Follow up fortunes:Why your business needs a database
19th July 2010
... Comments

We often come across small business owners without a definite plan to follow up on their leads. They keep a collection of business cards from networking events, and have address books where they record contact details. But these are often used at random, if at all, and are sometimes simply forgotten. So what is a database, how does it differ from the card collection and why should a small business have one?

The answer is simple. Would you use a typewriter to prepare a proposal for your customer? Probably not. Same reasoning applies to managing your customer data. The business database is one of the most important assets in your business and, if used properly, it can generate a steady stream of income each time you turn to it.

A database is essentially a collection of information about something, in this case – about your customers and prospects. The main benefits over collecting paper cards are:

  • Access: you can share access to the information between multiple team members, which you can’t do with cards.
  • Flexibility: you can access the information wherever you are, without having to carry a big pile of cards with you.
  • Accountability: you can track how well your business is doing in closing sales and converting leads into prospects.
  • Security: you can lose the cards or your bag, and all the information with it. If your database is stored online it’s safe and secure no matter what.

Why would you need one? There isn’t a business type out there now that doesn’t need a database! If you do any networking, it’s a pointless waste of time and money without a proper follow up on leads and new contacts. If you are trying to drive traffic to your website it’s a waste of resources if you don’t capture details of your visitors. If you invest in advertising your shop you have to get everyone’s details in order to get them through the door again.

There are plenty of tools out there now, all aiming to make it easier for business owners to manage their data effectively. For example:

  • SmartSheet –a modern, online, enhanced version of Excel, which can have tasks, reminders and attachments to cells.
  • Business Contacts Manager –comes with Outlook 2007 in the Professional package and manages your contacts, emails and tasks within Outlook.
  • Capsule CRM – a “proper” contact relationship management (CRM) system, where you can track contacts, prospects, sales, leads, opportunities, tasks etc.

The principle is the same across all tools: you import your data from any email program’s contacts or business cards. Sort it and arrange it into categories, tags, groups etc.

We recommend using Capsule CRM to our customers.
It’s very easy to use, you can share access with many users and you don’t have to be a techie in order to use it effectively. The benefits however are very important:

  • You can close more potential sales, without forgetting to follow up in tim.
  • You can see at a glance what potential business you have in the pipeline – peace of mind if you feel you are doing great or a warning in time to do something about it!
  • You can access your data from anywhere with a web browser or a smartphone.
  • You will seem super-efficient to your prospects as you will always be returning calls, following up and sending the information right when you agreed to do it.
  • You will be able to spend more time nurturing relationships with your best customers (the 80/20 principle).
  • You know exactly what you talked about last time, even if it’s been 6 month ago. Great memory? Just a great system on hand.

For those who have lots of paper cards that need to be converted into electronic format we have a special offer: up to 100 cards entered into Capsule, system setup and training – all for £85+VAT. Find out more about the offer here.

Or, if you would like to find out more and get your questions answered, join us together with Oma Edoja (client attraction coach from for a free webinar on Thursday, 22 July at 8pm BST. Recording will later be available for sale (so don’t miss out to learn it first-hand while it’s free). To secure your place while the last few are still available click here to register.

About the Author

Tamara B

Member since: 8th May 2012

I'm a Virtual Assistant offering secretarial, book-keeping and social media marketing services to small businesses and self-employed professionals. I design and write e-newsletters, blogs, websites and...

Popular Categories