There can be no denying that Excel is a phenomenal piece of software. But if you’re still using it for sales and opportunity tracking, perhaps it’s time for a rethink.
Now we’re not here to slam what is clearly an incredible piece of technology. Software rated so highly that, back in 2016, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella described Excel as…
“The most important consumer product we’ve created.”Satya Nadella
This doesn’t mean however, that the software can, or should, be used for anything and everything.
Crunching numbers and managing finances, fire away.
Sales tracking and holding customer relationships, not so much.
Why? These activities are fundamentally not what Excel was designed for.
How Did We Get To Using Excel?
By using Excel for these critical processes, you could be unknowingly damaging your business.
Yet there can be any number of reasons that have led to a business using Excel as a sales tracker.
Perhaps you scaled faster than expected. Maybe it was a case of unwittingly outgrowing the software systems you had in place when you set out.
Or maybe the business has an outdated tech stack and an ERP that simply doesn’t meet current requirements.
Either way, Excel becomes the quick and easy alternative.
The end result being the application of systems that weren’t designed for the tasks they’re being used to complete.
This simply is not sustainable.
As the organisation continue to grow, the problems only become further exacerbated.
Why Is Excel An Ineffective Sales Tracker?
You might be reading this thinking we’re not having any problems with Excel, why should we change things?
Here are 7 reasons as to why Excel is an ineffective sales tracker and why an alternative option might be the better.
1 – Errors Are A Foregone Conclusion
Manual entry leads inevitably to human error. And, contrary to how a CRM behaves, Excel is not designed to notice these mistakes.
Something as simple as a mistype can break a formula affecting hundreds or thousands of fields.
The knock on effect can be disastrous.
2 – Inaccessible Real-Time Data
If you can’t be sure that the information in front of you is accurate, would you risk revenue based on faulty data?
Any decisions being made using old, and potentially inaccurate, information can compromise your ability to best serve your customers.
By contrast, real time information ensures decisions can be made quickly, with the customers best interests at the core of any action.
3 – Stifled Collaboration
Shared drives, read only copies, version 3.6.
Excel is not made to be accessed by multiple users, at multiple locations, at a time.
A swathe of issues can arise from people accessing files remotely, or at different times, leading to overwriting and inconsistencies.
At best time is lost reconciling inaccuracy. at worst, reputations are ruined as a result of siloed operations.
4 – Very Messy, Very Quickly
That much data isn’t particularly easy on the eye.
Vital information can get lost in the multiple tabs, sheets, columns and rows.
Reliance on formula fuelled graphics quickly becomes the norm and should an error occur, finding the problem can be a major waste of resources.
5 – No Attachments
Need to quickly locate that confirmation form, find the latest marketing communications, or final design documentation?
In Excel, that’s simply not possible.
As such, time is spent sifting through multiple systems decreasing efficiency and duplicating efforts across the whole business.
6 – Limited Workflows
When using a spreadsheet as a sales tracker, understanding where a client sits within the process can be exceptionally difficult.
This can lead to lost revenue through missed opportunities to close a sale as well as up-selling or renewing existing customers.
Likewise, critical stages can be missed creating problems down the line and disrupting the customer experience.
7 – No Insight At Scale
Reliance on broken formulas and hard to navigate columns and rows creates a significant reporting challenge.
So when pulling figures for important board meetings, it can be hard to accurately know what is actually going on within the company.
At best hours are lost pulling the data, at worse, the data is wrong and that falls back on you.
The Excel Alternative
Having acknowledged why there is a need for change, the obvious question is to ask… what’s the alternative?
In short, investing in a system designed specifically for customer relationship management.
Breaking it down, here’s why you should consider progressing your digital transformation and switch things up to stop using Excel for sales tracking:
Excel lives in a silo, meaning it can’t talk to the rest of your software stack.
Having a system that can link directly to your emails, ordering platform or sales and marketing automation software allows you to drastically increase both efficiency and visibility.
How good is it being able to take a quick glance at the lead bank and immediately feel in control?
Clear visibility into all active opportunities and their position through the sales cycle ensures the right communications reach the right customers at the right time.
Everyone in the organisation can access the same information at the same time, no matter their location.
This means increased transparency across the business, reducing the risk of duplicated efforts or a prolonged search for the correct customer data.
Having live dashboards populated with accurate, up to date data makes reporting a breeze.
Instead of sifting through countless cells of figures, you can pull the information you need, segmented by region, store or salesperson in just a couple of clicks.
You are no longer bound by rigid, off the shelf software.
Each organisation has a unique process, therefore should have a technology designed to suit their individual needs.
Ready to explore how Anthill can replace Excel? Schedule a demo today.
June 21st, 2022-