that reveal team performance, allowing you to build on strengths and address weaknesses. When your team is remote, this can be a vital element to your arsenal of tools. However, it’s important to be looking at the right metrics. While you want your team to feel good, you also want to be surpassing goals. A data dashboard is a great tool to keep all the important information in one location, but what remote metrics should you be monitoring?  Across the board, you’ll be wanting to monitor some of the same KPIs, but the metrics you’ll use depend on the specific team. More specifically, the KPIs you’re likely most interested in are productivity, performance, and perhaps employee utilization. Still, the metrics you’ll need to gauge those KPIs are different for individual teams. Let’s take a look at a few. Client Services/Support 1. Call volume- You’ll want to know exactly how many calls are coming in to your support/services team. 2. Calls answered- Of those calls, how many are answered and connect your customers with a member of your team. 3. Tickets opened- How many support tickets were opened by your clients/customers. 4. Tickets closed- Of the open tickets, how many are being resolved? 5. Ticket resolution time- How long does it take your team to resolve tickets? 6. Customer service satisfaction- How happy are your customers with the service they receive? Marketing 1. Website sessions- How many visitors are coming to your website? 2. Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)- Of the site visits, how many meet the characteristics your team has used to define an MQL? 3. Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)- Of new leads, who among them is ready to talk with a member of your sales team? Much like MQLs, you’ll determine what characteristics move a lead to this level. 4. Lead conversion rate- Of your visitors, how many are captured as leads based on the completion of a form or other interactions on your site? 5. Monthly growth-  This is really more of a KPI than a metric. Its measurement requires multiple metrics that suggest growth such as new and running campaigns, MQLs, conversions, etc. In short, it asks did we do more this month with the same resources?  Sales    1. Call volume- How many calls are coming to your sales team? 2. Sales and revenue per rep- How many sales are your reps making and how much revenue are they generating? 3. Conversion rate- How many leads are converted to sales? 4. Growth- Are you seeing increases in monthly recurring revenue (MRR) or total revenue? 5. Lifetime Customer Value- Over the course of a customer lifetime, how much value do they bring?  With data dashboards, users can customize and create dashboards to track the KPIs or metrics that matter. With reporting or dashboard sharing, your entire team stays focused on the same gauges and charts encouraging personal and team growth, ensuring you hit your goals. As many of us have learned, managing remote teams is about more than facilitating communication and collaboration; it’s also about keeping your employees connected to team goals; it’s about keeping teams aligned with business goals; it’s about encouraging employee engagement; and it’s about building purpose. Adding a business intelligence tool like a data dashboard to your remote team management is a key component to meeting all of those needs. If you’re ready to talk about how BrightGauge’s products can help keep your teams connected while working remotely, get in touch with our team today.

Why You Need to Use Qualitative and Quantitative KPIs to Grow Your Business (+ Examples)

Every industry is full of buzzwords and “acronyms,” and a few even manage a whole-hearted crossover, as they're relevant regardless of the industry. Key performance indicators (KPIs), for example, exist within multiple industries, across multiple roles and teams, and carry the same amount of weight regardless of who is monitoring them. They reveal quite a bit about the health and success of a business. However, choosing the right, and specific, KPIs to track changes depending on the role of the team or business function. Still they're critical for measuring operational and financial progress. While most business owners know the importance of proper KPI selection, many miss tracking opportunities by focusing solely on one type of KPI over others. In fact, having a solid understanding of the different KPI types helps ensure you have a complete and well-rounded picture of the entire business landscape. If we focus only on numbers (quantitative), we sometimes miss anecdotal feedback (qualitative). In short, knowing how to classify your KPIs can help you get a deeper, more thorough look into your business and its performance. Quick Links What are KPIs? Types of KPIS Qualitative and Quantitative KPIs The Why and How of Qualitative KPIs Examples of Quantitative KPIs How BrightGauge's dashboards can help you track KPIs What are KPIs? Most of us feel pretty familiar with the term “KPI,” but many people commonly associate them as solely numerical. KPIs are measurements of performance, typically of the elements critical to a business being successful (e.g., sales, finance, service). Because it’s a measurement, the natural assumption is that KPIs should always be a number; something we can count. However, evaluation, particularly of service and customer experience, often go beyond a number. To get a true complete picture of a business, past, present and future, understanding all the types of KPIs is essential. Each one provides valuable insight that can inform strategic decision making and business development. Types of KPIs 1. Quantitative Indicators Quantitative indicators are the most straight-forward KPIs. In short, they are measured solely by a number. There are two types of quantitative indicators — continuous and discrete.   Continuous quantitative indicators can take any value (including decimals) over a range and may include measurements like Miles Traveled (for a mobile service or shipping business) or Time Spent Per Call for call centers and help desks. Discrete quantitative measures are whole numbers and include things like complaints, accidents, and customer acquisition numbers.  2. Qualitative Indicators Qualitative indicators are not measured by numbers. Typically, a qualitative KPI is a characteristic of a process or business decision.   A common qualitative indicator that organizations regularly use would be an employee satisfaction survey. While some of the survey data would be considered quantitative, the measures themselves are based on the opinion of a person. Qualitative indicators tend to focus more on experiences or feelings and the intangible value we place on them.  3. Leading Indicators Leading indicators are used to predict the outcome of a change in a process and confirm long-term trends in data. In a survey of several Fortune 500 companies centered on the metrics that they use as leading indicators, 3M Corp, a mining and manufacturing company, supplied these answers: Number of new patents Number of new innovations Customer service perception In short, leading indicators look at what might happen, such as when you introduce a new product or service. Forecasting these indicators can enable predictive decision making in relation to potential industry trends or customer demands. In and of themselves, they are not standalone indicators of success.  4. Lagging Indicators Lagging indicators are used to measure results after an action has taken place in order to reflect upon the success or failure of that initiative. Often, they are used to gauge historical performance or to analyze the impact of a business decision. Lagging indicators enable businesses to determine whether their business decisions facilitated the desired outcome. Much like leading indicators, by themselves they’re not as useful as they are when used in something like a historical comparison such as month over month or quarter over quarter performance. The other issue with lagging indicators is that as they provide a historical view, it is sometimes too late to make corrections to address shortfalls. 5. Input Indicators Input indicators are used to measure resources needed for a business process or project. They are necessary for tracking resource efficiency in large projects with a lot of moving parts, but are also useful in projects of all sizes.   Some examples of input indicators include staff time, cash on hand, or equipment required.  6. Process Indicators Process indicators are used specifically to gauge the performance of a process and, hopefully, facilitate any needed changes. A very common process indicator for support teams are KPIs focused around customer support tickets.   Tickets resolved, tickets opened, and average resolution times are all process indicators that shed light on the customer support process. In this example, that data can be used to influence changes in the support process to improve efficiency and response time or resolution time. 7. Output Indicators Output indicators measure the success or failure of a process or business activity. Output indicators are one of the most used KPI types. Examples of output KPIs include revenues, profits, or new customers acquired. 8. Practical Indicators Practical indicators take into account existing company processes and explore the effects of those processes on the company. For this reason, many practical indicators may be unique to your company or work processes. 9. Directional Indicators Directional indicators evaluate specific trends within a company. Where are the metrics moving? Are they improving, declining, or maintaining?   An example of a directional metric used by many service providers would be Time on Site. This metric is used to measure the time that techs spend on-site fixing issues and troubleshooting problems. Ideally, most companies would like to lower their average Time on Site, as it is indicative of a faster, more effective service. Broad directional indicators can be used to evaluate your company’s position within your industry relative to competitors. 10. Actionable Indicators Actionable indicators measure and reflect a company’s commitment and effectiveness in implementing business changes. Those changes could be within business processes, company culture, or political action. These metrics are used to determine how well a company is able to enact their desired changes within specified time-frames. 11. Financial Indicators Financial indicators are the measurement of economic stability, growth, and business viability. Some of the most common financial KPIs include gross profit margin, net profit, aging accounts receivable, and asset ratios.   Financial indicators provide straightforward insight into the financial health of a company but must be paired with the other KPI types mentioned in this article to provide a complete picture. Qualitative and Quantitative KPIs As noted above, in several instances, KPIs should be paired with other KPIs to provide a full picture of the process, service, or outcome you’re attempting to measure. You can get a pretty powerful measurement when it comes to situations where both qualitative and quantitative KPIs are available.   More specifically, you’re looking for instances where the feedback received or data collected is both a number and provides some kind of open-ended response that enables a person to report on their experience. For example, if you’re looking at trouble tickets for a help desk or support team, the qualitative KPIs might include Time to Resolution or how long it takes your team to solve a problem. If looking only at a number, you might get an incomplete view of the situation. If the number is higher than your current goals, it might imply that the team is taking too long or is ineffective at solving customer problems. However, qualitative data, such as client comments or feedback, may report that your team is actually quite thorough, particularly when it comes to solving complex and multi-step problems. As the example demonstrates, KPIs are great at providing feedback and measurements, but in the same way as a tailor measures everything completely to get the right fit, your organization should be doing the same. That often means measuring multiple KPIs and analyzing all the data prior to making responsive decisions. The Why and How of Qualitative KPIs As discussed above, qualitative KPIs will not be measured in a number. For that reason, they’re often perceived as more complex to gather.   However, many people are more than willing to share their thoughts and experiences when asked. Further, as a management strategy to gather these measurements, simply being active in your organization, chatting informally with employees, or walking through your office, you can gather a lot of data. Further, qualitative KPIs include anecdotes or customer stories, comments, feedback, or responses to, often, open-ended questions. That’s why in any survey, whether customer or employee, you should include and provide an opportunity to share experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Again, when paired with quantitative data, you’re more likely to get a more complete picture of any business situation. Examples of Quantitative KPIs Qualitative KPIs are likely the ones you’re most familiar with and are represented by numbers. They include KPIs such as:   Sales growth Customer Lifetime Value Number of Resolved Tickets Customer Acquisition Cost Monthly Recurring Revenue Service Response Time KPIs for your finance team KPIs for your service team KPIs for your customer service team How BrightGauge’s Dashboards Help You Track KPIs At BrightGauge, we work closely with our clients to drive business growth by using KPIs and advanced metrics. Understanding the different types of KPIs can help teams to design a well-rounded evaluation system that boosts profits and improves business processes.   Our tools enable your team to create custom dashboards that help you to measure, visualize, and report on the KPIs that matter most, regardless of the type of KPI. No matter which teams or functions you need to monitor, you can see it all with our simple tools that do not require any complex coding. BrightGauge provides the ability to save you time and effort by pulling together the data you need in one place. If you’re ready to talk about how our dashboards can keep you on top of your KPIs, and your business, get in touch with our team today! Check out 70 Metrics for MSPs!    

