One of an organization’s essential tools in the business toolbox is the customer database. This treasure trove of client information is utilized by all areas of the organization, including sales, marketing, tech, and shipping. The customer database evolves and grows over time, providing vital information to help organizations make critical business decisions for product delivery, marketing campaigns, and corporate sales goals. Since this data is critical, organizations need to plan what the database will contain and how each department effectively gathers and manages the data.
Databases Need to Be Designed to Grow Exponentially
When computers became a staple in the business environment, different tools were used for data management. Organizations didn’t give much thought to overall database management and utilization to drive future planning. The organizations just wanted to put the data in a list and reference it whenever needed. The problems organizations found were that the lists became unmanageable with a lack of planning and structure. This mismanagement rendered the data almost useless since it wasn’t wholly reliable once it became disorganized.
Spreadsheets became a standard tool that companies used to combat data management challenges, but spreadsheets are limited in capabilities. The spreadsheets become slow when they grow large with thousands of rows of data. Vendors realized these problems and designed software packages to help organizations meet their database management needs. As this software and technology has evolved, the practice of customer data platforms (CDP) has become more prominent. This practice brings all the organization’s client data into a centralized location to improve quality and management.
Databases Need to Include Demographic Data
To drive strategic planning, every organization needs to understand the locations of its current and target customers. Developing cold-weather equipment will probably fail if most of its target clients are in warmer states. Some of the essential information to include in the database is address, phone, and email contact information.
Companies need to also ensure they are tracking personnel changes at customer sites and updating the information. Any individual associated with the customer in the past or present should be accurately represented in the database. This effort prevents addressing mistakes with targeted email campaigns or other items that reflect poorly. Implementing personalized experiences for customers on gathered data will separate successful organizations from competitors that fail to utilize the data at their fingertips.
Databases Need to Include Actionable Data
The database influences many organizational decisions. The customer data platforms will present a unified approach to proactively target new sales opportunities and help organizations make warranted strategic and tactical changes. All efforts toward database utilization should drive a positive investment return for translating the customer data into consistent future revenue streams.
When a company looks at the database for a particular customer, it should show all information related to the customer. The customer information should include sales history, sales not completed, web searches, email campaign results, and many other pieces of information that provide insight into a customer. As companies integrate customer data platforms, algorithms cross-reference customer activity across the company system and websites. Based on history and market research, machine learning can teach organizations what strategies will work and what won’t.
Databases Need Strict Management
Attention to detail with customer database management is a process many companies overlook. There needs to be confidence that reports are accurate. This daily management is a unified approach between the sales, marketing, tech, shipping, and other departments to ensure data is entered efficiently and accurately. Many data components for a customer also draw from external purchased lists, and these need vetting. There needs to be further confidence the technical department has tied all of the systems together and the data backed up for disaster recovery.
There are lessons to learn from the customer databases. In today’s competitive business climate, the companies that make the necessary financial and time investments to solidify and utilize the data properly will succeed in the end.