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One of the most common ways in which companies attempt to save on expenses is by consolidating software applications. Companies are using them for multiple purposes which they may not have originally been designed for. Software can be multi-servicing. It is often a tempting method to saving some cash. However, when a software is no longer meeting the needs of its users, it’s time to invest in a CRM (customer relationship management), which is suited 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. Because of its familiarity and there is no expense involved in using the program. This is an outdated tool to use for communicating data.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. Excel is a great program when used for the purposes which it was built for. However, Excel was not designed for you to run your business out of, this is the job of a 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 no matter how many formulas you insert.

According to Geckoboard:

  • 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. It helps them to know their performance in the business which means that data must be communicated within the business. Spreadsheets are not built for this type of business reporting and communication, where the need for a CRM lays. CRM allows companies to report in more effective ways. Once a business owner begins to understand the importance of communicating the insights clearly to everyone in the organization, then a CRM will be high on their “must-have” list.

Investing on a CRM system

Transitioning 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. It will not only increases productivity of your team but also saves time and increases efficiency in the business. Less time is spent on outdated communication among team members. And the responsibility for updating the project is circulated throughout the team. Higher productivity means better projects and a happier team.

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

Disadvantages on your company when cutting corners on software investment:

  • As you are seeing the data all at once it’s difficult to interpret what’s important and what’s not. Visualization tools are used to highlight the important data. If you use a spreadsheet for this purpose, it’s hard to see the important data.
  • Spreadsheets can be difficult to analyse if you do not know what you are looking for. The amount of data available in the report can lead to misinterpretation, making poor choices taking wrong actions. If your staff is not trained in how you display your spreadsheet reports, then the report is a waste of time.
  • Loss of historical data. Spreadsheets are not designed to store historical data. Management may try to keep the size of the file to a minimum. So that the spreadsheet 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.

Project management

Effective project management requires coordination from management, and the teams involved. There are multiple versions of a file maybesaved when using Excel. That may result in having different versions of the report available and no one knows which is the up-to-date one. A good CRM System can help you manage upcoming and current projects, know the steps to be taken and know 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. It 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 advance notice. A spreadsheet has no way of showing these dependencies. It also can’t adjust to fit in new tasks. Have you ever left a team meeting wondering exactly what you are need 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.

Flexibility of building on reports

With a CRM you are able to assign tasks to the appropriate team member. There is no built-in reporting option available on a spreadsheet system for your project management needs. Unlike a CRM, it is updated with the click of a button and can produce the reports which the 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.

Presenting reports

When completing a project, it is a familiar thing 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 spreadsheet this information is not readily available as it is with a CRM. Businesses are heavily relying on technology to provide them with the information that they need. They need to make educated and up-to-date decisions. Excel spreadsheets are not suitable to be used with this purpose. Hence, Tecso specialises in CRM 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.