5 ways spreadsheets are holding your business back


So, you’re ready to grow your business. As far as you know, your sales team are ticking all the boxes and the wheels are in motion. But what lies beneath the surface of the countless spreadsheets holding your business together?

Creating a scalable, sustainable business requires more than just spreadsheets. Your business cannot grow safely and smoothly without great visibility into your sales performance and revenue, and flexibility in your systems to accommodate a growing customer database.

Let’s examine the many disadvantages of a spreadsheet-based customer relationship management system and how you can better equip your business for growth.

Remember: no customer wants to work with a salesperson who’s losing to their processes.

1. Spreadsheets waste your sales team’s time

First and foremost, the work of your sales team should be unhindered by manual processes, clunky systems or disparate data if you want to help them thrive. Storing your customer data across numerous spreadsheets and Google docs may seem like a low-cost, functional process, however the cost in human time required to access and operate these documents can be significant.

When staff are working against slow, hefty spreadsheets, they’re forced to create new worksheets and spread customer data and call cycles across countless documents. With your business growing, this can quickly create silos, impede your sales team and negatively impact your customer experience.

Remember: no customer wants to work with a salesperson who’s losing to their processes.

Held back by spreadsheets, your sales people lose valuable time.Held back by spreadsheets, your sales people lose valuable time.

2. Spreadsheets open your processes to great risk of error

Almost 90 per cent of all spreadsheets contain at least one error, according to a literature review from the University of Hawaii.

A spreadsheet can quickly become the work of a sole salesperson – particularly after a long time with certain customers. When that salesperson eventually leaves, it’s possible their spreadsheets will become a single point of failure for your business systems. The spreadsheet may not be up to date, or the salesperson may have left without explaining their individual processes.

Similarly, even with numerous integrated spreadsheets, a single break in the chain can influence countless datasets and require a lot of manual hours to find the source of the problem.

3. Spreadsheet integrations aren’t a long-term solution

On the note of integration, it’s important to remember that these often are not scalable, long-term solutions. Rather, integrating your spreadsheets with third-party plug-ins is more often a point solution that ignores the wider needs of your business.

Integrated spreadsheets, even on cloud-based systems like Google docs, risk duplication of data entry, process and functionality and can quickly lead to a tangled mess of applications and plug-ins that are costly, poorly implemented or relatively unsupported by developers.

Freedom from spreadsheets means you salespeople can focus on meeting quotas.Freedom from spreadsheets means your salespeople can focus on meeting quotas.

4. Spreadsheets don’t provide a clear picture of your revenue and sales performance

Visibility is a crucial issue when growing your business. In order to create accurate forecasts for your business, you need to understand what’s happening out in the field and be able to identify processes that are holding you back.

With all your customer data and sales team activities scattered over numerous spreadsheets, it becomes increasingly difficult as your business grows to know how you’re tracking. Even with reporting applications tied to your spreadsheets, unless you can be certain at all times that your data is up-to-date, correct and in the right places, your performance reports can be dangerously lacking.

5. Spreadsheets put your customer data at risk

Finally, as you welcome more customers on board, the value of your database grows. You’re collecting potentially sensitive information about your customers, whether that’s billing details, communications or sales notes. Holding all of this within spreadsheets increases your risk of data breach, whether through human error or malicious intent.

Without a secure repository for your customer data, it can be much easier for spreadsheets to be misplaced, misfired or otherwise improperly accessed.

Start having better sales meetings with CRM.Start having better sales meetings with CRM.

Prepare for business growth with Rhino

Where spreadsheets represent isolated, disordered data sets, Rhino stands for consolidation, clarity and simplicity.

As a single repository for your customer data, Rhino gives you and your sales team immediate insight into customer needs and sales performance. Updating customer data is straightforward and efficient, with a secure cloud-based platform and both online and offline functionality. Without the burden of manual data management, your sales team are freed up to easily organise an efficient call cycle and keep your customers satisfied.

Additionally, built-in smart reporting systems and supported integration with existing enterprise resource planning software ensures presenting and manipulating data to forecast your business growth is intuitive and easy.

To learn more about how Rhino can save your business from the sluggish drain of spreadsheets, request a free demo today.

Customer relationship management just got simpler.

How does a good CRM provide a positive ROI?

