Is it time to upgrade from spreadsheets to a CRM system?
The effects of the Coronavirus distancing measures have been tough on businesses large and small, but a bit of downtime is ideal for readdressing the way you store and log your customer data and interactions.
Upgrading from a spreadsheet system to a dedicated CRM database like Act! could help you grow your business by ensuring your data is correct and easily accessible to your team. With added marketing features, you’ll also be able to reach prospects at the crucial stages of the buying journey and retain them as customers in the future.
Why Do Businesses Use Spreadsheets?
Spreadsheets are a favourite tool for many small businesses because they are free to use. Available as part of your Microsoft Office Suite, or Google’s G-Suite they can be easily accessed.
Creating and using a spreadsheet also requires minimal training, again making them a great tool for small businesses who don’t have the time to invest in training staff on how to use new software.
While spreadsheets work great for startups and micro businesses, they can quickly create more problems than they solve as the company starts to scale up. Below are some of reasons that spreadsheets could be holding your business back.
Are Spreadsheets Holding You Back?
Spreadsheets shared between multiple people are hard to keep up-to-date with the right information. Sharing one master spreadsheet between a team of people can pose a logistical challenge and it is not easy to keep track of who has the latest or correct version. Each time a person makes an update to a spreadsheet they must also remember to upload it to a central location so that it can be accessed by everyone. If somebody forgets to upload it after they have made changes, this means that there are now several versions of the spreadsheet in operation with different information on each.
Although a spreadsheet can be locked with a password, any one with access to the password can use the spreadsheet for dishonest reasons. For example, an employee could easily email a spreadsheet of valuable information to an address outside of the business or even a competitor.
Additionally, if your spreadsheet is stored on your company server, it can easily be lost or damaged beyond recovery if anything happens to the server.
A spreadsheet can quickly become cluttered if it contains too much information, and some of your employees may input data in a different way to everybody else. With no clear procedure on how to update and maintain the spreadsheets it can be hard to discover who last interacted with a customer, or was responsible for a sale.
Errors and Reporting
With no way to really control the type of information that is added to a spreadsheet, they are prone to errors which can cause headaches in other areas of your business.
Reporting from a spreadsheet also leaves a lot of room for errors, especially if you are reporting from large, or multiple spreadsheets. To add graphics into the equation you will also need to spend time collating the data and arranging it to be displayed visually.
A spreadsheet works as a stand-alone solution with no integration with other systems such as email and marketing programs. Therefore, transferring important data between your spreadsheet and other tools will require a lot of manual data entry.
Spreadsheets are also notoriously difficult to access on a mobile device, making it hard to make necessary changes on-the-go. This means that important data is at risk of being forgotten while sales reps are out on the road.
Using a CRM system
A CRM system (also known as a client or customer relationship manager) is a dedicated program designed to store and organise all of your important data. A CRM system offers multiple benefits over a spreadsheet, we have listed some of them below.
Keep everything in one place
A CRM system keeps everything in one central location and always up to date. There is no need to download and upload information every time you want to make a change. It also standardises the way the information is recorded to keep everyone on the same page when it comes to client interactions and updates.
A CRM database can be seamlessly integrated with other systems such as marketing platforms and email programs. This saves time on manually inputting data and makes the link between sales and marketing more fluid to ensure you are reaching all of your prospects.
One of the best things about a CRM system is that it grows with your business. Whether you take on more staff, develop new processes or decide to offer new products, the CRM system can be tailored to meet your requirements at every stage of your business journey.
To see how Act! can help your business develop a customer relationship management process that works, contact us for a free demonstration by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.