The Top 5 Biggest Advantages of Data Visualisation

Time to read: 7 minutes

There are two things you should know when it comes to data visualisation. Well, three.; The first is that data visualisation has become a faster, more effective communication and motivation tool. This has happened due to the second point of data visualisation: people are, by and large, visual learners.; And third? Data visualisation tools are, simply put, an awesome sales tool.; Advances in technology have caused us to change our preconceived notions surrounding data presentation. What we once saw as dull and mundane, can now be seen as beautiful. Data visualisation tools make it quick and easy to create charts and graphs which can be added to a customisable dashboard.; Besides looking beautiful, data visualisation tools give us the ability to process information faster and to use that information to boost productivity and results. Because of the graphic representations, it’s easy to see where action can be taken to improve. Let’s take the sales pipeline as an example, it can be illustrated with graphics to make it easy to see where deals fall.; Using data visualisation communicates information faster than traditional reports. A more concise, more refined language, visualised data can be easily sorted to show a quick overview of whatever information is needed. However just as important as powerful software is the people who can comprehend and dissect these reports in order to “translate” it for others.

The Brain Is Programmed for Visualisation

Why do charts and graphs communicate better? Perhaps it’s because humans are preprogrammed to process visual cues rather than written language. In other words, humans are not “preprogrammed” for written language. “We were never born to read,” says neuroscience and reading researcher, Maryanne Wolf, in her book, Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain.

Wolf explains that vision is pre-programmed into the human brain while reading does not come naturally. She describes the brain as computer scientists would: with an “open architecture.” The system of the brain “is versatile enough to change--or rearrange--to accommodate the varying demands on it.” She continues, “Thanks to this design, we come into the world preprogrammed with the capacity to change what is given to us by nature, so that we can go beyond it. We are, it would seem from the start, genetically poised for breakthroughs.” Because of this brain plasticity, we have the ability to learn languages and how to read.

Reading, says Wolf, involves tapping into existing “visual circuits” of the brain in order to decode letters into words. That decoding can happen with any image or symbol and it is happening with data visualisation. In effect, images are becoming a new written language.

Wolf’s findings are significant when considering the importance of data visualisation in sales. Charts, graphs, and visual representations can be processed faster, support visual learners, and show insights and actionable items that lead to increased sales productivity.

If you’re not already realising the benefits of data visualisation tools, consider these five advantages of data visualisation:

1. Visualised Data Is Processed Faster

Visual content is processed much faster and easier than text. In fact, researchers at Pennsylvania School of Medicine indicate that the human retina can transmit data at roughly 10 million bits per second. The retina, explained by the news release, is actually a part of the brain that has grown into the eye.

Data visualisation taps into this concept of how quickly our brains can recognise images and make sense of them. James Haight of Blue Hill Research explains, “The brain operates with neural networks that allow us to predict patterns based on external stimuli at great speed. And once we learn a pattern, the brain is excellent at recognising it again. What’s more is that one of the greatest inputs into our brain’s pattern recognising process is, you guessed it, visual imagery. So, in this sense, data visualisation tools play into our biological sweet spot. The human mind may not intuitively understand complex statistical models or things like ‘R squared’ values, but we are quite adept at picking out patterns from visual displays.”

In a world where employees are overloaded with information, visuals allow us to quickly process and section out necessary information.

2. Data Visualisation Dashboards Support Visual Learners

While 90 percent of information submitted to the brain is visual, learning styles vary among the population. Some learn kinesthetically, while others are auditory learners. The majority of the population however, 65 percent to be exact, are visual learners. Data visualisation and online data visualisation tools help make it possible to quickly comprehend the information presented.

Moving past the spreadsheet era, modern technology has transformed information from generic spreadsheets into appealing and easy-to-read charts and graphs. online data visualisation is a tool to present data visually and gain insights from that data.

Anyone from salespeople to CEOs will greatly benefit from the ability to quickly grasp the pulse of the organisation.

3. Data visualisation tools show insights that may be missed in traditional reports.

Getting the entire company in the habit of seeing the dashboard reports and data visualisation can help get a better picture of the organisation. Corey Crellin, Senior Manager of Product & Operations at Prosper Healthcare Lending reported in a Dreamforce session that his company adopted loose permissions with their CRM program so all users could create their own reports. “[Senior managers] had good ideas,” says Crellin, “but the people on the front lines had even better ideas...they were finding new metrics and new ratios and a lot of those ratios that came from that quarter are ratios that are critical to us now.”

Once your organisation identifies the information and key performance indicators (KPIs) they’d like to have visualised, CRM can produce the visualisations. Examples of data visualisation reports might include: Sales by period, sorted by sales person or product, deals in the pipeline, sorted by individual accounts; call time per customer; or deals closed by sales rep.

4. Data visualisation gives actionable items.

Data visualisation may help your organisation see where there’s room for improvement or where performance is high. Actionable items can result by identifying successes and areas for improvement.

For example, if your sales team knows that for every X number of calls, Y number of sales will result, creating a visual report based on calls per sales rep and progress to call goal is a visual motivator to meet the call quota. Similarly, a pipeline report showing where each deal falls along the sales pipeline shows sales teams the next steps to be taken.

5. Data visualisation increases productivity and sales.

Being able to visualise data produces real results. The time saved in creating up-to-date reports means greater efficiency company-wide. In an Aberdeen report, organisations that use visual data discovery tools are 28 percent more likely to find timely information than those who rely solely on managed reporting and dashboards. The study also reports that 48 percent of business intelligence users at companies with visual data discovery are able to find information they need without the help of IT staff all or most of the time.

Organisations who embrace data visualisation see rewards to their bottom line. In a study of global businesses, only 26 percent of the respondents’ organisations used data visualisation. Most of those companies, however, lead in revenue growth and planned to invest even more in data visualisation in the next year.

Using data visualisation to identify trends is a key aspect of using data insights to improve performance. Being able to visualise trends by sales rep, by quarter, by year, or by SKU allows for greater awareness into the pulse of the company and allows actions to be taken to continue favourable trends and to reverse negative trends.

Data visualisation allows organisations to capitalise upon our natural ability to recognise and process visual images faster than written language. Because of the brain’s ability to recognise and remember images, online data visualisation tools help teams see insights that may have been missed, create actionable items, and ultimately, increase sales.

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