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Spreadsheets have a long history of use in business. Their row and column format mimic the paper spreadsheets of the pre microcomputer era. This familiar format, combined with its advanced formulas, graphs, and macros has made it a mainstay of the business world.

However, its popularity and versatility has caused too many businesses to use it in applications for which it wasn’t meant. Spreadsheets have a number of deficiencies that make it an unwieldy tool in many business applications. Two important deficiencies are:

Version Control

A spreadsheet exists in the computing device of its user. Sharing it with an entire marketing team requires distributing multiple standalone copies. Over time, when different team members add their data inputs to their version, the different versions become increasingly dissimilar. This leads to a lack of coordination within the marketing team.

One solution is for someone to manually consolidate the different versions and then distribute copies to the marketing team. However, this consolidated spreadsheet also suffers from the same version control problem. Another difficulty with this “system” is its reliance on error-prone manual updating.

Poor Scalability

As your business and its customer base grows, the above version control method quickly becomes untenable. More employees and customers require bigger spreadsheets, more calculations, and more macros. The macros are created by people who aren’t software developers. This means that modifying them is difficult for the people who didn’t create them. Overly large and complex spreadsheets can, and do, become unstable, which means they’ll routinely freeze or crash.

Spreadsheets vs Automated Marketing and CRM Software

Spreadsheet software is a standalone tool that’s convenient for calculations and data display. Unlike automated marketing and CRM software, it wasn’t built specifically for sales and marketing automation.

This means spreadsheets won’t, by themselves, track the interactions of your leads and customers with your business, and won’t automatically update this information. They lack marketing automation tools that you can set up and run in the background.

Customer relationship management and marketing encompass a broad range of activities that can’t be effectively automated with spreadsheets. Spreadsheets weren’t intended for this and are too limited a tool. This is why attempting to build your own automated marketing and CRM software equivalent with spreadsheets isn’t the best use of your time and resources.