CRM in Google Sheets for business: pros and cons




At first glance, maintaining a customer base in Google Sheets is the easiest way. You don’t need to spend money on buying and setting up special programs or training employees. There are no risks, as an unsuccessful table can always be changed. That is why many entrepreneurs prefer to create a kind of CRM in Google Sheets. Let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using Google Sheets for business.

How to create a CRM in Google Sheets

For basic accounting of customers and transactions, it is enough to create one or more tables and link them together. In such a CRM, you can maintain a customer base, perform various calculations, and create reports with graphs.

To conduct sales in Google Sheets, you can use formulas from the simplest (for example, the amount of revenue for a certain period) to quite complex.

In addition, Google Sheets allows you to build graphs and charts to visualize data in reports. However, another free tool from Google, Data Studio, is better suited for this purpose.

What to do if you don’t want to practice building tables and creating formulas? There are a huge number of Google Sheets templates for business on the Internet. You can download ready-made Google Spreadsheet templates for accounting for finances, customers, sales, planning, and other tasks. You just need to adapt them a little bit to your needs, and your CRM in Google Docs is ready.

Automation of Google Sheets for CRM

After some time of using CRM in the table, the question will arise: how to automate Google Sheets. There are 3 ways to automate Google Sheets.

The first is the so-called macros. They allow you to automate typical repetitive operations without programming. To create a macro in Google Sheets, you need to find the “Record Macro” item in the menu and perform the sequence of actions that you want to automate. The program will remember these steps and will be able to perform them independently.

The second way to automate Google Sheets is through add-ins and plugins. You can install a ready-made plugin or order a programmer to create your own. Plugins significantly expand the capabilities of CRM in Google Sheets. For example, you can set up automatic email campaigns or display customer addresses on Google Maps.

Another option to automate Google Sheets is to use the API. In this case, you can’t do without a programmer.

Almost always, CRM in Google Docs needs to be integrated with other services. For example, you can set up automatic saving of leads in Google Sheets when you receive requests from a website.

So, CRM in Google Docs will have to go through a long and thorny path of trial and error before it becomes functional enough. Is it worth the effort? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of sales and customer accounting in Google Sheets.

Advantages of CRM in Google Sheets

The first important advantage of Google Sheets for business is the price, or rather, its absence. The service is completely free, which is crucial for entrepreneurs with a small income. However, to implement at least some of the CRM functions in Google Docs, you will have to pay for the work of a programmer.

Nevertheless, the basic functionality of Google Sheets for sales accounting can satisfy modest needs. Data can be entered and stored in an organized manner, processed using logical and mathematical operations, and reports can be generated based on them.

A significant advantage of Google Spreadsheets for customer management compared to Excel is the ability to collaboratively edit and update data in real time. In this way, the spreadsheets become more like a CRM system and eliminate the need to constantly send updated files to colleagues.

Parallel access and change history also allow for partial control over the work of employees, but it is quite limited.

Disadvantages of maintaining a customer base in Google Sheets

Undoubtedly, a customer base in Google Sheets is much better than notepad and Excel. But a closer look reveals many disadvantages of CRM in Tables that will reduce the quality and slow down the work of the entire company.

Mistakes. When using Google Sheets instead of CRM, get ready for constant errors. Correcting errors becomes a daily routine, so much so that sometimes you want to hire a separate employee for this work. Why do they occur?

First, Google Docs has almost no options for data unification. This problem can be partially solved by using drop-down lists. But data such as phone numbers or email addresses will constantly suffer. Because of this, duplicates will accumulate in the database and problems with information processing will arise.

Secondly, CRM in Google Sheets does not have any protection against inattention. Operations with a table where someone hid some cells or forgot to remove filters lead to disastrous results: data is lost and formulas do not work correctly. Not to mention that data from a cell can be easily deleted by accidentally pressing any key.

Mobile version. Google Sheets has a mobile version, but it can be used mainly for viewing information. Data can be entered and edited, but it is extremely inconvenient. So, no access to a computer means no work.

What else is missing from Google Sheets for Business?

  • The ability to store the history of customer contacts (especially important if the sale is repeated or multi-stage).
  • Differentiation of access rights: there is no way to prohibit viewing a part of the customer base if it is in one file. The only way out is to split the database into separate documents.
  • Task manager: if you plan to create a CRM in Google Sheets, you will have to find another service for tasks and reminders.
  • Security. Although Google itself provides a fairly high level of security, the cloud regularly fails and some data is made publicly available – even through search engines. For example, in 2018, Yandex indexed a huge number of Google Docs, all of which were included in the search results.


Is it possible to create a CRM in Google Sheets? With the right skills, patience, and good imagination, it is possible. However, such a CRM will resemble a house of cards in terms of reliability rather than a serious program. It is worth preparing for constant errors, failures, and changes in settings. All of this requires money and time (and time, as everyone remembers, is also money).

In turn, a CRM system is a turnkey solution that already includes all the necessary functions for doing business with customers. No matter how extensive the functionality of Google Sheets is, it cannot replace a CRM system for customer accounting and sales.