Salespeople have a certain set of skills, they have their way with words and convincing. They use spreadsheets to keep track of their client base and quotes they give. They are no coders, but the end users of your company’s business intelligence network are professional Excel users.
On the other hand, the management has to rely on the data provided by sales teams to track revenues and make decisions. Accuracy of information and making sense of it is the key. Sharing your spreadsheets in a secure, collective environment can save you tremendous time and enhance your work capabilities. While some big companies use software that costs a fortune, a low-cost and easy to use alternative can work miracles for others. Many times pricing rules of the products and services can be too complex to integrate with those software products. That’s when companies use Excel to develop their own in-house quoting tools. But they are neither collaborative nor centralized. They just sit on each sales person’s computer.
In this tutorial, we will use a sales quote spreadsheet and transform it into a web application in mere minutes.
Usually, such applications will have an input page and a proposal page. Required fields are filled in and your clients get an estimate right away. The salesperson might want to get a printout of the proposal page and give it to the client or keep it for the archive. The Excel quote sheet we will use here looks as below:
Grey cells are the input fields. Some of them capture information about the client and others about the product features. Every cell has a link to another tab for calculations and data. As data is entered, formulas are triggered to calculate the price.
Here is the second tab, which will be the proposal page and displays only the summary. Proposal pages are usually formatted nicely since they are the documents presented to customers. Typically, sales person emails this page ideally in PDF format to the customer.
Now, let’s turn this spreadsheet into a fully operational web application. SpreadsheetWEB has a Microsoft Excel add-in. Find more details, sign up and download the add-in at http://www.spreadsheetweb.com/get-started/
Once the add-in is in place, run the Wizard and start converting your document. This task requires no other knowledge than basic Excel proficiency. User-friendly interface has similar controls and configurations to that of Microsoft Excel. We want the Quote tab to be displayed and the salespeople inputs saved in a database.
First step is capturing the range on the Quote page to be displayed on the web application.
Next step is identifying the input cells which will be the input controls on the web application. It is important to select only the cells you want end users to enter inputs; everything else will be protected.
Then we select the proposal page. We want to create a PDF document out of this page so that it will be easier for the sales person to present it to a client. You can always choose to send a notification email too. Mix and match the combinations to satisfy your business requirements.
Finally, we identify all fields in this workbook to store them in the database. This is a very important part of the process since the database will be used for real time management reporting to answer questions like how many quotes are being created by each sales person. SpreadsheetWEB wizard makes it easy to select the cells to save.
That’s it. Now we have a new web application. Here is how it looks.
It looks identical to the original document, except for Excel’s menu and grid. What you have now is a professionally designed web application that each sales person can login and create customer quotes. Each quote saved can later be retrieved and modified. This can all be achieved through SpreadsheetWEB’s web based control panel.
Furthermore, you can visualize the vast data your employees generate. Be it with charts, maps or tables; the reporting features of SpreadsheetWEB are sure to empower your business, by helping you make sense of data and keeping a neat database. Importing, exporting and playing with data has never been this easy.