Best Practice

How to create and maintain your own customer database

Table of contents

Put an end to paperwork and Excel chaos. A carefully documented customer database not only makes contact management easier for SMEs, but also team collaboration. Stop letting sales slip by the towel because there is a lack of visibility, but manage your customer histories in a central database.

What is a customer database?

Contact details and other information from a company's customers are stored centrally in a customer database. In addition to contact details, meeting minutes, contracts, inquiries and customer requests are also noted. It is therefore an essential part of customer relationship management, in short: CRM. The data can be used to evaluate key figures and closing opportunities.

Managing customer data in Excel is too prone to errors

Although most sales teams today think of a full-fledged CRM system when it comes to a customer database, customer management is still sometimes carried out with physical file folders or in Excel spreadsheets guided. Although this is possible for a very small customer base, it is not recommended.

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

A customer database offers these advantages

Customer data is a valuable asset and should be treated as such. Careless administration and storage not only ensures that you lose valuable deals, but sometimes also annoys your contacts. With the help of a digital customer database/CRM:

  • Save customer data digital, centralized and GDPR-compliant off.
  • Is your team working collaboratively together and is provided with appropriate rights of use.
  • Can tasks efficiently be managed and distributed.
  • Benefit from a productive sales process.
  • Customer inquiries or requests are never dropped by the wayside again and can be processed individually.
  • Strengthen the customer loyalty and thus the sales potential at the same time.
  • Do you always have insight into customer history and can provide every customer with ideal advice.

Standard software vs. low-code CRM: Which solution is right for you?

In order to manage customer management in a user-friendly and secure way, most companies rely on standard CRM software. This has the advantage that you can enter contacts in a mask, link them to tasks and even implement automations. The big disadvantage of such a tool, however, is that it was developed for standard use by a wide range of companies — in other words, the solution can be used universally, but is therefore not tailored to specific work processes or needs.

Small and medium-sized companies need flexibly adaptable CRM solutions.

With a low-code platform like Ninox, your CRM solution is fully customizable. With the click of a mouse, you create a customer database from a Ninox template for personnel master data, but can easily adapt them to the needs of your company. You implement user-defined fields, your own categories and certain automation functions all by yourself — without any programming knowledge. The drag-and-drop editor makes it easy even for beginners to design contact management according to their individual needs.

Create a customer database: CRM exactly tailored to my needs

Which information you want to display in your CRM depends largely on the industry in which your company operates. While construction companies cannot do without an acceptance report or construction journal, law firms also need a time recording module. So that you can use your customer database profitably, you should first answer the following three questions:

  • What data would you like to collect? (contact details, demographic data, purchase data, industry-specific data)
  • How would you like to collect the data? (trade fair, contact form, orders, cold calling)
  • Which CRM solution suits your needs? (ready-made CRM tool or flexible contact management)

1. Select custom CRM

The first step is to choose a CRM solution. With Ninox, for example, you can choose between ready-made templates that you can use directly or an empty database that you set up according to your individual sales process.

2. Create and manage contact data

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

3. Extend and individualize contact management

The more sophisticated your sales and marketing processes are, the more comprehensive you can design your customer database. Intuitively add new data fields to your database and determine for yourself which information you want to collect. In some cases, insights emerge during the workflow, or you notice during customer interaction that you are missing important fields for the contact history. Simply add them and create a CRM tool that is 100 percent right for your company.

Conclusion: More sales opportunities with a customer database

With a digital customer database, you can store and manage important customer information in a central location. 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 compromises, a flexible, low-code database is the best solution.

If you're looking for a complete solution for all processes from initial customer contact to receipt of payment, a CRM that also Order-to-cash processes depicts, then you should the new Ninox CRM Get to know. You get a comprehensive solution for customer acquisition, support and retention as well as for downstream processes in internal sales and finance. At the same time, you benefit from the advantages of low-code technology, remain flexible and have a shorter and more cost-effective implementation time.

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