It’s safe to say that Nelly – the American hip hop artist – hit his prime in the early 2000s. There was no denying Nelly’s influence: from normalizing the use of a Band-Aid as a fashion accessory to the proliferation of “Hot in Herre”, Nelly was clearly a force in American culture.

However, there’s one thing that even Nelly couldn’t make cool: Excel spreadsheets. In his 2002 music video for his number-one hit “Dilemma” his love interest Kelly Rowland texts him using Excel from her phone.

Nelly, however, stands by his decision nearly 15 years later! During an interview with Australia’s The Project, he even defends it:

“That was the thing at the time,” he said. “That was the new technology at the time. It looks a little dated now, I can see it.”

Valid point, Nelly – but no one ever used Excel to maintain a relationship with their boo.

Many customer reference managers could take a lesson from Nelly. Managing the important, dare I say vital, relationships with your customer references shouldn’t be done via Excel spreadsheet either. Don’t get me wrong, managing a reference database using Excel spreadsheet might have been “the thing to do” in 2002, but like Nelly, it’s past its prime.

Today, there is a better, more effective customer reference technology to manage your database. One that eliminates the risk of reference burnout. One that formalizes and automates reference request workflows. One that ceases the Hail Mary emails and frantic last minute scrambles. One that you should have now that it’s 2017…that is, unless you’re also the holdout still wearing Band-Aids on your cheek because “it’s cool”.

The moral of this story – don’t end up defending an outdated way of doing things like Nelly. If you’re still using Excel spreadsheets to manage your customer references, give us a shout. RO Innovation can get you out of the early 2000s and back to modern reference management times – just don’t blame us if people refer to you as the Jay Z of the reference world after you make the change!

Nichole Auston
Director, Content Marketing at RO Innovation
Nichole Auston is the Director of Content Marketing at RO Innovation. With a background in digital marketing and nearly a decade of experience managing marketing programs for a variety of SaaS companies, she’s passionate about sharing insights, best practices and stories about sales enablement and customer reference management, and the people and technology that power it.
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