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One of the most common ways in which companies attempt to save on expenses is by consolidating software applications, using them for multiple purposes which they may not have originally been designed for. Software can be multi-servicing, so it is often a tempting method to saving some cash, however, when software is under pressure and can no longer meet the needs of its users, it’s time to invest in a CRM (customer relationship management) that is suited / built for the needs of the business and its CRM requirements.

In some cases, businesses will use spreadsheets with the most popular being Microsoft Excel in place of a CRM due to its familiarity and the fact that there is no expense involved in using the program. While this is an outdated tool to use for communicating data, a recent survey suggested that 1 in 5 businesses still use spreadsheets whether it be Excel or Google Sheets as the main tool to communicate data amongst management and staff.

While Excel is a great program when used for the purposes which is was built for, Excel was not designed for you to run your business out of, this is the job of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

There are numerous reasons as to why spreadsheet programs do not work for keeping track of your clients, generating business reports, tracking your sales journey, tracking sales analytics and being able to provide forecasts without you having to manually make changes. They are simply not designed with these functions in mind no matter how many formulas you insert.

According to Gecko board:

  • More than 80% of employees would like their managers to share more business performance information
    • 25% of employees have, or know someone who has, left a job because they weren’t included in or privy to the business’ performance or direction.
    • And more than half of respondents said that knowing company performance data contributed significantly to their own positive performance.

This information projects that employees want to be included in discussions about overall business performance, to help them in the know as to how they are performing in the business which means that data must be communicated within the business. Spread sheets are not built for this type of business reporting and communication which is where the need for a CRM lays.

There are ready to go, CRM’s available as well as the option to have a CRM out there that allow companies to report in more effective ways and once a business owner begins to understand not only the importance of having a CRM in their business, but the importance of communicating the insights within it clearly to everyone in their organization then a CRM will be high on their “must-have” list.

Transitioning from using a spreadsheet based method to a CRM system can make a huge difference in the productivity of your teams. With transparency of information, errors are reduced, and the workload can be shared. If your CRM is updated by your staff, you can make quick decisions based on the information available which not only increases productivity of your team but also saves time and increases efficiency in the business. Less time is spent in outdated communication among team members, as responsibility for updating the project is circulated throughout the team. Higher productivity means better projects and a happier team.

When looking for a Customer Relationship System, it is important to ensure that training is available for your team. A CRM is a big investment for a Company and you want to make sure that it is being utilized correctly by all your staff so that you can receive reports that are correct and based on up to date available information.

Companies are more than happy to cut corners on software investment, but this can end up causing more harm than good for the following three reasons:

  • As you are seeing the data all at once it’s difficult to interpret what’s important and what’s not. Visualization tools can be used to highlight the important data but when you use a spread sheet for this purpose, it’s hard to see what you are looking for or need to know.
  • Spreadsheets can be difficult to analyse if you do not know what you are looking for and, the amount of data available in the report can lead to misinterpretation, leading to poor choices being made wrong actions being taken based on that misinterpretation. If a member of your staff is not trained in how you display your spread sheet reports and what to look for, then the report may be a waste of time
  • Loss of historical data. Spreadsheets aren’t designed to store historical data, and management may try to keep the size of the file to a minimum which means that the spread sheet is constantly updated with new information and the historical data is deleted. This makes is hard or impossible to spot trends over time and compare data across longer time horizons.

Effective project management requires coordination from management, and the teams involved. Multiple versions of a file may be saved when using Excel which in turn can see upward of three versions of the report being available and no one knowing which version is the current / up to date one.

A good CRM System can help you manage upcoming and current projects, helping you know what steps that need to be taken, the process and who is responsible for what. Because it can be hard to maintain and needs to be manually updated every change along the way, spreadsheets as a project management solution do not work. Project details are often listed as a single project per row and does not allow you to add any data which a flow on affect to key steps in the process can have being missed and delays in one step can push out the completion of the project, with little advanced notice. A spreadsheet has no way of showing these dependencies. It also can’t adjust to fit in new tasks.

Ever left a team meeting wondering exactly what you are supposed to do? Excel doesn’t help that problem. Unlike a CRM, it can’t provide each team member with their own to-do list of what they need to do for the project. Instead, each team member would need their own personal Excel sheet within the larger workbook which can cause too much confusion and see multiple delays in the project. With a CRM you are able to assign tasks to the appropriate team member.

There is no built-in reporting option available when using a spreadsheet system for your project management needs meaning that the project manager is required to build reports, which wastes time. Unlike a CRM that is kept updated which with the click of a button can produce the reports which management needs.

When building your business and needing to know where something is at, whether it be project based, financially or analytics related, there is no flexibility in Excel even many sheets in Excel start off as blank there is just no flexibility in excel, it is almost impossible to make changes, change timelines or provide with you with a summary of a range of sheets, unless you are lucky to have a VLOOKUP whiz on your team – this is generally not an option.

When completing a project, it is a familiar thing to have to produce reports for upper management so that they know the progress and expenditure of the project but with excel unless the project manager spends hours manually updating the spread sheet this information is not readily available as it is with a CRM.

With businesses heavily relying on technology to provide them with the information that they need to made educated, up to date decisions there is no room for Excel to be used with this purpose in mind which is why Tecso specialises in CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Software as we believe every business should know about the foundations which their business relies on and have these reported to them in a quick and clear method that is also going to help with forecasting, goal setting and sales efforts of the business.