CRM vs spreadsheet: 11 signs it's time to migrate from spreadsheets to a CRM

CRM vs spreadsheet: 11 signs it's time to migrate from spreadsheets to a CRM

It’s time for the showdown: CRM vs spreadsheet. Which one does your business really need?

When you put these two in a ring and let them fight, there’s obviously a clear winner.

Spreadsheets are a huge step up from Post-it notes and email threads, and using a template like our SalesTable CRM spreadsheet template (for Google Sheets) (for Excel)  can help a small business get started with lead tracking and organize contacts.  

That said, it just doesn’t have the mobility and features that a true CRM software does.

So, how do you know when it’s time for your business to switch from spreadsheets to a CRM software? And how can you do so without losing important data?

Interested in boosting your sales efficiency? Check out the detailed "11 CRM Benefits For Exceptional Sales Results."

CRM vs spreadsheet: 11 signs it’s time to make a change

1. You’re constantly losing important customer data in your spreadsheet

Spreadsheets are great when you have just a couple of people working on them and less than 50 leads or contacts to keep track of.

After that, something ugly is just waiting to hit the fan.

When your business is growing, it’s impossible to keep track of all that data in a spreadsheet. You’ll constantly forget important details about a lead or customer and could even lose sales because of this.

Sound familiar?

2. You have no insight into what turns leads into customers

What kind of action is having real results for your sales team? How are follow-ups received, and how often should they be done? How many people are converted after a product demo compared to a free trial sign-up? How many touches does it take on average to close a deal?

With a spreadsheet, you can’t keep track of and compare data points. Without the data to back up their actions, each rep will sell in the way that they think works best, which may or may not be best for your particular audience.

Your leads are unique to your business, and there may be certain ways of selling that appeal to them more than others. However, without the right data, your reps will be flying by the seat of their pants without any clear direction.

3. Entering data into your CRM spreadsheet is taking up way too much of your reps’ time

Have you ever tracked how long you or your reps actually spend on data entry? If you want to run a CRM vs spreadsheet comparison for your team, take a week and record all the time spent on manual data entry in your spreadsheet.

How many hours did each person on your team spend in the spreadsheet? Five? Ten? More? (Yikes.)

The time spent creating, maintaining, and updating a CRM spreadsheet is time taken away from actually selling. That’s not the way to close more deals.

4. You have to manually share documents to your sales team

“You never sent me that.” “I didn’t receive that, could you send it to me again?”

If you’re hearing this several times a week, that’s a definite sign that it’s time to move from your spreadsheet to a CRM.

5. There’s no efficient way to assign tasks

How often are you calling up your reps on the phone or running to their office to delegate tasks? Or worse, how often do you just do a task yourself because it would almost take more time to delegate it?

In SalesTable, our CRM spreadsheet template, you can assign a certain rep to a particular lead or customer:

CRM vs spreadsheet warning sign 5

But since you can’t assign specific tasks in your spreadsheet, you’ll have to assign tasks verbally or in an email. Then, there’s a much greater chance of these tasks getting forgotten: and that’s how deals are lost.

6. You don’t have a clear view of what your sales reps are accomplishing individually

Wondering which of your reps is more effective at calling? Who’s in the lead when it comes to demos? Which reps are on the verge of landing some very big deals, and which ones are letting the sales cycle go too long? Who’s struggling, and who’s coming out on top?

In a spreadsheet, you don’t have access to this kind of data. That means you can’t coach your sales team effectively.

7. Reps aren’t able to effectively collaborate to make a sale

When sales reps work together with a lead and help them move forward, deals can go smoother. However, your spreadsheet isn’t giving them enough information to do this effectively.

Instead, reps will be stepping on each other’s toes, asking for the same information multiple times, sending the wrong documents, and generally annoying the heck out of your leads. This makes your business seem disorganized and out of touch with their audience (not the brand image you want people to have).

8. Your sales cycle seems to be getting longer and longer

Instead of optimizing your sales activities to shorten the cycle, it seems like you and your team are more lost than ever. As you add new leads and customers, you may feel like you’re drowning in a sea of information and tasks, and your memory is failing you when it comes to remembering important information, tasks, calls, etc.

9. You want to compare year-over-year data and KPIs, but can’t

If you want to compare year-over-year data (or even just compare quarters of the same year), it can be very hard to do with a spreadsheet. While you have a nice overview of the totals on the Sales Dashboard in our CRM spreadsheet template, there’s no way to compare the data from different date ranges.

