SmallBizCRM compares Excel and CRM Systems as a tool for Small Businesses

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21st Century Business Advice for Start-up Entreprenuers by Perry Norgarb from SmallBizCRM

Says Perry Norgarb, Founder of SmallBizCRM: "Most small businesses start out by managing client and other data with Excel spreadsheets. While there was merit is doing business this way in the 20th Century, the 21st Century brings a range of innovative technology solutions that enable one to do business quicker, more effectively and efficiently, using a customised client relationship management tool, also referred to as a CRM system.There are several motivations why one should consider making the shift and leapfrogging ones business into a more relevant culture of doing work today which is in fact a competitive advantage of small businesses who are able to respond to client needs and demands at shorter lead times."

1. Technological advances
As technology has advanced, so has CRM tools. It can help track the business' clients in real time, with conversations and sales history all available at the click of a button. When a start-up starts tracking leads and customers, it might be easy enough in Excel, but as soon as a business starts growing, it is easy to lose track. Rather make use of the technology available to track and manage data efficiently.

2. Time efficient
Even though Excel does capture all information on one sheet, but when one needs to search for specific fields it becomes tricky. Filters may help, but the amount of data needed to track leads to fields usually has too many variables to filter. By investing in a CRM system, one can find customers fast and request various filters to get to the information needed as soon as possible. If a customer has a complaint, for instance, it is easy to find their purchase history, previous complaints and any other relevant conversations without having to sift through cells to see what you need. With Excel one has to keep track of each conversation and make notes on when to follow up and find ways on how to track when to follow up. A CRM tool can be set to notify the relevant staff members automatically within a given time. So a CRM not only equips a business to deal with customers efficiently, by not losing track of customer interaction, but it also allows one to do so in a timeous manner. In the end, this would save a business time and money.

3. Valuable data
Excel is outdated in terms of its range or abilities, simply because it is doing what it was designed to do – capture financial data for reporting. With a CRM tool, the output provides a business with important data to make business decisions based on customer behaviour. This business intelligence gained on customers is the most valuable role of the CRM. For instance, it enables a log on customer behaviour (from purchases to interactions) and target customers according to their interests and behaviour in the past. Tracking customer behaviour can also aid in determining the need for new products and services. Through using business intelligence, a business can focus on product development that speaks directly to customers’ needs and desires. This data also becomes an asset if one should ever decide to sell your business one day, adding real value to a business.

4. Cost efficient
A computer comes standard with Office and therefore Excel, so most start-ups feel this is a technically free tool and therefore it only makes sense to use it to track leads. But one has to consider that the Return On Investment on the right CRM tool means that the system ends up paying for itself. The value and intelligence delivered to a business has proven to lead to increase in sales and sales productivity. The tracking functionality of the CRM tool can also help to determine where a business needs to spend more or less time and money, which means allocating resources more efficiently and ultimately saving money. A CRM tool can literally track what product is needed to up-sell to which customer, and also what further services or products they may need. This gives a business intelligent target marketing that would not be achieved through an Excel spreadsheet.

5. Personalised service
In Excel customers become a number in a long data list. But with a CRM system, one can customize customer profiles to ensure that every customer is engaged in the manner he or she prefers. The customer feels like an individual, rather than a number. In the 21st century the customer is more informed and cannot be spoken to as a group, but want a one-on-one customer experience. This can be achieved through a CRM system, allowing you to deliver personalized service to customers, and ultimately leads to a more loyal customer base.

Interested in finding a CRM that will achieve these results? Try the SmallBizCRM Finder tool to find the right CRM solutions fit and learn more by logging onto

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Jolene Plessis
South Pen
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