How to Build a KPI Dashboard in 5 Easy Steps

Data Visualization
Jun 19, 2023
How to Build a KPI Dashboard in 5 Easy Steps

Could you imagine watching a basketball match without anyone keeping the score?

Sure, you could track the score yourself for a while, but after some time, the crowd would just get confused and not know what’s going on.

The same goes for your business - keeping track of your key metrics is crucial if you want to stay on top of your game and achieve success. The best way to do that? A KPI dashboard.

Today, we’re going to show you what a KPI dashboard is, why it matters and how to create one in just a few steps.

What is a KPI dashboard?

A KPI dashboard is a document containing important metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators) that are the most relevant to your business. Unlike a report (which contains historical data), a dashboard is updated in real time to show the ongoing progress of your operations.

A dashboard usually contains visualizations of KPIs and data points rather than just raw data. This means tables, charts, graphs, and other ways to visualize data to track and measure your strategic goals.

a dashboard in Luzmo

There are many different types of KPI dashboards, depending on their intended use case. Examples include:

  • SaaS dashboards
  • Sales dashboards
  • Marketing dashboards
  • PPC dashboards
  • SEO dashboards
  • Financial dashboards
  • HR dashboards
  • And many others

While the uses might differ, most KPI dashboards will look similar, apart from the actual KPIs. But why would you even bother creating one and measuring your business performance in this way?

The benefits of using a KPI dashboard

No matter what type of business you run, having access to relevant data is crucial if you want to stay in the loop and make better business decisions. Here are some reasons why you should consider using a KPI dashboard in your workflow and business.

Access to data in real time

Whether you use a dashboard yourself or create one for your customers, there is immense value in having access to real-time data KPIs. For example, giving your SaaS customers an overview of their ad spend in a dashboard in your tool could help them make important decisions about their budget on the spot. Another example is Heroic Rankings,  managed link building agency, that offers link building velocity reports to their clients to showcase progress in real time.anchor:  managed link building agency.

Data visualization

The human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than plain text. If you want to interpret and understand a lot of data really quickly, visualizations such as graphs are the way to go.

Dashboards offer a large variety of visualization types, so you can choose something that best suits your type of KPIs and your intended audience. For example, a sales team can benefit from a pie chart showing the best sources of new customers broken down on a monthly basis in a sales dashboard.

The ability to set and track goals

With a KPI dashboard in place, your team or your customers can set important business goals and easily track them. As dashboards update in real time, you’ll be able to see if you’re e.g. closing new sales, solving new customer complaints, improving customer satisfaction, increasing your conversion rate or something else.

Besides a drill down of your existing performance, dashboards allow you to do forecasting based on your current results. For example, a marketing team can predict the typical ROAS of a campaign by taking a look into the performance of ads in the previous months.

The ability to find problems before they escalate

If you can spot an emerging problem ahead of time, you’ll have a better return on investment and a more efficient business. Business intelligence from KPI dashboards can help you spot huge issues such as churn that are bleeding your revenue.

Now let’s go through the practical steps of creating a KPI dashboard.

How to create a KPI dashboard in 5 easy steps

The specific steps you take depend on the type of KPI dashboard you want to create and the tools you’ll use. However, the steps are similar for every use case.

Determine your KPIs

The most important step is deciding which KPIs you want to track for yourself or your customers. The right KPIs will largely depend on your main business goal or the problem you’re trying to solve for your customers.

A KPI or key performance indicator is a quantifiable measure of a performance in a certain field. It needs to have a specific objective and it needs to be time-bound. For example, growing the number of outbound sales through cold calls by 30% in a quarter is a KPI. On the other hand, growing your outbound sales is not a KPI as it is not specific, measurable or time bound.

For an example in the SaaS world, a business proposal software can have a KPI dashboard that tracks the number of sent, read, and signed business proposals over a certain time period.

an example of a KPI

Most good KPI dashboard tools will come with a variety of templates you can use to get started. If you are still determining where you would get started, KPI dashboard templates are a good inspiration.

Choose a dashboard tool

Creating dashboards manually is very time consuming and usually requires some knowledge of programming, data science, and basic design. Luckily, there are plenty of dashboard tools that allow you to just connect your data from various sources and create a dashboard in very little time.

