CRM in Excel: Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Spreadsheets to Manage Your Sales


Managing customers and business opportunities is a challenge, whether for small companies or large organizations.

In general, however, while large companies have the resources to invest in advanced CRM systems, small business owners prefer to resort to free tools such as CRM in Excel spreadsheets.

Is the latter your company’s scenario?

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Then check out our article for the advantages of CRM in Excel and the alternative you have for a more advanced management of your business strategy!

What is CRM?

Before we delve into the topic CRM in free Excel, its advantages and disadvantages, it is worth returning to the meaning of this acronym that we use so much in the sales department.

CRM refers to Customer Relationship Management, which means in Portuguese, Customer Relationship Management.

CRM, therefore, is an approach that places the customer as the central figure, in order to understand their needs and challenges in advance.

To manage all this, there are CRM platforms, which gather all information related to this relationship, in an organized way, to facilitate the administration of sales and decision-making by the company.

Advantages of using CRM in Excel

CRM in Excel has been a popular tool among self-employed professionals and small and medium-sized businesses for many years.

It can even be said that it replaced the function previously occupied by notebooks, paper diaries and filing cabinets with business cards. Anyone who has been in the area for a while knows what we are talking about!

And, to have achieved such popularity, it is clear that CRM in Excel spreadsheets has some very clear advantages, which we detail below:

CRM in Excel is free

Of course, the fact of using a tool that is already part of the work resources, CRM in Excel ends up not generating extra cost beyond the hiring of the Office Package.

This is a factor that, we cannot deny, conquers many small business owners when choosing their CRM tool, the low cost.

It can be quite simple to use.

Another factor that justifies the preference of managers for CRM in Excel spreadsheets is the ease of use.

As many salespeople and sales leaders are already familiar with this tool for data consolidation and reporting, it is apparently easier to encourage its use among everyone.

Low implementation difficulty

Finally, another advantage of CRM in Excel is the low difficulty of implementation within a company.

As the program is already installed on the team’s computers, at first it is enough to find a CRM template in Excel for free to start a usage project.

Beyond CRM in Excel: What do you get with a CRM platform?

CRM in Excel has advantages.

However, CRM systems developed specifically for customer management end upbringing benefits that can be much more attractive.

See below the advantages of opting for a CRM platform instead of using Excel spreadsheets.

Affordable and freemium options

As much as it has a cost, usually with amounts charged by number of users, there are very affordable options for CRM systems. Many of them were even created with the profile of small and medium-sized companies in mind.

In addition, there are options on the market that offer the freemium version, a free version, which is more limited in functionality, but which, even so, guarantee more efficiency than the use of spreadsheets.

In other words, it is no longer possible to say that investing in CRM platforms is an option only for large organizations.

More productive team

As much as your team is already trained to use Excel as a CRM, it is easier to ensure the productive use of a tool for this purpose when it is integrated into the salesperson’s habits.

Having a CRM platform with a mobile sales application, for example, makes it easier to fill in information right after an external visit. Avoiding the need for the commercial executive, later, to dedicate time just for this.

Anytime, anywhere access

And, since we are talking about mobile apps, it is important to emphasize the ease of use of modern CRM platforms on mobile devices. In a scenario where we are increasingly connected, getting information anytime, anywhere is essential.

And at this point, Excel still leaves a lot to be desired. Using a computer is feasible, but using a cell phone it is practically impossible to access information and obtain reports.

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Relationship history

Another factor that favors CRM systems over spreadsheets is the possibility of analyzing customer relationship histories in a simplified way.

In Excel, it is even possible to include data about the contacts made. But this turns spreadsheets into gigantic and cumbersome files, making their use hampered.

CRM platforms, therefore, end up earning points for allowing unlimited information about each account and contact, without prejudice to its use.

Possibility to attach documents and files

What about when you need an old proposal that was sent to a client but can’t find it at all? Or a lost contract?

It’s easier to manage all this information and documents when you can attach the files to each customer account, within a CRM platform.

Information management is made easier and also more secure!

Reduced risk in data sharing

Speaking of security, we are well aware that data protection is a big concern for organizations today.

And it’s much easier to minimize the associated risks when you’re able to manage users and access levels, and limit usage to people who have a login and password.

In the commercial area, this prevents improper data sharing and also helps to reduce cases where sales executives, when changing companies, take with them all of their customer portfolio information – including those that are confidential.

Simplified reporting

For sales managers, the commercial process is more optimized with a CRM platform due to the simplicity with which reports can be generated, using several variables.

Those long hours lost closing monthly sales reports to pay commissions, presentation to the board and forecast together with the production areas can become just a few minutes depending on the complexity of the information you want to obtain.

In addition, many pre-configured reports are updated in real time and offer a realistic overview for everyone in the company, making all management easier.

Development aimed at the commercial area

Finally, the last advantage we cite in this article among those that make CRM platforms better tools than Excel spreadsheets is their development.

While Excel is software developed to perform mathematical functions and is updated with a focus on this objective, CRM platforms were designed exclusively for the reality of sales.

This means that all its functionalities help the commercial leader to fulfill his business objectives and that whenever there is a new demand in the area, it will probably be in the development focus of the company that created this tool.

That’s how, for example, we’ve seen CRM systems incorporate mobile phone and Whastapp integrations. Everything to make life easier for sellers!

CRM in Excel may work, but it’s not the most suitable tool

As we talked about in this article, CRM in Excel for many years fulfilled its role in facilitating sales management, bringing it from offline to online.

However, over time, specific tools for this purpose were developed and became more accessible. Especially for small and medium entrepreneurs!