Expert Series

10 Mistakes Spreadsheets Cause in Trade Promotion Planning

Uncover 10 mistakes people make when relying on spreadsheets for trade promotion planning, and how a TP planning solution enhances accuracy.

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Everyone loves spreadsheets, and they will always have a place in or business life, but when it comes to account planning, especially running “what-if’s” and calculating profit it’s incredibly risky to run your entire trade promotion plan. On top of that, you have to trust everyone else’s and then figure out how to roll the plan up across multiple versions.

Here are 10 Common Mistakes People Make When They Rely on Spreadsheets for Their Trade Promotion Planning:

  1. Data entry errors: We all know that manual data entry is prone to mistakes, whether it’s a formula or copy-paste errors. Either way, one wrong number can throw off your entire forecast and plan.
  2. Version control issues: Managing multiple versions of spreadsheets by account, by scenario, and by product can be challenging, and it’s easy to lose track of which version is the right one, wasting valuable time and energy.
  3. Limited collaboration: Spreadsheets can be cumbersome for collaborative work, making it difficult to track changes maintain a consistent workflow, or involve multiple stakeholders effectively.
  4. Lack of automation: Trade promotion planning systems offer automation features for tasks like integrating data, forecasting, and scenario analysis, which are time-consuming to replicate (let alone execute!) in a spreadsheet environment.
  5. Inefficient scenario analysis: Performing “what-if” scenarios in spreadsheets can be complex and time-consuming, limiting the ability to evaluate various promotion strategies quickly, and you need to plan at a granular product level. Spreadsheets are too cumbersome to manage individual items and the various combinations of items involved in a promotion plan.
  6. Difficulty in handling large datasets: Spreadsheets can become slow and prone to crashing when dealing with extensive data sets, making it challenging to analyze and process data efficiently.
  7. Limited data visualization: Creating meaningful visualizations and dashboards in Excel and Google Sheets is hard enough, making it almost impossible to present insights and trends effectively and quickly to stakeholders.
  8. Security issues: Storing sensitive trade promotion data in spreadsheets may not offer robust security measures, increasing the risk of data breaches or unauthorized access.
  9. Scalability challenges: As your trade promotion planning needs grow, spreadsheets may not scale effectively, leading to increased complexity and reduced performance.
  10. Inadequate audit trails: It can be challenging to maintain a clear audit trail of changes made in spreadsheets, making it difficult to trace the history of decisions and accountability.

Use an Automated Trade Promotion Planning Software Instead

A dedicated trade promotion planning system is specifically designed to address these challenges by providing a structured and automated environment for trade promotion management. It ensures that data is accurate, scalable, and secure, not to mention shareable and actionable.

So while spreadsheets are good for some parts of our trade planning, it’s far past the time to rely on them to help us be competitive and profitable–they often fall short when the rubber meets the road, leaving you late, short of lift, and missing revenue that your brand is depending on.

Don't let outdated methods hold you back

Make the switch to a structured, automated environment for trade promotion management and take the first step towards a more competitive and profitable future with CPGvision.


Don't let outdated methods hold you back. Make the switch to a structured, automated environment for trade promotion management and take the first step towards a more competitive and profitable future with CPGvision.

Get in touch and explore how our dedicated trade promotion planning system can revolutionize your approach and drive your brand to new heights! 

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