Leaving your sales pipeline spreadsheet behind

This week I was talking to someone about our new approach to marketing, which is one of my projects.

In the discussion I said that we get a lot of new customers that are moving away from an Excel spreadsheet to manage their sales pipeline.

And pretty much as soon as the words left my mouth, I was asked “why”.

“Why would a small business move from using a spreadsheet to manage their sales pipeline to Tracks?”

And there I was; challenged!

So I talked through it

And then later when I was pondering it a bit more I thought to myself:

“Maybe some of our potential customers might want to ask why too”

And that leads me to this article. So here’s why you should move from a spreadsheet to Tracks for sales pipeline management:

1. Scalability

Let’s just get this out there; emailing a spreadsheet around between you and your team mates or fellow founders is not scaleable. It might have been OK in the past, but if you want to grow then you’ll need to rely on something a bit better than email, Dropbox or a shared server.

Secondly, if you employ a dedicated sales person then no doubt they’ll like to sit at their desk with the spreadsheet open – which is a no no for everyone else.

“Good integration can save you a lot of time”

You’re probably average on Excel too – and whilst that’s done you OK in the past, the usability of dedicated sales pipeline tools is better than that of a spreadsheet.

And can you access your spreadsheet from your mobile? No, not really. But you can access Tracks and other sales pipeline tools.

Lastly, growing a company means implementing others systems like project management, time tracking, accounting and so on. Integration options with these tools is more than a nice to have – good integration can save you a lot of time.

Moving from a spreadsheet to manage your sales pipeline is much more scalable. And – in the next section – you can read about how it supports a better structure.

2. Structure

OK, so if you’ve got this far you’re probably interested in growing your company.

And you can’t do that without systems and processes.

“Better structure means better sales performance”

A well structured sales function will help you with sales. But it’s not just about adding CRM software. It’s about proper planning and research before sales meetings. It’s about regular sales pipeline reviews. It’s about staff training. It’s about better needs analysis. It’s about communicating value. It’s about setting achievable targets. It’s about reporting performance against those targets.

It’s about a lot of things

Having a CRM application as part of your overall sales function is a good thing. A sales pipeline tool isn’t the panacea. It’s not the holy grail, but it’s part of the jigsaw that makes up your sales systems and processes.

A CRM improves your structure. And better structure means better sales performance. When it comes to planning a move away from a spreadsheet, you’ll probably be thinking about your sales function in general. If you’re not then I recommend thinking about the sales function first and your sales pipeline tool second. Don’t move from your spreadsheet just because you think you need to. Properly plan it and consider the rest of the stuff going on in sales.

So there you have it; two reasons to move from a spreadsheet to a sales pipeline tool or CRM. It’s definitely what our customers have said to us over the years.

If you need help deciding on whether you should stay or go then just email us and we’ll help you out.

Good luck!

PS – if you’re not convinced that you need anything more than a spreadsheet for sales pipeline management then have a go at one I used a number of years ago.