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Top 5 Service Level KPIs Your MSP Needs to Track to Retain Clients

“I won’t complain. I just won’t come back.” The line was made famous in a Brown & Williamson tobacco ad and is often quoted by thought leaders, experts, customer service, and sales folks alike. Even today, it holds mostly true. Most clients and customers are not likely to be incredibly vocal about being dissatisfied with service, instead, at the end of a contract, they’ll just leave. It’s imperative, then, that businesses, especially managed service providers (MSPs), manage and monitor client expectations and service level agreements (SLA) KPIs to track and retain clients. Quick Links What is an SLA? What are the 3 types of SLA? What is service level management? How to set and measure SLAs Top 5 KPIs your MSP should track for service level management Using KPIs to improve service level management Providing an SLA report Make SLA tracking and reporting easy with dashboards What is an SLA? Service level agreements, or SLAs, are the cornerstone of MSP businesses—whether delivering services to individuals or to other companies. SLAs document the types and level of service provided to the customer, outline what responsibilities fall upon the provider and which upon the user, and include the details regarding service availability. In short, they are the service manifest. What are the 3 types of SLA? We often talk about SLAs as if they’re one singular thing with many variables and, in part, that’s true. The contents of the SLA will depend largely on the services you offer and what your client needs. However, there are 3 types of SLAs that determine the focus of the document itself. Customer-based SLA As the name implies, this SLA is based largely on what an individual customer will need, even if it’s multiple services. This streamlines the contract into one document and allows your service provider to really tailor the agreement to a particular customer. Customer-based SLAs are best for organizations that offer multiple services that may not fall under the same umbrella. Service-based SLAs Service-based SLAs create a uniform SLA used across a customer base for a particular service that your business offers. It’s easy and convenient for the service provider, particularly when the service and service level are uniform, meaning every client gets the same service. Multi-level SLA A multi-level SLA is typically used for a provider who has multiple services that will be utilized at different service levels across a single organization or business. In other words, a large business may contract with one service provider for different needs in different departments. Rather than creating a contract for each service or each department, a multi-level service SLA would be utilized. What is service level management? A core part of managing SLAs is the tracking of key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor compliance with SLAs and identify opportunities for improvement or even expansion. This task is often referred to as service level management. Service level management is the practice of monitoring and controlling key performance indicators related to the organization’s SLAs. This is usually done with an eye towards improving quality of service and customer satisfaction. Being able to consistently meet service level agreements and deliver results is a must for building a strong reputation and keeping clients. By keeping track of key performance indicators for service level management, MSPs can monitor their success at meeting their SLA targets and investigate any shortcomings. How to set and measure SLAs SLAs can be tricky as they’re often pretty black and white meaning either your MSP met the service level or it did not. Measuring their success can be further complicated by the need to gather a lot of data, sometimes from multiple sources, and analyze a variety of KPIs to determine whether or not a particular service was delivered in the way it’s outlined in the agreement. To set SLAs you can measure, you’ll want to establish what services your MSP is offering and, if you’ve got an SLA you’re currently using, work from the existing document. Then, ask “What are the baselines for those services?” For example, if you’re providing technical support to a business with multi-channel offerings, what would an appropriate response time be for a trouble ticket? According to over 1,000 different companies, the average response time is 7 hours and 4 minutes. But, you’ll need to ask yourself, do you want to provide average service? Will that differentiate your MSP in the market? The top 5% respond in 16 minutes. Considering that data, where do you currently fall and where do you want to fall? Next, consult with your clients. Ask them how you’re doing, where you excel, and where you may be missing the mark. While you should be tracking and reporting regularly, as well as  eliciting feedback via surveys, it’s never a bad idea to have this conversation. Once you’ve established what services you offer, what industry standards are, where you’re currently performing, and, according to your clients, where you can improve, it’s time to re-evaluate those SLAs. Finally, consult with your team, both leadership and those providing the service, to determine what services you can add, improve, or even remove with the end goal of not only increasing customer satisfaction, but building a better MSP. Your SLA is a tool for your customer, your relationship, and for your own business as well. Top 5 KPIs your MSP should track for service level management There are many key performance indicators for service level management that you could track, especially for an MSP. Much of your work and relationship with clients relies upon your ability to provide the services you’ve defined at the level you’ve agreed to. While some of these KPIs are internal, meaning you’ll track it solely from within your organization, other examples are KPIs you’ll want to report to your MSP clients.   1. SLA success and failure rates How often does your organization meet or fail to deliver services within the bounds of its SLAs? Naturally, this can be hard to track, considering how different individual SLAs can be from one organization to the next.   For example, an SLA could be “99% Uptime year-round” for a cloud computing service, while a cybersecurity company might have SLAs like “identify and resolve security breaches within two hours.”   If your number of breached SLAs is high, that might indicate that your SLAs are too strict, or that a critical tool or resource is missing. This could be a good opportunity to revisit your SLAs and processes and reevaluate them to improve service delivery.   2. SLA cost metrics In any business management strategy, analyzing costs against profits is a basic necessity. Setting up performance metrics that track the cost of meeting SLA targets can be crucial for monitoring the sustainability of a service level agreement.   If costs are running high, it may be necessary to revisit either the SLA itself or the means used to meet it. For example, if you have an SLA of “resolving security breaches within two hours” as a managed security service provider (MSSP) and were maintaining the SLA by having on-duty staff monitoring the client network at all hours, odds are your costs would be high. Here, applying an automated threat detection solution or even an intrusion prevention system would reduce the need to dedicate labor to the task and reduce costs.   By tracking cost metrics for your SLAs, you can more effectively manage your budget and make adjustments to improve the long-term viability of your services.   3. Time to response Many SLAs are time-sensitive, promising certain actions or outcomes within a given period of time. Because of this, one critical performance metric to monitor is the time it takes to respond to an incident, issue, or trouble ticket. The shorter the wait between event and action, the better.   If you notice that your response time is too long, it may be a good idea to take a look at your notification processes and workflows for delivering services. This helps you improve your service level management by identifying ways to optimize response times.   4. Customer Retention Rate Most businesses understand that keeping customers is far more cost effective than acquiring new ones. Further, data suggests that improving your customer retention rate by even 5% can boost profits by 25-95%. However, if you’re not retaining customers, this KPI may be the canary in the coal mine. If you notice your customer retention rate decreasing, it’s time to take action.  5. Average resolution time While keeping tabs on how quickly you respond to client needs and issues is vital, knowing how quickly you resolve them is equally important. Obviously clients want a low response time, but those who have a low resolution time are likely to be happier. In fact, the average service resolution time is roughly 3 days with the top 20% resolving issues in just under 2 days. How quickly you are able to resolve client issues is crucial to building both your reputation and your client relationship. It’s probably pretty obvious that the quicker you resolve problems, the more they’ll depend on you and stay with your business rather than seeking another MSP. Using KPIs to improve service level management The examples listed above are just a few potential KPIs you could use to improve your service level management. When selecting performance metrics for your service level agreements, consider:   How closely the KPI reflects the intent of the SLA; How the information the KPI provides could be used to improve the SLA; Whether you need multiple KPIs to thoroughly assess SLA performance; and Whether you or your employees can control the performance metric for the SLA.   Ideally, the metrics you choose should have a strong correlation to the SLA, be useful for tweaking how you approach service delivery, and be something you can improve. Providing an SLA Report While monitoring “internal” SLAs such as your success/failure rate at meeting SLA metrics, monitoring the metrics that impact your client are just as important (response time etc). And, it’s not just enough to track and monitor those KPIs and regularly report on your successes to your clients. That’s the purpose of an SLA report, to keep your client in the know, maintain transparency, and continuously monitor your business’s performance when it comes to the delivery of agreed upon service. It should be a core part of your service offering and provides the justification your client needs to maintain your relationship. Make SLA tracking and reporting easy with dashboards In summary, monitoring the right KPIs, both yours and your clients, and being able to report those, as needed, are vital to client retention. Those crucial elements for monitoring and reporting on service level KPIs are processes that BrightGauge can help with. First, service level KPIs often require pulling data from multiple sources. This often means switching between applications or screens and spending significant time entering that data into a spreadsheet. That type of slow down is avoidable, especially when using BrightGauge’s dashboard tool. Instead of spending your time pulling data, BrightGauge does that for you and presents it on a convenient dashboard, enabling you to visualize your KPIs on a single display when and how you need it. While there are dashboards ready to go out-of-the-box, it’s a fully customizable tool meaning you can pick and choose what you need and then share that information with team members. Not only are those KPIs shareable with the team members who help you meet your goals, but the automated reporting feature means that in minutes you can send reports to clients that demonstrate how you’re progressing on service level KPIs saving you time and building strong client relationships. Need help to improve your MSP's KPI tracking so you can use metrics to optimize your service level management? Reach out to the BrightGauge team to learn more!

