How to Create a Sales Tracking Spreadsheet, and Why It’s Probably a Bad Idea

Spreadsheets are used throughout the world as an easy way to arrange data in a grid of rows and columns. The data can then be used for various functions or calculations. Their main uses in terms of business use are to work out things such as taxation, revenues and payroll, as well as being used to store information about customer data.

Excel is the spreadsheet program that is provided by Microsoft and is part of their Office Suite of software. Alternatively, you can use Google Sheets, which is their own free to use spreadsheet program.

How to use a spreadsheet

Using spreadsheets is a fairly easy procedure, though the first time you open a blank spreadsheet, you may be a little overwhelmed with how you actually set up a new one. Once you’ve got to grips with the basic usage and how to create the columns and rows, and enter your data, then it becomes very easy to use and manage.

Where spreadsheets can get a little more complex is when it comes to setting up functions and calculations which will use the data that you have entered, and create totals based on your specific requirements.

Best way to create a sales tracking spreadsheet

There are a number of ways that you can use a spreadsheet to keep track of all of your business sales. The easiest option is to simply search online for a predesigned spreadsheet template. There are many websites that offer free templates for Excel that you can download and use. For a full sales tracking system, take a look at Commence and the solutions that they have available.

However, if you have a specific requirement for the data you need to manage, then it’s probably best to create your own spreadsheet from scratch. There are three main spreadsheets that are important for any company or business that want to monitor their sales. Below we will take a brief look at each of these.

Monitoring Sales Calls

It’s very important that you keep track of all of your sales calls, or call attempts, as many times you might not get through to someone and you’ll need to try again later or at another date. A sales call log is the perfect way to keep track of who and when you need to call, and whether it’s a follow-up call, or the initial one. A sales call log is very useful for reference, and you can quickly access a person’s name or telephone number, as well as see a summary of the discussion.

Tracking your leads

Once you’ve established potential leads, it’s a good idea to track them and follow the sales process through each step. Keeping your lead information clearly laid out and easy to access means that your sales team will have all the details they need when it comes to following up with a potential lead, or taking them through the next stage of the sales funnel. Keeping a note of which leads and which are cold is a good idea, as it can make your time more effective with a better chance of a productive result.

Sales reports

No business is complete with the ability to produce sales reports, and this is one spreadsheet that is very important. You need to know what sales have been made for each month, and whether they are existing or new clients. You will be able to create charts based on your spreadsheet data and create easy to understand reports that you can share with your team of clients if necessary.

The problem with using spreadsheets

As practical and helpful as they are, spreadsheets are not the best solution when it comes to monitoring your sales. Though there are many benefits including the cost, which in most cases is nothing or a very minimal amount, there are a number of disadvantages with using them.

Firstly, they are very difficult to manage if you need to share access to them with your team. Trying to keep track of changes that have been made to them is next to impossible, and even if you have a master copy of the spreadsheets that you want to maintain, you’ll soon discover that keeping that updated is a job all by itself. Your time could be used much more productively, rather than doing something that any standard sales tracking system or sales CRM software would be able to do automatically.

Secondly is the issue or security. If your spreadsheets contain sensitive and private information, it’s very difficult to restrict access. In fact, they can easily be shared with anyone, regardless of whether they work for you or not.

Finally, spreadsheets are highly prone to errors of one type of another. Though they can be useful for very basic situations, when it comes to real sales monitoring and proper storage and access to your data, you will be much better going for a real sales monitoring solution. The benefits of using one far outweigh any benefits you have from using a spreadsheet.

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