CRM vs Spreadsheets
Who wins, and why
There’s no doubt spreadsheets are a user-friendly way to organise your data. Numerous organisations rely on them to track sales, to manage customer projects and information, or for their reporting functionality.
However, there are many limitations when it comes to spreadsheets, such as an inability to track multiple sets of data, or control the latest version of client history. As a result, important information is often out-of-date and spread across multiple stakeholders (and devices) within your organisation.
More organisations are looking for a solution to manage their customer relationships, projects and all the related data in one place. A CRM system does this and provides a single source of the truth to your business with advanced reporting functionality.
To better highlight the key differences, below are some of the reasons why a CRM is a better choice for managing data within your organisation than a spreadsheet.
When we compare the functionality of a spreadsheet to that of a CRM, being able to track client and user history is one of the top differentiators. With a CRM you can look back on every phone call made, email sent, or previous meeting notes without the danger of deleting or losing the client history.
When using a spreadsheet, you are often forced to switch between multiple tabs or sheets and users often overwrite data, so historical data is lost.
A CRM allows you to note every conversation and interaction, keeping you, or future employees, up to date and ready to hit the ground running every time.
The more you know about your customers, the better you can provide a memorable customer experience and the right solutions for their needs.
While a spreadsheet does give you the ability to store customer data, a CRM consolidates the data within an organisation into a single system that can drive insights, reporting and visualisation.
The relevance of customer data doesn’t end after you’ve collected it. Keeping track of every customer transaction, their concerns and their needs over time really does mean the difference between a successful customer relationship and one that is purely transactional.
Unfortunately, a spreadsheet cannot give you all the information you need to plan your day. In fact, it takes multiple apps and software platforms just to manage your meetings for the afternoon, any follow ups you have from the week, or even who you’re supposed to call that day.
A CRM can manage all of this and more. A CRM solution, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, can proactively remind you of all your client activity each day as well as schedule future events, follow ups and meetings.
Not only can a CRM provide you with an overview of your tasks, follow ups and anything overdue, you also can view a project or customer contact history so you’re fully prepared, all from within the same application.
A CRM offers the unique ability to collaborate with your team in a way that spreadsheets cannot.
Multiple users can be logged in at the same time, giving you the option to make ongoing edits to documents collaboratively and assign tasks to a project or calendar item. Depending on the level of collaboration you wish to have, user permissions can be set up to access all, or only certain files, depending on the user.
If a team is working on a project together, all notes and emails on a client record can be made available for the length of the project, so everyone is up to date.
For anyone who has also tried to work on a spreadsheet on mobile, you will know it isn’t easy. This may mean you will wait to update important information until you are back in the office. With a CRM you’re able to create or search for contacts, leave meeting notes for colleagues and confirm orders, all on your mobile device. By doing so, you’re far less likely to forget what happened during a meeting or lose important items such as phone numbers and emails. With cloud-based syncing across devices and users, you can keep your data accurate and your team up to date.
Using only a spreadsheet to maintain your customer and prospect data leaves your organisation open to a range of potential data input errors. The limitations of spreadsheets leave you with an inability to properly track data, leave notes or follow up on leads and orders. There is also a risk of duplication of data and of users not being notified when a client issue arises.
CRM systems store information in one place, improving the analysis of data and integration with different tools. They also generate automatic reports to keep you current and make the most of your time. Personalised dashboards assist in quickly locating the information and reports you need.
With activity and task reports in your CRM, you’re able to ensure that your sales teams are completing all follow ups, sending the right information and getting in touch with prospects.
CRM makes it possible for every employee to provide a high level of service to customers. Even if your customer has a primary point of contact or a dedicated account manager, they may not be available on the day, and the client will have to work with someone else.
Without access to a CRM, your customers will have to start fresh with someone they have not worked with in the past, which can leave them feeling frustrated by their experience due to a lack of understanding and knowledge.
With a CRM in place, it won’t necessarily matter who your client is speaking to for their enquiry because all the important information is in the CRM and can be easily communicated.
For more information about how a CRM can benefit your organisation, or to arrange a free demonstration, simply get in touch via the contact details below.