Repost from Medium

Since basically everyone is an Excel user in today’s business world, many companies, naturally rely on spreadsheets to create pricing tools for their sales people. Excel offers thousands of features that makes this process pretty straightforward. Various pricing rules can be easily implemented through IF-THEN-ELSE logic and LOOKUP formulas make it easy to query large data tables. Proposal documents can then be generated and printed out directly from Excel. Fortunately, such tools can be developed and maintained by business users without any dependence on IT resources.

Most companies also utilize some sort of CRM software to manage their sales process. Managing sales operations through these software, and then switching to spreadsheet pricing tools for creating proposal, might prove difficult to automate the entire process.

Featuring tons of customization and scalability options, SalesForce has been in the market for more than a decade. According to several sources[1][2][3], it is among the most popular CRM software currently in the market, able to satisfy needs of businesses of different sizes.

Via SpreadsheetWEB API, a pricing tool (or any kind of Excel model, actually) can be connected to a CRM software. Integrating a sales tool with SalesForce will allow sales professionals to create their quotes directly on this platform, by entering necessary data into SalesForce interface. Quoted price can then be directly displayed and stored in SalesForce database. Similarly, a PDF based proposal can be created by SpreadsheetWEB and downloaded through SalesForce. This eliminates human interaction with the spreadsheet pricing tool and prevents any errors or security risks thereof.

Another advantage of this approach is to make it easy for sales and product managers to update the pricing data and logic directly in the spreadsheet tool and upload it to the system. As a result, the price changes are updated immediately without sales people being even notified. This also eliminates potential errors and price mismatches that would occur in case sales people don’t update their spreadsheet tools.

Let’s take an example. Quoting tools are a staple in almost every company; we all know that logistics, taxes and other factors incur different pricing in various locations. At the same time, this type of models and related data often keep changing every second in today’s market. A salesperson brings up the customer requirements, then enters location and product data into the Excel model. Exporting the results, he then sends the result to the customer.

This spreadsheet model inputs origination and destination ZIP codes along with weight. It returns the calculated cost. The logic calculating the cost can be at any level of complexity. Using SpreadsheetWEB, this pricing model can be transformed into a web service that can be tied to SalesForce.

The first step is to upload the workbook to your SpreadsheetWEB account. Once uploaded, the web application will have a unique API key. Using this API, you can connect the workbook to the SalesForce database and vice versa.

The next step is to create a custom page on SalesForce. In our previous posts, we already covered how to do this integration in detail. Please note that this process requires some programming in SalesForce, to create the custom button and accommodate for other features.

Now, a salesperson can simply enter the requested details and get the latest quote information, on the spot!

The product and zip code related price data and calculation logic can be updated directly in Excel, and it can be uploaded to SpreadsheetWEB to seamlessly update pricing logic for all sales people.

SalesForce, just like any other CRM software, was born out of necessity to keep track of leads, prospects, clients and give the sales people, as well as the decision makers, more time to worry about their work. However, today’s market is organic and yesterday’s data simply isn’t enough. Every time a salesperson extracts CRM data and uses it to create a quote using a separate tool, you risk human error and wasting time.

Excel is a familiar, yet extremely powerful platform for building and maintaining pricing tools, or other sophisticated calculators designed for sales people. SpreadsheetWEB builds the bridge to connect these tools with CRM software and automate the whole process. At the same time, it empowers sales managers by allowing them to make changes in pricing in a familiar environment, and stay up to date on all progress.