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Relationship Management

5 Good Reasons To Say “No” To Spreadsheets

By Rebecca Hinds

Technology has advanced a long way over the past decade. Yet when it comes to managing our contacts and relationships, technology has fallen short of expectations. Many companies continue to resort to using spreadsheets to manage their pipeline and deal flow. Even when sales and marketing professionals use CRMs, they continue to rely on spreadsheets. Due to the inefficiency of many of today’s CRM systems, sales reps spend 10% of their time in spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are limiting for several reasons:

Spreadsheets don’t help us manage relationships.

Spreadsheets are great for managing numbers. But relationships are too complicated to be managed using spreadsheets. Spreadsheets don’t allow us to efficiently track every interaction we’ve had with contacts. They don’t give us a historical timeline of our relationships. When we need to learn more about specific contacts, we’re forced to painstakingly search through call notes and other sources of information for context.

Spreadsheets are typically not collaborative.

The use of spreadsheets makes collaboration with team members and others difficult. When collaboration is undermined, so too is productivity. Relationship management systems should facilitate collaboration. Team members should have full visibility into sales activities, be kept up-to-date on important contacts, and be able to hand contacts off to different team members. Collaboration accelerates sales cycles and ensures that prospects and customers are more effectively moved through the sales pipeline.

Spreadsheets are error-prone.

Spreadsheet completion is a manual process and is subject to human error. It’s estimated that 88% of spreadsheets contain errors. Typing one digit incorrectly can result in inaccurate contact information. Ideally, spreadsheets should minimize the need for human input. Platforms such as Affinity support automatic data capture so that contact data is automatically pre-populated. Not only is the potential for human error reduced, so too is manual entry on the part of the user. Affinity also supplements data using source like Pitchbook and Clearbit, as well as its own proprietary algorithms to update content and companies in real-time, ensuring that data is enriched and accurate.

Spreadsheets are not actionable.

When data is housed in spreadsheets, it is not actionable. Spreadsheets don’t send us reminders or alerts pertaining to when we should reach out to or follow up with specific contacts. They don't give us details on the context of our relationships. Using Affinity, you can simply click a contact to reveal all the interactions your team has had with the individual. Finally, spreadsheets don’t give us insight into when our relationships with specific contacts are at-risk. The onus is on the user to keep tabs on key relationships and ensure they are nurtured. With Affinity, users are proactively sent reminders when it's time to follow up with specific contacts, in turn ensuring that they never drop the ball on key relationships.

Spreadsheets don’t integrate with a user’s workflow.

Spreadsheets fail to integrate within our existing workflows. Users need to painfully switch back and forth between spreadsheets and other tools such as email and calendars as they do their work. Affinity, on the other hand, integrates seamlessly with users' calendar and emails auto-populating in the background. Users can even create “Zaps” using Zapier to automate workflows between the apps they use every day.

It’s tempting to use spreadsheets. After all, most of us have access to a free spreadsheet software computer program. Resist the temptation. Spreadsheets are meant for crunching numbers. They simply aren’t built for streamlining sales efforts and managing our most valuable asset—our network.

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Relationship Management