Your spreadsheet is spread too thin—and what to do about it

For many small businesses adding another expense can be a burden—especially when it seems like a well-organized spreadsheet can do the trick. But there are a few tell-tale signs that can help you determine why a CRM is the next best step for your small business.

Customers are assets to be cared for and nurtured

Maintaining strong relationships is crucial for a growing business—losing even one customer can have a big impact on your bottom line. But, as your business grows and your client base expands, the deep connections that got you started are hard to maintain. This shouldn’t diminish your desire to stay close though. It just changes your strategy!

How can you stay focused on what really matters—keeping customers happy—and take your relationships to the next level? When you’ve outgrown your ability to keep up personally with every customer, a customer relationship management system or CRM could be the next step for your business.

If you need a spreadsheet to keep your spreadsheets organized…

spreadsheet frustrationA recent survey found that while small businesses recognize the importance of customer relationships, 31 percent listed word processing or spreadsheets as their only way of managing them. And another 25 percent reported having no system at all!

Many of these companies worry that CRM systems are too complex to set up and difficult to maintain. This couldn’t be further from the truth. With a cloud-based solution, it’s easier than ever before to get a CRM up and running. Once implemented, the difference is staggering.

Instead of wasting time relying on email, spreadsheets, and paper documentation you can use a CRM solution to quickly find customer contact information, lead and opportunity status, and much more.

Here are a few tell-tale signs and stages that can help you determine why a CRM would be best for your small business.

Your spreadsheet columns are in the double letters

When you first start tracking your clients in an Excel spreadsheet, you’ll probably start off with basic qualifiers. Name, contact information, and a few designations about where they’re at in the sales funnel.

But as your business grows and your processes become more robust, the details surrounding each contact grow as well. When locating information is no longer easily done with a “find” search, you might be ready for an upgrade.

Your spreadsheet is never 100 percent up to date

Do you have a laundry list of “add to spreadsheet” items? Are you dismissing important information as trivial because you don’t have the time to input it into a spreadsheet? Is a lot of client information stored in your brain?

When updating, locating, and relaying your customer details becomes an item way down on your to-do list, your organization system is no longer effective—and a CRM system can help you get relationship processes automated.

You say “I wish I could…” a lot

Do you find yourself wishing…

  • You could have your contacts organized in groups?
  • You could apply a bulk action to select contacts?
  • Your email marketing strategy could be tied to customer details?

Those are strong indicators that you’re ready for a more effective system.

You have new employees

For small business owners, there’s usually a system of organized chaos. You know where everything is and how to find it because you put it there. No matter how your internal system is though, teaching that to new employees is almost always a recipe for disaster.

A global customer management system and process will make training and transitioning significantly easier on you and your new employee. A spreadsheet can provide some budget-friendly guidance to customer information. But if you’re looking for something that does more than just holds what you can no longer store in your head, a CRM can be a smooth next step.

Empower your follow up

How you follow up with your customers can make or break your business. And the key to effective follow up is all about getting personal. It doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with every customer, but you should know the where, what, and why’s (at least) of their connection to your business.

The more information you acquire and can use, the better your follow up will be. And it’s in the “can use” where a CRM system will help. Being able to harvest the information you hold and enable your communications is what elevates your business.

The right CRM will not only make this possible, but it can even automate the process for you so that you have more time for strategy and development to grow profits even further.

Next step?

If you’re wondering if you need a CRM, click here for a quick video that might help.

Click for more information about PlanPlus Online Business Edition, the team CRM with a Productivity Advantage, get a free trial and schedule your free no-obligation demo.

Risk-free offer: PlanPlus Online has small business CRM experts standing by to help you. To schedule your free 20-minute, no-obligation consultation click here.