CRM vs spreadsheet warning sign 9 (1)

10. At least once, you’ve lost an important document before a meeting

And I don’t need to tell you, that’s the worst feeling in the world. Either you had to redo the document from scratch in a rush, or you had to go to the meeting without that document. Whether it’s a presentation, a contract, or any other important document, it can’t be stored in your spreadsheet with the contact’s details.

With a CRM, though, you can store your documents right with your contact’s details, which means you’ll never have to scramble to recreate a document at the last minute again. In fact, with the Meeting Sync feature in Close, you can get timely alerts when meetings are about to start and have all the information for that contact at hand before you begin.

CRM vs spreadsheet warning sign 10

11. Your spreadsheet isn’t secure, and could easily be copied and shared

While there are some security settings in Google Sheets, anything that’s stored in the cloud can be easily sent and accessed by others. And even if you’re not saving your spreadsheet to the cloud, it’s still easy for the spreadsheet to be copied and shared. Worse yet, if your spreadsheet is saved offline on one computer, it can easily get lost if that computer crashes. #SalesNightmare

If security worries you, then it’s probably time to switch to a CRM.

How did you score on this CRM vs spreadsheet quiz?

Out of these 11 warning signs, how many did you identify with? Are you "team spreadsheet" or "team CRM"?

Let’s face it: a growing business needs more than a spreadsheet to keep their leads straight and close deals faster.

With a CRM, you’ll have the ability to keep track of the data you need to grow your sales skills and that of your team. With these kinds of insights, you’ll shorten your sales cycle, close more deals, and start to truly crush it.

By now, you’re probably on board with the idea of switching from a spreadsheet to a CRM software. But maybe what’s holding you back is the actual work of doing so.

Don’t worry: there’s an easy way to migrate all of your lead data from a spreadsheet to your CRM (and it doesn’t involve manual data entry).

How to move your data from a spreadsheet to your CRM in 3 easy steps:

1. Clean up the data in your spreadsheet

There’s no reason to spend time migrating old data into your brand new CRM. If you feel your spreadsheet has become a disorganized mess, don’t transfer that mess into the CRM. Before you start the migration, it’s time to clean up that data.

Start by removing old or duplicate leads. Remember that lead from two years ago that said he wasn’t interested? Yeah, it’s time to get rid of him.

To do this quickly, sort your contacts in the spreadsheet by the field Opportunity Last Modified, and start removing old leads that went cold long ago.

CRM vs spreadsheet migrate step 1-1

Next, clean up the format of your data. For example, make sure all the phone numbers are in a standardized format (+1 000 111 2222) and make sure you use abbreviations in the same way.

2. Export your spreadsheet data into a CSV

If you’re using Google Sheets, click on the File tab. Then scroll down to Download, and from that menu select Comma-separated values (CSV).

CRM vs spreadsheet migrate step 2

This will download the data into a CSV file.

3. Import your data to a CRM

Once you have your CSV file ready, most CRMs will allow you to import that data directly. That means almost no manual data entry is necessary!

With Close, you can use the Lead Importer to directly import your CSV data into the CRM.

Just click Upload a CSV file and drop your CSV in.

CRM vs spreadsheet migrate step 3

After that, you’ll be prompted to assign fields to all the columns from your spreadsheet.

CRM vs spreadsheet migrate step 4

Once you’ve assigned these columns to specific fields, you’ll be ready to go!

Yes, it’s that easy.

CRM vs Spreadsheet: Which team are you on?

It’s no secret that a CRM software has plenty of functions and advantages that a spreadsheet doesn’t. Frankly, spreadsheets pale in comparison to a real CRM.

But everything depends on your circumstances. If you’re a new or small business with a limited budget for tools, a spreadsheet is a great (free) way to get started in contact management. If you didn’t identify with the 11 warning signs we discussed above, a CRM spreadsheet template like SalesTable might be the best place for you to start.

However, if you saw clear similarities between these warning signs and your current sales situation, it’s time to upgrade. Try out Close for free and run your own CRM vs spreadsheet test.

I’m pretty sure you’ll also end up on team CRM.

Looking for a powerful, yet affordable CRM solution? You need to try Close! Featuring predictive dialing, email automation, lead management, and so much more, it'll empower you to get back to what you do best: selling! You can try Close free for 14 days - no credit card required.