Data visualization provides your organization access to key insights

By: Greg Goetz

What you need to know

  • Channel program data can drive greater program performance by providing insights into what partners are doing and why.
  • With robust dashboards that can be accessed quickly, partners can access the data they need most when they need it most, supporting self-service data requests with little administrative burden.
  • Combining data dashboards, business reviews and participant surveys completes the analytics puzzle, giving a full picture of both how the program is performing and allowing decision-makers to make informed, meaningful changes.



Data visualization dashboard on a laptop computer

Every day, more and more data is being generated and collected all around us. Streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify track users’ interactions to create a personalized experience. Up-to-the-minute traffic reports can be pulled up on your phone with just a click. Wearable technology monitors users’ daily step count, sleep and activity levels. These are just a fraction of the daily statistics and data points that get recorded and funneled into various databases.

Channel program data is no different. Given the right tools and techniques, that data can unlock key insights and drive greater performance.

Those insights can be fleeting, however. Many organizations find themselves rich in data but poor in insights. Without the right tools delivered at the right time and offered with the right context, the value hidden within that data can slip away.

Data visualization is a great window into what your channel partners are doing, how your channel program is operating and what actions you might take to make meaningful changes based on the findings. This can come in the form of dashboards, business reviews and survey analysis.

Let’s explore how each type of data visualization helps you get the most out of your data.

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Channel partner data dashboards put insights at partners’ fingertips 

Dashboards can deliver prompt and highly visual data at your fingertips with just a click. Refreshing as frequently as every half hour, these powerful tools keep users’ attention focused on what’s most important and actionable.

recognition program dashboard example on a desktop computer

Trend charts are the analyst’s most basic tool, visually displaying a key metric over time and indicating insights, such as a quarter-long uptick in sales after a major product launch or a 10-week stretch of enhanced website hits following an informative email campaign. These simple-but-powerful data visualizations form the bedrock of data-centric reporting.

Of course, there are additional ways to visualize data with big impact:

  • Tree maps can display how awards earned through your program are motivating your sales personnel.
awards redemption data dashboard example on a laptop computer
  • Leaderboards can show who on your team is building customer loyalty toward your brand.
leaderboard dashboard example
  • Interactive maps pinpoint where dealers are performing well or where some are below target and need a little extra attention.
Data visualization example with map
  • Automotive-style gauges mark progress toward objective completion.
recognition award budgets data dashboard example

The list goes on, and any number of creative and engaging visuals can shed light on what makes your channel or program tick.

Well-designed dashboards and visuals can also be used to answer more general questions as well. For example:

  • Need to track how many certifications have been completed this year? No problem—discover that and more on an entire page dedicated to training. 
  • How many claims have been submitted on the new product line since launch six weeks ago? Another tab shows an array of total claims by sales area, time and specific SKU. 
  • How is dealership personnel turnover affecting the channel? Investigate with a side-by-side dealer retention segmentation displays, including key performance metrics like customer satisfaction and sales.

Related: Learn how ITA Group helped a client meet their year-end customer experience KPIs with role-relevant goals and data visualization.

Business reviews use data trends to reveal deep insights into your channel program

While dashboards are fantastic for accessing valuable information, business reviews allow you to dive more deeply into what your data means.

Business reviews can yield more of the “why” behind your data trends. Why are top performers beginning to disengage with your brand? Why are employee retention figures starting to improve? What exactly happens to sales when the value of the incentive rises, lowers or stays the same? Business reviews can offer vast, easily digestible insights into your data’s finer, more minute points.

Segmentation, patterns, regional nuances and cause-and-effect relationships between engagement and performance are all examples of analytical items, which take more time and care than a dashboard allows. But the cadence business reviews offer provides plenty of time for a skilled analyst to uncover deep meaning (and possible new paths forward) to fill in gaps or promote a best practice across your channel.

Box and whisker plots might show the breaks in how each role is awarded through your program on key percentiles. An engaging infographic can display the ratio of the most highly certified personnel in your dealer network versus those who are just doing the basics. A market basket analysis can shed light on which products are typically bundled with each other to better enhance your marketing reach.

Analysis often (and quickly) turns to strategy planning in a strong business review. For example, the data may show that your quarterly bonus promotion is only reaching 10% of your audience. Seeing that the promotion has too short a reach, your strategy team—in conjunction with the analyst—proposes lowering the threshold to qualify for the award but increasing each level’s benefits to encourage participants to do more and unlock better earnings. At the end of the next quarter, you see 30% of your audience has been touched by the program (up from the original 10%).

Participant surveys shed light on how the channel program is performing at each level

Customer and employee sentiments are also highly valuable pieces to the overall analytic puzzle. Responses to a survey can be turbocharged when the questions link together, allowing for more understanding than first meets the eye. 

A chart showing a simple layout of how respondents said they "strongly agreed" with a statement on how motivated they were to sell your products tells only a part of the story. But a sliceable visual with other questions may show those who "disagree" with being motivated by your program also have a high correlation with not understanding your product line and aren’t getting feedback from their supervisor on a regular basis. This actionable learning could lead to more enhanced and targeted training, incentives to have management connect more frequently with their employees, and other meaningful strategies.

Data visualization is an invaluable tool for driving meaningful change

Whether taking advantage of the insights found through the data discovery of a dashboard, the deep findings of a business review or the revelations of a participant survey, powerful data visualizations can help clear the fog commonly associated with disparate sources of information. By utilizing these and other tools, your channel will be poised to make big things happen with your data.

When it comes to making data-driven decisions for channel success, keep these five questions in mind to get more information.

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Greg Goetz
Greg Goetz

Greg produces high-quality analytical deliverables that hit the mark of keeping stakeholders informed of program performance. He uses channel data to uncover factors that lead to both successes and challenges in the channel and empowering program owners to feel confident in the decisions they must make. He leads the channel analyst team as an advisor and consults on the use of quantitative and qualitative techniques to identify trends, segmentation, natural groupings and forecasts to make a client’s program the best it can be.