10 reasons why you should move from Excel to CRM

Excel is the first choice for many business professionals and seems to be the go-to when they kick-start their business. 

What can you not like about the software? Excel is a readily available solution, and with the advent of cloud-based free-to-access document suites, its usage has only increased

Excel is like that topper friend we all know from high school.

 —> “How do I make a quick calculation?” Use Excel.

 —> “What’s the office address of Jason that I contacted 3 days ago?” Open Excel!

 —> “Where’s that mailing list?” Use Excel, of course.

Coming to think of it, Excel sounds like a dark pun coined after that high-achieving student.

Let’s not meander from the topic at hand. 

The fact is, it seems like your work is impossible without Excel. It is easy to set up, straightforward to use, and seemingly does the job  — until one or all of these things happen:

  • You want other members of your team to collaborate on the sheets 
  • Your business starts getting a higher volume of leads
  • You have a hard time controlling the visibility of the document
  • You want to track communication with your leads, prospects or customers

Take collaboration, for instance. 

Imagine sharing your spreadsheets with 10 people and hoping (merely hoping) that everyone is on the most recent version at all times. This can be frustrating and opens up space for potential errors. And it is definitely not a productive way to work. 

According to a study by Professor Ray Panko,  around 90% of spreadsheets have errors. This shows that Excel being error-prone is universal.

Let’s take another example. Your prospects have tripled from last month, and suddenly you notice that your mailing service needs more storage and better capacity. 

Added to this is the responsibility of tracking the interaction with them. And the usability touches rock bottom when you want to create and identify a prospect’s stages in a pipeline.

Simply put, Excel is not enough for your sales operation. 

While it may be challenging to say goodbye to a tool that you’ve been using for a considerable amount of time, you must do. 

This becomes even more glaring when you reached a point where you have more data than Excel can handle. 

So it’s time to move from Excel to a CRM solution. 

What is a CRM?

It’s all in the name  — CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. 

At the core, CRM is an all-inclusive platform for sales teams to manage their business relationships. 

Lots of businesses around the world use CRM to create and nurture relationships with their prospects and customers. Another function that some companies use CRM for is marketing automation, which is an excellent addition to an already powerful tool. 

While there are many CRMs out there in the market, you need to find the right CRM that suits your business requirements.

More importantly, a CRM for sales operations helps you: 

  • Create robust individual profiles for every lead 
  • Track deals in a funnel-pipeline 
  • Make calls to your prospects and customers 
  • Schedule and send bulk emails 
  • Create and view custom reports
  • Set up meetings with prospects
  • Take notes
  • Share files
  • View a history of every interaction you’ve had with your prospects and customers

That is quite a bundle of features there. A highly-capable set of features that has 8 crucial things going for it.

Here are ten reasons why you need to switch from Excel to a CRM solution:

1. Collaboration

There’s a reason why Excel is consistently referred to as one of the worst CRM tools ever. 

One of the most significant advantages of a CRM solution over Excel is the ability to collaborate with multiple users. Sales managers can take a load off their shoulders by assigning leads to reps with ease. 

Some sales CRM software also comes with a team inbox  — a shared inbox for all the members of a team, so that reps can step in and take control over critical conversations in case of some reps missing. 

Unlike spreadsheets, you can say goodbye to versioning control. It is basically non-existent.

Every stakeholder can work together in real-time towards a common goal with the help of a CRM solution.

2. Poor time management  

An equal balance between work and time is what makes work productive. But manual data entry in Excel draws a lot of time out of you. 

Take leads, for example. With Excel, there is no way to capture this data automatically. So, it doesn’t matter whether five leads fill up your webform or fifty of them do  — you are forced to update this information manually. There are high chances that it’ll be done incorrectly or some information might even slip through the cracks. 

A CRM solution for sales helps you out in this situation by automatically capturing lead information from web forms on your site. So, you can skip the manual entry and get to reaching out to them right away! 

Another drawback with Excel is when you’d like to view your sales figures with the help of statistics. You need to carefully select the right data from the cells, choose the graph of your choice, enter formulas, and generate the report. This is highly time-consuming. 

CRM steps in to help you out in this case with report generation at the click of a button, with no need to seep through hordes of data.  

3. One-time, hassle-free setup

Once you’re done setting up Excel for your business, the process just doesn’t end there  — you’ll also need to set up your email client, a PBX software for making calls and a bunch of other tools to effectively manage your sales. 

And the worst part is, you need to keep switching between these multiple tools regularly to make it work with your business process. 

Imagine having a single tool with all these features  — a tool that doesn’t require you to keep switching between multiple applications frequently. 

This is where a sales CRM solution steps in to make things better. Besides this, there are 3 essential benefits involved in using a one-stop sales tool like a CRM:

  • You can save lots of valuable time
  • Your productivity increases
  • Your sales and data is organized better

4. Automation

Forget the concept of “automations” with Excel  — because it forces you to enter information manually. But CRM solutions for sales are entirely different.

