Is It Time to Move from Excel Spreadsheets to a CRM? Here’s What You Need to Know

When everything is going well in an organization, change tends to involve great friction. In most companies, Excel spreadsheets were once the norm for meeting data management and analysis requirements. Introducing the idea of moving from Excel sheets to a CRM platform could be met with great resistance because employees have become too comfortable with the current method.

Even now, Excel sheets are used in most departments, even though they easily end carry errors. Sadly, because of how easy it is to use Excel sheets, most departments and their leadership would rather accept errors than accept new, innovative CRMs and other management systems that would minimize mistakes and revolutionize their operations.

Limitations of using Excel Spreadsheets for Data analysis and management

Although some still advocate for the use of Excel for simple tasks in organizational documentation, a keen look into the use of excel sheets reveals serious limitations in the following key areas:

  • Excel is not always as accurate as people imagine it to be. In fact, a recent study revealed that up to 90% of excel spreadsheets contained errors that are either caused by humans, capacity limitations, or programming errors. Financial models, which are often complex and often draw data from different sources, are likely to yield serious errors in Excel.
  • You are likely to encounter visibility issues when creating complex models. Financial models may require the input of different variables at the same time, but because excel is mostly two-dimensional, this can be very difficult.
  • Collaboration in Excel may prove very challenging. Older versions limit usage to one user at a time. Newer versions have incorporated multiuser functionality but are still limited, and especially difficult when different users are pulling data from the same spreadsheet.
  • Excel templates are unreliable, and data entry in such templates is easily affected
  • It can be tiresome to keep track of multiple spreadsheets, especially if you are working on multiple projects and need to send different spreadsheets to different departments for review and feedback

With all these inefficiencies with Excel, it’s only logical to buy into the idea of moving from Excel to a CRM. CRMs come with many of benefits, primarily related to measuring and improving existing customer relationships and winning back former customers.

Moving from Excel to a CRM is no longer just an idea welcomed by large corporations. Startups need CRMs more than ever because they want to start on the right foot with their customers, systems, and internal efficiencies as well as compete with larger corporations that are already using CRM platforms. Below are the summarized benefits of CRMs to organizations.

  • Improved customer satisfaction is at the core of business continuity. CRMs allow businesses to streamline all their engagements with customers, from customer service to marketing to actual sales.
  • CRMs help you improve your customer retention and, potentially, revenue. By having a clear understanding of your customers’ data and needs, you can understand the accounts at risk and resolve the problem much earlier.
  • CRMs provide better internal communication which enables better collaboration and effectiveness.
  • CRMs allow you to optimize your marketing efforts by allowing you to monitor and understand customer data and behaviors.
  • Other than just monitoring customer data and behavior, CRMs allows you to gain useful insights into how your organization is performing because all your data is organized and available in one system.

CRMs like Salesforce are revolutionary business tools that have been used by thousands of businesses to advance forward. For organizations still stuck using Excel spreadsheets, here’s an opportunity to finally make the move from Excel to CRM.

excel sheets to crmMoving from Excel to CRM

If, you’ve decided to make the switch, here’s how you can go about it.

First, you’ll need to learn about a few things about CRMs,  especially if you are considering Salesforce, which is the official leader in customer relationship management.

You’ll want to build your resource hub, which should include a list of your preferred Salesforce Consultants and some implementation guides such as this one by Salesforce.

The steps

Once you are well acquainted with the implementation process, it’s time to get down to the real work. Get started by crafting a CRM strategy. You do this by defining your business objectives, analyzing and automating your time-consuming departments, bringing the right stakeholders on board, and ensuring your analytics are purposeful.

With a strategy in place, the next step is to gather and import your data, taking stock and putting everything into one master file. Make sure it’s clean by combing through and ensuring all entries are in the relevant fields so you are ready to go once it’s all imported in your CRM system.

If combing through large amounts of data to remove of duplicates proves to be too daunting a task, talk to us and let us help you clean it up. Salesforce also offers reduction functionalities embedded in the Import Data and Data Loader tools that allows you to get rid of duplicate entries.

Once everything is ready, import your data into your new CRM. If this is Salesforce, check out our blog for resources on how to manage your new CRM, or talk to us to get you up and moving with Salesforce.