CRM Excel: Which CRM Should you Choose as an Excel Replacement?

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CRM Excel: Which CRM Should you Choose as an Excel Replacement?

Excel is a great tool for so many different tasks. But for lead management it has its limitations. We look at CRM as an Excel replacement and which one you should choose.

Last update on March 21

First, an ode to Excel. The software, created by Microsoft, is one of the most used programs in the workplace. From chart building to data input, it covers a wide range of areas and is the go-to software for many companies.

Startups and small businesses even use it to manage their sales leads. In the beginning, Excel works like a charm. It's an easy and effective way to create leads on a spreadsheet and follow their process to conversion.

There is no denying its power as a multi-tasking software service. If you are looking for a job, knowledge of Excel is a prerequisite. But does that mean it is the software solution for all of your sales needs? After all, it's not called CRM Excel. Ultimately, it's a spreadsheet.

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

One of Excel’s main advantages is its ease of use. Everyone can get to grips with the software; there isn't a steep learning curve for mastering the basics. That means any onboarding process involving Excel doesn’t need to be extensive.

Most people are taught the basics of Excel while in school or college. They are comfortable with the software by the time the move into the workplace. In terms of sales, it’s easy enough to create a basic structure, add leads and include information on them.


The software works adequately for a few sales here and there. But as a definitive process for moving leads through a pipeline, it runs into trouble. Certain actions that are important to salespeople aren’t included in Excel.

Certain actions that are important to salespeople aren’t included in Excel.

It’s not centralized to your process. Yes, Excel works for managing some leads, but the moment you need to keep track several at the same time, amongst multiple staff, the software has notable shortcomings. That is because it isn’t specialized for sales.

Creating any sort of notification or reminder is not a straightforward process either. Sales reps need to juggle several leads at once, and having a notification system to remind them of meetings and calls is vital. It's easy for reps to add their leads to Excel, only to lose sight of them once other meetings and tasks take precedence while they’re spending more time trying to set notifications.

Read more about Excel limitations in this article

Personalized, Specialized Software as an Excel Replacement

In 2019, the onus is on software dedicated to solving specific pain points. Excel has many advantages, but its ability to multitask can actually work against it. We live in a plug-and-play culture where several software solutions seamlessly integrate with each other.

The benefit points to cheaper software and consumers only paying for what they need. From a tech point of view, it's easier to manage. The need for in-house tech teams to solve issues more or less becomes redundant.

Once your company has reached a stage of consistent growth, it's going to need a system designed specifically for sales. Not something that is generic and only works when you’re taking those first steps into the world of business.

You Don’t Need a CRM

You have decided that your company has outgrown Excel. What comes next is a solution that fits your requirements. Many companies make the transition from Excel straight to customer relationship management (CRM).

While CRM software can manage leads, like Excel, it’s not specialized. Moving to CRM is a bit like running before you can walk. The software is better designed to look after customers, rather than acquire new ones.

Moving to CRM is a bit like running before you can walk.

Salespeople don’t enjoy using CRM software because of its dependence on inputting extensive amounts of data. If you go with a CRM, don’t be surprised to see your reps returning to Excel, as they think it's easier and much more practical.

When the time does come to move to a new system, the smoothest transitions are to other software that centres around simplicity. Don’t give your reps something that is complicated -- the leap will be too far and they are unlikely to use it.

Lead Management Software as an Excel Replacement

Startups and SMBs are better off turning to lead management software. It is designed with salespeople in mind, therefore they feel more encouraged to use it. The reason: because it keeps things simple and always focuses on the next step.

Startups and SMBs are better off turning to lead management software

As a salesperson you need to know the next step, which is why it’s essential to have a tool that easily manages several prospects at the same time. That way both managers and reps have clear visibility over what action needs to be taken. The chances of missing out on important leads significantly reduce.

The majority of lead management software is now SaaS (software as a service), which means its easily accessible and teams and managers have access to the whole pipeline. You don’t have to pay for a year's worth of usage upfront either.

It’s a case of trying for it free, then if you like the service, you pay monthly. SaaS software also features a mobile app so data can be accessed from everywhere, which is necessary due to the importance of reps spending time in the field. Reps can literally respond on the go.

The best way to tell if our lead management software is the perfect fit for your company is by trying the service. no offers a free trial for 15 days. It is enough time to get a feel and implement the service into your set up. Oh, and it seamlessly imports all those original leads you were working on in Excel.

Just think of it as a continuation from your initial Excel spreadsheets, only it’s a system designed specifically for lead management - and is centralized to the sales process.

Why not start with a trial and see that you can both benefit from Excel ease of use and CRM resources?

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