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Have you read our article on planning marketing campaigns in Excel? In this article, our protagonist was tasked with creating a customer list in Excel and entering every interaction with customers and prospects in this list. Unsurprisingly, he failed. This article is a must-read.
Let’s turn our attention back to the topic of CRM and Excel. Most companies use some form of tool or software. However, there are those that choose not to bother with this, and instead use Excel. Then there is the fact that data is often located in different silos with no interface between them. As a result, there is no flow of data. When Marketing or Sales teams retrieve information from different silos, it inevitably ends up in Excel, where it is in turn manually cleaned and prepared for campaigns.
Those who absolutely must manage their customer data in Excel can still do so. There are countless templates available to download online. However, we advise against this, as it will be of no benefit in the long run. Quite the opposite, in fact. It prevents the flow of data between departments as well as the ability to make good decisions based on available data.
There are a number of reasons for this.
Excel has always been and still is a spreadsheet program, not a database. With a database, you can retrieve data using specific, precise SQL queries. Excel also offers a query function, but it cannot match SQL in this respect. Databases also precisely define what may and may not be input in a field. When something is defined as a decimal separator, only a number may appear after it – nothing else. This ensures a high level of data integrity.
It’s very easy to delete a record in Excel. Select – delete. All of the information and records linked with this entry, such as invoices and ordered spare parts, are also irretrievably lost. Databases don’t allow this to happen. They query the user’s action and inform them that this will lead to information being lost.
Shared working in an Excel file makes about as much sense as having people vacuuming in pairs. It simply isn’t the most efficient way of doing things.
When data is in a database, it can be made accessible to users through an interface. They see exactly the data that they need for their daily business. A database allows control not only of the access rights, but also the permissions for editing data.
Try entering a query such as “All customers who ordered spare part XY in the last year” in Excel. You won’t get very far. With databases and SQL, the process for handling queries is much better and faster.