More than half the organizations that use CRM systems have supplemented their programs by using Excel as their main sales management utility because of inbuilt inadequacies in CRM software. As a stopgap measure this might have merit, but in the long term it will only cause big problems. There are three primary difficulties that might rise from the use of Excel in a CRM system: more human errors made, increasing costs, and time problems.
This would be the most obvious problem. The point of CRM is to automate processes in sales and marketing, reducing mistakes made by people. Excel requires manual input and management, making your efforts more prone to errors. In fact, the large number of mistakes made in spreadsheets is rather infamous. According to Ventana Research, nearly 60 percent of larger organizations use Excel. Considering the number of business units that share and re-share business information regularly, this is a large number of people who can see and change data on a spreadsheet. A single typo could lessen the chances of success in more than one department.
It’s impractical to assign people to specifically monitor spreadsheet errors – human error is especially hard to detect – and that means the mistake could affect quite a bit before it is discovered, if it is discovered at all.
Many individuals bring up Excel when talking about cost-saving measures in businesses, but they only consider purchase cost. Excel is updated manually, and that requires time. CRM programs and other sales analytics systems have features that allow the system to update automatically, freeing employees to do other productive things.
Small businesses should take note, especially those that started up on venture capital. The investors’ need for results means that the company has little time to waste on manual updates or inputs to spreadsheets. Startups might be low on cash, but as a time-saving measure, automating software is definitely the winner. Besides, salespeople are hired to make sales, not spend their time doing paperwork.
As a company progresses, the more business data it accumulates, the more information it needs. A spreadsheet is definitely not up to the job of pipe lining data or accurate forecast analysis for a growing business. The hours spent updating and redesigning spreadsheets for the growing morass of information would cut more and more into a sales representative’s sales time. Less time, less sales, less profit. And they say spreadsheets are supposed to make work easier?
A sales manager who tries to rush their work to create more time for sales would put his reputation on the line because of a sloppily managed spreadsheet. Then there’s the fact that human error can’t be monitored. Why else would automated processing software cause such a splash in modern business circles?
Relying on Excel means a great deal of time spent on building spreadsheets for various company business rather than going out to do actual business. This is a serious blow to productivity. And it’s time people caught on that they need to do something about it.
ProAptivity specialise in the deployment of CRM solutions into small and medium size businesses. They are the Northern Ireland solutions partner for Maximizer CRM which offers both on-premise and on demand solutions with full Mobile CRM capabilities. For more information contact 028 90735630
Source: ASP Business Intelligence