When Should I Make the Move from Spreadsheets to CRM?

For most start-ups and new businesses, spreadsheets have been king. There are a few tell-tale signs that it may time to make the move from Excel & spreadsheets to CRM.

Your contacts and leads are sorted in one Excel chart. Your existing customers and revenues in another. And then you have your spreadsheets for your tasks, for your projects, for revenue tracking, forecasts and so on and so on…till eventually, you need a spreadsheet to summarise all the other spreadsheets.

And whilst there is nothing wrong with this method, there IS a better option available. As your business grows, so does its complexity and likely that you’ll quickly discover you need more scalable ways to track your customers and transactions to stay competitive.

Below are a few tell-tale signs that it may time to make the move from Excel & spreadsheets to CRM;

More Admin than Engagement

Like most companies using spreadsheets, administrative tasks tend to consume far too much of your staff’s time, and no matter how good of a formula you’ve created, there’s no denying the cost to such an approach – more time on the admin means less time selling.

With CRM, you simply configure it to mark reoccurring tasks, or automate your next tasks in sequence, with the allocated time and person responsible. You capture contacts directly from social media with one click, adding tags and groups at point of import rather than jumping back & forth. Your contacts are automatically moved to the corresponding segment based on your parameters in your sales process.

All of this and more, means you team can focus on what they are best at and what they enjoy, rather than being bogged down with admin.

You’re Losing Data

Scheduling follow-ups with customers and prospects can prove tricky with just Excel. Notes can be lost or forgotten. Appointments missed. Not to mention a loss of data if a team member leaves the company. Your business depends on accurate and timely information. As things progress, your data becomes less reliable. Some of this is natural – circumstances change rapidly in today’s marketplace. However, some of the dependability issues are caused by your spreadsheet-driven workflow.

Configure your CRM so you can enter notes as you go, from your mobile or tablet (you can even enter notes on your mobile CRM via Dictaphone). Ensure your notes are tied in with your tasks & appointments, all linked with the correct contact and all neatly synced into your calendar / diary.

Lack of Insight into Sales Team’s Activities

How many open deals do you have in your pipeline right now? Why did you lose that prospect or deal? What’s the potential deal value this month?

These are just some of the questions you can answer at the click of a button with your CRM platform. A lack of visibility into your sales teams’ activities makes it that much harder to keep them accountable, or more importantly for the sales rep – pay out the right commissions.

That “Disorganized” Feeling

Most likely, you’ve created additional shared drives or cloud folders for your sales & marketing material, but this ca still prove to be a chore to quickly locate the right files for the right client.

CRM will allow you create links between your contact(s) or deals and all their corresponding files. You can see if a particular proposal has been reviewed multiple times, or if the prospect has received the updated info.  Added to this, most CRM’s will now integrate with your inboxes or document apps, allowing to find and organise your materials that much easier.

Reporting & Forecasting is Time-Consuming & Painful

A sales forecast should be more than just a guide or target for your sales team. As a business owner, it helps provide a relatively realistic view into the future, ensuring such things as payroll being met, invoices and bills are paid, or you have sufficient equipment or resources.

And where a spreadsheet based system require manual input and time to gather information, your CRM can collate all the required info into one forecast. Providing you with the analysis as and when you need it.


So, is it time to Switch?

If any of the above sounds familiar, it’s time you at least considered switching to a cloud-based CRM system.


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Graham Richardson
Helping teams across a range of industries organise their sales processes, get more from their pipeline & to #SellSmarter. A sales professional with over 14 years’ experience. CRM & SaaS enthusiast, always happy to share his knowledge & insights, Graham is a regular contributor to industry publications and blogs.