CRM or Spreadsheets? Why CRM Is Better for Your Business


Should I get Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, or will Spreadsheets work just fine? 

Such is a common dilemma that business owners constantly battle with.

Spreadsheets are cheaper and work perfectly for small businesses. But as a company grows, you may need something more advanced. 

This article will show the difference between CRM and Spreadsheets and why the former is better for your business.

What Is CRM?

CRM software is a system to manage customer data and relationships. With such software, your business can keep track of customer information, their activities along the whole customer journey.

You may download CRM systems onsite. But some providers host the software on the cloud, like SharpSpring. As such, information is often more accessible by the marketing and sales teams through CRM systems. 

sharpspring crm

What Is A Spreadsheet?

Spreadsheets represent data input and storage forms that businesses can use to manage customer data. It was traditionally the way companies kept track of various data types.

However, as technology advances, Spreadsheets have quickly become quite outdated. They are generally limited in functionality and shareability.

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Therefore, more businesses are considering phasing out Spreadsheets and adopting CRM systems. Here is why CRM is better than Spreadsheets and why your business should consider the switch.

Why CRM Beats Spreadsheets

Both CRM and Spreadsheets have their pros and cons. However, Spreadsheets just do not have the capabilities that CRM systems bring.

Research indicates an increase in ROI and customer management efficiency for firms that have adopted CRM systems. These may indicate that the software may be a better option for businesses than Spreadsheets.

Some of the critical points of advantage include:

1. Information Storage

CRM systems have comprehensive programs and storage. Unlike Spreadsheets, these can store data over time. You do not have to delete any information to replace it with more. 

Therefore, it stores every tiny form of interaction from the first email down to the final customer support message. CRM makes all this information available and thus enables you to study the customer relationship in detail. 

If you need a different rep to take on a client, they will not be clueless but have some background information to work with.

2. Team Collaboration

CRM fosters team collaboration better than Spreadsheets. With CRM systems, there is easy simultaneous access to information like contacts, communication details, schedules, etc. 

You can schedule meetings and know who is working on what without going back and forth. In doing so, your team becomes more efficient.

Spreadsheets, however, can only be used by one person at a time. So, a lot of time gets wasted sending files around to different team members.

3. Accessibility of Information

CRM systems make data available anytime, anywhere, unlike Spreadsheets. With a mobile device, you can access the data already backed in the cloud. 

Similarly, you do not have to update the team on proceedings or data constantly. They can easily access them remotely. It creates more efficient operations. Even when you need some data privacy, the systems allow you to set access restrictions.

4. Data Backup

Most CRM systems automatically back up data. Backups are essential in emergencies. Anything can happen, accidentally deleted data, power issues, etc. 

With such systems, your company can ensure you don't lose valuable information and can quickly recover it if needed.

Spreadsheets often can’t do this. Those that can involve complicated processes to recover the data. 

Additionally, CRM systems better eliminate the risks of human error in data input and storage. With Spreadsheets, the staff must keep manually inputting and removing data. This practice increases the chances of making mistakes that could affect the whole process.

5. Tracking Sales Performance

Since all the sales data stays in the system, CRM makes it easier to track your sales team's performance. You can tell who brings in more clients, who wins more deals with phone calls, etc.

With this information, you can train and manage your team more efficiently. It will also help you come up with better strategies. 

Spreadsheets make it hard to update the documents regularly. So, you might often be working with outdated information.

6. Decision Making

CRM software can help you make decisions faster than a spreadsheet can. A Spreadsheet has information spread all over different files and pages.

CRM on the other hand organizes the information in one interface. From a single interface, you can easily access the information you need to make business decisions. This, therefore, helps you make quick/timely decisions to grow your businesses.

When Should You Switch From Spreadsheets to CRM?

When The Data Scope Expands

As your company grows, you will likely face more customers, more processes, more staff, etc. This would probably require more pages and capabilities. Often Spreadsheets cannot handle all these tasks and processes.

Furthermore, you might discover that your team spends more time doing data entry than it does engaging customers and nurturing leads.

More data also means you have to improve your security measures. Even the smallest CRM system beats Spreadsheets in terms of security for large databases. 

So, you would need a CRM system that stores all your data and syncs it will all the other parties involved. Comprehensive systems like SharpSpring can help you to sync all your data and also guarantees industry-standard security.

You Have More Staff

Hiring more team members may require you to switch to CRM systems instead. With Spreadsheets, it might get harder to keep track of all your reps and their progress. It might also be hard to keep everyone on the same page since the records are not readily accessible by all members.

CRM systems, however, allow you to share necessary files simultaneously, which would improve teamwork. So, as you get more people, it may be helpful to upgrade as well.

You Need More Insight

It may be time to switch from Spreadsheets to CRM when you need richer insight into your data. Spreadsheets can be quite limited in organising data and often scatters critical information across several pages or documents.

However, to draft better strategies, you need a holistic view of the data to guide you. Therefore, a CRM would be essential for your business. 

You Need To Improve Efficiency

When you start noticing issues like longer sales cycles, poor communication, etc., it is a sign that your systems are not being efficient. You might thus need better management systems like CRM.

Unlike Spreadsheets, CRM software requires less manual contribution. It also automatically organises data and keeps all team members in the loop. To fix your efficiency problems, therefore, replacing your Spreadsheets with CRM becomes a necessity.

You Need More Customisation

Spreadsheets tend to be static in layout and functionality. This becomes more challenging to use when faced with clients with relatively unique needs. Such clients might have varying profiles or require different forms of data to handle.

Spreadsheets are unreliable for this function, unlike CRM software. The software helps you customise customer profiles to enable you to engage them better. So, if you need more flexibility in handling customer data, it is time to switch to CRM.


Therefore, CRM is better than Spreadsheets, especially for growing firms that need more efficiency in their operations. They cut out the time spent on manual work and foster collaboration.

More advanced CRM systems like SharpSpring can help you sync email data, effectively nurture your leads, empower your sales team, among other top features. Book a demo with us to learn more about the SharpSpring CRM and find out if it suits your business.


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About the Author

Priscilla Achieng

Priscilla Achieng is a lead Technical Content Writer at Funnelbud. A Content marketing professional by day, a passionate soccer fan by night, she also provides copywriting and SEO services for businesses of all sizes.