How to make your database work for you!

by Sinead Kelly, on 16 December, 2014

A comprehensive client database is a powerful tool for nurturing relationships with existing and potential customers.

Here are eight ways to keep your client database current, accurate and ready to work for you.

  1. You only get out what you put in. Identifying what data fields are worth collecting and which areas are important to your business model. Set up your database to reflect your business. Setting out some data creation rules, such as implementing mandatory fields that must be filled when creating a record, will eliminate inadequate data within your CRM. (Avoid creating contacts with first name only, missing phone numbers etc.)
  2. Centralised Approach. Ensure all data is collected and managed in one central system. All staff must know how to use the database. They must have a clear understanding of the process and what it will be used for. No secretive BDM lists!
  3. No, don’t delete. When you are not legally required, once a contact has unsubscribed, it’s more efficient to keep them in the database and flag it because they may find their way back into your database without you knowing.
  4. Originate all communications from your database. View your client database as the base for emails, e-marketing, telemarketing, letters etc. This will ensure that your contact history is up-to-date and accurate.
  5. Be organised. Segment your data. By specifying each record as past client, existing client or potential client, it will ensure the data is chosen correctly. You do not want to use existing clients for a brand awareness campaign. If data is easily filtered, it will be more efficient when selecting in terms of date last modified or topic of campaign used. (Who has opted to receive information in the past? Who hasn’t? Who have you had trouble getting hold of?)
  6. Set high standards. Build processes to simplify database management, create a list of standard abbreviations and establish standardised data entry procedures. Standards and procedures must be developed for database usage.
  7. Analyse. Do not keep unnecessary data, reduce where possible. To effectively analyse your data, try where possible to make each section easily filterable. If fields contain large amounts of data, it will be harder to sort or choose for future campaigns.
  8. Out with the old, in with the new. You want your database to be warm and nurtured. You should take into consideration aspects such as employee turnover, while also keeping the data current through capturing social media contact information.
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