Regardless of the size of your business or the industry you happen to be in, managing leads and customers is par for the course. If you’re still using spreadsheets, folders crammed with paper records, or saved emails to keep track of your customer interactions, you’re not only wasting precious time and energy, but you’re also missing out on an opportunity to increase your profitability. If you’re still not convinced that there’s a better way, here are some telltale signs it’s time to invest in a CRM.

1. Your Data is Disorganized or Inaccurate

What steps do you have to take when you need to reach out to a customer? Pull a paper file? Dig through pages and pages of email messages? Search for that sticky note you left somewhere in your office? If your data isn’t stored in one centralized location, it can easily get lost – along with the chance to close the deal with that hot lead. With a tidy CRM, everything you need can be found at the click of a button.

Manual data entry can spell disaster when it comes to the accuracy of information. Like it or not, we’re all human, which means we are all prone to errors, some of which can prove costly – especially to a small business. Spreadsheet-driven workflows are not nearly as dependable as today’s modern software solutions.

With a CRM, you’ll avoid typos, accidental deletions or overwrites, double entries, and formula issues, all of which can be incredibly disruptive to your company’s day-to-day operations.

2. You Can’t Keep Up With Your Leads

If you’re lucky enough to have several leads coming in, but you’re struggling to keep up with them in a timely and effective manner, what’s the point? An intelligent CRM can handle all of this legwork for you, not only making it quick and easy to track down, follow up with, and nurture your leads but also automatically sorting and prioritizing them so your sales team can optimize their workflow.

3. You Have No Idea What Your Sales Team is Up To

The goal of every successful company is to improve sales. But how can you accomplish this if you aren’t easily able to track what’s working and what’s a waste of time, money, and resources? A CRM provides real-time insight into your sales team’s activity, enabling you to determine how your reps are spending their time and what actions can and should be optimized to win more business. It’s the easiest and quickest way to improve your sales process.

Sharing one big spreadsheet does not provide any real-time insight into what each member of your sales team is up to. That can mean a significant reduction in productivity. It can also lead to missed opportunities, lack of follow-up, and ultimately lost sales. If you’re not keeping tabs on what your sales team is working toward, your bottom line could be suffering.

4. Your Customer Service is Underperforming 

Landing new clients is difficult enough. Keeping them for the long-haul is even more challenging. But retaining existing customers is far more cost-effective than constantly chasing new leads, so customer service should be your top priority. Unfortunately, without a formal system in place, things can easily fall through the cracks, leaving your customers feeling less than satisfied. A CRM prevents this by consistently keeping you in touch with everything you need to exceed your customers’ expectations.

5. You’re Unable to Scale

Using an Excel spreadsheet to manage your customers may be fine when you’re just starting out, but as your business grows, this method is wrought with potential errors and miscommunication problems. And what happens if you get a sudden influx of new business? Will your current system be able to handle it? A CRM keeps data centralized and up-to-date, can be remotely accessed by any team member, and is capable of scaling alongside your business.

The future success of your business depends heavily on developing and maintaining good relationships with your customers. One way to use your CRM system is to standardize the lead management process, provide visibility into sales and marketing, and enable you to deliver a better customer experience overall. 

The best predictor of future success is the past. But if you’re relying on an antiquated program with little to no advanced functionality to determine what your future needs will be, then good luck. 

6. Your Team is Wasting Time

Your sales team might be busy, but whether or not they’re effective is based on if they’re spending that time and energy on the right things.If your sales reps are: 

  • Wasting hours scrolling through rows
  • Looking for a particular customer record
  • Keying in new leads by hand
  • Reformatting rows and columns
  • Managing customer tracking by hand
  • Trying not to duplicate efforts and other manual or administrative tasks

Then you’re losing out on productivity in a big way.

Now, imagine if they could find everything they need at the click of a button, with no errors or duplication of work. Then they could focus their time and expertise on other, more important things, like building relationships and converting more leads into paying customers.

7. You Can’t Measure Performance 

Want a breakdown of new sales versus upsells? Curious about how sales are faring in a certain geographical area or audience demographic? Need a list of sales prospects in order of probable close date? Using a spreadsheet to pull this data and compile it into something useful is next to impossible, especially as your business continues to grow. Yet, without key information like this, you could easily be missing out on additional sales opportunities or ways to improve close rate.

With a CRM, you can quickly and easily gather whatever information you need down to the minutest detail and organize it in whatever way you fancy. Complex reports can be produced with a few simple keystrokes, saving everyone time and aggravation and giving business leaders the tools needed to move forward in the right direction.

Using a CRM, you can access whatever data you need, knowing it’s up-to-date and accurate, to effectively forecast, plan, and strategize for your company’s future needs. This will better ensure consistent, sustainable success down the road.