Excel is great! It’s affordable, it’s straightforward and it’s so easy to use. But don’t you think it’s time we moved on to something better?
Excel is holding you back, whether you know it or not. we’ve become far too comfortable with it and Singapore organizations need to break this habit and finally admit that it isn’t something you love, it’s something you are simply used to. Some organizations are owning up to this challenge and taking it on head first.
Let’s see what lies beyond your crowded cells.
Excel’s Biggest Drawbacks
Excel works offline which means you are unable to connect your excel sheet to relevant and extremely helpful tools - this is such a shame as there are so many creative and more effective ways to be integrating and connecting your data.
Yes, there is some API access, and yes, there are ways to connect your sheets to certain Microsoft of Google ordained capabilities, but this is still rather limited compared to a bespoke integration.
Not to mention, copies of Excel sheets inevitably leak, get borrowed, or shared among internal or even external parties. Do you remember which sheet is your latest? Which sheet has last month’s update? Who owns the latest sheet?
See what we mean? There’s ways to back up data and centralize a master document, but once a copy is made, it’s to the whim of the owner of that copy whether it’s going to find it’s way back to the master sheet, and as we all know, that’s a risk organizations really shouldn’t take.
All your eggs are in one basket
Your financial data and all of your client information are easily accessible to everyone in your organization not to mention extremely easy to hack with a simple password protecting it in devices.
This isn’t good for anyone. You don’t want your interns to see all your private financial information and your clients definitely don’t want their private information seen by the whole organization or even worse, stolen without a trace.
70% of Singaporeans are not convinced that companies are doing enough to protect their personal data. They feel insecure when online and often don’t trust a lot of organizations easily. Can you trust that Excel has your security in mind?
Your average Singaporean values their data, so be careful with it!
When using Excel, the number of copies you need is exhausting not to mention super confusing for everyone. How can you possibly keep everything up-to-date? What if someone was offline and you made changes, they will come back and have no idea what was changed, if it even was changed and who changed it.
While the Office 365 web version does automatically save, the downloadable version of Excel, which is often used over the web version due to full functionality, can be detrimental if there’s a crash.
There are methods to keep copies in check but oftentimes these third-party tools cost money, and there’s no way to know if this third party is trustworthy of this data.
Where are your backups?
Backing up your data is so important. It is sadly very easy for your excel sheet (holding all of your key data) to be stolen, corrupted or deleted at the click of a button. You need a master sheet, one that people have access to edit, and update, somewhere that if it gets deleted, it is still retrievable.
Without a master copy, people are not accountable for their changes and international discussions are a lot harder as people can not access, update and edit in real-time.
The good news is the latest versions of Excel are leveraging organizational logins to keep track of actions taken, so, with a master sheet, in the event of mistakes that are not caught in time, admins have the ability to look back at changelogs that show who or what the change was made, and when.
This does give the ability to go back and undo damage, but a vast majority of organizations are not running the latest version of Excel, opting for more simple past versions.
4.6 million consumers in Singapore are accessing the internet via their mobile phones. They value the fact that data is available at their very fingertips. However, Excel is not mobile-friendly. Meaning every time you wish to access it with a clear picture or without misaligned data, it needs to be done at a desk with your laptop, not convenient at all.
So, should we say goodbye to Excel now?
Going to the Cloud with Membership Management Software
Membership Management Software is like Excel sheets on steroids, and it very narrowly solves many of the headaches your organization might be encountering. After operating in Singapore for the past few years, Glue Up has been engaging with our associations and chamber of commerce customers in order to find out how exactly membership management software is helping your average Singapore organization in ways that Excel can’t.
On the cloud more precisely.
By the nature of this software and others like it like Salesforce, access to the software can happen anywhere there’s an internet connection.
But beyond this, the software is in a perpetual state of real-time data and activity. What this means is that you’re completely online, and unbridled by the offline world that Excel has likely instilled in many professionals over the past decades. This also means that actions taken by members can update your contact list with recent activities such as event check-in, membership due alerts, late payments tags, and so on.
This means that not only is the staff who run the software updating contacts with relevant info, but members are also pitching in to update it as well by simply doing the activities they normally would without realizing it.
With cloud storage and usage, membership management software is able to save everything in a secure, backed up, and centralized list, in many cases called a CRM. This also allows the developer to deliver updates and bug-fixes periodically which improves user experience.
It offers user permission controls
With membership management software, you don’t have to worry about data privacy issues creeping up, at least, when it comes to your internal usage that is. It offers a more secure way for you to store your private information with little risk for leaks and unauthorized access.
With Excel, the security is as good as the device that it’s being used on, and it can be vulnerable after sharing to other users or just being on devices without decent security features.
But oftentimes there’s even unauthorized access to Excel files internal to an organization that Singaporean managers are oftentimes seeing as a big issue. With this in mind, membership management software offers the ability for organization managers to leverage user permissions to dictate roles among staff, thus reducing further the likely hood of data invalidation, copies, or even theft.
Only one version
Membership management software is by its virtue of being on the cloud and centrally accessed, the one and only version of any contact database that an organization needs.
There is no risk of copies being misplaced and spread around because there can and only ever will be one place to find that contact database.
With the master version being backed up and updated in real-time, it is even easier to make sub-lists by filtering contacts by certain traits, demographics, survey answers, and more. These lists exist temporarily, for any ad-hoc projects or campaigns, but no matter the situation, any changes made will be made to the master CRM list.