You've heard other business leaders talking about their customer relationship management (CRM) system – they say it's brought more money than it cost them, that they'd never look back. Or perhaps the opposite. Maybe you know someone whose CRM failed to deliver results.

A good CRM provides your sales team with detailed data around customer experience, staff performance and the sales journey. Armed with this information, you can adjust your sales tactics and marketing efforts to make more effective use of staff time and boost sales numbers – maximising your return on investment (ROI).

ROI is the often biggest concern for decision makers when committing to new software packages. If you're investing in a software or restructuring the way your sales team works, you need to be confident you can expect positive results and know how to measure them.

Let's take a look at the average return on investment for CRM systems and what you can do to measure and maximise ROI.

What is the average ROI of a CRM system?

On average, CRM systems have historically provided excellent ROI. Studies by Nucleus Research found that the mean returns of CRM in 2014 were $8.71 per dollar spent – that's an ROI of 771 per cent! Furthermore, this shows growth from 2011, when Nucleus reported a return of $5.60 per dollar spent.

With returns growing by over 50 per cent in just three years – it's clear there's potential for significant ROI now and even greater ROI in the future.

To ensure your returns match expectations, you need to be carefully measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) and calculating ROI accordingly.

Achieving a great return on investment is easy with the right CRM system.Achieving a great return on investment is easy with the right CRM system.

How to measure ROI of a CRM system

To put it simply, the ROI can be calculated by deducting the cost of the investment from its total gains, and then dividing the result by the total cost.

(Gains from investment – Cost of investment)
Cost of investment

The key challenge comes in determining what constitutes a gain, and what should be considered part of the cost.

You'll generally need historical performance data to properly understand the gains from your investment. Comparing pre-CRM performance with post-CRM performance allows you to generate a dollar figure to describe investment gains.

Key performance indicators to measure CRM ROI

These KPIs can help you see the value in your CRM system:

  1. Overall revenue: A successful CRM system will have great positive impact on the total revenue of your sales team.
  2. Customer value: Looking at the value of each of your customers can be a positive indicator of more successful upsells and improved customer relationships. When your relationships are improved, that fosters loyalty and better deals that strengthen your business.
  3. Calls per team member: An effective CRM should enable each member of your sales team to perform above and beyond their current level. Your team will be better able to handle a busy call schedule to maximise customer communications. Look at the productivity of each sales person and you should expect to see higher call rates and better quality calls, thereby greater use of your payroll.

Factors contributing to CRM costs

Cost can be measured in the following ways:

  1. Software acquisition costs: This is the straightforward ticket price of your CRM system.
  2. Training and setup costs: Your software provider will offer training for your staff to equip them with the know-how to use the system to its full capability. You'll also need help with setup – tailoring the software to your business, integrating the software with your existing systems and migrating data.
  3. Productivity impacts: When introducing new tools and processes, some staff may struggle with buy-in and need some time to adjust. During this transitionary period, phasing in the software's functionality can help with buy in and productivity will follow..
Achieve great things with a powerful CRM on your side.Achieve great things with a powerful CRM on your side.

How to maximise ROI of your CRM system

It's important to continually measure the returns of your CRM system and take every step possible to ensure it's delivering results. Pay attention to how your business is performing and look critically at your processes to see where you can improve your CRM.

Here are a few ways you can ensure better returns from your CRM system:

1. Adopt an easy-to-use CRM

Ease of use can be a major barrier to CRM adoption. Remember that your CRM system is supposed to be a tool that enables and enhances your staff's performance. It needs to be straightforward, with a simple user interface and great reliability. If not, it's likely your sales people will reject the system and you'll struggle to see positive results.

2. Focus on the people

Even with a great CRM, you need to pay attention to your staff during periods of change. Keep an eye on staff attitudes and consider implementing a comprehensive change management strategy to avoid stalling ROI.

3. Listen to your CRM data

Finally, don't think you know better than your CRM. Especially while processes in your business are changing, you might find "best practice" is no longer what you thought you knew. It's important to stay open to challenges and not deny what the numbers tell you. Listen to your CRM data and make changes to your processes accordingly.

For a CRM system that enables your sales people to perform without anything getting in their way, reach out for a free demo of Rhino by ForteIS today.