If your marketing team is using a spreadsheet to drive planning and collaboration, they’re doing it wrong.

Posted by Bruce Brien on 3/7/19 9:37 AM

spreadsheet nightmaresSpreadsheets were developed to manipulate numbers, not to juggle marketing campaigns, sales leads, the demand center, teams divided by region or country, or conflicts between digital campaigns and events. In fact, the more information crammed in to a spreadsheet the more unwieldy it becomes. The harder it is to use, the more the data becomes siloed. And when the data is siloed, it might as well not even exist.

Many marketing leaders find themselves facing just that situation. They have lots of data but no way to easily access it or use it to tell a coherent story. By moving away from spreadsheets and to a single place where anyone in the company could know at a glance what was going on – and equally importantly, why – they not only eliminate the silos but give everyone the same place to start the conversation. Now they are working together on a shared mission. And everyone can see it.

Having the data in one central place has other tangible benefits. No need to email a colleague for data – it’s a click or two away from you. It can also mean fewer meetings because there is no longer a need to go through endless PowerPoint presentations. It also turns out that fewer meetings might just be the key to more effective, innovative teams. A Harvard Business School study from August 2018, How Intermittent Breaks in Interaction Improve Collective Intelligence, examined today’s “always on, always connected” culture and found teams are more successful if they collaborate sporadically. The study concluded the best functioning teams were the ones that found the “Goldilocks point” of just the right amount of interaction. In other words, you want not too little and not too much. Teams need to be “strategic” about collaboration.

And that brings us back to importance of a single shared space to tell the story of a company’s products and services. Done right, the story – made up of everything marketing and sales are doing along with metrics key in your industry and anything else necessary -- makes collaboration seamless and advances the shared goals effortlessly. That shared story will be what it needs to be – not too little or too much. And the story will work: Marketing knows which leads have panned out and sales can easily plan for a new digital campaign without scrambling. Imagine all of that, and more, with fewer meetings and emails. Fewer distractions increase productivity, and at the end of the day everyone can share the pleasure in how the company’s story moved forward.

The spreadsheet is a powerful tool, but it can’t make collaborative planning like that happen.

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Topics: Effective Planning, Marketing Planning, Marketing Analytics

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