5 Reasons to Try Incentivate instead of Outdated Spreadsheets

For many years, spreadsheets have been the powerhouse to manage data in sales organizations. In fact, data suggests about 70% of companies still rely on spreadsheets for their sales compensation management. However, the question is, can traditional spreadsheets keep up with the ever-growing competitive business world? The answer is No!

There is an alternative to using spreadsheets for sales commission management; automation technology. Many sales organizations are not aware of the incentive compensation solutions, some do not have the resources, or some are just too scared to come out of their comfort zones and adopt new technology.

These 5 reasons will make you believe why it is time to discard spreadsheets and adopt automated solutions instead:

1. Prone to Errors

Did you know that almost 88% of spreadsheets contain errors? These errors can exist in the form of a typing mistake, improper formula, formatting errors, misalignments, and more. Ever considered the consequences that your business may face if these errors go unnoticed? A recent spreadsheet error led to more than 16,000 missing coronavirus cases. There is no way one can avoid these errors because it is done manually and humans make mistakes. However, according to a study, when organizations abandon spreadsheets and move to incentive compensation solutions, they reduce errors by over 90%. Isn't that great?

2. Labor Intensive and Time Consuming

Using spreadsheets is like wasting your resources; not specifically in terms of money, but time and your employees' capabilities. Your staff generally spends hours and hours working manually on calculations and entering data. The last thing you want is to pay your employees for mindless labor tasks when they are capable of much more. This is where incentive compensation solutions come into play. They not only put your employees' capabilities to better use but also provide better insights and obtain reports and information automatically and accurately.

3. Lack of Analytical Capabilities

The past year has shown that change is a constant; especially for sales organizations. Ever-evolving dynamics mean an increased need for Sales Analytics to assess the effectiveness of your IC plans, quotas. Spreadsheet's analytics capabilities do not meet these requirements leading to the rollout of suboptimal commission plans for your salesforce. This may result in a lack of motivation for sales reps eventually leading to loss of revenue for the organization.

4. Delays and Disputes

In an attempt to centralize all the efforts organizations usually allows multiple accesses to the spreadsheet. While it helps in multi-tasking, the owner is still that one person who understands the complex rules/macros/functions. It is too much reliance on an individual who ends being a bottleneck hence leading to slowing down the entire process. It further escalates the inefficiency problem causing incentive calculation and processing delays. Ultimately, this lowers sales rep productivity, creates disputes, and also causes higher employee attrition.

5. Lack of Scalability and Growth

When a company grows and expands, so does its team and customers. Spreadsheets can't keep up to that. Managing the information of 100s of people becomes a nightmare. You will find yourself swamped with numerous spreadsheets and endless data. Even though spreadsheets can do the job for the time being, when compared to alternative automated solutions, they fall short. Once your sales processes start increasing, scalability becomes an issue, because, as your organization grows, so does the spreadsheet complexity.


Spreadsheets aren't conducive to real-time updates and they become inflexible at scale. Apart from this, they are often used for sensitive information, hence, even a single error can cost you everything. So, it's not worth the risk.

So now comes the most important question, If not Excel Spreadsheet, then what should I use?

Even though there are many good reasons to stop using spreadsheets, your needs won't just go away. So what to use instead? When it comes down to it, the answer is pretty simple. A specialized software! With the right solution in place, you no longer need to do manual work. Automation really can save you from all the extra work. Hence, your best bet is to choose a one-stop software service or solution that best caters to your company's specific needs. We can help you with this. Feel free to drop us a note at

About Author

Sujeet Pillai

As an experienced polymath, I seamlessly blend my understanding of business, technology, and science.