Report of the Month: Client Heartbeat

This report was created based on the Client Heartbeat Report and other KPIs shared by James Oberhaus of CPI Solutions in our May 2021 User Showcase Webinar: Tracking Key Activities + Custom Dropbox Data.​ What it shows A review of team performance and client feedback. The top portion of the report is meant to drive discussion based on survey responses and a review of the three questions asked of their customers each month (or at your own cadence):   Response - How satisfied are you with the speed & efficiency at which we are able to respond to your requests? Communication - How satisfied are you with the level of communication during the support process? Detail - How satisfied are you with our attention to detail? Other KPIs of note: One Touch Resolution % High Priority Ticket Count Average Time to Resolution Stale Ticket Count Breached Open Tickets and more ticket trends to track long tail changes Client Heartbeat Report - view here When is it useful   The CPI Solutions team chooses to review this around the 15th of every month. A regular cadence is great for keeping on top of any changes in service and sentiment.  Check out the full webinar, Tracking Key Activities + Custom Dropbox Data, for some additional great tips on how to customize some of the data you work with to see more granular details.   If you want to recreate and customize this report for yourself, check out the links below: Client Heartbeat Report (public view link) Client Heartbeat Report Buildout Key   Make sure to visit our library of more report and dashboard templates and please feel free to reach out to with any questions!

