- Less is more. Consider tying your CRM into your financial management software. Fewer databases is better. I am shocked at the number of firms that have three or more. Consider the inefficiencies and inaccuracies created by multiple sources of client information. We don't dedicate enough resources to adequately keep up with one database, let alone two or more. Firms have more options than ever for client data management. You can buy an all-inclusive product or you can even tie in multiple databases using scripts or apps.
- View it as an asset. Your client database is an asset that actually has a monetary value. The more you invest in it, the more it’s worth. You realize this value in being able to better market your services, which in turn drives growth in the enterprise. You can also realize a nice return in the form of cash if you were to sell your firm to the outside. In a transaction, a buyer is going to consider a great client database as one of your most valuable assets. For those of you who view marketing as nothing more than an overhead expense, maybe this will motivate you to start investing there.
- It will grow your firm. Investment in the database should include both adding names and keeping the data accurate. A constant commitment to data integrity allows you to be more tactical and effective in your marketing. As such, you can increase the dollars spent on marketing with more confidence. Our research consistently shows that firms that spend more on marketing than others are more profitable and grow faster.
- Share the database companywide. Allow all employees access to client info. That does not mean you have to give everyone editing rights.
- Assign one person to be in charge of the database. Make this person accountable for the data integrity, training people how to use the platform, and building the database.
- Mine the data you already have. The widespread use of Microsoft Outlook means that many employees have work contacts in their phones and computers that need to be integrated into the company database. There are programs that can mine the contacts out of Outlook and put them in your main company database. Some of these can intelligently separate personal contacts from business contacts. Also consider integrating other places in the firm that house client data.
- Use the database more in marketing. Have your marketing staff think of new ways to connect with your clients using the database. Newsletters, targeted white papers, and other information can better connect your clients to your company.
This article is from issue 1147 of The Zweig Letter. Interested in more management advice every week from Mark Zweig, the Zweig Group team, and a talented list of other guest writers? Click here for to get a free trial of The Zweig Letter.