— July 18, 2017
Spreadsheets are admittedly useful.
They make it possible for an executive to consolidate and store what amounts to file cabinets of contacts, stacks of accounting paperwork, and whole portfolios of project timelines on a hard drive or in the cloud.
But when spreadsheets become too cumbersome to manage, you can be certain that it’s time to transition from spreadsheets to a contact relationship management (CRM) solution.
Below, I walk you through 3 reasons why your business is not too small to use CRM for small business.
When was the last time you heard about a sales team at a Fortune 500 company tracking their activity in a Word document or Google Sheet, or an accounts payable team at a Fortune 1000 filing invoices via Excel?
That’s because spreadsheets just don’t make sense when it comes to scalability, collaboration, or in-depth reporting.
Sure, more tabs, columns, rows, and folders can be added to give the impression of organization, but aren’t all of those additions just an exercise in organized chaos? You can color code and bold and flag until your brain is begging for a break from data entry management, but if you’re trying to grow business then you know that the time it takes to weed through all that data is valuable time that could be better spent sending emails, making calls, taking meetings, and performing other high-value tasks.
Here are 3 reasons why your business is not too small to use CRM for small business.
1. you need to extract actionable insights from the data
Unlike Google Sheets and Excel spreadsheets, CRM tools have activity tracking metrics you can leverage to stay accountable to your pipeline.
CRM tools also allow you to organize your data via pre-set fields and values, which allows you to collect and enter almost any type of data.
When you work as part of a team, it can prove difficult to stay collaborative with spreadsheets, since it’s highly likely that every team member is maintaining their own spreadsheets outside of any master sheet you may try to hold them to.
Even if you work on your own, it’s almost certain that you find yourself searching through countless folders to find what you’re looking for. This level of unproductivity doesn’t make sense when you consider the importance of using your limited time on high value tasks that bring in new revenue.
So, whether you need to organize your data to assess your sales efforts, to track activity for product teams, or to build lists for ongoing awareness campaigns—a CRM tool will help you keep all your data (and your team’s data) in a centralized location.
Once entered, you can leverage the data to make decisions of every kind.
But you must leverage it, because a CRM filled with all the data in the world is useless if you don’t use that data to your strategic advantage.
2. you need to organize your prospect follow up
Managing contacts is probably the main reason most executives and business founders subscribe to a CRM for small business.
For sales teams, moving work out of spreadsheets and into a CRM like Salesforce is vital. Not only will the built-in task setting and auto-reminder features of a CRM ensure that you never miss a meeting again, other features allow you to know where every prospect is in your sales funnel at a glance.
For example, a CRM provides you with the ability to find all contacts who have not been contacted within a specific amount of time in order for you to know exactly who to reach out to. Likewise, your marketing team can see who should be funneled into a nurturing outreach program.
More importantly, you’ll be able to view the entire history of your (or your teams) relationship with each prospect. Thus, you’ll be able to better determine when it’s time to follow up again.
Can you do that with spreadsheets? Nope.
3. YOU need to be more productive by minimizing busy work
Spreadsheets can get numerous and cluttered.
Let’s say you’re responsible for sales. You likely have—at minimum—a spreadsheet with a list of current prospects you’re close to signing, another for prospects who need initial outreach, still another for prospects who could benefit from drip marketing, and yet another for current clients who need continued nurturing.
To complicate matters further, you probably waste extreme amounts of time copying and pasting prospect info from sheet to sheet (usually in different formats) in order to move them around in your sales funnel.
Do you really have time to deal with this level of inefficiency?
Financial and operational teams experience the same wasted time, since single spreadsheets can grow to tens if not hundreds of tabs that must be sifted through again and again. Which begs the question: who has time to waste while a massive spreadsheet like that tries to load…?
Do yourself a favor and switch to a CRM for small business so that your overall productivity gets a much needed boost.
CRM for small business can go a long way toward increasing sales, improving office culture, and increasing your overall branding experience by giving you the data you need to help achieve those goals. Such a tool is clearly a win no matter how you slice it.
So, why do small business founders shy away from adopting a CRM solution?
The roadblock for most business founders and executives is the actual migration process: the porting of data from a personal spreadsheet system into the CRM software of choice.
The migration process can be time-consuming to plan and execute, and it often causes folks to throw in the towel because they view CRM implementation as too difficult. If you plan to embark on the migration process yourself, commit to the process if you want to make it to the finish line. However, if you would prefer to have a cost-effective expert manage the migration process, hire a virtual assistant.
The hardest part of managing CRM for small business is consistently entering the collected data. But there is a solution. Since data entry isn’t the best use of your time (and often isn’t in your wheelhouse), you can leverage a virtual administrative assistant who can offer tremendous support to your productivity and business growth by taking this annoying but necessary work off of your plate. Many founders, executives, and companies of all sizes hire a virtual assistant to manage their CRM for them.
But when you hire a virtual assistant, you gain so much more than productivity and business growth. You gain another member of your team for a fraction of the cost of hiring an in-house assistant. Additionally, you don’t have to train or manage them…if you hire a virtual assistant through a managed service provider.