7 Things spreadsheets can't do for creating quotes
MS Excel has been an integral part of businesses everywhere for many decades.
According to an article published in Enterprise Times, 60% of businesses in the U.S. still rely on spreadsheets, while 21% are moving towards other software solutions.
The recent survey also says, 71% of organizations depend on spreadsheets for collecting sales data across majority of their business units even though there are better ways to manage their data.
While creating a quote for a customer, be it a renewal or a fresh opportunity, a good data analysis widens your chance to win the deal. MS Excel has been the most popular quoting and analysis tool since past many years, but with more and more information sources such as social media, transactional data, customer records, and web analytics, data can’t be stored and handled only in spreadsheets.
The data is no longer confined to our desktops, and now cloud-hosted data and data warehouses are a new reality; after all, it’s called Big data for a reason! For such massive data, a spreadsheet can only be used for some ad-hoc analysis using the best possible sample data. However, in the age of actionable insights and near-accurate predictions, quoting for a customer using this ad-hoc analysis will not bring the deal home.
Salespeople have been using spreadsheet-based quoting as part of their traditional processes. However stale price lists, lack of visibility and access to historical quotes have always been a challenge with spreadsheets which ultimately impacts an organization’s productivity and profitability.
There’s nothing wrong with spreadsheets; they’re no doubt one of the excellent tools for many different tasks to cope up with. But when it comes to proper visualization, communication, and distribution of data the spreadsheets are simply not meant or designed for it.
Here are the 7 things spreadsheets can’t do for creating your customer quotes.
1. Standardized sales process
Successful sales team often refine their sales processes continuously based on measurable data. They get to know where most of your deals are getting stuck or are slipping away.
Deals are simply won or lost if no process is in place, and it’s hard to know which specific actions are working or failing. Having standardized sales process in place team can focus on efforts to generate most of the revenue.
The standardization of the sales processes in any organization starts with the identification of those activities that produce the best results for the team. It helps to highlight required sales efforts and consistency that makes your team more confident and efficient to quote your customer.
2. Give past sales references and margin benchmarks while creating quotes
While dealing with existing customer, it is very important to know about that customer’s past deals with your organization. Historical customer data such as margins, discount percentages, service terms help set a certain reference point for the next quote to that customer. Finding such information from a pile of spreadsheets from your sales folks is nearly impossible. It is important to have this information readily available in the right context at the right time when you create a quote.
Spreadsheets also aren’t designed to store your historical data, which makes it hard or impossible to spot trends over time and compare data across longer time horizons.
3. Find new leads/business opportunities hidden in that data
Quoting in excel makes you lose the valuable historical insight to your past quotes. This problem worsens if you consider all your team members quoting and storing them in spreadsheets in their local machine to share these quotes via emails.
You can never analyse all the quotes stored in spreadsheets in individual machines. And even if you try to do that, the manual analysis of this data is neither efficient nor accurate enough to harness all the hidden opportunities.
The past sales transaction data i.e. installed base can be a gold mine of opportunities. To tap into the untapped potential of your past sales transaction data you need a much more powerful tool than a spreadsheet. With the right intelligence in place, you can not only get the clear visibility of past transactions but can also get new leads which can grow your revenue by more than 15%.
4. Auto-reconciliation and Reports
You are planning to have sales annual meeting, but nobody likes to work on gallons of spreadsheet data for sales forecasting & their opportunity progress to present in front of management. The more heart-sinking fact is, it is only good until the next extract of data.
With the continuous inflow of data, sending reports to stakeholders on a daily or weekly or monthly basis using spreadsheets may lead to irrevocable and unnecessary stress.
5. Versioning and Approvals
Struggling to hit sales target and planning to close the deal right away but can’t due to several approvals in place? Well, we all prefer the shortest sales cycle possible, don’t we? But most companies do have a tedious approval process in place based on customer segments or control on their margins and many other such criteria’s.
Customers often demand more which leads to regular changes in product options, prices, terms, resulting in multiple iterations of the quote. Things still often go wrong, despite extra care and you have to get back to your customers to ultimately close the deal.
Managing these multiple iterations in sales cycle becomes easier if all is maintained in a single system.
6. Compatibility/Integration with other business tools
Today’s digital transformation era, seamless system integration is the name of the game and eases your work. The spreadsheet isn’t of much use when it comes to integrating with other enterprise software like CRM, ERP, CPQ for quoting.
7. Excel doesn’t give reminders
Reminders play a vital role in quoting process. It helps customers, team, managers get timely updates and visibility. In this day and era, managers often like and expect automatic reminders for their business. Reminders, Email push notifications that say “you’ve got new quote request” will help stakeholders get organized and have a glance at business.
Get ready to ditch your spreadsheets with Yagna iQ CPQ and Smart Leads product suites. Understand and get to know more with https://www.yagnaiq.com/smartleads/ or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org