Your dashboard tool should support your use case (e.g. SaaS), and your data sources and have a variety of ways to do data visualization. Last but not least, it should be easy to implement and share with your customers.

Luzmo ticks all the boxes, as it lets you connect a vast number of data sources thanks to our connectors and flexible API. But more on dashboard tools later - let’s get to the next step.

Connect your data sources

The building block of every good dashboard is the data. For example, if you’re building a marketing dashboard, it’s crucial that your tool connects to Facebook and LinkedIn. If you’re building a SaaS dashboard, you want to connect the data from your app, which usually requires an API and a bit of coding knowledge.

This is probably the most important criterion for choosing your dashboard tool. If it does not have the necessary API and data sources, creating dashboard mockups and visualizing data becomes very complicated and expensive, very fast.

Visualize your data

To make data-driven decisions (whether for yourself or your customers), you need to visualize your datasets. This means turning data into bar charts, pie charts, line graphs, Gannt charts, plot charts and many other visualization types.

A good dashboard tool will offer all the visualizations you can pick up in Excel + a bunch more. Once again, you can refer to templates within the tool if you’re struggling with choosing the right visualizations and widgets.

And if you’re looking for a tool to help you decide what to visualize and how, this is a great resource.

Share the dashboard with your team or customers

When the dashboard is complete, you need to get it in front of the right stakeholders or your customers. For example, a finished dashboard in Luzmo needs to be embedded in your SaaS product. Doing this is effortless because you can copy and paste the code to add it to your website and product.

Then it’s a matter of changing the dashboard’s style (design) to make it fit into your product. And thanks to our handy dashboard builder, you can get the design to fit in seamlessly.

Also, we let you extend the dashboard creation to your customers with our embedded dashboard editor, so your own customers can customize the dashboards that show up in their SaaS product.

These are the basic steps for creating a KPI dashboard. Now let us take a look at the KPI dashboard software you can use for this job.

Best KPI dashboard tools

There are very few businesses nowadays that build their own dashboards from scratch. Instead, they use dashboard builders that are best suited for the job, allowing them to go from an idea to a completed dashboard design very quickly.

Luzmo - best for embedded SaaS dashboards

Do you have a SaaS product and want to make decision-making easier for your customers? Luzmo is the best solution for embedded SaaS dashboards as it allows you to create and embed dashboards in hours instead of days or weeks.

another Luzmo dashboard

Simply connect your data sources with our connectors or API and choose a template and you can add a dashboard to your product. While most other dashboards have complex processes for embedding dashboards, Luzmo shines when it comes to ease of use.

You can start your free trial today and give it a go!

Whatagraph - best for marketing dashboards

If you want to build a KPI report or dashboard for your marketing agency clients, this is probably the best tool you can use. With more than 40 different integrations, you can connect a variety of social media platforms and tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console and others.


It has 100+ templates for different types of reports and dashboards and a fairly intuitive drag-and-drop builder. Pricing starts at $223 per month and there is no free trial available at the time of writing.

Looker Studio - for basic website analytics reports and dashboards

There are two Looker products - the basic Looker and Looker Studio. The Studio app is built for businesses and agencies looking to track a variety of business metrics. It works flawlessly with Google products, such as Analytics, Search Console, Google Ads and Google My Business. If you use these tools alone for your dashboards, using Studio will be free.

Looker studio dashboard

However, to use other connectors, you’re going to need a third-party tool such as Supermetrics. This adds cost and increased complexity, so it’s not ideal for busy marketers and agencies.


This powerful business intelligence tool helps you aggregate, clean up and visualize your data. And when it comes to visualizations in dashboards, Tableau has the most varied choice of graphs and charts among its competitors. 

tableau dashboard

Its incredible capabilities come at a cost and getting started with the tool requires plenty of learning and training. Moreover, it does not fare well with embedded analytics and it can be very pricey.

Build your next KPI dashboard in hours - not weeks

A dashboard is one of the easiest ways to show a wealth of important information in one place. No matter who the intended audience is, they can use the data from the dashboard to make smarter business decisions and get the most out of a product or service.

If you’re looking for a tool that will you help build amazing dashboards for your SaaS customers - look no further. Sign up for your free trial of Luzmo and delight your customers with beautiful and functional dashboards today!

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