Our world is complex. Therefore, understanding it requires the right data, organized in the right way, and applied to provide strategic level insights. For this reason, visualization tools are a popular choice for their ability to take data and translate them into a usable format. Heat maps are just one example of these visualization tools, providing users with a graphical representation of data through color-coded systems.
When put into practice, these tools better visualize a volume of activity based on location or event. Viewers are then directed to key areas within the data, enabling them to identify opportunities in any numeric data set. After configuring a heat mapping tool, business teams will have a foundation that they can incorporate into their workflows and use as a part of their ongoing analytics.
However, their ability to be used widely in the business setting barely scratches the surface of all the benefits gleaned from heat map use. Below, we look at seven additional ways heat maps can improve internal operations and maximize efficiency.
1. Encourage Company-Wide Communication
Only the most technical audiences can craft a story out of raw data points. In contrast, most business leaders, especially those in sales and marketing, are more visual by nature. Therefore, to ensure all the departments in your company are on the same page, heat maps have proven to be significantly more effective in communicating relevant data about financial and operational situations.
2. Manage and Guide Internal Performance
Heat maps enable users to see their progress towards their objectives and if they are on track to meet their goals. For example, a heat map might help identify multiple sales team locations and determine the best-performing regions following overarching company goals.
3. Identify Trends
Data on its own is not valuable. It is the ability to uncover the information hidden beneath it that drives real business value. Consequently, your team may miss trends without an accurate visualization.
4. Becoming Attuned To Your Audience
Another area where heat maps have proven their utility is market research, often becoming a display of demographic data, including the population of a given area, income, housing, nationality, gender, or age.
Businesses often use heat maps to measure demographic information in their target audience to understand who their customers are and how sales teams can reach them with more personalized messaging.
As teams become more familiar with who they are marketing to, they may learn how to best plan their marketing campaigns and where new business locations are warranted.
5. Identify New Opportunities for Competitive Advantage
Heat maps have also become a popular tool for data analytics teams to map out their competitive landscape. By accurately mapping out the area, businesses can determine which areas are underserved by competitors and where your offering may fill a market gap.
6. Optimize Sales Territory
The modern sales team often extends across a large geographic expanse, in which each member has a responsibility to manage a certain territory. Naturally, these territories are often significantly different in buying behavior and, therefore, sales volume.
Heat maps then become an effective tool to help a company at a high level understand how to divide sales territories so that leaders can distribute work evenly among representatives.
From the same perspective, the sales team has a responsibility to the company to fill up the pipeline with leads and close a fraction of these as deals. Therefore, teams can assess which areas generate high sales and which aren’t.
If sales are low, teams can glean insights into why their offering may not resonate with a given audience. Perhaps, it is due to not enough sales support. Alternatively, a more significant gap in the market may be hurting your sales, which needs the attention of your strategic-level thinkers.
7. Improve Decision Making Overall
Although previously touched on, it is worth reiterating that heat maps make data points easier to understand. Therefore, in a heat map visualization, leaders can quickly view the stories told by collected data and use that as a foundation for improved decision-making.
Heat maps are powerful tools when created and utilized correctly. However, the stories told with this data may lead businesses the wrong way without the right context. Therefore, teams are encouraged to take the time to set their heat maps up correctly the first time and use them as only one of the tools within the greater analytic toolbox to ensure their data is telling the right story.