Coordinating and executing meetings is hard enough, but managing with spreadsheet software can hold you back from being as efficient as you'd like to be. No doubt these are powerful and useful programs, and the latest versions allow multiple users to collaborate. But when it comes to the targeted work of managing and understanding the return on investment of your meetings, the trend is toward cloud-based meeting automation platforms, and with good reason.
For a conversation with the C-suite about an upgrade to the cloud, here are three points for the case against staying with spreadsheet-based meeting management:
1. Spreadsheets don’t integrate with other business software. If you can’t connect with CRM software, for example, the information captured during a meeting (topics discussed, number of attendees, etc.) has to be manually entered in order for sales and marketing teams to benefit. This is likely to produce mistakes, lengthen the sales cycle, and decrease your firm's win rate.
2. Spreadsheets have limited automation capabilities. Spreadsheets work well for capturing data and generating calculations, but when it comes to automating meeting invitations and other necessary workflows, they aren’t able to keep up. For example, once your team sets a meeting, you need the time reserved on attendees’ calendars right away. Delays could mean that attendees are no longer available, or that the location is already booked.
3. Spreadsheets are bad for tracking metrics and deriving insights. Perhaps the biggest pitfall of spreadsheet-based meeting management is the inability to track metrics across meetings and deliver insights about the success of your campaigns. Metrics such as the number of total meetings, average deal size, and number of meetings per deal closed can all be tracked and reported on in a cloud application to improve the sales cycle, save marketing dollars, and prove meeting ROI.
Ravi Chalaka is chief marketing officer at cloud-based meeting automation platform Jifflenow.