By Jennifer Hallmark, President, SMB Nation -
A large proportion of small and medium-sized businesses use spreadsheets to track and manage their sales process instead of a dedicated software application, aka customer relationship management (or CRM) software. We’ve noted the following advantages and disadvantages of this choice:
1. Ease of use: Most people already know how to open a spreadsheet and make changes to it. Many old style CRM applications are complex and require significant user training, not to mention IT resources to setup and configure. Newer-style CRM applications are lighter and easier to use, taking away some of the advantage that spreadsheets had in the past.
2. No additional cost: Most employees already have access to a spreadsheet program or can access them for no cost.
3. Highly customizable: Spreadsheets can be customized as you go without a programming language.
1. Syncing: Before cloud storage was widely available, keeping spreadsheets synced between users was a major headache. That’s become much easier these days.
2. Integrations: Inside a spreadsheet, it’s not easy to have access to your contacts, your email, social media or other related applications. A properly designed CRM app can provide workflow advantages by bringing these elements together (if done with close attention to the user experience).
3. Mobile: It’s not easy to use a spreadsheet on a mobile phone screen, although using a tablet can work fine. Dedicated mobile apps for CRM are very popular and can increase the likelihood that users embrace the application.
4. Reporting: Getting the right reports and historical information from a spreadsheet can get quite complicated and difficult to manage.
There really isn’t a right or wrong answer, it comes down to preferences and requirements. For more information about the app that turns Office 365 into a powerful sales tool, click here.