Benefits of Dashboard Reporting for Remote Team Engagement

As we move through 2021, as vaccination numbers rise, as businesses return to capacity, as concerts return, it’s inevitable that we will revisit the discussion regarding remote work. Many businesses are in the throes of determining when, and whether, employees will be returning to the office full time. However, research suggests that 25-30% of the workforce will remain, on at least some days, remote. Given that statistic, it’s only natural that businesses begin to explore the best ways to maintain the productivity, collaboration, and engagement given the new remote landscape. In fact, employers assert that one of the primary reasons for in-office interactions is to maintain corporate culture and employee engagement. Given that priority and the demand for remote work situations, it’s clear that employers will need the right tools, like dashboards, to help them maintain the successes we’ve seen over the last year. Quick Links What is employee engagement? Why is employee engagement important? Why remote teams struggle with engagement What is dashboard reporting? The benefits of dashboard reporting for remote teams Keep your workforce aligned with BrightGauge's Dashboards What is employee engagement? Employee engagement gauges, both qualitatively and quantitatively, the experience of employees with the organization where they work. Further, it’s important to distinguish between employee satisfaction/happiness and employee engagement as the two are not the same thing. More specifically, an employee can be satisfied with their job, but still not feel connected to the work they’re doing or the organization. Employee engagement really looks at the emotional and psychological connection to a workplace. That connection then translates to an employee’s willingness to put in significant effort to achieving overall business goals (beyond individual goals). Why is employee engagement important?   While many businesses focus on employee satisfaction and engagement is certainly impacted by happiness, engagement is a far better indicator of employee and organizational health than satisfaction for a variety of reasons.  In fact, employee engagement can do the following: 1. Improve productivity   Especially when we’re looking at remote work where productivity has been a concern, one way to keep employees productive is to keep them engaged. Engaged employees want to do the work and that drives them to work harder, look for more efficient ways to complete tasks, collaborate more, and search for solutions to business obstacles or friction points. More specifically, engaged employees are 17% more productive. Further, increased productivity then drives your bottom line. In fact, businesses with engaged employees are 22% more profitable. 2. Reduce employee churn Training new employees takes time and money. Sometimes, it can delay or postpone client work and, overall, reduces how effective your business can be in delivering the goods or services you provide. However, engaged employees are far less likely to leave. Specifically, companies with highly engaged employees are able to reduce employee turnover by as much as 31%.   3. Reduce absenteeism   In addition to keeping employees from leaving permanently, highly engaged employees are also more likely to show up daily. Research shows that simply engaging employees may result in a 41% reduction in absenteeism. 4. Improve bottom line It’s not just hiring and training costs. Low employee engagement can create productivity slowdowns and low morale which impacts U.S. business to the tune of $450-550 billion a year. In short, keeping employees engaged is a smart financial move. 5. Improved morale You’ve likely seen it before, and we’re hinting at it above, engaged employees who are excited about their workplace and are invested in business goals are more likely to be energized. In turn, this impacts the teams and employees around them. We’ve all likely worked with someone who’s “checked out” and that person tends to drag a team down. Engaged employees are cheerleaders and help motivate others around them. Despite its importance, Gallup research suggests that nearly 51% of employees are not engaged at work. Considering the importance and what appears to be a failure to make strides in employee engagement, how can businesses, working remotely, improve employee engagement? Why remote teams struggle with engagement It’s really pretty simple. Employee engagement is about connection and connection is fostered in a variety of ways, but, according to Gallup, one of the most important factors is the relationships we form at work. As one can imagine, remote work has had a significant impact on our ability to build and maintain work relationships. One of the biggest impacts has been on the informal interactions we have with our co-workers. Research suggests that these informal moments, passing in the hall, gathering at someone’s desk briefly, grabbing coffee together, etc., are the foundation for many of the stronger relationships we build at work. Further, face-to-face communications are still a stronger way to communicate and for us to understand one another through expressions and body language. Many of us have been party to a misunderstanding through electronic communication and these small miscommunications can have a larger impact on our relationships. However, other research suggests that some of the stronger relationships created at work have been reinforced by remote work as “work friends” actually make an effort to stay connected. And, it’s important to note, that there is quite a bit that can be done to improve engagement in a remote work environment and that largely has to do with team leaders and management ensuring that teams stay connected, communicative, and collaborative. That means leveraging every tool available to them, such as dashboards which can keep teams connected to their cooperative goals and objectives.   What is dashboard reporting?   Dashboard reporting is a technology tool that allows team leads to collect data from various sources and place it into a single, easy-to-review report or data dashboard.   The dashboard reporting tool typically has some built-in integrations with other data collection solutions, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software, website analytics tools, employee productivity monitoring tools, and the like. Dashboard reporting tools pull data from the integrated software to display it on a data dashboard or report—which is often accessible online.   The benefits of dashboard reporting for remote teams   So, how can data dashboard reporting tools help remote workers collaborate more effectively and stay aligned with their business’ goals? Here are a few of the ways that using data dashboards with remote teams can help:   It puts all of your analytics in an easy-to-manage location. One of the big challenges of remote work is being able to track the performance of employees in real time. A data dashboard tool allows companies to monitor employee performance metrics and see where employees are doing well and where they’re struggling.   Public dashboards can encourage competition. When multiple employees can see a “leaderboard” of who is ranking high for specific metrics, it can help to keep them informed and encourage some competitiveness. This drives results by keeping employees motivated to beat their peers.   It can keep management alerted to major performance issues. With the ability to set custom alerts, team leaders can program thresholds for certain performance metrics that, if exceeded, will generate an alert. This allows team leaders to make course corrections with employees in real time, even when everyone is working remotely.   You can set goals for both individual and team performance. One of the issues with having remote employees is that it can be hard to keep them aligned with the company’s primary goals. With online data dashboards, managers can provide employees with clear success targets they can work towards.   Online data dashboards are both a critical performance management tool for team leaders and a motivational tool for employees. By tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and showing them to employees, dashboard reporting tools help remote workers stay on track with their goals.   Keep your workforce aligned with BrightGauge’s dashboards   BrightGauge’s data dashboard tool is the perfect solution for keeping employees aligned with your company’s goals, even when they’re working remotely. With BrightGauge, you can:   See all of your most important KPIs in one place thanks to our extensive list of integrations; Check on individual team member’s activity and performance with custom gauges and filters; Create leaderboards for employee performance to stimulate healthy competition; Make remote 1:1 meetings more effective with employee-specific data dashboards; Get alerted to critical performance issues with custom alerts; Make data-driven business decisions based on actual performance data from the dashboard; Collate easy-to-interpret monthly reports automatically to share with employees, management, and/or customers as needed. If you're ready to talk about how BrightGauge's business intelligence tools can help your remote team thrive, get in touch with our team today!

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How to Set Team Goals (+Examples)

