Time to change: 5 Reasons to Ditch Spreadsheets in Favour of a CRMThere are only 24 hours in a day. True, but it's how you use these hours that matters. Do you want to spend endless hours poring over spreadsheets or would your time be better spent actually managing your business or even leaving the office on time for a change so you can return in the morning refreshed and ready to tackle another busy day?
It's human nature for many of us to be resistant to change. We get comfortable with our work systems, settling into day to day routines like a comfortable pair of shoes. As the old adage goes, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it!'. It may seem that everything is working like clockwork in your organisation or business but if you don't step out of your comfort zone and try something new, how will you ever improve your productivity and communications to stay competitive?
Using technology to organise, automate, and synchronise sales, marketing, customer service and technical support can seem daunting, which is why so many professionals use familiar Excel spreadsheets as a substitute for a full Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, with some sceptics and technophobes even still preferring to run their business using a paper-based office system. A CRM system is a database of contacts which makes it easy to retrieve their details quickly, build a record of any past dealings with them plus keep track of any outstanding tasks and opportunities. A fully bespoke web-based CRM system built by a good web applications development company should be flexible, easy to use and tailored to the way your business works. It may seem like post it notes and spreadsheets are sufficient tools to manage your organisation but these have their limitations and risks. As your business grows, you'll need more flexible ways to track your customers and transactions in order to remain competitive.
So what are you waiting for?
Here are 5 reasons why you should ditch those spreadsheets and switch to using a bespoke CRM system today.
Security of spreadsheets is very low as they can easily be emailed or copied to a memory stick. A CRM system will allow you to assign different permission access levels to employees limiting their access to certain records or limiting the actions that a particular person can perform (such as editing, deleting or exporting/importing data). You have control over passwords, which can be securely changed should an employee leave the company.
Visibility & Intelligent Business Forecasting
With spreadsheets, company-wide visibility concerning sales leads, funnel, and pipeline is almost impossible. Can you share spreadsheets which include real time updates with multiple team members? You can run simple, flexible and tailored reports from a CRM system within minutes, giving you an accurate snapshot of your business at any time. Most CRM systems have built in support for sales forecasting and can allow you to easily analyse and report on sales performance for specific days, weeks, months, customers and sales staff etc.
Time Wasting Frustrations
With spreadsheets, it's easy to enter data inconsistently as individuals have free reign to manually enter text unless complex filters and drop-down menus are created. Even then, some users still find a way to manipulate the spreadsheet to the way they prefer to work. Multiple versions of the same spreadsheet can also easily be inadvertently created, making it difficult to ascertain which is the most recent and updated version. Spreadsheets can also become locked when several people try to access the file at the same time. All these factors at best, lead to workplace frustration but at worst can lead to the possibility of inaccurate reporting not to mention wasted hours trying to put things right! Add to this that invoicing using spreadsheet data can become cumbersome and the larger the data in the spreadsheet(s) becomes, the harder and slower the spreadsheet(s) are to use and potentially you've wasted half your day!
A web based CRM system can solve all these problems and has many other additional benefits such as....
Managing and Tracking the Effectiveness of Marketing Campaigns
CRM systems can support multiple fields or 'tags 'of an organisation or contact. Think of a tag as as a type of contact, type of customer etc., allowing you to filter on these tags later on. In spreadsheets you would need to add an extra column for each tag. Some CRM systems allow you to create email marketing campaigns with automatic tracking of responses and results allowing you to discover and focus on what works best.
Creating Time Based Work Flow Reminders
With CRM systems you can upload file attachments for customers, which is useful for electronically storing any contracts, documents or files exchanged with them. Forget those post-it notes and vital scribbled diary entries that no-one can read when its author is on holiday or off sick. A CRM system can allow you to easily create, assign to a specific person and track tasks relating to customers and prospects, (such as a follow up call or sending out a proposal). Tasks can be automatically synchronised with calendars, with timely pop-up reminders, so that no existing customer or new sales opportunity need ever be neglected again!
So what are you waiting for? There are only 24 hours in a day. Use them wisely!