Excel vs CRM – What You Need to Know

I am sure as an excel user you probably use the same basic calculation functions. Are you doing the same with your Marketing Automation platform?

Hands down Microsoft Excel is probably the most important invention of the 21st Century. It is one of the very few products that every single person on earth is required to have some familiarity with regardless of their status or station in life. And without a doubt it is considered to be the Godfather of all CRMs and Marketing Automation platforms. So regardless of any new tool or sexy platform that arises excel will always be the familiar comfort place we will all resort to when we don’t get how these new platforms work.

It’s therefore not surprising that there are so many businesses using excel to run their sales, marketing and customer service efforts today– not just the small or start-up enterprises, but also some well-established businesses that have been in existence for many years. Is yours one of them?

I know excel could seem easier to use, and even capable of managing your customer relationships. However, it’s not the most efficient way to collect, analyze and manage business data, especially if you are looking to grow in the near future.

Let’s do a quick comparison of Excel vs CRM. The winner is clear, and hopefully by the end of this article, you will be convinced and appreciate the need to adopt a CRM for your business – especially if your business is growing.

But just before that, let’s make sure we are on the same page.

What is a CRM?

CRM is an acronym for Customer Relationship Management, and as the name infers, it’s a system for managing relationships with your customers. It’s designed with the aim to help foster stronger customer relationships and improve sales and retention by having quality conversations with prospects and customers.

Like a CRM, excel can be used to collect, store, analyse and manage business data. So what’s the difference or the big deal with opting to use excel over the CRM?

Here are 8 basic comparison points to help you decide:

Excel CRM
Collaboration Multiple users can’t access one excel sheet at the same time unless it’s uploaded on google drive, making it hard to collaborate. Multiple users can access and work from the same database at the same time. This improves collaboration between departments.
Integration Can’t be integrated with other business tools to enhance efficiency for example emails, and automation tools. Can be integrated with many other business tools that make every day working of the business more efficient, for example emails, automation tools and project management and communication tools like Slack and WhatsApp.
Analytics and Reporting Performing analytics and creating reports takes a lot of time because you’ll need to create and generate each report manually. CRM’s have automated analytics and reporting capabilities which allows you to generate up to date reports by the click of a button.
Business management and leadership With excel the sales or marketing person has to manually send updates to the management or leadership teams. They have no way of getting real time updates of what’s going on with every sales, marketing or service activity. With a CRM, Management/leadership teams get real-time updates of what is happening with the sales, marketing and service teams. They need not wait, follow up or micromanage employees to be in the know.
Time Value A lot of time is wasted because each entry has to be done manually, and in carrying out many other repetitive tasks. Manual data entry opens a door for human error. Since manual data entry is replaced by automated systems, time is saved for sales or marketing people to do what they are actually hired to do – sell or market the business to generate revenue. Human error is also minimised.
Automation Every task e.g. sending out emails, following up with customers and prospects has to be done manually. CRM’s allow for creation of workflows. These take automatic actions, e.g. send out certain communication when a prospect/customer takes a particular action. This makes you more efficient
Customer Experience Data is usually segmented and takes time to dig up the history and previous communication with a prospect/client, which usually leads to broken flow of communication with them. As a result, customer experience and satisfaction is reduced. CRM’s provide a holistic view of the customer engagement and relationship. With the ability to view all and up to date communication with a prospect/client, you are able to continue the flow of conversation in the right direction. This provides a more fulfilling customer experience and better relationship.
Return on investment They say time is money. Time wasted in doing manual repetitive tasks, instead of more productive activities, costs your organization money. Research has showed that average return on investment for CRM is $8.71 dollars for every dollar spent.
Scalability As your company grows and customer relationships evolve, and excel sheet soon becomes insufficient. E.g. excel won’t tell you when to give a certain customer a follow up call or when to upsell them. As a result you miss out on great opportunities. CRM are more scalable tools. You will get notifications when to follow up on a certain client, or better yet, can use automated workflows to send follow up messages for you. You are also able to take advantage of opportunities to upsell at the right time.

More Benefits of the CRM

  • Higher revenue – improved efficiency and a holistic view of your customers allows you to take advantage of the right moments to cross sell and upsell with higher success rates. This also reduces the chances if attrition.
  • Healthier pipeline – Having a holistic view of your pipeline enables you to prioritize deals more diligently. Therefore your pipeline isn’t clogged up and you remain committed to the bottom line.

When should you adopt a CRM?

Many businesses start small and it works well to manage their data in emails and spreadsheets like excel. As a result, data usually ends up segmented in different places i.e. in people’s laptops and emails.

However, as the business grows, it becomes difficult to use. Data and flow of communication with clients is easily lost along the way or takes too long to retrieve. Then the business starts to feel the pain of disorganization and poor data management, which is usually accompanied by data, customer and financial loss.

Don’t wait for that time. The earlier you adopt a CRM, the better for you.

How do you decide which CRM to use?

There are a lot of CRM options of available.

First you need to decide what your need needs are. Understand what you are looking for.

Then consider the CRM’s:

  • Simplicity – it should be easy for your team to use.
  • Relevance – it should be able to meet your specific needs
  • Integration – does it integrate well with your business tools?
  • Analytics and reporting – does it offer custom reporting and performance tracking.
  • Communication tracking – it should be able to track interactions from your customers from emails, phone conversations and online chats.
  • Affordability – look out for hidden charges which could be in form of maintenance fees, need to pay extra for additional contacts or reporting ability, overage charges for data storage etc.

By Resa Gooding— June 11, 2020





Original article here.