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Deceptively simple: benchmarking charts

Adrian CrockettAdrian Crockett

I have good news and bad news about benchmarking charts.

The good news is that they are a really, really useful chart—in fact you’ll rarely see a pitchbook without one. The bad news is that there are thousands, and I mean thousands, of variations of the chart, meaning that despite being one of the most commonly used charts, each time you create one, you’re pretty much starting from scratch.


pitchbook benchmarking chart showing EBITDA margin

At their core, benchmarking charts are usually a simple bar or column chart, but beyond that, the variations are endless. There is a myriad of different visual treatments, styles, types, designs, etc. meaning that every chart, despite its simplicity, is a bespoke piece of content.

As junior bankers know, many managing directors have a personal preference about how they want their benchmarking charts to look. I know which I like the best and advise my team to follow that lead. In order for all of these preferences and variations be accommodated, when we started building the Pellucid platform we first had to ask, “How many different combinations of visual appearance options can be applied to the benchmarking chart archetype?”

As written before, one of the first exercises we performed when founding Pellucid Analytics was a (painful!) audit process, reviewing over 2,000 pitchbooks to assess what exactly was in them and how they were made. Aside from benchmarking charts being present in all but a handful of them, we found that there were a ton of different variants. Different combinations of design elements, groupings, label choices and more resulted in essentially brand new charts. We also found that while a banker will have mastered a number of these variants, preferences of a client, the bank, or a senior banker can require them to develop some serious Excel skills in order to replicate different variations and designs.

To be honest, the time could probably be better spent on something more valuable.

Knowing this, we built Pellucid to be able to handle a huge volume of customizations, including benchmarking, so you can produce the style of chart you need in minutes, not hours, and get on with other things.

We're in the process of rolling Pellucid out, but if you'd like a preview of the content library (and benchmarking chart variations!) email me at adrian@pellucid.com.

Explore the Pellucid content library and chart options. Visit www.pellucid.com.

CEO & Co-Founder of Pellucid Analytics. Former Credit Suisse group head with nearly 20 years on Wall Street. Melding design, analytics, and tech to produce amazing client-ready content in minutes.

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