As a manager of a business or leading the way in your department, the difficulty with smaller businesses is often their inadequate systems. When joining the business late or building it from the ground up, more often than not the operation runs on basic To-Do lists, notes and not much more! Businesses that rely on purely manual systems are not much better organized.
A less structured business operation works for a while but is sure to be frustrating as well. In many ways, a company is only as good as the systems it uses. When they aren’t developed out, it’s hard to make forward progress to grow the business successfully.
Contact Information and Tracking Contact Points
When talking to potential customers or current ones, you need a reliable way to record everything. When no contact points or sales conversations are being tracked, balls get dropped. Even small databases are barely being used to do the heavy lifting. Employees might make use of Microsoft Outlook for their contact list or an Excel spreadsheet to make contracts searchable, but that barely scratches the surface of what’s possible today.
Some companies even have an Access database and a front-end interface developed to store basic contact information and add a few relevant notes. However, it’s not Enterprise-ready, so it won’t scale well as the business grows, which hampers its use. This makes it difficult for both the customer service and sales team to use the same database concurrently and avoid data conflicts or corruption.
Bringing It All Together with Google Sheets?
Instead of using Excel extensively, some organizations have taken advantage of the live editing feature in Google Sheets. This is an online Excel-compatible spreadsheet that multiple employees can have access to at the same time and see any changes in real-time.
Multiple workbooks can be created, and individual sheets added to track different information about the business. The information included might be weekly sales, which buyers made purchases that week, and a variety of other useful data points.
The problem with using spreadsheets this way is that it’s not easily quantifiable. If the sales manager wishes to report to a Director which customers bought the most this year and last year, they’ll have a difficult time getting accurate information this way. It also won’t scale because as it’s used more frequently, the business picture will become ever more confusing. Essentially, it works okay… until it doesn’t!
Switching Over to a Dedicated CRM Solution
The purpose of customer relationship management (CRM) software is to solve problems by bringing relevant information to the business together in a central location.
When using a variety of software packages, especially online SaaS ones, useful data is held in different places. What works best in this scenario is to utilize a tool that can integrate with a variety of business tools (like Xero, Campaign Monitor, RingCentral, etc.) in the cloud, to provide the best of both worlds.
PieSync is designed to not only provide useful integrations with the most popular business software but also offers bi-directional contact syncing to get access to contact lists stored in different software too. The people at PieSync have also recently covered some of the better CRMs for smaller companies, which we link to here: https://www.piesync.com/blog/the-best-crms-for-small-businesses-pros-cons-and-what-you-need-to-know/.
There comes a time in the life of every business when cobbled together systems are harming its future potential. Using more advanced CRM solutions and clever cloud syncing/integration solutions resolves this issue before the growing business runs up against operational problems due to poor system management.