Even if you’re Steph Curry, a 7-time all-star, two-time league MVP,  record holder for scoring in your college conference, and single season three-point record holder, you still don’t get to be an NBA champion for 3 seasons (2015, 2017, 2018) without a team. In fact, at one point, Curry, of the Golden State Warriors, also led the league in “secondary assists” which means even with his individual achievements, he knows when to pass the ball and when to rely on his team. While it may not be an NBA championship you're looking to win, we don’t need to draw out the analogy to see the parallels between your business and a professional sports team. It’s likely each individual member of your team has larger career goals as well as goals within your company and goals within their team. However, good managers (or good coaches) can align those goals with larger team goals so that everyone works together to be successful. Quick Links How are team goals different from individual goals? Why are team goals important? How to set team goals 20 examples of team goals to use in your business How BrightGauge's Goals can help you set and track team goals   How are team goals different from individual goals? As is clear from the analogy above, individual goals are reflections of an individual’s objectives in relation to their role, whether that’s within their career, business or team. For example, as an individual, my goal may be to convert 3-5 leads over the course of the next few months. While that goal may also contribute to the team or business’s overall goals, the motives behind it may be quite different. What drives an individual to achieve an individual goal may be quite different from what motivates them to participate in team goals. In contrast, team goals are centered around what will make the team, as a whole, successful. While individual goals may contribute, individual goals may also be outside of the realm of team objectives. If we take the example above, it would fit in with team goals if the overall team objective was to, across multiple team members, convert 15-20 leads over the course of the next few months. However, it is wholly possible that a team goal might be to reduce customer churn and, in that case, that individual goal may not align. Why are team goals important? A good number of articles on the internet discuss the reasons why teams might fail, but not many of them look at how we understand and value team goals as one cause. In other words, sometimes we set team goals because we’re expected to, without really understanding the value of the goals themselves (beyond the objective) and the way they can impact your team and their successes, both team and individual. 1. Goals provide focus and direction Setting S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) goals helps your team stay on track. In addition to breaking down a longer-term goal into benchmarks, providing a clear end goal helps your team stay focused on what it is they’re hoping to achieve. In fact, 97% of executives and employees agree that lack of focus or direction is the reason team goals fail.   Additionally, that focus improves your productivity, the quality of the work you produce, and can reduce stress.   2. Goals help you identify friction points   Let’s be honest. We don’t always achieve goals. However, if we don’t have goals at all, we’ll never know if we’re off track. Further, if you’re missing benchmarks, you can start to identify the friction points. Does the team need more resources? Where can you add more support? With any luck, early identification of obstacles can assist in reaching the larger objective even if a benchmark is missed. 3. Goals are a great way to recognize and celebrate achievements Everyone likes to win. It can be motivating and inspire you to keep going even if a job has been tough. Recognizing teams and individuals can also be crucial to fostering company culture and keeping employees driven and engaged. In fact, 54% of employees said this kind of recognition and group celebration is what kept them at a company. 4. Goals provide meaning to the work Some times, some days, it’s really easy to get bogged down by tasks, by the daily grind of a job. When there’s a pile of paperwork (even if it’s digital), emails to answer, problems to troubleshoot and resolve, and failures or obstacles, it’s easy to forget why you’re doing something. Goals, particularly when they’re clear, established, discussed among the team, can serve as a reminder that the tasks are leading you and your team to a larger goal, a bigger picture.  5. Goals can be motivating and confidence building Who among us hasn’t made a list, put something we’ve already completed on said list, and then crossed it off just to get that feeling of satisfaction and completion? Goals are motivating in the same way. There are few things that energize a team, provide the drive that helps individuals ask “What’s next?” and builds confidence in your team’s ability to achieve and to work together like meeting (or crushing) a goal. How to set team goals When setting goals for ourselves, we’re keenly aware of our overall objectives balanced with our abilities. We can factor in how we respond to challenges, how we respond to stress and deadlines, and how agile we are when goalposts move or unexpected challenges arise. However, when working with a team, it’s just not that straightforward. Not only do you have more moving parts that need to sync up, but several of those other factors can play in, as can interpersonal relationships. Therefore, it’s worth considering a few things when setting team goals. 1. Remember S.M.A.R.T. goals It’s easy to, especially if a team is energized, want to set a lofty goal to start. However, it’s more helpful if you think of it as something akin to a New Year’s Resolution. The resolutions that fail are the ones that lack specificity, aren’t realistic, and then begin with someone biting off more than they can chew. Further, you’ll want to keep them measurable and achievable. Your team will start off on great footing if the first goal you set is small and achievable within the time frame you set. It’s good to set a long-term goal, but focusing in on smaller goals that will lead you there will lead to success.   2. Communicate and align   This seems pretty obvious but, quite often, poor communication or miscommunications are the reasons objectives are not achieved (in addition to other impacts on a business). For some teams this may mean weekly sync ups, emails, reporting, or using a dashboard tool to keep everyone aligned. In fact, research supports the concept that tracking and monitoring progress is a vital part of achieving goals. When there’s a team involved, effective communication among the team means that everyone is able to monitor progress and reap the benefits of tracking.   3. Build in incentives and praise As mentioned above, goal setting is an excellent way to recognize and celebrate achievements which, in turn, motivates people. In fact, even deciding on what those incentives may be is a great team building tool. Further, research suggests that praise, when deserved rather than being empty words, has significant power to motivate people and realign them with the goals, the team, and the organization.   4. Goal set as a team We hinted at it above, but one of the best ways to ensure your team is successful is through team building activities. These activities improve relationships, and communication, help define roles and responsibilities, and clarify tasks and expectations. Additionally, setting goals as a team allows everyone to feel a part of the process and encourages buy-in which can be vital to focus, direction, motivation, and success. 5. Build in individual goals If buy-in is important, one of the best ways to achieve that is to find ways to align an individual’s goals with the team’s. The added benefit here is that it forces a conversation with individuals about what their goals might be for career growth, especially within your organization. From there, you can work together to find ways to create individual goals that will help achieve team and business goals as well.   6. Be agile Many business landscapes are constantly evolving, whether that’s within your organization or within your industry. As such, some goals may become unattainable or obstacles to success may be beyond your control. It’s important, for that reason, to remain agile and adaptable and discuss this with your team. It’s important to establish that some goals may be missed and that’s okay as the work to get there is still valuable. If you’ve started with small achievable goals, a missed goal will not be confidence or motivation shattering.   20 examples of team goals to use in your business Obviously, your team goals will depend upon your teams, their roles within your organization, overall business goals, and current initiatives or changes within your business. Further, it’s important to keep in mind that these are collective goals and achievable only as a team, though individuals can find personal goals to weave in.  Sales Team Goals   Increase customer lifetime value through product or service upsells Increase MRR by a set percentage Reduce customer/client churn  Increase the number of qualified leads month-to-month   Service Team Goals   Reduce response time Increase opportunities for customer/client feedback Decrease onboarding time Decrease trouble resolution time   Leadership Team Goals    Improve utilization rate Initiate employee incentive program Improve employee engagement through activities or events Improve communication around larger business objectives Operations Team Goals   Initiate new tech/application training program  Institute or audit file storage conventions Evaluate workflows with goal of decreasing time for deliverables Identify performance gaps and establish policies/procedures to address them   HR Team Goals    Track and/or establish team training  Identify causes for employee churn and work to reduce Initiate employee health/exercise program Create recruitment pipeline opportunities/outreach   How BrightGauge's Goals can help you set and track team goals We’ve established that goals are crucial and their benefits enormous. We’ve looked at steps to set them and ideas to implement. We’ve asserted that monitoring the goal is just as important as setting. Now we move on to the coaching role. While Curry and his teammates certainly have the talent and the skills to achieve and win, there’s also a coach who’s providing insights, tools, and oversight. Your team leaders are no different. They need the tools to communicate, to provide progress reports, to track successes and slow downs, and to adjust the “playbook” according to all that data. That’s where BrightGauge comes in. With a variety of customizable tools designed to help you set goals; gather all your important data in one place; provide clear, complete, and actionable visualizations of relevant metrics; facilitate reporting and keep teams, both large and small, aligned and connected; BrightGauge’s solution is designed to help your team succeed, regardless of the goal. If you’re ready to lead your team to success, get in touch with our team today. We’re ready to help you meet your goals.

5 Benefits of Business Intelligence Tools

In 1967’s The Graduate, McGuire pulls Benjamin aside and offers one word of advice, “Plastics.” Even considering the symbolic meaning of the advice, were the same film made in 2021, the one word would, without a doubt, be “data.” More than most people know, data, and big data, has a huge impact on everything we do from our daily lives to our businesses. Often, the ability to leverage the data collected, to analyze it effectively and turn it into business strategies and successes, is the difference between winning and losing in a competitive marketplace. Therefore, the applications we use to gather, report, and analyze that data are the essential tools of the workplace. Quick Links What is business intelligence & why is it important? What are business intelligence tools? 5 benefits of using business intelligence tools   What is business intelligence and why is it important? In short, business intelligence is the collection, reporting, presentation, and analysis of data from various sources (software, applications, services) that informs a business. The end goal is strategic and data-driven decisions. How a business makes decisions is fundamental to its success. Data driven decision making allows an organization to view data as it comes in, compare it to historical and market data as well as other data sources, and make decisions that can: Identify friction points for customers, clients, or team members Prepare for and predict historical market fluctuations Assess market competition Track employee performance Monitor SLA benchmarks Improve processes and operations Identify potential revenue streams or opportunities What are business intelligence tools? If business intelligence is the data collected, reported, presented, or analyzed, business intelligence tools are the method by which those actions happen. This includes the applications, software, and services that provide and present the aggregated data in a structured and useful way. There are a variety of ways these tools present the data including: Dashboards Gauges Visualizations (like maps) Reporting Data Mining OLAP (online analytical processing) ETL (extract-transfer-load) Of these tools, dashboards and visualizations are the most popular and most easily used. As we are visual creatures, these tools are most popular as they provide the data quickly (literally at a glance) and allow users to leverage other visual tools (like design and layout) to facilitate fast identification of needed data. In fact, these tools are so important that Business Intelligence Analyst is a career with considerable growth expected in the next few years. Part of the reason for that growth is that many BI tools require statistical and analytical skills as well as programming, coding, and advanced software skills. As a result, some business intelligence tools can be complex and difficult to use without specialized knowledge. In contrast, BrightGauge’s business intelligence solution allow end users to work “out-of-the-box” with pre-built gauges and automated reporting features that make your business intelligence efforts...well..effortless. In fact, BrightGauge's tools require no coding, no SQL knowledge, and can be used by anyone on your team. That kind of versatility means your team is ready to make insightful data-driven decisions, the kind that strategically grow your business, right away. 5 benefits of using business intelligence tools By this point, hopefully it’s clear that there are benefits to using business intelligence tools to help drive tactical and strategic business decisions. But, let’s take a closer look at what those benefits are. 1.Data-driven decisions Having real data on customer, client, or even employee responses to initiatives lets your organization gauge their success, respond in an agile way, and determine whether similar initiatives will help meet business goals. For example, if data suggests that, historically, sales of a particular item increase during a specific month and then wane in another, you can strategically respond to those fluctuations with offers and pricing adjustments to increase sales or revenue. 2. Improved customer experiences By tracking KPIs related to customer satisfaction or success, or for an MSP tracking response time of technicians, your organization can improve customer experiences. This kind of data is also what we see on major e-commerce sites that recommend products and services similar to what we’ve already purchased or been perusing. In that way, the benefits of business intelligence tools can benefit you whether your organization sells a product or a service. 3. Improved employee experiences There’s no big secret to employee satisfaction. Employees want to feel seen, heard, and connected. A great way to do that is to use BrightGauge’s goals tool and share dashboards with employees to allow them to track progress and successes. You can even send automated reports to your team to keep them engaged and interested. There’s a direct correlation between employee engagement and employee satisfaction and business intelligence tools can help you strengthen that connection! 4. Competitive advantage As noted briefly above, one of the best advantages of business intelligence tools is the access to historical and competitor data. Analyzing both of these allows you to prepare for market forecasts, recognize service or product gaps, and present solutions to the market when needed. Similarly, in the case of individual customers or clients, use your business experience to proactively recognize patterns or trends and offer services to your clients before they even know they need it.  5. Improved efficiency on multiple levels Gone are the days of account managers jumping from program to program to gather data to report to a client, a superior, or even their team. Business intelligence tools like BrightGauge’s offer robust reporting capabilities, often with automation, and are a time saving measure for any team member who needs to report. Further, the ability to share dashboards with teams or individuals, means everyone can stay in alignment on goals and objectives. This kind of transparency on teams can drive productivity as all team members can gauge progress and share in the wins.  If your team isn’t currently using a business intelligence tool to reap all these amazing advantages, what are you waiting for? Using business intelligence doesn't have to be intimidating. BrightGauge was specifically designed so anybody could use it. Once you get your BrightGauge KPIs and dashboards set up, you'll be on your way to deeper data insights that could truly have a positive impact on your business.  Get in touch with the BrightGauge team to talk about how our solution can benefit you.

