There is a matter that often comes up when it comes to managing your customer data: Excel or CRM (Customer Relationship Management), which should you choose? Initially, Excel may seem useful to manage your relationships with your customers, prospects, and partners. But, over time, the more your business will grow and the more you will understand that Excel is no longer enough for you and that you will need a more scalable tool such as a CRM.
Even if the use of Excel is very widespread within a large number of companies and that it can seduce by its ease of use and its low cost, it will very quickly show its limits as soon as you will start to manage larger client lists. Although the basic functionalities on Excel are mastered by a large number of people, more complicated tasks will quickly turn into a real brain teaser. Not to mention that Excel will not allow you to keep track and store files and other attachments. This way, you will be forced to juggle between different tools which will most likely lead to you often making mistakes.
CRM is a tool that allows companies to better understand their customers and prospects in order to adapt and personalize their products or services to their needs. It increases the adaptability and customization of the customer relationship while reducing the time spent managing this relationship. This customization leads to greater customer satisfaction and therefore greater loyalty. A CRM tool is considered to be a pillar of commercial activity and gives total visibility on a company’s customer data.
Better data consistency:
The first downside to using Excel for managing your data is that you will have to enter it manually. This leaves a great room for error that you, as a business, cannot afford. With CRM, this process can be automated and will save you not only time but also a great amount of stress! This automation process will help you with your firsthand data integration, but will also be of great benefit to following up with your clients and your long-term collaboration with them. You cannot keep track of modifications and history on Excel, but it’s something you can easily do on a CRM tool. This sort of visibility is extremely important when it comes to building a strong customer relationship strategy.
Even if Excel technically allows you to back up all the data important to your business in the same way as a CRM tool, the latter makes it much easier to find and handle. It can very quickly get overwhelming handling sheets upon sheets of data on Excel. Not to mention that, in case you need to link the data on different tables, you may need to use features that are not mastered by everyone – such as functions and pivot tables. This is something that you will not have to worry about using a CRM tool. You will always have great visibility on your data which will be just one click away, gathered in the same place.
Working in teams:
You simply cannot collaborate with your colleagues on an Excel file. However, if you wish to do so, you will have to exchange this file and send it via external services – which is absolutely not recommended, especially when it comes to particularly sensitive or confidential data. The ability to collaborate with your teammates is one of the biggest assets of using a CRM tool. Most of them will allow you to work together with your colleagues in real-time and keep track of who did what and when. Shared calendars, task progression, project management … CRM tools are sure to be doing a great job of boosting the productivity of your teams.
Reporting and data analysis:
This is yet something that is not doable directly through Excel. In order for you to create reports based on the data contained on your spreadsheets, you will need to invest a lot of time and effort into manually transforming that data into charts or whichever other graphic you are using. This, again, is not only time consuming but leaves a great margin of error. Most CRM tools, on the other hand, will take care of that for you allowing you to get an overview of the progression of your business in a timely and efficient manner. These reports can be generated automatically at the frequency that you desire.
From Excel to oCLIENT:
If you are convinced that Excel is no longer the tool you should be using to manage your client data, then you should know that moving all of your data to oCLIENT is extremely easy. You can either start adding clients manually or import them from your already existing CSV file. This file can only contain one column.
If you ever need to import more data about your clients into the oCLIENT system, you will have to use the CSV template that is available for download. oCLIENT needs your data to be entered in the columns in a specific order. You can add more columns to the template yourself in case you need additional information to be imported.
When you are done with that, you can simply upload it back on oCLIENT and all of your clients will be shown as records on the platform. Each client gets a designated client card on which you can add any sort of information you need to keep about them, all in the same place.
Excel is certainly a very popular tool among a great number of business who use it often times to manage important information about their clients. This is not necessarily a great idea, since Excel wasn’t specifically designed for such operations. It can easily get very confusing handling large amounts of data through Excel alone, not to mention that it’s very limited in functionality compared to a CRM tool that it totally dedicated to managing your clients’ data. Most of the activities related to your data will require from you to use external tools which is not recommended especially for sensitive data such as clients’ personal information.
But using a CRM tool, you will be able to overcome all of these issues. Not only will it be made easy for you to store important data, you will also be able to keep attachments such as files or images which is impossible on excel. You will also have the possibility to have a good visibility on your data, as you can keep track of its history and evolution in a very efficient way. On top of that, your data will be well organised and easy to find in the same spot and just a click a way. You will not have to juggle between tens of different spreadsheets anymore.
But the main advantage of using a CRM tool instead of Excel is the ability to collaborate in real time with your teammates, assign tasks to people and keep track of the progression of the projects. This is something that requires sending files back and forth on excel, but is made simple, safe and instant thanks to CRM tools. CRM tools also help you generate automatic reports about the evolution of your data, which will make analysing it ten times easier and faster.