Say you’re using a webform on your site. Webforms are an essential avenue for lead generation. Without a CRM, when a lead fills their information in the form, you’ll have to capture this data manually into the spreadsheet. 

And imagine repeating this process for every new lead! 

With a CRM tool, you can automate this activity from end-to-end. 

Every time a new lead fills out your webform, they get automatically added to your CRM system. Imagine how much of this lack of data entry can save you time! 

5. Event tracking

Let’s face it  — it’s apparent that you cannot send emails directly from Excel, and there’s no way you can track its metrics. With a sales CRM, you can track a plethora of email metrics from email open and click rates to the lead activity on your website or product. You can track this to understand every move of your lead. 

This real-time information gives you the essential context you need to quickly interact with your leads. 

Case in point, say you get notified about a lead downloading a case study from your website. This indicates that they are exploring your business and serves as an excellent opportunity for you to craft an informative email regarding an event your company is hosting. The invitation you attach can help to track response rates.

The best part is that all these interactions are recorded in the respective lead’s profile in the form of a chronological timeline.

6. Scalability

Another major problem that you have with Excel is that it is not scalable. As your company grows and you get more customers, spreadsheets become insufficient and highly inefficient. Consider this, for example, you cannot magnify upsell opportunities for one customer, or understand the right time to give them a follow-up call.

Most CRM solutions come with pricing plans that cater to each sector of business, with just the right set of features. So, when your business grows, the CRM solution scales along with it. 

7. Advanced reporting

It is a known fact that every business needs to quantify efforts. Take the case of Excel, for example. It gives you pivot tables, bar graphs, and pie charts for reporting, but there are capped limits imposed on the amount of data it can handle. 

Excel fails miserably when it comes to complex reports spanning across timelines and involving a massive number of records. 

Sales CRM solutions let you create a variety of reports on demand. And if you want to create a quick report, you can choose a template from a typical list of use-cases. 

8. Integrations

You can forget about integrating Excel with other useful tools. They are simply not built to handle this kind of functionality. 

On the other hand, sales CRM solutions integrate with many essential tools. For example, if you’re maintaining mailing lists on MailChimp, you can seamlessly integrate your CRM solution with it. This helps you manage your sales and marketing campaigns from one spot. 

You can also create automation workflows between apps through Zapier. For example, if a visitor responds to your Facebook Ad, you can set up a ‘Zap’ to automatically capture their data into the CRM.

9. Data security

A spreadsheet is always at risk of being shared without your knowledge. Even if you set visibility permissions, users can still duplicate the document and manipulate information. 

Your data can easily be transferred to a storage device by any employee, and once the integrity is lost, it can never be recovered.

So, you can see how easy it is to lose your data with Excel. 

This ceases to be a problem with cloud-based CRM solutions. Your data is always secure, even when you’re not at the office. Different sales CRM solutions have different ways of ensuring the privacy and security of customers. You need to ensure that the CRM solution you choose has enriched security protocols before you decide to buy.

10. Customization

Let’s be honest  — with Excel and most spreadsheet solutions, what you see is what you get. Nothing more, nothing less. 

While it is true that you can download free-to-use templates, this is akin to fitting a new frame on an old car  — it won’t improve its performance! 

The layout remains the same regardless of what you do, you cannot create dedicated profiles for different users, and ultimately, you have to play by Excel’s limited set of rules. 

The customization possibilities are limitless in a CRM solution. You can automatically assign leads to reps through territory assignment, modify layouts using custom fields, and even rename core modules.

Here’s what it looks like:


With a CRM solution in place, creating different profiles for different users is a standard. If your business is in the B2C industry, you can even choose to opt-out of including the name of your customer’s company on their profile if it is not relevant.

So there you have it. Both Excel and CRM are high-utility tools, but they’re designed for different needs. If you’re looking for a single, uncomplicated setup that takes care of everything related to your sales, CRM is the better choice.

P.S. If you want to give CRMs a shot but don’t know where to start, we can help. We’ve put together a CRM Cheat Sheet—11 factors that’ll help you choose the sales CRM.

We built Freshsales CRM based on our own pain point: we didn’t want to juggle multiple tools for basic sales needs. Soon we realized most small businesses were grappling with this problem, so we decided to keep Freshsales affordable. We know how hard it is to pay big when you’re starting out.

And these legacy CRMs where you need to pay big, are also not necessarily worth the investment as they most likely come with hidden costs.

Drop by and take a look at our features and pricing. When you’re happy with what you see, sign up for a 21-day free sales CRM trial and try Freshsales for yourself. Our support team will be available 24×5 during your trial to help you in any way we can.

Happy selling!