Understanding the Difference Between KPIs and Metrics

If you remember back to high school geometry, you might recall the axiom that all squares are parallelograms, but not all parallelograms are squares. Why does this matter? Because, essentially, KPIs and metrics have a similar relationship. All KPIs are metrics, but not all metrics are KPIs. While the terms are often tossed about interchangeably, failure to understand KPIs vs. metrics might mean you’re focused on the wrong measurement, creating confusion around your goals and impacting decisions the real data may not support. If you’re hoping to base your business decisions on data, then understanding the difference between KPIs and metrics is vital.   Quick Links What are KPIs? What are metrics? KPIs vs metrics: How data driven businesses use both How dashboards can help you track KPIs and Metrics   What are KPIs? KPIs or Key Performance Indicators are the metrics by which you gauge business critical initiatives, objectives, or goals. The operative word in the phrase is “key,” meaning they have special or significant meaning. KPIs act as measurable benchmarks against defined goals.   For example, if your business goal is to increase sales by 15% over the next two quarters, the KPIs to gauge that may include, but not be limited to: new customer acquisition, customer churn, and upselling success rate. In short, a KPI can be made up of multiple metrics.  What are metrics? While KPIs measure progress toward specific goals, metrics are measurements of overall business health. While they may be loosely tied to specific targeted objectives, they are not the most important metrics and may not be good guides as to whether you’re on track.   In fact, some of them may be what are referred to as vanity metrics, the ones that just make you feel good, but don’t mean much, such as the number of likes a post gets on social media. However, metrics can still provide valuable data about your business. For example, you might track website visitors as a metric, but unless it’s tied to a specific key business objective, it’s a metric, not a KPI. More on that below! KPIs vs. metrics: How data driven businesses use both Why does all of this matter? You may think because you’re not a data analyst metrics and KPIs don’t matter much. But these days, with the way we work and the data-driven nature of many businesses (particularly because we have so many ways to collect data), it’s a mistake to not use the information we readily have at our disposal. Let’s start with a basic tenet: metrics support KPIs. KPIs may be made up of a variety of different metrics that give you a full picture of you or your team’s progress toward a goal. If we return to the example of website visitors, simply tracking that information isn’t a KPI — it’s a metric. But if we add a little more information to that example, we can see how it could become a KPI. If the business goal is to create 20% more sales qualified leads (SQL) over the next year, original/new website visits alone may not provide you with the data you need. However, understanding how that metric translates into other site interactions, like form completions and downloads, is vital. If analysis has created a correlation between downloads and SQLs, then website visitors and new downloads become KPIs rather than just metrics. Given that example, if new website visitors don’t translate into downloads, if the majority of downloads are coming from an email campaign, then website visits isn’t a KPI; it’s just a metric. That doesn’t mean it’s not important, as visitors might be signing up for your emails via the website, but contacts may come from a wide variety of sources. In short, you will likely still monitor website visits, but it’s not tied directly to an objective as a KPI would be.   How dashboards can help you track KPIs and metrics For a data driven business, metrics are essential, whether KPIs or not. It’s how your business plans and prepares for next steps, additional goals, as well as identifying lagging performance. While the difference between KPIs and metrics is objective, there is, essentially, no change in how you should be looking at that data. It’s why dashboards can be such an effective tool for businesses. In fact, BrightGauge’s KPI dashboards empower you to choose the metrics you want to monitor and create customized dashboards. The customization process enables you to check your business’s pulse, at a glance, and share that data with individuals or entire teams, keeping everyone aligned and motivated. Further, use of the snapshot tool to create charts that measure your progress day-to-day or month-to-month allow you and your team to easily identify patterns among your metrics. That means you can proactively address friction points or build on existing successes. Again, instead of moving between multiple programs, multiple screens, and creating complex spreadsheets, BrightGauge’s tools allow you to do it all in one place, saving you time and effort. If you’d like to talk to our team about how our dashboard tools can help you monitor business metrics for your data driven efforts, get in touch with us today!

Shagun Jain Joins BrightGauge as Software Engineer

We’re excited to welcome Shagun Jain to the team as a Software Engineer! Join us in learning more about the newest member of our growing BrightGauge family.    In the beginning   Shagun grew up in Meerut, India - a city in the National capital region, close to New Delhi. While in high school and secondary school, Shagun developed an interest in Information Technology and, upon finishing school, was shortlisted for a renowned computer program in India. For the first time in his life, he left his comfort zone and got to broaden his horizons in Bengaluru, India - or as Shagun puts it, the Silicon Valley of Asia.   While in this program, Shagun was exposed to the IT world and all the fun that comes with it, like working in big IT parks and seeing a supercomputer up close and personal.    Throughout his professional career, Shagun has done it all. He's worked as a developer, quality analyst, business analyst, and product manager in service-based companies, product-based companies, and start-up environments. This diversified experience has well-prepared him to take on the BrightGauge world.    Joining BrightGauge   When Shagun got the opportunity to join ConnectWise, he learned that he'd be working on the BrightGauge side of the business. Reading up on our business intelligence domain, and visualization and reporting capabilities got Shagun amped up about joining the team.    He's most excited to be a part of a team that is continuing to unleash the potential of our product and positively impact the MSP community.    Plus, he has felt welcomed by his colleagues from the start. As he says, "A diversified culture and a global team is something you strive for anywhere you work - at BrightGauge and ConnectWise, it comes as a default."    Out of office    When Shagun isn't busy being a master of our product, you can find him outdoors and constantly working for a social cause in order to become a better person and to give back to society.      We love how humble Shagun is, but what truly makes him a perfect fit at BrightGauge? His sense of humor! We're learning a thing or two from his GIF game!

