Excel is an amazing spreadsheet tool that can be used to store information which can then be analysed to provide a useful and quantifiable insight into our business.  Although this article is aimed specifically at Microsoft Excel many of the same, or similar features will be available in other spreadsheet packages.

How do you record your leads?

So, you have someone who is really interested in your product or service.  You need to remember their contact details, where you got the lead from, when, what action you have already taken, what you next steps will be and a timescale for this so you don’t miss out on the opportunity. Storing the data in your head might be OK if you are only getting a few leads but as the business grows things are likely to be forgotten or not actioned in a timely manner.  Recording in a notebook is better but this is still not easy to search on or update regularly.  Microsoft Word or other Word processing package is an improvement because there is the option of using a “Find” feature to look for the information but Excel or other spreadsheet package has so many more analysis tools is it always my go to product for storing any data, whatever I want to do with it.

How to layout your data

Spreadsheets are designed to be set out with headings in the top row of the information with the data row by row below this.  Many of the inbuilt tools to extract information require the data to be in this format.  Ideally avoid adding blank rows or blank columns as some features do not work at all and others are less efficient if this setup is used.  The columns you store will depend on what information you think will be useful but is likely to include contact name, telephone number and email address.  Possibly company details such as address.  Date of first contact, method of contact (email, messenger, call) and details of the proposal are all important to store too.  Proposed date of next contact is useful as it puts a firm date to aim for.  It may also help to record if a lead is open or not and if a lead is won how much it is for.  The fields you use may evolve over time as you realise there are additional things that are useful to store and use to track progress and monetise results.  T

There must also be consistency in the data that you use.  I’m sure the phrase rubbish in, rubbish out is one you have heard many times and it is so true in this case.  This article gives you some tools to help automate the process.


What can I do with my data?


By sorting the data on the date of next contact you create an ordered list to action.


Filtering by a contact name or company name allows you to see how many repeat sales have been recorded and potentially who your most valuable customers are.  Rather than pulling information out of thin air this is tangible evidence and collaborates what you think is happening but also sometimes makes you realise that how you feel things are going is not always what is actually happening.  Evidence is key.

This link gives more information about how sorting and filtering can be used.  https://www.laramellortraining.co.uk/top-tips-to-sorting-and-filtering-in-excel

Pivot tables

This is an amazing tool to summarise data and would be perfect in this situation to record how many leads there are for each client, how many have been won or lost and the value of these.  You could also break down where the leads are coming from to work out which platforms to concentrate your main effort on.  Imagine that information at the tip of your fingers!

This blog gives more detail about how pivot tables are setup and can be manipulated to produce fabulous insights into your data.


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