Simply put, membership management software is mobile friendly. Software packages are usually paired with downloadable apps that are designed with mobile users in mind, and not just for yourself, but for your members and event attendees too.
That means actions are boiled down to easy buttons, touch-friendly, and sized perfectly for specific devices, all while collecting that very same data from real-life activities into the cloud.
Integration Options You Can't Get with Excel
Organizations thrive on more than just an excel sheet, but without proper data collection and hosting, bad or old data can spread to other tools too when you plug in your excel sheet.
For instance, what if contacts have left an organization? You know it already, but you’re using an outdated contact list because it’s a copy, living on a flash-drive that was in your bag. You probably didn’t even know it was old data, it just had the same name as the latest file, and you just went with it.
You plug it into your email marketing tool of choice, and now you’ve just sent the wrong email, to the wrong person.
This is where integrations benefit from being connected to your tools of choice in a more seamless fashion.
Event Management is a great touch-point for members, and it can be crucial to collect and record engagement, or even more granularly, conversions from events that an organization may hold. In doing so it’s important to completely map out the member’s journey at the event from marketing, to registration, to check-in, until finally whether they convert or engage in an intended manner.
Excel sheets are a manual process as we’ve professed already in this piece, and with that means any actions taken at an event needs to be input manually.
Check-ins are easily enough done at the front door, and follow-up conversion recording can be done later. But can you identify who came from a marketing email? Who came from a social media post about the event? Who registered on a partner’s website and not yours?
Membership management software steps in to replace Excel as a completely real-time product that can remember which link that brought them to the event page, in-event survey questions that they answered, which event communities they joined and whether they later renewed their membership, or became a sponsor, and so on.
With this system in place, and mobile as a touch-point, features like QR code check-in, and member-tracking allow for a more insightful analysis of a user’s experience both at an event or at the organization in general.
Email marketing with membership management software allows you to engage members reliably, and when you have a healthy list, it can oftentimes be a successful endeavor. Again, this hearkens back to whether or not you do have a healthy list. On Excel, it’s hard to say for sure your list is as up to date as it could be.
But it’s not just about having a healthy list that makes email marketing a special, functional integration, but it’s also the ability to drill down target audiences from your lists into email lists (typically lists that cannot impact the main contact database but can be siphoned out of the main database for ad-hoc email campaigns).
Doing so, you can create lists for previous event attendees by filtering which members or contacts attended free events, paid events, or never attended any events. You can create lists of those members who are 20 days from losing their membership, so you can send them an email promotion with a discount to encourage them to stay.
This audience you have just drilled down further into is now ripe for the right content, and as long as your organization can recognize which content they’d like to hear, it’s realistic that email marketing integrations to your membership management software can become a core strategy in your renewals efforts or event management campaigns.
Singaporeans tend to trust personal advertising such as emails more than intrusive adverts. So, in order to make the email personal, you need to assess all the data gathered from your membership management software and discover what would really make it personal to them.
This allows for a more targeted marketing approach, making it a lot more successful than a general email that has no coordinated effort or specified audience to send to.
With data tracking, you will never lose a membership renewal again as you can set up automatic emails specific to members who are due their renewals as well, as most email marketing software has automated email features, that while basic, can trigger when a member is a week away from having their membership expire, and so could receive an automatic reminder.
Furthermore, hosting and promoting events just become easier because there's no import or export of lists to find the perfect email campaign target, you simply need to only filter for the right audiences, and the platform can target a list without disrupting the master contact database at all. And if you're looking to invite folks to an event, check out our list of email invitation strategies that just might do the trick for your next big event.
Any and all feedback from email campaigns also feed into the CRM so that you can look back in the past and see which contacts open, clicket, or ignored emails so you can gauge member or contact engagement with your organization.
Excel will never alert you or the member of their upcoming renewal date. Let that sink in for a moment.
When using Excel, your payments are not integrated. You will more than likely lose track of your payments, human errors will corrupt the data and time will be wasted.
With integrated tools to your membership management software, you’ll be able to invoice and process payments as you normally would with your preferred accounting tool, but now you’ll be able to feed payment details and actions to specific contacts in your member database, and use it to identify trends, problem areas, or develop lists for up-sell opportunities.
Combining your payment process with membership management software, will increase your payment security, save time and eliminate a large swath of human error incidents. It likewise makes the payment process less complicated for the purchaser, receipts can be issued, refunds can be given and the data will be automatically updated accordingly.
Better customer service
Organizations should always make sure they follow up with their consumers. Whether it's after a purchase, new membership or renewal. People value the time taken to reach out. With an embedded CRM, data tracking allows your organization to implement a more successful and meaningful customer service.
With Excel or other manual processes, you lose sight of this, or can otherwise spend time to manually record pertinent info. To people in Singapore, this is simply not acceptable behavior anymore and standards for customer service are under more and more consumer scrutiny.
We all know that Excel is comfortable and easy to use, and in Singapore, it can be often seen as a go-to tool. But with all the clear benefits provided using a dedicated membership management software, It may be time you and your organization made the move and start excelling without Excel.
We're also not saying you should give up Excel completely, Excel very much has functionality that's hard to find elsewhere, especially if you've updated to the latest versions where there are more reliable cloud and virtual copy auto-saving features that solve a lot of the issues we've talked about.
Legacy users will still very much have to contend with those challenges still, however.
But at the end of the day, your sheets shouldn't be your go-to lists for membership and contact management, so it's time to break out of those cells and into the new era of membership management.
Book a demo today and see how Glue Up rolls all of these benefits and integrations into one package in our membership management platform.