Can you communicate with all of your clients at once? Do you know which ones are the most loyal? How many of your clients live in the same zip code or region?
If you aren’t sure about the answers to these questions, it may be time to invest in a client database. Service businesses, especially, rely on customer relationships, and a client database is a powerful tool that can help to maintain them. Client databases offer many other benefits to service businesses as well.
Before you invest, it’s a good idea to learn more about what problems you may be able to solve with specific types of platforms. We’ll dive into the details here. We’ll also give you some insight into a handful of the most popular customer database software offerings.
A client database is a centralized place for storing client information. The best databases make it easy to stay up to date on customer information, purchase history and more. Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms are the most common type of client database for organizations of all sizes. Over 91% of businesses with at least 10 employees use a CRM.
Developing a rich understanding of your client base is critical for growing your business. When you truly know what motivates your customers to return — and what makes them turn to another option — you can make better marketing decisions. When you establish a CRM or another kind of client database, you’ll be able to:
While CRM platforms are the most common type, organizations may use any of several types of client databases. Many use multiple databases. In addition to CRM systems, you’ll find:
Many vendors offer multiple types of client databases, but some focus on only one or two.
There are so many client databases to choose from that it may feel a bit overwhelming. Not to worry. If you focus on a few key features, you can quickly narrow your list to a few top contenders.
No matter which type you’re considering, there are several key benefits and features you should look for.
Whether your sales reps need to access the CRM system outside the office or employees who work from home need access, your new database should have cloud capabilities. Many platforms offer mobile apps that connect to cloud databases.
When a team member needs to share client information with other team members, it should be easy. Many databases offer tagging features for just this purpose.
Some organizations choose a client database knowing they will need to hire a permanent administrator to manage it. Others seek platforms that are less complex to set up and use. It’s better to look for an intuitive interface and the option of expert implementation support.
The best client platforms allow you to create customized reports so you can communicate information to outside parties or analyze your data in new ways.
When you run into an issue, it should be quick and easy to get support from the platform’s vendor. Most of the time, you’ll find free basic support when you invest in a client database, but you can often pay for more extensive support options.
If a vendor is not transparent about pricing, run the other way. Unfortunately, there are many scams and less-than-ethical vendors you should avoid. One of the most common misrepresentations is when a database or platform has a flat download or setup fee, followed by an ever-escalating list of recurring expenses. You should be able to get a straightforward, accurate answer about how much you can expect to spend.
The following database platforms are among the most popular. Each offers various features to fit organizational needs. No matter what your organization does, there’s a client management platform out there for you.
Accelo focuses on the needs of service businesses. The company offers essential features aimed at helping businesses run their operations, streamline client work and automate processes.
Accelo introduces consolidation and visibility to businesses that may have several disparate systems working independently of one another. It automates mundane, labor-intensive processes like moving information from one system into another, freeing up employees to focus on billable work.
Organizations turn to Accelo when searching for a cloud-based collaboration platform that can truly support every stage of the client journey.
See why the CRO of one marketing technology consulting firm said Accelo has the "best CRM view of all time."
Keap, formerly known as Infusionsoft, offers CRM and sales and marketing tools for small businesses. Its primary focus is on CRM tools, marketing automation, lead capture, eCommerce support and tools that provide insight into the customer life cycle. Keap’s mission is to simplify growth for small businesses. The Keap all-in-one platform has features like a client database, email and SMS marketing support and client and scheduling tools.
HubSpot CRM is a powerful database that offers substantial benefits for free, though you will need to sign up for a membership if you need to access more complex tools. HubSpot is focused on the sales pipeline and includes features like detailed reports about sales activity, productivity and individual performance. Sales managers can use HubSpot CRM to gain more visibility into what their teams are doing daily.
The Salesforce Customer 360 platform is a central hub for marketing, sales, commerce, service and IT teams. Clients can access Salesforce’s connected apps through the interface, giving them access to customer engagement tools, eCommerce support and others that foster collaboration across disparate teams. The company has been a player in the cloud computing field from the start.
The Accelo client database can enhance client relationships and foster growth while freeing up your employees to focus on their central roles. Try out the platform for yourself by signing up for a free trial or a scheduling a demo.