Excel (Google spreadsheets) is a program of all time. Exactly it served as the prototype of all modern CRM systems
in the world. Managers start using Excel when there are a lot of leads and it's difficult to write them in a notebook. For example, you have advertised and got 5 new applications per day. Obviously, it becomes difficult to make notes in a notebook every time. And it becomes difficult to convey information to other managers.
At this moment, what was in the notebook is transferred to excel. First, it's a regular table with clients' contact information. As you automate and improve the sales process, additional cells begin to appear with the status of the client, the date of the next call and the amount of the transaction. Contacts accumulate, and there are a lot of cells, and a complete nightmare begins. Each manager has its own file, he works in his own way, and there is no data exchange. Pros of Excel (Google spreadsheets):
- it's free;
- it's easy;
- everyone understands it;
- there's no need to learn to work in this program;
- basic automation;
- all information is in electronic form. Cons of Excel:
- there's no data security;
- managers can pick up the entire database or delete it;
- there's no data exchange;
- there's no automatic file filling;
- there's no task control;
- there's no task reminder;
- there's no way to synchronize data;
- there's no integration with other services;
- after a while, the spreadsheet will look like hell.
It's okay to start automating sales in Excel. Everyone starts from this, and I don't know a single company that didn't do this. But the main thing is not to get stuck at this stage. Unfortunately, most companies do exactly that. I believe this is a crucial moment in business automation. This is comparable to a school. When you start selling, this is grade 5. Write in a notebook - grade 8. Work in excel - 10-11 grade. And then it's time to finish school and go to university. So it is with sales. It is necessary to rebuild yourself and go to a new level, to implement CRM.
Probably, in your student days, you came across such guys who should already study at the university by age, but they got stuck in school with their way of thinking. Or vice versa. They are already grown people, but mentally they're still students. The same is true in business. I often see really big and old companies which got stuck in Excel. And in this case, there's a need to move to another stage as quickly as possible.
The main problem at this stage is the absence of a desire to change. This applies to business owners, managers, and sales managers. Let's be honest with ourselves. We all don't like changes. We like to be in a comfort zone. And it's true. You need to admit your weak points and take some.
Business owners are entrepreneurs by nature and they are ready to go into the unknown. You cannot say the same about sales managers. Managers don't want to optimize and change anything. Moreover, they will discredit your system and find a lot of proof that CRM is bad. At the initial stage, it really will be bad. Switching from Excel to CRM is the most painful stage.
When all work s done in Excel the business owner depends on managers because he has no control. He doesn't know how they conduct their affairs, haw many calls they do, who thy call to, etc. On the one hand, it is convenient. The business owner doesn't interfere with the work, but the money comes. At first sight, it's good, but there is no security of the data. In any convenient case, the star-manager takes a client base opens, a similar business across the street and poach all clients.
I want to tell you the story of life. I have one friend who has a business connected with the import and export of non-ferrous metals. The company is quite large - 80-100 people. The business model was like this: there's contextual advertising on the website, applications were distributed manually by managers and there were cold calls to enterprises. In a word, it was a "classic business" for today.
They didn't have CRM and mailing. Work with clients took place in personal communication with the manager in personal messengers or by email. The dialogue went in "here and now" format. If the client needed something, then active work went on. If he didn't, there was no further newsletter and communication. They were losing more than 90% of potential clients, but due to large bills they still existed.
Leads were distributed among managers, and leaders of the company didn't know what happened to them next. The business owner accompanied only major transactions. Small deals were given to managers in manual mode. They sold - good. They didn't sell - well, okay, we'll find new ones.
As a rule, such companies resemble the state in the state. And "star-managers" are in the role of a small state. Such guys can alone make 30-50% of the company's profits, and nobody touches them. Just let them sell. But as we know from history, small states often want independence and start making riot. Star-managers do the same.
At one moment my friend's manager thought "I'm good enough for that too" and opened exactly the same company. Obviously, he took with him all the Excel spreadsheets with all client bases. He took half of all clients from my friend and almost ruined his business. After that, my friend quickly implemented CRM and provided lead protection. Each manager began to see only his leads and couldn't get them from the general base of contacts.
A bit different story has happened with another friend. But he was on the other side of the barricade. He works as a leading manager in a very large corporation, where the old ERP system was implemented. But it was so old that half the data didn't get there. The company's top management decided to implement a new CRM system and automate the sales process. In a personal conversation in the kitchen, my friend said that he was the first saboteur of this implementation.
He consciously understands that for the company it's a good and absolutely right decision. But for him, it's not a favorable situation at all. The company where he works sells a very complex B2B product, where all sales are at the level of top managers of large factories. Contacts are gathered over the years and serve as an airbag for the manager. All the contacts of the heads of departments of large factories were on the phone of my friend, and naturally, he didn't want to share them.
Think about it, employees of the company consciously don't want to automate the process, because they will lose power. Then what can we say about such unconscious implementation obstacles as laziness, getting out of the comfort zone, the difficulty of studying, etc. If there is resistance, it's okay. Everyone faces it. You are not the only one.