Chapter #4

CRM Database

Learn everything you need to know about the CRM database and why it is important to have itfor your business. Also, learn how you can create CRM database for your business to improve your business outcomes.

Try Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP & CRM Applications for your business.

crm database

What is CRM Database

CRM database means a place where you store every lead and customer interaction that your business has with them and is available to access and analyze by your employees. This could be a simple spreadsheet or an advanced CRM system.

For a spreadsheet, you can essentially create as many columns you want to store various types of data, while using the CRM system you have preset filed what data can be stored such as:

  • Personal Details: This can include the name, email address, phone number, home address, parental status, age, titles, etc.
  • Work Details: This can include job role, company name, work email address, work phone number, and other contact details.
  • Company Details: This can include the company name, address, industry, size, revenue, locations, and other important information.
  • Activity Timeline: This usually includes records of past interaction of the employee and the customer or lead, any notes shared with the team, or records of employee activities with the lead or customer.
  • Lead Source: From where or how the lead was captured. E.g., website, social media, sales prospecting, word of mouth, events, etc.
  • Campaign Source: What campaign did bring the lead.
  • Lead Stage: Where the lead is currently in the sales/marketing funnel.
crm database dynamics 365 sales

Of course, there can be even more fields within the CRM system and a modern CRM system allows you to easily customize, add and delete these fields, so your company can collect important information about your customers.

Also, it allows you to automatically collect data from second and third-party sources to be included within the CRM database such as chatbot and live chat conversation, support tickets, etc.

The data you store in your CRM database highly depends on your business and what information is important for you.

For example, if you are in B2B manufacturing, you will want to know only very few personal details such as their name, but then you will want to collect the work and company details such as the job role, work email address, company name, company address, industry, company size, etc.

Why Do You Need CRM Database?

Storing your customer information is a way to improve your customer experience, sales processes, and marketing outcomes, without that, you are only playing the guessing game about what works and what’s happening inside of your organization.

CRM database makes it easy to identify any bottlenecks in your processes, improve your front-end processes and customer experience, by giving your company important data about your customers.

One of the most common examples of when a CRM database is essential for your business is losing customer data due to sales turnaround that it takes longer to re-establish client relationships.

While with the CRM database new hires with the access right can log into the system and know all customers’ information from leads to production, which elevates new hires’ capabilities, improve customer experiences, and improve business outcome.

Another example of why a CRM database is important for your business is when one department does not know what other is doing which results in confusion and poor customer experience.

For example, an automobile salesperson made a custom arrangement with a customer about their new car to change the infotainment system to a large screen at no cost. And because the automobile dealership does not have a CRM database to record such information, the salesperson informed the technician via message to prepare the car with the larger screen.

However, the next day the technician had an off-day and forgot to tell this to a technician on duty and when a customer comes to pick up the car, the screen was not changed. Of course, the customer is already frustrated and tried to explain the deal he had with the salesperson, but because the technician has no way to verify it, the technician and customer start calling the salesperson.

Unfortunately, the salesperson was with another customer and could not attend the call at the moment. And because of this, the customer is already very frustrated and due to the poor treatment and miscommunication, the customer is asking for extra free services to compensate for the miscommunication and terrible experience, which results in costing the company more money and a lower profit margin.

Does this happen only in the automobile industry? No! Problems like this happen to companies across all industries that do not record important customer information like these.

CRM database is your single source of truth about your customers that can be accessed by your employees when they needed to avoid problems like these, which can save time and money, increase productivity, and help agents solve your customers’ problems faster.

And other benefits of the CRM database are:

  • Speed up sales processes
  • Improve customer experiences
  • More personalized customer experience
  • Improve business outcomes
  • Save money due to turnaround

How to Create CRM Database

Creating your own CRM database to track your leads and customer interactions with your company doesn’t need to be difficult and you don’t have to code your own CRM system to do that.

And in this part, we will show you how to easily create a CRM database without any technical skills:

Step #1: Select Right Software

The first step is to select the best CRM software that fits your company’s needs.

These can be complicated processes and it depends on so many aspects, such as your industry, company size, the purpose of the CRM database, and many more.

With that, you must decide which CRM system is right for you, however, here are our top recommendations:

Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a suite of ERP & CRM business applications for small, medium, and large size businesses that grow with you. The benefits of starting with Dynamics 365 CRM applications are that they are ready to grow with your company and you don’t need to worry you ever outgrow it.

crm database from dynamics 365 crm

On top of that, Microsoft heavily emphasized integration between front and back-end activities by seamlessly connecting their ERP and CRM applications to streamline the entire business processes and create a single source of truth for your entire business.

dynamics 365 crm database connected with microsoft 365

With that Microsoft has several CRM modules depending on the needs of your company, here you can see the list of Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM applications:

  • Dynamics 365 Sales: This is a CRM platform designed to help your organization gain a 360-degree view of critical business development processes, maximize revenue opportunities, and more effectively collaborate across pursuit teams to win more deals and be more personalized.
  • Dynamics 365 Customer Service: Helps streamlines case and knowledge management, enables personalized customer service with a 360-degree customer view and provides visibility into customer service department performance with dashboards and reports.
  • Dynamics 365 Marketing: Helps unify your customer information, provides marketing automation features such as lead scoring and customizable email templates and allows you to create personalized customer journeys.
  • Dynamics 365 Field Service: Helps organizations deliver onsite service to customer locations. The application combines workflow automation, scheduling algorithms, and mobility to set up mobile workers for success when they’re onsite with customers fixing issues.

