There is a reason why MS Excel is categorized as a spreadsheet product and not a CRM software.
Small businesses tend to rely heavily on them to manage Sales, Marketing and other critical aspects of their functions. Sure you can store Names and Phone numbers and Order details and even aggregate them and chart them but have you ever thought about the risks, the inefficiencies and the shortcomings of this approach?
Cost of ownership and the lack of technology to implement a CRM software are things of the past. With a plethora of options in the marketplace, including some versions that are free, bringing a CRM implementation to fruition is easier now than it ever was.
Here are some reasons you need to get away from spreadsheets, from our perspective.
- Unless you are already on Excel 2010, you are on a single user system. This means, data sharing or collaboration is a utopian concept to you. Even if you had Excel 2010, you are still limited in terms of data sharing within the organization (read access levels).
- Managing relationships between your customers and their data is best left to a database driven application. Excel cannot understand dependencies like customers and orders and opportunities and so on. Sort alphabetically by the customer name column and see how the sales order related column is completely out of whack.
- Building processes and workflows, however simple, are really not the forte of MS Excel. This is where a CRM would shine as you inherit the benefits of the best practices for your industry based on the experience of the vendor with companies similar to yours. As you can well imagine, if you don’t follow predefined processes in your organization, you essentially have organized chaos.
- No calendaring features that are critical to alerts, follow ups and scheduling. Even the most basic CRM application will beat MS Excel hands down in this area.
You can program the heck out of Excel to add a lot of things but look at this as sticking in an AMG 5.5 Biturbo V8 in a Geo Metro and expect wonders on the Nurburgring track!
To be fair, a lot of small businesses use MS Access which is surely a much safer bet but our intention here was to jolt the spreadsheet users into realization that technology alone need not be the cause for a stymied business growth or in extremes, a devastating data loss.