When you started your business, did you use a spreadsheet for customer names and purchase history?
You wouldn’t be alone if you did.
But as a customer base grows and relationships deepen ad hoc methods become less effective.
Mature and maturing business alike are better served by customer database software. Sometimes, it’s called CRM (for customer relationship management).
No matter what you call it, using a purpose-built system for managing customer data is essential for any business.
To learn more about how a customer database can help your business to new levels of success. read on!
It may seem less expensive to keep customer lists, purchases, notes about calls, etc. in a spreadsheet but it isn’t.
First, it’s challenging to get everyone who interacts with customers to enter relevant information in one place. Most often, call notes are made in one program or on a scrap of paper. Purchase info is in an accounting file and so on.
Second, it takes skill and resources to customize a spreadsheet to hold and release data in a way that makes sense for your business.
But with customer database software, entering data from notes to dollar figures is streamlined. Time is saved while entering, retrieving, and analyzing data.
Customer databases can also help marketers reduce customer acquisition costs.
High-quality customer database software has a good interface. In this case, “good” means it removes or minimizes procedural and psychological barriers to adding data.
Have you ever asked a sales team to enter data? Most often, it’s a challenge. The average salesperson will ignore tasks that don’t appear to directly help close a sale.
Good data entry and reports interfaces help sales teams see how adding data helps their efforts.
Of course, sales teams aren’t the only ones who can be lax about recording details.
Yet, with a good CRM, sales and marketing teams can track results, see funnels, and other data that means something to them. And when they can see how the output of their input helps them do their jobs, compliance increases.
One of the many useful outputs of customer database software is trend identification.
Allow a variety of business functions to add data. Sales, marketing, customer service, accounting, and others with direct customer interaction have valuable information to share. Combine that information and bigger pictures can form.
For example, seeing trends in past conversion rates and campaign interaction can improve decision-making about future activities.
Give the right people access to customer database software and watch their efficiency improve.
Salespeople are more valuable when they interact with customers to build relationships, identify issues, and provide solutions. Not when entering data.
Accounting teams are more valuable ensuring financial compliance, identifying opportunities for cost-savings, and managing cash flow. Not when entering data.
In other words, when it’s easy to add and retrieve data and notes, people can focus on the part of their role that requires their knowledge and expertise.
Customer information is a critical part of your business. What would happen if a competitor got hold of your customer list? What would happen if one customer saw what another was paying?
Your business is nothing without customers and their trust.
With customer database software, you are in a better position to protect propriety information. This is in comparison to it being on paper, in random computer applications, or someone’s head.
Good CRMs make it easy to monitor and manage accountability.
Managers can use reports to identify any team players who aren’t logging into the system or not entering relevant data. This gives the manager a chance to address the issue before it grows into a bigger problem.
Centralized information about each customer also reduces cross-blame between coworkers.
Because users have unique login credentials, it’s easy to review who did what and when if disputes arise.
But don’t expect everyone to automatically know how and when to use the customer database. There are several best practices for getting the most from a CRM and training staff is one of them.
Keeping a customer list clean and current is easy with a purpose-built database. Filters make it simple to identify duplicate records or lapsed customer.
Plus, marketers can segment and sort lists for targeted campaigns.
And, leaders can quickly identify VIP customers based on any criteria.
High-quality customer database software integrates with email and SMS for communicating with customers. It allows for triggers.
For example, when a dollar threshold is reached, the customer gets a targeted email or text message.
Integration with your website can also trigger relevant communication such as notice of a promotion.
And, when the communication goes out, an entry is made in the database. In this way, the picture of each customer’s history with your business get richer and more valuable.
Customer database triggers can also help communication within the organization. One example is integrating an issues management system with your customer database. This integration could improve ticket prioritization and the customer experience.
Every successful business knows that well-managed customer relationships are critical to success.
Marketplaces are evolving rapidly. Customer expectations shift and get higher.
Businesses need to keep a finger on the pulse of their customer base to make sure it stays healthy and growing. That’s the fundamental purpose of a customer database. And, one that integrates with other core business systems helps you stay competitive.
Caveat About Customer Database Software
Implementing software to manage your customer base isn’t a magic pill. It won’t solve fundamental issues such as ineffective sales and marketing techniques.
But if you foster good data entry habits and avoid misusing good data, CRMs can help you make better business decisions.
Choosing a Solution
There are two ways of looking at customer databases or CRMs: as a tool or as a solution.
A tool helps you accomplish a task. A solution resolves a problem.
Choose a provider that doesn’t just want to sell you a tool. Choose a provider who understands the real problems that emerge in the day-to-day running of a business and has a solution.
At FunnelMaker, our user-friendly and cost-effective solution addresses the problem of consolidating core operations.
Our solution integrates with popular applications such as Salesforce, WordPress, Outlook, GoToMeeting, and QuickBooks.
The FunnelMaker solution also includes automation and workflows, allows for electronic signatures, and much more.
Are you ready to grow your business to a new level of success? Contact us today to chat and get a no-obligation demo!