Need more sales? Organise your customer database

You may have heard that acquiring a new customer can cost you up to 10 times more than the cost of retaining an existing one, but an unorganised customer database can lead to poorly allocated advertising dollars. I know databases aren’t the sexy end of marketing, but I’m a second-generation database marketing geek — and all the strategic decision making and analytics that comes out these babies gets me excited.

An accurate, detailed database, or customer relationship management software (CRM), allows businesses to target advertisements to a specific demographic within their existing customer base. The more details that are captured, the more specifically targeted and relevant the offers will be, increasing the chance of people opening and actually reading an advertisement!

Collecting emails, phone numbers and addresses of all current and potential customers will keep an active and well-researched line of communication available for marketing initiatives.

Possibly my favourite part about of being a strategist, though, is examining the traits shared by loyal customers and instructing sales teams, adjusting services, and planning email campaigns to meet their specific needs. I told you I was a geek.

Finding all of the customers who purchased a certain product is as simple as a few clicks, and ensures that a marketing campaign for a new version or accessory is reaching pre-motivated buyers. Searching for specific customer traits before committing to a certain tone or highlighted sale will ultimately make campaigns more personalised and relevant.

What to collect?

At the very least, you need to collect each customer’s name, company name, email, job title, and phone. Advanced information includes the customer’s industry; this allows you to start seeing who is attracted to you as clients and then lets you customise your marketing messages accordingly. Database management software, mostly available in the cloud for a small monthly fee, has made all of this easier than ever. The features are nothing short of miraculous compared to ten years ago.

The database features inside some email marketing software are equally as impressive. Indeed, the biggest hurdle won’t be the shortcomings of the software, but rather changing mindsets and habits.

Accuracy is important whether you are entering new data into the database or editing it periodically over time. Collaborate with staff and help them to understand why it’s necessary, so they go on the journey with you. Stress that details should be verified as often as possible during customer interactions. We’ve even used fun incentives like free pizza lunches. You laugh, but it works and helps you get the word out.

Feedback you can use

Using good database organisational practices — pruning “dead” emails, targeting recent sign-ups, etc. — is even more effective when used in conjunction with email campaigns. With information on which customers opened emails and which ones ignored them, you’ll be better able to respond with a more effective campaign in the future. This feedback can point to causes that are as simple as email subject lines and inform you if they’re getting in the way of your buying cycle. In addition, email databases help you realise where your sales are coming from, which will help you set up a better marketing budget.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: 95 percent of the businesses I meet don’t have an accurate CRM. So if you get this on track, you are already ahead of 95 percent of Australian businesses and no doubt most of your competitors.

I’d love to know what customer management software people are using. What do you use?

Want to get closure with your CRM capabilities?

Get closer with your CRM capabilities by keeping a contact log for each client, create reminder alerts, and sync with Microsoft Outlook®MYOB AccountRight Live Plus helps you manage two of your most important assets – your customers and your suppliers. Track all of your customer and supplier interactions, including payment histories and add details like bank account numbers, tax and currency information to help with invoicing.