Are the fundamental building blocks of your business kept in spreadsheets? Fast insights into sales pipeline and dashboards, revenue forecasting, customer information and lead management are crucial to a sustainable business. Learn why it may be time to level-up beyond Excel to position your SMB for growth. 


There comes a point in the growth of a small to medium business (SMB) when the owner will sit back, look at the vast amount of spreadsheets that now house critical data and think: there must be a better way. 

This reality-check comes quicker to SMB leaders during uncertain times as they’re forced to juggle competing priorities. According to Salesforce’s latest Small and Medium Business Trends Report, leaders say customer expectations for online transactions alone have driven 63% to now manage an ecommerce presence (with many adding ecommerce in the last 12 months!). 

Growing these types of digital capabilities has become the critical focus for many SMBs; 71% say their business survived the pandemic because of digitisation. SMB leaders are digitising to boost productivity, improve business agility and enhance data security. 

For SMB leaders still using disconnected excel spreadsheets to host critical data, this is what the new competition looks like.

Small business CRMs give you what matters — time

Creating one-to-one relationships with your customers is what sets you apart from your competitors. 

Without a customer relationship management (CRM) system that efficiently manages business data, SMB leaders will often go to sleep feeling anxious about customers and prospects they haven’t responded to. For any interactions that day, they’ll need to manually add details to the right spreadsheet on what was covered and when to follow up.

The change from spreadsheets to a CRM software is when you, the business leader, steps out from working within the business and find the time to work on the business. With intelligent automation processes, and the ability to build a diverse and comprehensive customer reference database that supports lead management, sales pipeline and forecasting, customer service analysis and more.

All those hours of manual data entry and the stress of remembering previous customer conversations are taken away, giving you back the resource that matters — time.

The costs of using Excel over CRM systems

To put this into perspective, if you're working with a customer, how much does 1 hour of your time cost? Now think about how many hours per week you spend updating, collating and organising your spreadsheets. Is your reliance on spreadsheets and monotonous data entry detrimental to revenue and growth?  

Cloud start-up Itoc is a recent Salesforce Trailblazer that needed to transform its sales cycle in the midst of huge growth. Itoc adopted Salesforce to simplify the sales process, reduce overheads and build a single source of clean data truth. This digital transformation helped them create business predictability and consistent revenue growth — two crucial health features to any SMB.

Salesforce CRM for small business

Salesforce’s small business CRM gives leaders the tools to capture new leads and effectively manage the prospects, right through the sales cycle to becoming an active customer. The personalised email templates provide consistent messaging and the intuitive activity tracking ensures that no conversation is lost or forgotten.

With these features at your fingertips on desktop, laptop or mobile device, Salesforce enables small business leaders to focus time and energy on marketing their brand, strengthening relationships with key customers, and looking at future growth opportunities for the business. 

Don’t hold back your business with manual data processing and disconnected spreadsheets. Level-up with a CRM software that gives you back time to work on what matters most. 

Want to find out more about how a CRM can help your SMB? Download the free CRM Handbook.

Note: this piece was originally published on 16 September, 2015, and has been updated.