What is a CRM Database?

29-Jul 2021

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a set of practices and technologies for managing your company’s customer relationships and interactions. When most people talk about CRM, they are usually referring to a CRM system, a tool that helps with contact management, sales management, agent productivity, and more. 

CRM software can help you automate key administrative tasks, like data entry, note-taking, recording contact information, lead routing, creating email templates, and more. It aggregates and stores customer data from a variety of channels, including but not limited to your company's website, emails, phone calls, chatbots and live chat messages, and social media.


‌What's the Difference between a CRM System and a Database?

‌While a CRM system often includes a database to store customer data, it differs from a simple database in that it includes many powerful features beyond data storage. CRM software can include:

  • Customer service automation: Chatbots, online FAQs, and help centers
  • Marketing automation: Email templates and automated email messages
  • Workflow automation: Data entry and note-taking
  • Salesforce automation: Collecting prospective contact information, scheduling calls, and managing the sales pipeline
  • AI and analytics: Analyze customer behavior to prioritize leads and inform future marketing and sales efforts 

‌Another way to look at it is like this: a database stores and organizes past data, while CRM software stores data and uses it to help you effectively plan and strategize for the future. A CRM database is specifically built to help you automate critical tasks and extract insights to power your business.

‌Popular CRM systems include:

  • HubSpot: Complete with contact management, deal tracking, reporting tools, and marketing automation capabilities, HubSpot offers a free CRM that you can choose to upgrade with premium features.
  • Zoho: Offers capabilities for sales, customer service, reporting, marketing automation, and more. Comes with a Conversational AI assistant to help you sort through your CRM data.
  • Accelo: A comprehensive, cloud-based client portal to help you with contact management, billing and contracts, client communications, expense tracking, project management, workflow automation, and more.

‌You might also be wondering whether or not Google includes a CRM platform in its popular Workspace offering. They, unfortunately, do not — but most popular CRM tools provide convenient integrations with Google Workspace apps.

‌What is a CRM Database?

‌A CRM database is a tool that helps you gather your customer information into a single, centralized location. You can manage your contacts, automate data entry, and develop reports with the available data. 

‌Customer data stored in a CRM database can include items like:

  • Contact information (email, phone number, social media, place of employment, and more)
  • Call logs, emails, and chat messages
  • How the contact was sourced
  • Contact's user activity on your website

Most CRM databases are based in the cloud, so your employees can access the data anytime, anywhere. Whether you're taking customer calls, creating reports, or building out an email campaign, you'll be able to take effective, data-informed action. 

‌Benefits of a CRM Database

By enabling you to perform key tasks like contact management, tracking customer interactions, and email marketing, a CRM database can help you answer critical questions about both your customer base as well as your company's sales and marketing initiatives. Let's dive into some of the most important ways a CRM database can benefit your business.

1. Automate Tasks Across Sales and Marketing

‌Nix the tedious administrative tasks so your employees can spend more time focusing on what's important. CRM software automates tasks like data entry, note-taking, storing prospective clients' contact information, sending follow-up emails, and more. 

‌Many CRM platforms also integrate with other popular business apps like Google Workspace, Mailchimp, Salesforce, and QuickBooks. Integrations allow you to build hands-off workflows that you can use to set up automated appointment scheduling, email campaigns, billing and payments, customer satisfaction surveys, document signing, and more with your favorite tools and platforms. 

2. Organize Your Customers' Contact Details 

‌CRM databases make it easy for you to both automatically and manually add customers' contact details. With CRM software, you also gain the ability to sort and filter your customers by various attributes like their:

  • Name
  • Location
  • Place of work
  • Contact information (email, phone number, and social media)

The level of organization a CRM provides can arm your company with the ability to reach out to and follow up with prospects quickly and with the most accurate, up-to-date information on hand.

‌3. Personalize Your Interactions

A robust CRM system will help your organization personalize your customer interactions and target prospects with information relevant to them. Two examples of how you could do this include:

  • Targeting clients by their industry: If you store your clients' industry in your CRM database, you can send them relevant promotions at key points during the year. For example, if you own a digital marketing agency and have clients that are in the accounting space, you can send them promotional emails during tax season.
  • Sending customers a special message on their company's birthday: If you store a client’s company opening date, you can send them a personalized card or, depending on your business, a promotion every year on that day to celebrate another year of success.

Being able to access a particular client's information can also help you personalize face-to-face consultations so that you can remember, identify, and address their unique needs and pain points.

‌4. Make Data-Driven Decisions with Reporting Tools

Many CRM systems provide reporting capabilities that can help you not only track leads and deals, but can create revenue forecasts to see if your deals are meeting your quarterly or yearly goals.

Revenue forecasting can help you make data-driven decisions and inform your business's future strategy. A CRM database can help you save sales data and spin up reports that showcase metrics in an easy, readable format. These metrics might include items like average monthly recurring revenue, sales velocity, and average deal size

This way, you can set and modify goals like next quarter's sales quota or revenue with objective data to back them up. CRM reports can also help you figure out which of your sales and lead generation tactics are actually working — and which ones you can nix in order to focus on winning strategies.

‌5. Manage and Monitor Your Sales Funnel

‌CRM databases usually offer a complete view of your sales pipelines, which makes it easier for you to manage and track deals. Your sales organization can track their deals to see how closely they're meeting their monthly or quarterly quota.

Choose the Right CRM

‌To recap, a robust CRM system can help you manage your contacts, automate administrative tasks, and make data-driven business decisions so that you can serve your customers more effectively. 

‌You can learn more about how CRM can help small businesses, or you can sign up for a free trial of Accelo's CRM software here

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