There are three ways to grow your business. The first is to increase the number of customers. The second is to increase your average transaction value i.e. the amount of money your customers spend on a single transaction. The third is to increase your customers’ frequency of purchase.
One thing remains common in all three methods – the customer. Information about the customer – demographics, needs and requirements, purchasing power, location and more – enables a business to identify whether the customer is qualified and try to make a sale if he is.
All these customer details get collated and analyzed from a singular source – a sales database.
What is a Sales Database?
A sales database (also known as CRM database) is a repository of all the data you collect about your customers. This database can be in three forms:
- Physical – Registers and paper sheets
- Manual – Spreadsheet and documents
- Automated – Customer Relationship Management software.
If a business uses the first two formats to maintain customer data, chances of human errors in storing, using, and communicating this information are high. A CRM solution stores and manages contacts to enable a business to build better relations with customers. It sorts data, interactions (email, WhatsApp, phone calls, chats), tracks deal statuses, provides insightful reports, and is available to all necessary stakeholders thanks to being cloud-based.
No wonder CRM solutions are becoming the most popular sales databases for companies.
The Benefits of a Sales Database
Here are some benefits of an up-to-date CRM database:
- A single repository to store and access all your customers’ details. This
- eliminates the dependency on certain people for customers’ contact details or the risk of losing customers when a salesperson quits
- A CRM database is easy to use on any device – laptop, mobile phone, or tab. This means customer information can be accessed at any time from any place.
- The information collected in a CRM database can be analyzed with the help of intelligent and wide-ranged reports. This helps businesses understand their audience and better, identify the most effective campaigns and platforms, plan their sales and marketing campaigns better.
What Should You Collect in a Sales Database?
Certain fields that are no-brainers for a sales database include:
- Your contact’s name, age, email address, phone number and location
- Source of the lead – website, social media, offline, etc Your contact’s name, age, email address, phone number and location
- The date when the contact was last spoken to and the comments Your contact’s name, age, email address, phone number and location
- The number of orders customers have made & how much they spent
- Receivable Management Solutions to track & collect outstanding dues
But here are some more fields that prove useful in a database, especially in the B2B space:
- Your contact’s designation and LinkedIn profile link.
- Size of the company (revenue and employees) and website URL Your contact’s designation and LinkedIn profile link.
- The products & services that your contacts sell
- Status of a sale & up-sell, cross-sell
How to Build a Useful Sales Database?
I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t building a database hard work? It’s it easier to just buy a database of thousands of people and cold-call them all instead?
In one word, no.
The world has evolved just like you have. Do you like being sold to through unsolicited phone calls, emails, and text messages? Then think about how someone will feel when your team calls them to talk about your products.
Lots of callers reach out to cold leads and talk only about their products and achievements every day. And the conversion rate of such calls, according to HubSpot, is a terrible 1%. The Harvard Business Review reported that cold calling is ineffective 90% of the time.
Is that how you want your business to function?
A more effective way to get returns on your marketing investment is to build a warm database – a list of details of prospects who have shown some interest in what you sell
- Shorter conversion cycles and higher revenue because customers have shown initial interest in the product
- Easier to identify the type of customers who engage with your products, and target more like them Shorter conversion cycles and higher revenue because customers have shown initial interest in the product
- Better return on investment for your marketing campaigns and cold calling efforts. Shorter conversion cycles and higher revenue because customers have shown initial interest in the product
Here are 9 ways to start building a warm sales database that yields positive dividends in the long run for your business:
1. Reconnect with Old Customers
This is by far the most effective way to build a warm database. There are businesses that already know that you exist, have seen a demo of your product, purchased from you, and then fell out of touch. Or they just didn’t buy at that time. Touch base with such prospects and customers every six months, identify their priorities, and how you can help them better.
2. Dish out Trial Offers
Let people try your product or service for some time only in return for their contact details. When the trial period ends, your tele-calling team can reach out to them if they do not renew.
3. Reach out to Your Current Customers
Make it mandatory for your team to enter the contact details of every single customer who has enquired about your products or purchased from you. Prospects can turn into sales and existing customers can be up-sold to with effective follow-ups through the sales team.
4. Ask for Referrals
According to research, referrals are the quickest sources of leads that convert into a sale. Reach out to your existing customers and check whether they’re happy with your service. If they are, ask whether they would like to share referrals and add those details to your CRM. If they’re not, understand the issue they face and resolve it.
5. Connect With Trade Publications
Every trade publication and journal in your industry has accurate contact details of customers, partners and other stakeholders in your field. Hence, apart from running advertisements in these publications, you can also reach out to them and ask for the contact details of their customers. They might charge you a fee, but this data will be worth every penny and will help you build a more robust CRM database.
6. Leverage Social Media
It’s easy to target an audience based on a variety of metrics. Identify who your most profitable customers are and target prospects with similar demographics on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google ads, and other platforms.
7. Attend Networking Events and Exhibitions
Attend events where you’re most likely to engage with your target audience and encourage your sales team to do the same. Collect contact details (in ethical ways) and add them to your sales database.
8. Refer to Your Phone Book
Did you know that your mobile phone has more enquiries than any marketing campaign can provide? Just browse through your contacts and think about what you can sell to them. Do this for just twenty minutes every day and you’ll find at least 7-10 qualified leads that can become part of your sales database on a daily basis.
9. Validate Customer Details
Building a warm database involves a lot of time and effort, neither of which your business has in abundance. So you might have to purchase a database for cold calling. But that doesn’t mean you cannot take certain steps to warm it up.
Before your team cold calls a prospect, they can check whether the phone number matches the name in the database through apps like Truecaller. If it does, they can run a Google or LinkedIn search for the prospect to know his/her designation and role in the organization better. They can also conduct preliminary research by skimming through the prospect’s website to find out a more relevant and updated contact number of the appropriate person for what they want to pitch.
This way, your team makes the right pitch to the right person and increases its chances of conversion as compared to randomly calling all numbers on the list.
When I speak to most business leaders, they agree that it’s important for their business, but find the task of managing one (or overseeing its management) boring.
I would like to state something that’s not commonly accepted. A sales database is not important for your business; it’s one of the most important elements for your business. It’s the foundation on which your business gets built. If you don’t invest time in creating and nurturing it, your sales will remain haphazard and depend heavily on luck.
Work on building a robust database and reap the rewards for your cold calling and marketing efforts.