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After looking at a spreadsheet for hours on end, those pages start to look kind of like prison bars, don’t they? The cells look like, well, cells. Spreadsheets have been a useful tool for managing information, but now, the amount of data available is too much to effectively navigate with the average spreadsheet — or, worse still, the notepad.

Do you find yourself relying heavily on spreadsheets for inputting customer data? Are you at a point where the spreadsheet isn’t keeping up with the demands of the business? Is important information ending up on a lot of notes stuck to your monitor? Most importantly, are your customers falling through the cracks?

To defeat the cells before they defeat you, consider a CRM application. “CRM” stands for “Customer Relationship Management.” It manages your customer information in one place. Without leaving the app, you can view contact info, follow up via email or social media, manage tasks, and track your performance, among other benefits. Implementing the right CRM can increase sales efficiency. You can close more deals, boost sales, and improve forecast accuracy.

In our new e-book, Your Complete CRM Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started With CRM, we’ll help you determine if it’s time to invest in CRM.

Let’s review a couple of the signs that your current system isn’t holding up and it’s time for an upgrade.

Is there a single source of truth?

Think about all those spreadsheets and all those notes. As organizations grow, simple systems for data management often don’t evolve. New departments develop their own local solutions and soon you’ve got a bunch of silos, none of them communicating. Undoing that tangle can seem arduous, which is why business leaders keep slogging through their messy system.

Is your visibility limited?

Do you have a hard time seeing what your salespeople are doing? Are you blind to the customer-employee interaction? These are the “unknown unknowns.” Without knowing what you don’t know, it’s impossible to determine whether problems exist, whether change is warranted, and where that would happen. A CRM creates that visibility.

Are you mobile?

Salespeople do a lot of their business in the field. They should have access to all the customer information on their devices. If there’s an important phone number stuck to a monitor back at the office, those opportunities are lost.

Can you scale?

Would you be able to handle your business growing from 20 to 200? Would you just create more silos as you scrambled to accommodate new employees, customers, and data? A CRM can handle growth, however unexpected.

Beyond being just a buzzword, a CRM will improve productivity by driving leads to the right sales rep, save time by improving communication, and boost your intelligence with AI. Artificial intelligence is built into the CRM analyzes data and allows leaders to discover critical insights about customers and their preferences, predicts the best actions to move relationships forward, and recommends and automates actions to increase sales productivity.

Oh, and your mobile game will get a lot better.

Think of CRM as a prison break from the cells and the silos. Think of it as a way of using information to connect a company rather than isolate its departments and its people from its customers. Think of how neat your workspace will look without those sticky notes.

Read on to learn more about the advantages of adopting a CRM, how it works, and how to craft a CRM strategy.