Let’s get this straight, Excel is a phenomenal piece of software.
But if you’re still using Excel for your 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.
In fact, back in 2016, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella described Excel as…
“(Excel is) the most important consumer product we’ve created.”Satya Nadella
However, this doesn’t mean the software can, or should, be used for anything and everything.
Crunching numbers and managing finances, fire away.
Opportunity Tracking, Customer Relationships and Process Management, 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 tool for Customer Tracking.
Perhaps you scaled faster than expected and have unwittingly outgrown 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Or maybe the business has an outdated tech stack and an ERP that simply doesn’t meet current requirements.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?
Now you might be reading this thinking we’re using Excel no bother, why should we change the way we do things?
Here are 7 ideas to consider as to why Excel is an ineffective sales tracker and why an alternative might be the better option…
1 – Errors are a Foregone Conclusion
Manual entry leads inevitably to human error and Excel is not designed to notice these in the same way a CRM would.
Something as simple as a mistype can break a formula affecting hundreds or thousands of fields.
The knock on effect can be disastrous.
2 – Real-Time Data is Inaccessible
Any decisions being made from the contents of the spreadsheet, which is being used as the central source of truth, are done so using old, and potentially inaccurate, information.
You can’t be sure that the information in front of you is accurate, so would you risk revenue based on faulty data?
3 – Excel stifles 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.
Therefore, a swathe of issues will arise from people accessing files remotely, or at different times, leading to overwriting and inconsistencies.
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.
5 – No Attachments
Need to quickly locate that confirmation form, find the latest marketing discount sent out, or final design documentation?
In Excel, that’s simply not possible.
As such, time is spent sifting through multiple systems and not only does this lower efficiency, it can also lead to duplication of efforts across the whole business.
6 – Limited Workflows
When using a spreadsheet as a tracker, understanding where a client sits within the sales 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.
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 and Process 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.
Ease of Access
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 instead pull the information you need, segmented by region, location 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.
Read to explore your Excel alternative? Let Anthill guide the way.
Intrigued to learn more? Check out our Insights Hub to keep your business at the cutting edge.
March 4th, 2021-