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Maybe it is a little unfair to say Excel is the world’s worst Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System because it technically is not a CRM. Why is Excel it the world’s worst CRM then? Well, because a lot of people insist on using it as a CRM solution when it doesn’t have that capability. Don’t misunderstand the message. Excel is an excellent program for what it is supposed to be, which is to handle spreadsheets. It does that very well, but that doesn’t make a CRM system.

Excel isn’t really meant to be much of a collaborative document. Sure you can have other people enter in numbers and such. It can be fine most of the time, but there is a risk of formula changes which would ruin the end result. Often times, if an excel document is passed around to a lot of people using different versions the document starts to act strange. It’s generally best if one person is managing the Excel spreadsheet versus many. Things stay cleaner that way.

When your business closes a sale, it’s great! You can even log something simple like that into Excel. However, it all ends there. What about all the up-selling possibilities later? Do they need this service or that accessory? Is it a subscription? If so, then what about renewal plans? Excel doesn’t give you that information, nor does it give you a workflow to follow that a true CRM would. Excel won’t send you notifications that it’s time to contact a certain customer for a follow up. You don’t have a sales process that you can have automated in Excel.

Excel also doesn’t provide any reporting on analytics. Yes, you can manipulate the data with copying, pasting, and sorting. However, that isn’t giving you any information on how many leads were converted to customers. It doesn’t tell you what the results of your latest email campaign are. How many people opened the message? What was your click rate? It’s important information to have. A good CRM will give you reporting capabilities to track the important results that you need. Knowing the results of your campaigns is just as important as sending them.

CRM stands for customer relationship management. You can’t manage your customer relationships very well if you don’t have a tracking system with all your customers and potential customers. Excel doesn’t do that for you, whereas a CRM will. However, using a CRM is definitely a collaborative effort. That means everybody within your business has to log in the information when speaking with customers. Otherwise, you run the risk of being ambushed with a problem on a call because you didn’t know about it.

As I said earlier, it’s not Excel’s fault because it wasn’t designed to be used as a CRM. It was designed to be a spreadsheet. I’m sure you use Excel on a daily basis for a variety of uses. It functions wonderfully to crunch numbers and manipulate large sets of data. It isn’t very useful to track incremental information updates. That is what a CRM is used for, not Excel.


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