SME Guide - Managing leads in spreadsheets vs CRM - Challenges & solutions

· 4 min read

One day, Raj had an idea for a business. He started his business (SME) and ran it successfully.
He managed all his customers information in a spreadsheet. His service was received well in the market and he foresaw a future demand in the market.

So he recruited 3 sales people to support the growth.

Everyday, each sales team member will input his/her own entries in separate spreadsheet and Raj maintains a master sheet which combines all the sales data. This started creating lot of Challenges.

Challenge 1 – User & Data security

  • Raj faced difficulties to maintain different versions of spreadsheet files from their team members.
  • Providing access to these spreadsheet files became a hard job – especially when new team member joins or existing team member leaves the organization
  • Security controls were made to protect the precious customer data within the company and against data losses due to hardware failure – This results in redundant and insecure backups.
  • There were no audit trails of who updated what & when

Challenge 2 – Sales Tracking

  • Raj being the head of sales wanted to have the full visibility to Sales Data. But he couldn’t easily find all the customer related data at one place (Accounts-Opportunities-Contacts)
  • Overall deal value, deal flow and sales funnel took lot of time to comprehend, analyse and visualise with multiple touch points
  • Doing Sales forecasts become harder as the team grew.
  • It took lot of time to understand the sales trends, resource requirements, markets working, successful customers,
  • Lot of up-sell possibilities & renewal opportunities were missed by the team due to lack of cohesive data.
  • Tracking the next steps and followups were cumbersome for all team members.
  • Lead scoring is not automatic
  • Extensive metadata (custom fields, tags) about a lead were not captured like updates about the customers and competitors

Challenge 3 – Perfomance Reporting

  • Raj also faced hurdles when he wanted to track the individual performances of the sales team.
  • Lead assignment in the team took lot of time
  • Closing Rates were not captured automatically
  • Automatic Weekly / Monthly Reports were hard to configure
  • More time was spent on fiddling with spreadsheet formulae

Challenge 4 – Customer Segmentation

  • Raj wanted to segment his customers, identify patterns among the customers and personalise his services and marketing.
  • Dynamic segmentation of customers was not possible without copying the data to multiple spreadsheets.
  • Raj’s team started providing the same content, offers, emails, or sales calls to all their customers and potential customers irrespective of the deal stage, geography or industry they belong.

Challenge 5 – Integrated Data & Marketing Campaign Management

  • No single source of truth – every customer interaction right from emails, calls, customer inquiries, customer surveys, promises made by sales person, important notes about the customer were held in silos and not available to everyone in sales team.
  • Artefacts (like invoices, proposals) shared with customers are maintained separately from contacts.
  • No direct integration with any marketing channels. This involved in sending customer data separately to each channels
  • Marketing campaign results were not correlated with the customer data


  • Raj would have benefitted with a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software where the leads are managed across users in a secure way. This would have provided much needed sales insights which was hard to obtain in spreadsheets.
  • A good integrated CRM & Marketing campaign platform like Teleduce would have helped Raj to cater the needs of lead management and marketing at one place.
  • Multi-channel campaign management platforms like Teleduce also helps in getting a cohesive data about a customer / lead across all the channels. This also helps in deciding the right channels for the growth.

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