Whether you realize it or not, your Microsoft Excel spreadsheets are riddled with mistakes. According to Forbes, nearly 9 out of 10 spreadsheets (roughly 88%) contain errors.
If you’re a commercial real estate broker still relying heavily on Excel to manage much of your business, statistics like this should be your wake-up call.
How Excel is hurting your business
Before Excel, brokers used hand-organized databases like index cards, day planners and binders to try and manage all their contacts. Then came Excel, and there was a semblance of organization in one handy spreadsheet.
But as multiple studies have reported, Microsoft Excel is not as simple or accurate as users think. One misplaced number or decimal point—whether you entered it or the format autocorrected—can ruin your entire data set. That’s why Excel was once proclaimed “the most dangerous software on the planet” after JPMorgan cited billions of dollars lost to cutting and pasting.
Also, remember that Excel is just data containment (a glorified electronic mailing list for most brokers), and it doesn’t allow for easy analysis of that data. It’s also not as secure or as accessible as it could be with today’s cloud technology.
Plus, if you want to actually take action with that contact list, you’ll need to import your list into another platform (think email integration) in order to interact with those clients or prospects. Extra steps mean extra time—and time as you well know, is money.
Static vs. dynamic information
Beyond the errors, think about Excel’s usability. Just because people and businesses are familiar with Microsoft Excel doesn’t mean they actually know how to use it well. The average Excel user is said to use less than 20% of the software’s actual capabilities, and for real estate brokers, it’s often even less.
What’s more, the data in your spreadsheets remains static while the world around you changes. Just as you would no longer consider tracking all you do by hand in a binder anymore, so Excel has become a tool of the past. Business is being done on the web, in real time, using data that can flow seamlessly across platforms. You need a tool that is as dynamic as the times we live in now.
A better tool to manage relationships
So what’s the alternative? First, you need to migrate to a customer relationship management tool (CRM) that’s hosted in the cloud. Records are updated instantly, with accessibility for all and the ability to conduct business anywhere, at any time, from any device.
CRM software also reduces or eliminates the kind of errors that are rampant in the Microsoft Excel environment, increasing both your accuracy and efficiency.
And to top it all off, you get way more than just data containment. A good CRM helps you use that data to gain insights and track what’s most useful to you. It also often integrates with your current systems (email, apps) for even greater functionality and a simplified workflow.