From Spreadsheets to a CRM in Five Simple Steps

Have you been delaying moving into a CRM or getting a new CRM because it feels totally overwhelming?

But you know it’s time for a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool because…

  1. you are spending time on a daily basis looking for information about a client or prospect that you swore you wrote somewhere.

  2. you have too many clients to keep the details of conversations "in your head".

  3. your homegrown system is starting to feel like you are developing a CRM.

There are a lot of CRM options, which can make it super difficult to figure out. I provide a couple of tools and five easy steps to make selecting a CRM super simple.

Step 1 - Develop an understanding of the features and functions of a CRM.

The best tool I have found to learn about any business technology is G2 Crowd. It is a crowd-sourced software review platform, so you are getting real users providing reviews of all kinds of software. G2 Crowd has created easy to understand categorizations of the software including feature lists and comparisons, so you can evaluate apples to apples.

For a deeper dive into the different types of CRMs, join me for a Facebook Live discussion on Friday, 3/22 at 9:30a EST.

Step 2 - Rank the most important capabilities for your business.

This is so important because all CRMs are not exactly alike. They all have their own approach to solving the problem of keeping track of interactions between your business, clients, and prospects. They will also have different strengths and weaknesses.

Here is the CRM Evaluation I use with my clients. I have incorporated topics in here that are about the company and support as well. Small businesses don't always have IT support so you need to ensure they have a solid support program and help documentation.

Go through the features and set an important to your business. This will help you select the handful of CRMs to evaluate.

Step 3 - Select 3-5 CRMs to evaluate.

When evaluating technology, the rule of thumb is to look at a minimum of three products and no more than five. That allows you to select a low cost option, high cost option, and a couple that are well rated.

Step 4 - Schedule Demos with each of those and rate them using the Google Sheet.

You can watch videos of all the CRMs online, but you want to do the live demo option. Being able to ask questions on those features that are High Importance to you, is super useful. You can share a unique business case and listen to their proposed approach. The professionalism with which they demo is also important because you get a real feel for the company.

After each demo, go to the Google Sheet and rate them and write some notes. Add the cost assessment for each CRM as well.

Step 5 - Take your top CRM for a test drive.

After seeing all of them, you will likely go back and re-rate the first CRMs demoed and that's OK because Step 4 is a learning process. I promise, there will be one or two CRMs that are front runners. The best next step is to take them for a test drive, by signing up for the trial period.

  1. Is the user interface intuitive?

  2. Is the Help documentation at the right level of detail for you?

  3. Do you like the way it works?

The best CRM solution is the one you will use consistently. The CRM Evaluation helps you make trade-offs between cost, capabilities, and feature differences. Trust me, if you follow these steps you will be an informed buyer and make a decision that makes sense for your business.

Join me for a Facebook Live discussion on Friday, 3/22 at 9:30a EST.


MSD Advisors is passionate about creating kick-ass systems that unchain you from your desk and get you out into the sunlight! After working together, you can say goodbye to frenetic action and worry because your business will run like clockwork. You will reclaim time to focus on well, whatever you want!

There is no better time than now to get started! Schedule a breakthrough call today.