How to Develop & Manage a Business Contact Database

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  • 0:03 Developing a Business Database
  • 1:19 Retrieving the Right…
  • 2:17 Systems for Collecting Data
  • 3:08 Ensuring Data Is Accurate
  • 3:56 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tara Schofield

Tara has a PhD in Marketing & Management

Developing and managing a business contact database allows a business to keep track of customers, contact former customers, and market special services. These steps will help you be more effective in creating a contact database.

Developing a Business Database

Regardless of what business you are in, keeping track of contacts is crucial to your success. You must have a way to collect, organize, and maintain customer information. By developing and managing a business contact database, you are able to collect data about your customers and vendors, analyze preferences, and maintain contact with your contacts. It also helps maximize marketing opportunities.

Before you purchase a database program, it is important to spend some time determining what information you need and how you will use the information. You should also consider the technical abilities of the staff members who will use the system.

Let's imagine that you own a small accounting firm that specializing in doing the bookkeeping for small businesses. You want to be able to access client information easily and keep everything in one central system. This will allow all the accountants to see client files and keep everything up-to-date. As part of your plan, you want to create a database that will be fast, efficient, and easy to operate. You also want to be able to track clients who are no longer getting their books done with you so you can follow up and try to get their business back. Some of your accountants are very good with computers and will learn a new program easily. However, Bob, one of your seasoned accountants, avoids computers as much as possible and isn't excited to learn a new system. Knowing his apprehensions, you look for a system that is simple to learn and easy to use.

Retrieving the Right Information

When developing a database, it is important to consider what information you want to retrieve from the system and how you will use that information. For instance, if you want to send anniversary cards to each client to celebrate the month that notes their anniversary in being your customer, you need to ensure the database can provide a report with this information. Likewise, if you want to keep a list of your clients' staff members and their birthdays, you need to find a system that has the capability to track that information. Whether you are creating a custom program or tailoring an existing system, like SalesForce or QuickBooks, you want to know the system will handle your unique requests before you go to the expense and time to set it up for your business.

When you ask your accountants for specific requests from your new database, one of the accountants wants to be able to run a report to find clients who have ten or more employees. In developing your database, you find a way enter the number of employees each client has. There is a report that will list the number of employees, including their names, if needed. This report is exactly what the accountant needs.

Systems for Collecting Data

A database is only as good as the information that is entered into it. In order to have useful, reliable information, the data must be valid. In creating your database, you need to collect correct, accurate, and up-to-date information. There are several ways to accomplish this: mail out customer contact sheets, telephone clients to gather updated information, or update information when the client comes into your business.

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