How to create and maintain your own customer database

Put an end to paperwork and Excel chaos. A carefully documented customer database not only makes contact management easier for SMEs, but also facilitates teamwork. Stop letting sales slip through your fingers because you don't have a clear overview. Instead, manage your customer histories in a central database.

What is a customer database?

Contact data and other information about a company's customers are stored centrally in a customer database. In addition to contact data, call logs, contracts, inquiries and customer requests are also noted. It is therefore an essential component of customer relationship management (CRM). The data can be used to evaluate key figures and sales opportunities.

Managing customer data in Excel is too error-prone

Although most sales teams today think of a customer database as a full-featured CRM system, customer management is still sometimes done with physical binders or in Excel spreadsheets. For a very small customer base, this is possible, but not recommended.

If you store your contact information in an Excel spreadsheet, important data can be lost. Due to a lack of user rights, every sales employee has access to the data and can make unwanted changes. Moreover, as the number of customers increases, it quickly becomes confusing. In addition, spreadsheets are not intuitive for all users and are difficult to link with each other and with other data. This makes them highly susceptible to errors.

These are the advantages of a customer database

Customer data is a valuable asset and should be treated as such. Careless management and storage will not only cause you to lose valuable deals, but may also annoy your contacts. With the help of a customer database, you can:

  • Store customer data digitally, centrally and in compliance with the GDPR.
  • Enhance collaboration: your team can work together collaboratively and is provided with appropriate usage rights.
  • Control and distribute tasks efficiently.
  • Increase the productivity of sales processes.
  • be sure to answer customer inquiries or requests on time.
  • strengthen customer loyalty and thus the sales potential at the same time.
  • have insight into the customer history and can ideally advise each customer.

Standard software vs. low-code CRM: Which solution suits you?

To manage customer management in a user-friendly and secure way, most companies use standard CRM software. This has the advantage that you can enter contacts into a mask, link them to tasks and even implement automations. However, the major disadvantage of such a tool is that it was developed for standard use by a large number of companies - in other words, the solution can be used universally, but is thus not tailored to specific work processes or needs. 

With a low-code platform like Ninox, on the other hand, your CRM solution is fully customizable. With the click of a mouse, you create a customer database from a Ninox customer management template, but you can easily customize it to meet your company's needs. You implement user-defined fields, your own categories and certain automation functions all by yourself - and without any programming knowledge. The drag-and-drop editor makes it child's play even for beginners to design a contact management completely according to your individual needs.

Creating a customer database: CRM exactly according to your needs

The information you want to map in your customer database depends largely on the industry in which your company operates. While construction companies cannot do without an acceptance protocol or construction diary, law firms also need a time recording module. So in order to use your customer database profitably, you should first answer the following three questions:

1. Which data do you want to collect? (contact data, demographic data, purchase data, industry-specific data).

2. How do you want to collect the data? (trade show, contact form, orders, cold calling).

3. Which CRM solution fits your needs? (ready-made CRM tool or flexible contact management)

Selecting a custom CRM

In the first step, you have to decide on a CRM solution. With Ninox, for example, you have the choice between ready-made templates that you can use directly or an empty database that you set up entirely according to your individual sales process.

Creating and managing contact data

As soon as you are in contact with a potential customer, you enter all relevant data into your CRM system. With the help of interfaces, you can also have the data entered automatically into the database - for example, as soon as a customer has filled out the contact form on your website.

Upgrading and individualizing contact management

The more sophisticated your sales and marketing processes are, the more comprehensive you can make your customer database. Intuitively add new data fields to your database and decide for yourself what information you want to collect. Sometimes insights crystallize in the workflow, or you realize during customer interaction that you are missing important fields for the contact history. Add them easily and create a CRM tool that fits your business 100 percent.

Conclusion: More sales opportunities with a customer database

With a digital customer database, you store and manage important customer information in one central location. Thus, on the one hand, you strengthen the bond with your customers and, at the same time, increase the number of your sales opportunities. In order not to have to make any compromises, a flexible CRM database is the best solution.

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