3 Reasons Why Spreadsheets Are Hurting Your Handoffs (w/ Hannah Rubin from RevPartners) + What You Should Do Instead

Handoffs might be the most make or break moment in the customer journey. But so often they leave customers (and our internal teams) wondering what's next. The most common cause of this confusion? The humble spreadsheet.

Stuart Balcombe

August 19, 2022

6 minutes

Handoffs might be the most make or break moment in the customer journey.

But so often they leave customers (and our internal teams) wondering what's next.

The most common cause of this confusion?

The humble spreadsheet.

After seeing her rant about about spreadsheets on LinkedIn, I invited Hannah Rubin, Senior RevOps Strategist at RevPartners to rant about them some more, and what to do instead for today's edition of Happy Customers.

"Whether you're doing it for onboarding, whether you're doing it for sales's not going to talk to the other pieces of your process if it's sitting in a spreadsheet."

Let's get into the top 3 reasons why spreadsheets are so problematic for handoffs:

Reason #1: Spreadsheets don't enforce data validation

The first and most common spreadsheet challenge Hannah called out was the lack of data validation - how many spreadsheets have you opened to find data missing or entered incorrectly to the point where your formulas aren't useful and you can’t extract the answers you’re looking for.

"A spreadsheet works in theory. The problem is, it’s a very manual thing to have to keep updated."

Data validation is critical for 2 reasons:

  1. Ensuring that all the information required for the next step in the process has been entered.
  2. Ensuring all the information entered is correctly formatted to be useful later.

A spreadsheet might let you validate the data in an individual cell but it's very difficult to automatically check that the data is available for the next step.

Reason #2: Spreadsheets don't provide process definition

Perhaps even more impactful than a lack of data validation in spreadsheets is a lack of process definition. A spreadsheet is a wide open "playground" where just about anything is possible.

"If we're just using a spreadsheet everybody could potentially have a different way of using that spreadsheet."

Not having clear guardrails around the process a team (or multiple teams) should follow means everyone makes up their own, hurting consistency and impairing a teams ability to scale.

Reason #3: Spreadsheets silo your data

Anytime you need multiple teams to work with a customer at different stages of their journey it's important to have all the context and data about their experience so far accessible and ready to use.

"If the service team needs a contact to be tied to the deal, we need to make sure that that happens before it gets passed off. Or the sales team or the billing team needs to have a certain piece of information on there maybe the billing address before they can send out a contract."

These 3 spreadsheet challenges cause both internal process headaches and directly impact the customer experience. Yet making the decision to adopt something new isn't always as quick and easy as it sounds.

The biggest objection Hannah hears to moving away from spreadsheets?

“We’ve always done it this way”

But the real measure of any process is in its adoption, not its implementation.

"respond to the hesitancy of changing the process with. “Okay. But your process wasn't really adopted in the first place. Like look at all these blank deals or, look at all the people that didn't put their amounts in properly in here. Look at all the like skewed reporting. Look at how difficult it is for you to even figure out if you're going to hit your goals this quarter.”

When you consider the impact of a process that isn’t fully adopted the case for change becomes stronger.

If you’ve been feeling the ripple effects of running cross functional processes like customer onboarding in spreadsheets, we have 3 tactics you can use to make your life easier outside of a spreadsheet.

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