Why a Quality Database is Important

Don’t take your database for granted

When planning a marketing campaign that includes direct contact – by phone, email or letter – you need to start with your database. Why? Because without quality, up-to-date leads you will not achieve the success you expect.

Using out-of-date or obsolete information will only waste your money because significant time and resources will be spent contacting people who may have moved, changed their email address or are no longer available on the phone number you have listed. Keeping this list current is one of the many reasons you should consider a customer care programme, in which all your customers or clients, past or present, are phoned on a regular basis. This allows you to check that their contact details are current,  they are happy with your service and, if it’s relevant, tell them about your latest service or product.

How you store your database contacts will depend on what type of business you are in and what programs you already run. For example, Xero has a database as part of its setup. It allows you to segment your contact by suppliers and customers, and probably a great deal else besides. You can keep a huge amount of information about people on Xero.

Capsulecrm.com is a free cloud-based CRM system that has many functions, most of which you may never use. But it is easy to set up and operate.

If you wish to have something far simpler, an Excel spreadsheet is perfect. You can determine yourself what information you wish to keep and can search for a specific contact or email address simply by sorting the data within your columns. If you want to segment your database simply add another worksheet and copy your column headers from your previous worksheet. Another advantage of Excel is that your information can be saved directly onto your hard drive rather than in the cloud. Although, having a second copy in Dropbox, say, is always sensible provided you update to the latest version regularly.

We have also begun using MailChimp to hold our information. That way we have it immediately available should we want to email a list or a segment within a list. But again, it is cloud based.

When accessing a database to make calls you will need to segment your contacts into what we call As, Bs and Cs. Your A contacts are those who are existing customers or, in the case of cold calling, your hot leads. Bs are those who are considered warm (maybe they are previous clients) while your Cs are those who are cold leads and may not have done business with you before.

The reason you need to segment like this is because the call you make to a cold lead will be different than the one to an existing customer. If you were to try the same call to both you would either confuse people or alienate them. Your existing customers want to be made to feel special, your cold leads will want to know about what you can offer them.

The time taken to ensure your list is current is never wasted. For many businesses it is one of their major resources. For you, it could be the difference between booming profits and bankruptcy. Never take your database for granted. Allocate time each month to enter new contacts and weed out the old ones so that when you come to call or contact them, you will have a better success rate.

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