6 Charts Management Love to See in Presentations
Every day businesses generate copious amounts of data. Be it sales transaction records or banking records or service tickets; everything ends up being an entry in this digital world.
And it’s this data that is used to make business critical decisions. While there is an explosion in the level of data we generate, we still have the same old 24 hours in a day. This means in order to make a business decision, managers and decision makers need effective tools that summarize data and help them gather insights from it.
And this is where charts come into the picture.
Charts allow you to create a story from the data and help decision makers and managers in understanding important areas to focus on.
Let’s have a look at some of management’s favorited charts they use every day to make business decisions.
Sales Funnel Charts
A sales funnel chart is normally used to visualize the progressive reduction of data as it moves from one stage to another. It’s highly popular among sales professionals as the shape of the visual depicts the way leads are getting progressed to the next stage.
One reason why management likes sales funnel charts is that they can be used to evaluate the success of a promotional campaign. For instance, a company running an email marketing campaign can analyse data starting from the mailing list to the delivered emails, to opened emails, and finally to the purchases made.
It can also be used by HR managers to gauge the efficiency of their recruitment process.
For example, they can visualize the number of applications received to shortlisted CVs to cleared interviews and ultimately final selections.
A histogram is a vertical bar chart used to depict the distribution of sets of data.
It can be helpful to identify where most of the activity takes place.
For example, if you’re analyzing call center data, you can plot the number of calls for each hour. Based on the hourly distribution, management can decide to hire additional people for the time slots when the call rates are high.
Management loves histogram charts as these provide them with the clear indication of the focus area.
A Gantt chart is a kind of bar chart that visually represents a project plan over a period. It shows the starting and ending dates for the tasks, displays the milestones and allows for dependencies between different tasks.
Modern-day Gantt charts can even show you the status of a single task or group of tasks as well as the individual assigned a particular task.
With Gantt Charts, it is easy to see when a task should commence, when it should end, and other tasks that may depend on that task among many others.
Heard of the 80-20 rule? It says that 80% of the results are due to 20% of the efforts. Or to put it in business terms, 80% sales would be made by 20% of the sales executives or 80% of the cost savings would be due to 20% of the initiatives.
A Pareto chart is very useful in service industries. For example, suppose you are in the airline business. You can use a Pareto chart to categorize the complaints and identify that 20% of the areas would take care of 80% of the complaints. This gives you a clear idea of what the focus areas should be.
While a lot of data and visualization experts advise against using the Pie chart, these are still widely used in management presentations.
It is often used to represent the proportion or distribution of each data item over a total sum. These charts are best used when you want to show the amount of a much larger category that is taken up by other smaller sub-categories. Pie charts are most effective when used to plot no more than three (or max four) categories of data.
For example, if you have a business with multiple regions, you can use the pie chart to show the Revenue breakup by region.
When it comes to data analysis, the ability to quickly compare the presented data is crucial. With pie charts, different proportions of data are represented hence making it easier for one to make the necessary comparison.
Active Vs. Target Charts
Active Vs. target charts gives an upper hand over the traditional tabular analysis methods. These charts are essential because they help assess the existing performance of your plans against the actual results.
When using these charts, you can easily tell whether the targets were met for a given period or not. These charts can often be the starting point of a detailed presentation.
You can start out by showing whether the target was met or not. Then you can further deep dive into the reasons for it.
These are just a couple of charts that are frequently used in boardrooms and conference calls. The fact that a huge amount of data can be summarized with these simple charts helps save a lot of time and make effective business decisions.
If you need to use these charts often, it a good idea to invest some time and create ready-to-use templates in Excel or PowerPoint.
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