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5 Signs You've Outgrown Running Your Business On Spreadsheets

By Kristie Sein

5 Signs You've Outgrown Running Your Business On Spreadsheets - Salesforce Blog

Spreading yourself thin on spreadsheets? Most small business owners that track their customer information still rely on outdated tools and processes, such as email (44%) and spreadsheets (41%). They start out on them because they are easy, familiar, and quite frankly, free — and we all know free agrees with any new business! But as your business grows, as you add folks to the team, spreadsheets become a difficult, cumbersome way to track your sales, service, and business functions. With a growing team and faster pace of sales, information gets easily lost, quickly outdated, and irreparably siloed. In the end, growing your company on spreadsheets becomes much more costly to the business.

How do you know when to take your business away from spreadsheets? Here are five telltale signs you’re ready to move on.

1. You’re circulating multiple spreadsheet for updates

When you’re sending around multiple spreadsheets to get the latest updates, are you controlling which version is being updated so that everyone is updating their latest on the latest? With several spreadsheets out in the wild, your team is at a disadvantage: they lack a single view of every customer’s contact info, orders, and interactions.

2. You’re losing customer history

You might be getting updates, but what what happens to the customer’s history record? Does it get deleted and replaced with the latest update? Spreadsheets don’t have a great way to capture sales notes and conversations for the lifetime of a customer, and when 65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers, it’s imperative that you know the context of every relationship.

3. You’re creating reports manually or not at all

Do you and your team go through the cumbersome process of creating reports manually? If so, your tracking capabilities can probably be described as “slim to none,” and this deprives you and your team of invaluable insights into how the business is doing.

4. You’re still looking into other systems (or spreadsheets!) for information

If you’re tracking customer sales in one spreadsheet, but referencing another spreadsheet or program for service, and yet another for your marketing campaigns, you’re managing your business through disparate systems. Sifting through multiple systems wastes precious time you could be dedicating to more valuable activities, like growth planning, sales and service efforts, or team building.

5. You lack a secure system to grow your business        

If spreadsheets are your database of truth, your business’s customer information can be deleted, copied, and shared with anyone at any time and by anyone — What a terrifying thought! Literally, anyone can just walk out with all your business and customer data from a copy of a spreadsheet. You work hard to win customers and earn their trust — you don’t want to lose everything thanks to carelessness with spreadsheets.

Prepare for growth on the right technology.

Many small businesses don’t stay small for long, and working off spreadsheets isn’t a viable solution for those who are growing fast. Whether your ultimate goal as a small business owner is retaining customers, increasing growth, or simply improved organization, a customer relationship management (CRM) system will provide a strong foundation for your business, even beyond just tracking relationships: CRM helps with everything from managing marketing campaigns to launching new products.

By growing with the right technology, you can quickly adapt your business as customer needs change. The effort required at its start saves you valuable time and money down the road. Think of CRM as an investment in your business’s future to ensure you’re building the strongest possible relationships with your customers, both today and tomorrow.


 

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