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6 Critical things you can't do with a spreadsheet CRM

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Author photo: Kayla Lee

Kayla Lee


It’s a dangerous game to use a spreadsheet as a CRM.

Salespeople get stuck using spreadsheets like Excel or Google Sheets because they’re convenient, accessible, and free. The problem with that is, many startups and entrepreneurs have hoards of contact data tucked away and gathering dust—in an Excel file.

Half of sales teams report improved performance with a CRM, and over 60% of teams report that their CRM impacts their business. It’s time to implement a CRM so you can stay organized and make use of all that contact data.

In this article, we’re going to cover the top tasks you need to manage that you can’t do well in a spreadsheet.

1. Measure and improve your key performance indicators (KPIs).

This one takes the top spot because—you can’t improve what you don’t measure. If you want your team to improve performance over time, then you need to measure progress.

All teams have different KPIs, and another benefit of working in a CRM is that you can tailor the CRM to measure the KPIs specific to your team or company needs.

A few KPIs you want to track:

  • New prospects or opportunities — It’s essential for sales managers and reps to know what’s been added to the pipe. You can track the size of these new deals, too. An accurate representation of the dollar amount in your pipeline will allow you to make more effective plans and prepare accurate reports for executives or investors.
  • Acquisition rate — How will you know if you’ve improved the rate at which your team closes deals unless you track that? A CRM will help you understand how often you win vs. how often you lose deals. This can also help you spot (and fix) lead qualification issues if you notice patterns in the types of deals lost.
  • Upsell opportunities — For companies that upsell, it can increase revenue by up to 30%. Staying on top of those opportunities is vital. With a CRM, you can track what your customers buy and spot opportunities to upsell new products, features, or services.
Image for post Hack your sheets 👇

Hack your sheets 👇

Learn how to use a CRM to be more efficient with your spreadsheet data + workflows with this webinar.

2. Make accurate predictions about your funnel.

We’ve discussed how spreadsheets can’t really track performance. And, if they can’t track performance, they can’t be accurate. Do you think potential investors, board members, or your executive team want to see inaccurate numbers?

Even if you don’t have any higher-ups, you still need to make accurate predictions for your own business purposes. For example, you might need to get a loan to cover your slow season. But if you have no accurate data on your funnel, how would you know which season was slow for your business?

Forecasting and predicting requires a lot of number crunching. It’s something that you’d need to pay a financial expert to do unless you have a CRM with algorithms that do it for you. Beyond crunching numbers, a CRM can create actionable reports in a matter of seconds, so you don’t need to waste time manipulating data in pivot tables in Excel.

The Opportunities report from Copper shows pipeline amount as well as a rep leaderboard.

Opportunities Report from Copper shows pipeline amount as well as which reps are responsible for specific amounts.

3. Don’t miss opportunities to close deals.

Another huge benefit of a CRM is that all of its integrations and data can make sales cycles on average 8-14% shorter. A shorter sales cycle means you can close more deals year-round and improve revenue. (To keep your team on top of each step in the sales cycle, make use of CRM mobile notifications.)

Today, notifications are a must-have. Salespeople are busy—they don’t have time or headspace to remember to call so-and-so on Tuesday at 11:45am. Salespeople need tools that enhance their prospecting, and getting real-time alerts is a huge benefit.

With a CRM, you can set reminders and notifications to alert you and your team of any changes within the CRM.

Let’s say a BDR (business development rep) moves a prospect from “first contact” to “time to follow up.” It’s vital that the appropriate salesperson or account manager is alerted of that change. That way, they can follow up at the right time, and your company doesn’t lose a potential deal due to poor communication.

Copper’s mobile notifications can help reps stay focused on getting deals through the funnel.

4. Know who is contributing what.

If you’re working in a spreadsheet, chances are, you have no idea which teammate is accomplishing what. It’s essential that you be able to track not only your own performance but the performance of each teammate. How else would you know who needs improvement, or whose techniques the rest of your team should emulate?

With a CRM, you can view individual contribution from many angles and KPIs.

For example, you could view the total pipeline contribution by salesperson. Or, you might want to see the average deal size per salesperson or win-loss ratio per rep. That way, you know who needs extra training—and who needs rewards. If you know who’s meeting their goals, you can reward them with the appropriate amount of commission (or another incentive).

Copper’s reports will show which reps are meeting, exceeding, or are behind on sales.

5. Set attainable goals for your team.

If you’re managing a team, it’s important that you set attainable goals so you don’t crush morale and motivation. Low morale and motivation equate to lower sales numbers. Goals that are too high or low will debilitate your sales engine. If you can gather accurate data with a CRM, you can set more realistic goals.

Not only that, you'll also have an easier time tracking the team’s contribution to every stage of your pipeline, your average deal size, which types of leads tend to convert best, and so much more. Plus, you’ll have numbers on individual rep performance. With this information, you’ll be able to set attainable sales goals that are tailored to each rep.

Copper’s Salesperson Leaderboard showing rep performance with team KPIs.

6. Lessen the data-entry load on your reps.

The worst thing you can do to your sales reps is ensure they spend less time selling. Sales reps who use a CRM are more than 26% more productive. With spreadsheets, reps have to enter each piece of information manually, and they also have to move data around (for example, through sales funnel stages).

Plus, you don’t want to leave all that opportunity for human error—which can happen when you’re relying on your sales team to move each and every piece of data around.

A CRM will make it easy for reps to input the necessary information. You can customize the fields that reps need to fill out for each new prospect. And, with modern software integrations, a lot of this data is entered automatically. For example, your CRM might use an integration with Google or Twitter to search the internet for contact data, company size, or company revenue—automatically. This automation leaves your rep with much more time to focus on selling.

Ditch the spreadsheet.

If measuring and optimizing the performance of your sales organization isn’t enough to convince you to cave and get a CRM... let’s recap some of the takeaways:

  • Using CRM data can help you set attainable goals and keep your team motivated and performing at their peak.
  • You’ll close more deals with a CRM—plus they make sales cycles on average 8-14% shorter.

Do yourself, your sales team, and your company a huge favor. Get off the spreadsheets and into a CRM where you can use data to scale your efforts.

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