Excel or Education CRM: What should I use for managing admissions?

by Abhishek Ballabh | Jun 16, 2022 | ExtraaEdge’s Blog
Let’s be honest. Excel or Google Sheets are one of the amazing pieces of software tools ever built for workplace. It’s easy, zero learning curve, works offline & workflows can be setup when you start with any admission related funnel activities. Education Admission Teams love excel or google sheets to manage their leads, manage the funnel & keep a track of their critical admission process. At first, Excel seems capable of managing your admissions workflows. 

However here’s the catch, as your admission team grows, you will soon start needing more scalable CRM & Marketing Automation tools. You might know the expression “what got you here, won’t get you there.” At first, Excel seems to get the admission management job done. It may even help you save some money. Money that you lose just as quickly through inefficiency and wasted time. Although an Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheets may come in handy, it is used far too often for applications such as customer management, invoicing and creating article lists. But the world’s best known spreadsheet simply falls short in those areas. And as soon as your admissions starts to grow, so will the need for more scalable tools.

BONUS: We spoke to around 350+ Institutes to understand their admission related needs that a CRM solves compared to an excel, we have drafted it in the form of a comparison guide

According to study done by :

CRM Research group while Excel or Google spreadsheets are great calculators, they are not good databases. That is because, in part, Excel has no relational tables, no sharing of key leads / data points and limited interface capabilities. Excel will be cumbersome with a few hundred items and much more difficult to manage with thousands of items.




CRM : One Data Truth


By contrast, a CRM provides “one data truth” across admissions, marketing, and counselors. When CRM in admissions is used correctly, there is no place to hide for telecallers & counselors and no excuses for admission teams to not keeping the admission heads informed. Everyone gets and stays on the same page with how the admission office is managing relationships with prospect students & parents.

This approach of one data repository also changes the ownership of information in the admission team. No longer is prospect student’s relationship information in the hands of a specific team or individual. Student’s information  the core of your admissions & marketing  is an asset of your institute is protected, distributed based on access rules.


Core Pitfalls with Excel as an Admission CRM 

Excel’s early advantages & quick wins are also offset by many disadvantages.

A bigger stumbling block to your admission growth with Excel as your admission-and-marketing system is about share-ability. Excel files tend to be built for specific purposes, such as a customer list for newsletter mails, or a targeted prospecting list for a sales rep.


Two admission teams disruption activities take place with this approach:

  1. Often, the information is pushed out of the “master” list but never comes back with corrections or updates, and
  2. there is a Chinese fire drill effort to enact all the changes for the next communication. As such, multiple copies of the same list are maintained throughout the organization. But every time there is a discussion based on the list, there first must be an argument regarding which list is correct.

crm vs excel


Deep Dive on choosing an Admission CRM over Excel 

Apart from the obvious reasons to choose a CRM to manage admissions over an excel or google sheet there are some of the detail considerations.


Core CRM Accessibility

work from home crm
  • CRM: CRMs like ExtraaEdge provide a free mobile application available for you and your admission team’s use, allowing accessible no matter where you are. This data is automatically entered into your Admission CRM software; everyone on your team will be able to access and analyze that new information, whether they’re in the office, working from home, or on the road.
  • Excel: There’s no way to share data or new information with all of the members of your admission team while on the go via mobile. New data would get stored on your mobile phone, personal computer, or simply handwritten notes.


Deep Admission Analytics

reports in education crm

CRM: CRM gives you a complete look at the overall admissions funnel, detailing a clear visualization of where student prospects are within the admission cycle. This visualized analytics & lead journey is automatic when adding data to the CRM, and is available to view directly within the CRM for Admissions.

Excel: It can be difficult to understand admission relationships between spreadsheet data because there’s no way to report or manage it. Data is shown without allowing for any further analyzing, unless you go beyond the spreadsheet.


Workflow Customisation on a CRM 

education crm




  • CRM: Customization is a major benefit of utilizing an Admission CRM. With most admission focused customer relationship management tools, you’re able to make it work perfectly for your admission needs. In addition, CRM allows you to treat every student prospect’s as uniquely as possible; you are able to identify patterns among customers and cater content offers, emails, or sales calls to specific interest levels.
  • Excel: While Excel is very well-known and simple to understand and use, there’s not a lot available in terms of customization. With Excel, you get what you’re paying for, which in most cases isn’t a whole lot besides simple data templates. Additionally, there’s no good way to be able to identify patterns or cater marketing deliverables uniquely to potential customers.


Deep Marketing Automation to engage prospects

education marketing automation

  • CRM: CRM’s like SalesForce, ExtraaEdge is unique in that it provides a marketing automation platform right within the CRM software. Tools included with marketing automation include:
      • Drip Campaign management
      • Email marketing
      • Email designer
      • Lead qualification
      • Lead scoring
      • Landing page integration
      • Web visitor tracking
  • Excel: Marketing automation isn’t a part of Excel’s capabilities, requiring you to purchase third-party software in addition to utilizing excel spreadsheets to manage your admissions marketing goals.



One Click deep Integrationsintegration with education crm

  • CRM: There’s a ton of seamless integration opportunities that come with using a CRM, including Intuit QuickBooks, marketing automation, ERP software, and more. No more dealing with manually porting information into countless spreadsheet templates.
  • Excel: With spreadsheets, there’s no direct integration with other software packages, such as the ones listed above. With excel, you’ll need to port over information manually, rather than having an instant integration through various software platforms.

See, warned you.

Conclusions & Last Thoughts 

Excel is a great tool but has serious limitations when it comes to managing your admissions & marketing. And as your admission activities grows, using Excel as a CRM becomes increasingly difficult — if not impossible. A good Admission CRM focused for institutes offers a better way to manage lead journey, admit’s data & complete funnel from leads to admissions. This core investment in an Education Focused CRM will help you increase, manage & predict your admission year on year.