Many sales managers have already gone through this: the end of the month comes, and with it, the time to close sales and commissions and update the planning for the period ahead.
But the information is all in Excel spreadsheets, which take time to load due to file size or even contain incorrectly filled data.
The result? Hours and hours that could be devoted to new strategies wasted on corrections and analysis of consolidated data.
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That’s when the request for information about sales results doesn’t arrive at the last minute and requires vendor-to-seller collection.
By following the market and knowing that sales reports in Excel are a real bottleneck for business productivity. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the factors that drive these sales sheets to be positive, but only up to a point.
Advantages of Excel as a Daily Sales Spreadsheet
If we have already stated that Excel is effective as a tool for daily sales spreadsheets only up to a certain point, not being the most effective option for business management, what still leads so many companies and professionals to opt for it?
There are a few main reasons, which we’ve listed below:
Excel or similar tools like Google Sheets are easily accessible, most of the time already available on the computers used.
For this reason, there is a very low entry barrier for its use – even as a sales tool.
In addition, there are many ready-made templates available on the internet or circulating between companies, carried by salespeople and sales managers from one job to another.
Possibility of customization
It can also be said that Excel allows customization to the demands and profile of each company, which makes it an interesting software for businesses in very specific segments or with unusual sales processes.
Better Excel than no record…
Perhaps one of the most decisive factors for using Excel to manage sales spreadsheets is still the difficulty in adopting other options – due to cost, implementation or other reasons.
In these situations, the argument is precisely this: it is better to record the commercial performance in Excel than not to do any monitoring (and we agree!).
Lack of knowledge of alternatives
The issue of “better Excel than no tool”, in fact, is also quite associated with the lack of available alternatives, which include:
- possibility of customization;
- low implementation cost;
- ease of use;
- Significant gains in reporting accuracy and productivity.
We’ll talk about this later, but in advance we’re referring to CRM systems!
Excel: what is this tool for?
Excel is the Microsoft Office suite program for editing spreadsheets and calculations.
As we are in the sales sector, we are used to thinking about this tool for controlling and managing information about customers and negotiations.
But its main purpose is actually to facilitate data consolidation and calculations from that information.
Therefore, it is incorrect to think of Excel as sales software.
It is, in fact, a program that can be adapted and customized for various purposes involving mathematical functions, but its development is not intended to make life easier for sales executives and managers in the commercial sector.
In other words, as much as they can be used as a sales spreadsheet, Excel or similar software are not the best options for those who want to maintain effective commercial control.
Why is Excel not the best sales tool?
Let’s now justify why Excel is not the best option if you and your company want to have an effective business management that can be based on data, without requiring hours and hours of gathering information for analysis.
We explained earlier that Excel is software designed for calculations, not sales management.
What does that mean? That it can even be improved to better meet demands, but with this focus on mathematical functions, not on sales results.
In other words, it is best to choose a system that consolidates business data and has been specifically developed for this purpose.
This type of software always evolves with a focus on your sales management needs, considering data analysis, but much beyond that – as integrations with other tools and adaptability to the salesperson’s routine.
Automating reports and information
Although it is possible to create pivot tables and configure reports to be automatically generated in Excel, all this must be done manually and with adjustments that may not be so simple in the event of any changes.
For this reason, for those looking for agility in generating reports and analyses, Excel ends up leaving a lot to be desired.
Anytime, anywhere access
The routine of salespeople who work with external sales requires a tool that can be easily updated, even between meetings and when traveling.
In this sense, Excel makes the recording of information more complex, since usability and mobile access are not as adequate.
It is then necessary to wait a moment in front of the computer to fill in the sales spreadsheet, losing agility.
Risk of loss of information
Another disadvantage of using Excel as a sales spreadsheet is the risk of losing valuable information for the company, due to several factors such as:
- corrupt files;
- saved incorrectly;
- information from one seller accidentally deleted by another
- Between others.
We’ve seen multiple situations where you had to retrieve information from scratch to keep business records.
Also, simple files like sales spreadsheets are easier targets for theft or erratically sending information, especially when many people have access to them and without different levels of permissions.
What is the best alternative for sales control?
If Excel is not the most suitable tool for managing sales, what is the best option?
Undoubtedly, a CRM system (customer relationship management, or in Portuguese, customer relationship management).
CRM systems, for a long time, were considered less accessible, because they are aimed at large corporations and because they have a high cost per user.
This has long been transformed, with solutions available in the cloud, such as the Agent, for example.
Among the main advantages of switching from Excel to CRM are the following points:
- Agility: ease of including information, accessing analysis and generating business visit reports
- Reduction of manual work: optimization of time to focus on commercial activities, such as prospecting, activation and follow-up
- Information analysis: quick view to support decision making and develop campaigns, set prices and conduct negotiations
- Customer relationship: easy management for the after-sales and Customer Success areas
- Task Manager: inclusion and prioritization of tasks through the computer or mobile system.
It is also worth remembering that as much as it represents an extra cost for the business, invariably CRM systems end up bringing a positive return financially.
This occurs both by reducing the salespersons time filling out spreadsheets in Excel, and by the available data intelligence, to be used by managers and sales executives.
Intelligence about your sales: what do you need?
When we talk about any decision regarding sales tools, such as choosing between using Excel spreadsheets or a CRM system, we are also talking about the level of professionalism a company will have in its management.
Of course, it may be possible to grow an organization and drive sales by maintaining controls as essential as managing customers in Excel spreadsheets.
This, however, will certainly have a much higher operating cost than betting on a tool specifically developed for this purpose. Likewise, important opportunities to accelerate sales may be missed due to lack of precision in analytics.