How to Set the Right Business Goals to Scale Your MSP

Goals. We have meetings to discuss them, meetings to set them, meetings to track progress, meetings to evaluate them. Sometimes we even plan retreats and getaways to dedicate full days to looking at how they can drive our teams, initiatives, and planning.   In fact, every organizational management book stresses the importance of goal-setting. But, goals are worthless without understanding why they work and what you can achieve with them! But, before you dive into the goals your business should be aiming for, it’s important to look at benefits any business can realize with the right goals. To start, organizational goals work to define the strategies needed throughout a company’s entire structure. Executives and management define and champion those strategies and goals themselves.   Then, team goals influence the processes employed within those teams. And finally, there are individual goals which help to define workdays and dictate areas of focus for individual employees. As you can see, there’s a structure to goals themselves, and team and individual goals should be working to see the realization of the larger business goals. Therefore, it’s important to plan accordingly.   Quick Links What are business goals? Why business goals are important Setting outcome and process goals Choosing between outcome and process goals Why business goals are important for MSPs How to choose the right goals to scale your MSP How to track your goals using BG's goals and dashboards What Are Business Goals? Simply put, business goals help establish the priorities for a business. Your organization should anticipate being able to meet your goals over a set period of time, and be careful to not set the bar too low, or choose something unattainable. In fact, it’s important to set S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) even at an organizational level. These goals should be big enough that each team can see its role and can identify the goals they’ll need to reach to make the larger goal possible. For example, your MSP may set a goal of $10,000 Net New MRR each month. In order to facilitate that, team goals should contribute as well. What would contributing goals look like across marketing, sales, and customer success teams?   As we all know, MRR doesn’t just steadily build. In fact, customers are often in flux and one occasionally slips through the cracks. Therefore, the customer success team goal might be to keep churn at five accounts or fewer each month.   For the sales team, they’d need to calculate how many new accounts they need to reach the goal. Let’s say they need 10 new accounts at $1,000 MRR each to reach the $10,000 Net New MRR goal. However, we also want to consider organizational alignment. In other words, if the customer success team has set a churn limit of five accounts, the sales team will need to close 15 new accounts to be on the "safe" side and mindful of potential churn.   At the same time, the marketing team would need to focus on the number of demo requests that must be driven to the sales team in order to close these 15 transactions. If sales closes 50% of the demos and upgrades sent their way, then for the sales team to close 15 new accounts, marketing must send them 30 demo requests.   No matter what your organizational goals are, once you’re able to get all of the moving parts within your business aligned and working towards the same big-picture target, you’ll find that your business will thrive! Why Business Goals Are Important There are a variety of reasons business goals are important. Not only do they provide direction for each team, but they allow everyone to plan. As in the example above, without the larger business goal, each of those teams could create goals that don’t support one another, or the larger business. However, there are other benefits as well. Business Goals Help to Create Focus and Engagement In order for almost any organization to reach lofty targets, there has to be laser-like focus at all levels. Goals help clarify that focus and define what you are truly after. In fact, by outlining both your process goals and outcome goals (we’ll cover these in detail later in this post), you’ll ensure that your company is headed in the right direction and focused on the steps that will get you to your desired results. It’s also important to note here that goals provide task direction. During downtime when your team is looking for an action to take, task-oriented goals provide a blueprint for meaningful action. Across dozens or hundreds of employees, this targeted focus has a compound effect that drives organizations forward. Further, given that each team and each individual has a role in achieving both team and business goals, they are more likely to be invested and engaged in the process. Business Goals Help to Facilitate Accountability Having goals in place is not enough to guarantee success. A certain level of accountability needs to be maintained to ensure that goals are being met and new goals are being created to replace them. That’s why you must have a cadence for checking in with individuals and teams — it’s a vital part of keeping the motivation flowing across your company. Let’s face it, we all perform at an increased level when we have people we respect holding us to a higher standard!   By encouraging accountability within your organization, your chances of success in completing small process goals and larger outcome goals are improved. Additionally, the accountability factor that’s tied to cadence is a two-way street: It highlights success and also sheds light on failures. Setting Outcome and Process Goals In most organizations, goals can be broken down into two categories — process goals and outcome goals. If you aren’t sure of the difference, here is an easy way to remember them: Outcome Goals - What you want to achieve Process Goals - The steps or actions you must take to help you attain the outcome goal   If you’ve read Traction or are familiar with EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) Worldwide, then think of your scorecard as your process goals. Your company priorities, or outcome goals, are what they refer to as rocks — these are must-have goals destined to get completed due to their importance. Rocks may be company-wide or individual goals. Their scope isn’t what defines them; their importance is. For instance, let’s say you have a goal of obtaining 10 new paying clients in a given month. This is a perfect example of an outcome goal. However, landing those clients is outside of your control because whether or not you are able to sign those clients depends upon a myriad of other factors including competition, scheduling issues, and yes — even a bit of luck. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t set an outcome goal for yourself. They are, after all, the end desire you want to achieve. However, it’s better to set goals that aren’t dependent upon forces outside of your control. This is where process goals come into play. Process goals are smaller, step-oriented goals that help you build toward your big picture aspirations. These are goals that are completely within your control and as a result, are actionable and clearly defined. Your goal post for success should be clear. Using our previous example to sign 10 new clients in a month, your process goal might be to call 20 people per day from your prospect list. This smaller, action-oriented goal is the driving force behind landing those clients because if you’re able to hit your daily goal, then you’re actively pushing toward meeting your larger outcome goal for the month. If you’re not able to land those 10 new clients, you should go back and decide how to alter your process and what your new daily goal should be. It’s important to remember that one type of goal isn’t better or more important than the other. Process goals and outcome goals work together. Stress the importance of pairing the two in order to instill commitment and focus among your teams. Choosing Between Outcome and Process Goals Having an understanding of when to use outcome or process goals is the critical first step toward actually achieving them. Every company has an outcome goal in mind: It’s what they’re striving for. Once you have your outcome goal dialed in, start by breaking it down. What are the actual steps that will need to be taken in order for you to achieve that outcome goal? Don’t worry too much about complete accuracy at this point, as the process goals can be changed later when you have some data to work with. Once you’ve broken down your outcome goal into all of the individual steps that you will need to take to achieve success, you can begin crafting and assigning those tasks to the appropriate teams and individuals that will complete them. Using our previous example of closing 10 new clients, there are many tasks that you may need to tackle, in order to accomplish this outcome goal. Your process goals may include: Making sales calls to prospects Ensuring that your prospect database stays refreshed with new contacts Putting together proposals for interested prospects Researching and understanding their business Drafting a suitable contract for your partnership Once you have outlined the processes required to reach your outcome goal, you can then break them down into more specific tasks. For example, “making sales calls to prospects” would become “make 25 sales calls to prospects each day.” This helps to draw a firm line between success and failure and provides a measurable goal for whoever ultimately is assigned the task. How to Monitor and Manage Your Goals Both process and outcome goals need to be tracked and evaluated weekly. Perhaps your initial goal of 25 sales calls per day turns out to be a little bit ambitious, and 15 turns out to be more reasonable. Or, maybe your sales team is capable of making more calls than originally expected. You could find that your entire outcome goal of signing 10 new clients that month is too lofty and needs to be altered. Goals can be changed. The important thing is to make sure that you are constantly evaluating your efforts to reach them and tracking your success! Why Business Goals Are Important for MSPs Like any other business, MSPs need goals to help set a direction for the future and establish the best ways to facilitate growth. Further, goals shared across the organization ensure alignment and can improve productivity, moving the needle on KPIs. And, the right goals can help an MSP scale strategically, improving service options, boosting customer satisfaction, and allowing teams to identify appropriate market opportunities to aim for. While many companies are eager to grow, and grow quickly, there are significant dangers to growing too fast. Any business, especially one that has a foundation in service, must grow at a steady pace because SLAs matter and meeting them impacts customer retention, relationships, and churn. How to Choose the Right Goals to Scale Your MSP No doubt you’re itching to grow if you’ve successfully gotten off the ground. The fact that the MSP industry is poised for significant growth likely means you want to capitalize on that too. However, growing too fast and for the sake of growth alone (without goals) could ultimately be disastrous. So, how do you choose the right goals to scale your MSP? 1. Start With Process Goals No doubt the start of your business included a lot of trial and error, particularly in relation to the processes that move a lead to a customer, and a customer to a satisfied customer. However, it goes beyond that.   Before you start adding in more clients, you want to make sure that all parts of your business from administration and marketing to customer success and service have tested processes that will provide the stability you will need to grow. 2. Set Attainable Goals That Allow You to Scale As noted elsewhere, while growth is the goal, explosive growth has the potential to overwhelm the services team and that could hurt service quality that enabled you to get there. The key to sustained and successful growth is scaling. Runners don’t go from a 5k to a marathon in a month, nor should your business. 3. Look At Ways to Grow Recurring Revenue   Successful MSPs have a majority of their revenue stemming from managed services rather than product sales or partnership programs. So, when setting outcome goals, consider MRR growth as a goal, and align your teams, as in the example at the start of this piece suggests. Getting all teams on board with an MRR outcome goal is one path to sustained and successful growth. 4. Assess Customer Distribution  In an ideal situation, you’ll have a good number of customers who are providing you revenue rather than a smaller number of existing clients who are contributing the lion’s share of your revenue. In looking for an area for growth, you may want to consider looking at how you balance this.   Successful MSPs have their revenue streams more evenly distributed. In fact, your strong business becomes significantly weaker if just one of those large customers goes elsewhere. In this case, you’ll want to choose an outcome goal that enables you to find the kind of clients that stabilize your revenue and business.   5. Assess Resource Utilization Prior to setting any goals for growth, you need to know where you’ll need to scale and gauge what you can afford. That means you’ll need a complete and full understanding of how all of your resources are currently being used before you can assess whether you can afford, in terms of time and money, to grow a specific service or take on the clients you’re targeting.   Similarly, don’t add team members until you need them. Grow as you need rather than as you want. 6. Track Your Metrics    If MRR is the primary revenue stream for a growing MSP, then tracking metrics, especially those that relate to your SLAs and customer satisfaction, becomes crucial. Knowing where you stand in terms of a reliable revenue stream as well as in terms of service quality enables you to retain the customers who build reliable MRR. Additionally, those metrics will enable you to establish both the process and outcome goals you need to set to grow. How to Track Your Goals Using BrightGauge's Goals and Dashboards Speaking of assessing resource utilization, knowing how your team is spending time is vital to your growth goals. Therefore, any tool you can add to your arsenal to ensure your team is working efficiently and effectively is a boon to your business. And if that tool enables you to establish goals, track metrics, gauge progress, and share all of that information with the people who need it most, wouldn’t it seem like a wise investment? BrightGauge’s solution offers all of those capabilities and more. By facilitating goal setting and then providing the tracking tools you need, you can keep your business, your teams, and your individual employees focused and aligned. If you’re ready to grow your MSP in a scalable and sustainable way, then you need the tools to facilitate that.   Get in touch with the BrightGauge team today to discuss how we can help!

