There's no business asset quite as valuable as a well-maintained contact database. It is a great tool for generating leads and fostering long-term success for SMBs. But building and maintaining such a database is hard work, and even harder if you're not managing your information properly. Here are five mistakes to avoid in order to ensure a well-maintained contact database for your business.
1. Get your data digital before you forget
When somebody hands us his or her business card, most of us are likely to leave it in our wallets, coat pockets or on a desk – where they are quickly forgotten. The only way to start a relationship with a contact is to get their information into a CRM pipeline. This prevents information from getting lost, while simultaneously giving potential customers access to your sales teams and staff.
2. Don’t let your information stay unstandardised
Once your customer's information is uploaded, it needs to be standardized. Are you tagging each customer's information with their industry and title? What about phone numbers in one country as opposed to another? If you don't standardize information into a consistent database, you're going to slow things down for your sales teams as they try to decipher the differing information from client to client.
3. Always check for duplicate data
As you work with a customer over a period of time, it's likely you'll get in touch with multiple points of contact, or get differing phone numbers and other information as your customer’s company grows and evolves. If you don’t check your information for duplicates, you'll make it harder for your sales teams to work effectively and professionally. Manual entry and multiple parties are often to blame for dupes; start by automating and stopping manual entry of contacts in Salesforce and other CRMs. So always check your information for duplicates in order to eliminate out-of-date information to give your sales teams a lean contact database to work with.
4. Not backing up your information
Regular backups are a must for a valuable contact database. It provides a sense of security, as employees know the hard work they put into getting the contacts won’t be lost if the system malfunctions. It also saves a company from huge recovery costs.
5. Never let contacts go quiet
When someone hands you a business card, it's an invitation to get in touch – that’s why they gave you their contact information in the first place. SMBs often make the mistake of not staying in touch, or only touching base with business contacts when they need something. Staying connected, even if it is just to wish them a happy holiday season, is a best practice that could also lead to potential business opportunities. When you stay at the top of a contact’s recall list, it increases the chance of them getting in touch when the time to do business arrives.
Your ability to build relationships with customers and generate opportunities is only as good as your contact database. Avoid these mistakes and use the right software to give your business the best chance at success.