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Excel versus CRM: an unequal battle

At first, Excel seems capable of managing your customer relationships. But as your company grows, you will soon start needing more scalable tools.

You might know the expression "what got you here, won't get you there." At first, Excel seems to get the job done. It may even help you save some money...

… that you lose just as quickly through inefficiency and wasted time. Although an Excel spreadsheet may come in handy, it is used far too often for applications such as customer management, invoicing and creating article lists. But the world's best known spreadsheet simply falls short in those areas. And as soon as your company starts to grow, so will the need for more scalable tools.

Excel excels - as a spreadsheet

Graphs computerFrom time to time, Excel is scornfully referred to as the world's worst CRM tool, simply because that’s not what it was designed for.  You can easily enter customer or contact data in Excel, but that's about as far as it goes. Who are your customers? What do you know about their profile? How big of an asset are they to your company? This information would allow you to better respond to the needs of your customers and achieve better sales results.

Agreed, Excel offers a number of advantages as well. It's easy to use, most people are familiar with it and all data is located on one single page. It's not a coincidence that Excel is the evergreen of MS Office.  But it doesn't take long before you run into its limitations.

Time is money

Excel can be used for a wide range of applications, but you have to do things manually: all data you want to store in a spreadsheet, has to be entered by you or one of your co-workers. Just entering and updating customer data becomes incredibly time-consuming. And you're opening the door to human errors.

Managing your contacts in Excel is not the only thing that costs time. If you want to visualize your sales results in useful statistics, you’d better get to work: select the right data, create rows and columns, draw up a graph and select a format - prefer a bar graph or a pretty pie chart?  If you create invoices in Excel, you already know you have to enter the correct formulae yourself, no automation whatsoever. And remember: what isn't done automatically, is sometimes done incorrectly or simply forgotten.

The ability to cooperate in Excel is also pretty limited. Of course you can share Excel files, but real-time collaboration? Impossible: Excel doesn't allow multiple users to work in the same spreadsheet at the same time. In other words, if you urgently need to access a file that one of your co-workers is working on, you'll have to sit on your hands and wait for your turn. Or create yet another copy, but then you can't forget to merge them afterwards. It works, but fast and practical are not exactly words that spring to mind.

The Age of the Customer

According to Forrester Research, the Age of the Customer started in 2010, which means that all business strategies and operations should be carefully aligned to contribute to customer satisfaction.

As your company grows and customer relationships expand, an Excel sheet soon becomes insufficient. For example, Excel won't tell you anything about the upsell opportunities for a certain customer, or when you should give him a follow-up call. In the age of customer relationships, this means you're missing out on tremendous opportunities.

Excel vs. CRM

As an illustration, allow us to list the downsides of Excel and how a CRM tool helps to eliminate them. 

Cons Excel pro's crm

Additional advantages of CRM

A CRM tool serves as a central customer database, and is the ideal source for various communication and marketing-related purposes. Moreover, a CRM allows you to keep track of all interactions between your company and its customers in one single database. As an organization, you can collect data for each customer and better respond to their individual needs. In turn, you can then create a more personal approach based on the wishes of that particular customer.

CRM allows you to manage your leads more efficiently and track sales swiftly, simply and cost-effectively. At any given time, at any given place, you have the right data at your disposal to take well-considered strategic decisions. And yes, your Excel files can easily be imported.

Why would you choose CRM?

Do you really want to keep doing something because that's what you've always done in the past?  Change is never easy, but remains the key to growth, success and progress. Choosing a CRM tool can be a huge leap forward in that growth process.

With Teamleader, you gain valuable insights into the wishes and preferences of your customers, as customer data and any form of communication with your customers are all stored in one single database. This allows you to focus on customer satisfaction and collaborate more efficiently, track frequently recurring problems and carry out global analyses. As a CRM tool automates your administrative tasks, your team will save precious time which can then be used for more important and more profitable tasks.

Not entirely convinced yet? Try out Teamleader for free for 14 days and see for yourself how much time you can save by focusing on your customers and projects – instead of your administration.

About the author

Cedric Auman

« Deux têtes valent mieux qu’une ». C’est sur ce principe que nous nous sommes mis en quête d’un deuxième copywriter pour nous pondre des textes fluides et les traduire. Traducteur-interprète diplômé spécialisé dans la langue de Shakespeare et celle de Molière, Cedric était la personne toute trouvée. Avec Robin, il forme le duo dynamique auquel nos blog, site Web, e-books et réseaux sociaux doivent leur contenu passionnant.

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