How to Use Dashboards for Customer Success Reporting (+ KPIs to Track)

Definitions, in essence, are parameters. They are the boundaries of understanding, often as it relates to a single word. As discussed in a recent blog on customer success teams, how we use language matters. How we define service vs. success is a significant part of the relationships we build with our customers. So, when considering what customer success means, we need a way to gauge, define, and track that definition. Customer success aligns the success of our clients with the success of our organization. However, it’s not enough to establish a vague goal of finding the ways in which our goals sync up with those of our customers. As we all know, customers want something concrete. They want evidence and data that supports and often financially justifies their relationship with an organization. One great way to do that is to utilize customer success dashboards to track the success of those objectives.   Quick Links What is customer success? Why do businesses need to track customer success? KPIs to track customer success How BrightGauge can help you meet your own customer success goals What is customer success? Customer success offers an alternative view to customer service. In the past, many businesses focused on the functions, products, and services they provided for their customers and saw meeting their customers' needs as a role separated from their own business goals. Customer success reframes those concepts in a way that allows businesses to align their success with the success of their customers. In other words, customer success looks at how an organization helps their customers achieve their goals and recognizes that a satisfied and successful customer is their goal as well and the two are intricately tied.   Why do businesses need to track customer success?   The short simple answer is that customer success is essential to your own organization’s success. If your customer isn’t achieving their goals, they’re more likely to seek services elsewhere. Tracking customer success can:   Ensure a consistent revenue stream. If your customers are successful, they’ll stay. This means you can count on their MRR, month after month. Reduce churn. Again, with their success you earn their loyalty; you build relationships. Customers who are realizing their goals with your partnership will stay with you. Improve customer satisfaction. A customer who is achieving their goals is likely to be happier than one who is not. In turn, they’ll spread the word, be open to upsell opportunities, and provide positive reviews or testimonials. Improve your product or service. If you’re focused on ensuring your customers are having the best experience and continued success utilizing what you offer, you’re bound to improve what it is you offer. Build your reputation. When your customers are successful, obviously this reflects upon you and your organization. As such, other businesses and potential customers are more inclined to do business with you. Further, the positive word of mouth and increased reputation will lower your new customer acquisition cost. Increase employee satisfaction and engagement. When a team wins consistently via customer success and when customers are happy, morale increases. Similarly, your employees will be willing to look for ways to improve your customer’s experience thereby increasing their engagement and investment. This is the kind of corporate culture most businesses seek. It’s clear to see that there are a multitude of reasons that customer success is important and a variety of ways in which it enables the kinds of tangible and intangible benefits many organizations struggle to achieve.  KPIs to track customer success Customer success KPIs will enable your business to track and gauge exactly how well you’re meeting the goal of improving customer success (and in turn meeting several of the larger goals noted above). Therefore, knowing what to track is an essential part of developing a winning customer success strategy. Here are some of the most important metrics to track:   Churn Rate - As mentioned above, the rate at which your customers are leaving may be a good indicator of how successful they’re feeling. Happy customers stay customers, so tracking your churn rate is a great metric to use in gauging whether customer success initiatives are working.   Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) - As noted above, successful customers will sign on for additional services, purchase more products, and spend more money with your organization. Therefore, rises in CLV likely indicate customer success and satisfaction. MRR - Much like CLV, consistent and steady MRR means satisfied customers. Similarly, a steadily increasing MRR means customer acquisitions or existing customers signing on for more services. Both can be indicative of customer success and satisfaction.   Customer support tickets - There are a variety of reasons you should be tracking this data, but if customers are regularly encountering issues, and severe enough issues that they need to contact support, it’s likely they’re not satisfied or missing out on success. Tracking this metric means your team can not only gauge a customer’s success with your product, but also determine where the issues are and make the needed adjustments.  Net Promoter Score - If you’re gauging customer satisfaction, that likely means you’re amassing data from customer surveys. While you should be asking whether a customer is likely to recommend you, you should also be asking what customers like about your product or services and what they would change. This enables you to be constantly evolving to meet their needs and improve your offerings. Customer satisfaction - Speaking of customer surveys, this is an obvious metric you should be gauging and one that can provide a good “temperature check.” However, it’s vital that customer surveys go beyond the satisfaction rating and ask what earned that score. Again, that’s where you get the opportunity to build on the services or products your customers love and address any friction or pain points with your service. How BrightGauge can help you meet your own customer success goals Now that we’ve established the customer success KPIs you’ll want to be tracking, let’s move into the tools you’ll want to use for monitoring those metrics and turning them into movement.  Using dashboards to track customer success To start, one of the most valuable aspects of a dashboard is that it enables you to gather your data in one place. Further, dashboards, like the ones offered by BrightGauge, provide a quick visual representation of that data enabling users to see, at a glance, where your team is meeting success and where they’re falling short of goals. While design elements certainly enable quick visual recognition of vital metrics, so does BrightGauge’s out-of-the-box dashboard design, which doesn’t require complicated coding. This means that anyone who needs to can set up a dashboard and team leads as well as individual members of a customer success team can track what they need to for whom they need to. Customer success reporting   Customer success metrics, much like the dashboards, are amazing tools, but a hammer that sits on a shelf doesn’t build; someone has to wield it; someone has to put the hammerhead to a nail. Customer success metrics are similar. Without reporting to the folks who need it, customer success metrics won’t change much, not in your service teams and certainly not in your sales departments. For that reason, ensuring that you’ve got a tool, like BrightGauge, that enables easy automated reporting is essential. Data is great, but if you’re not leveraging that data to make improvements or convert leads to customers, then it’s just data. If you’re looking for ways to turn customer success KPIs and customer success data into data-driven customer success strategies, then you need to invest in a tool that enables that. Focusing on a customer success initiative can save you acquisition costs and increase both lifetime value and MRR. The tool that enables you to track and report on those vital KPIs is an investment in your team, your customers, and your future. Get in touch with the BrightGauge team today to talk about how our dashboard and reporting solution can help you leverage your data for big gains.

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