Another benefit is the Microsoft natural integration with other tools like Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Power Platform. So, if you are familiar with Excel, Word, Outlook, or Teams, you can often finish up your work using only one tool without switching between apps.

To learn more, download our eBook on Dynamics 365 + Microsoft 365 Better Together.

Another very popular combination is using Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics 365 Sales to centralize your entire business.

Definitely, Microsoft is ready to support your business from productivity apps all the way to managing your entire global business.

Salesforce

crm database from salesforce

Salesforce provides SaaS CRM applications focused on customer service, marketing automation, analytics, sales management, and application development.

Salesforce CRM services allow your business to used modern cloud and AI technologies to improve your customer experiences, centralize your CRM data and drive better outcomes. It enables you to track customer activity, market to customers, support your customers, and many more.

Freshworks

crm database from freshworks

Freshworks offers CRM products to better manage your customer interactions, better manage and centralize your CRM data. It includes tools like lead management, contact management, sales management, and service management to successfully attract leads, convert leads into customers, and keep them coming back for more.

All this allows you to effectively manage your front-end activities and improve your business outcomes using Freshworks CRM applications.

ActiveCampaign

active campaign crm database

ActiveCampaign is known for its amazing email and marketing automation products. They also offer other CRM capabilities such as sales management and sales force automation features to automate lead prioritization and contact management so you have time to sell.

Their affordable CRM system helps companies to effectively attract leads and lead nurture them using their advanced email and marketing automation functions and then effectively transfer those leads to the sales team to manage everything in one platform.

Step #2: Define Important Information to Collect

After you have decided which CRM system fits the best to your company needs, the next step is to define what is the important information you want to collect about your leads and customers.

What information you want to collect highly depends on your business, the industry, and what information is important for your marketing and sales team to effectively attract, convert and retain customers.

For example, in the B2B software industry the usual information required to be collected for leads are Full Name, Job Title, Company Name, Work Email Address, Phone Number, Company Address, and what product they are interested in and during the sales process, they also collect decision making power and any related shareholders.

information b2b software company usually collects from customers

However, if you are selling let’s say baby and kids products, then the information you need to collect might be different such as the Full Name, Home Address, Personal Email, Number of Children, Age of Children, Gender, etc.

information b2b software company usually collects from customers

All this depends on your target audience and what information is important to your business in order to improve your marketing campaigns and selling processes.

Step #3: Collect & Input Your Data

The next step is how you are going to collect your data and input your data into your CRM database.

First of all, if you are already having customer and leads data somewhere in your spreadsheet or a different program, then you will need to work with your CRM vendor to clean the data and migrate it into your new CRM database.

Another important step is to decide how your new data will be collected and inserted into your CRM database. This could mean you will need to do integrate your other technologies to automatically insert data into your CRM, using third-party connectors or other ways to get your data into your CRM.

For example in B2B, if you are collecting leads from your website using forms, then you might need to integrate forms with your CRM system, using the CRM system’s own forms, or manually inserting those leads into your CRM database.

This depends on how many leads you are getting. If it is less than 50 per month, then it’s still manageable do it manually, if it is more, then you might consider integration.

As I said, data management and system integration can be difficult processes and you should discuss with your CRM vendor and IT team to learn ways how you can streamline and automate your processes.

Step #4: Implement Change Management

As you drive change at your organization, it’s certainly important to know your desired destination and enlist the enthusiastic involvement of the right people. You’re already doing that.

To expand the circle of adoption of the new CRM database beyond the champions and early adopters, you’ll also need to create awareness that’s targeted to your key audiences.

Generating awareness is important for you to succeed. It:

  • Validates the importance of the change
  • Ensures everyone understands what’s happening
  • Helps generate enthusiasm
  • Gets everyone on board with using the new technology

Training is essential for successful change. And training isn’t a one-time thing—it needs to be continuous and include end-users at every level of the company.

Here are some examples of different ways you can help meet the learning needs of diverse users. Learning is a path that’s individual to each user–a variety of opportunities will help them learn in their own optimal way.

crm database change management
  • If you do not have all of the relevant skills then reach out to your CRM vendor to find out if they can recommend the right partner for you to help you with adoption.
  • In-person sessions led by a qualified instructor, covering a range of scenarios and tools. Earliest training sessions for Champions—training the trainer.
  • Interactive virtual sessions led by an instructor to cover a variety of different scenarios and tools. Sessions will be recorded and available for access.
  • Self-help resources are designed for those who cannot attend instructor-led training and to supplement virtual and onsite training. Includes ready-reference tools and FAQs.
  • Personalized support and assistance for users who contact the help desk for “how-to” questions.
  • Network of colleagues and peers who provide support and guidance for people in their immediate area.

We’ve identified the key people who are going to make your launch successful. For best results, you’ll want to align your training strategy to align with your launch.

Along with the Executive Sponsor, this is the time for the Champions and Early Adopters to shine.  As you roll out training, start with the groups that will champion your CRM product, then prepare IT, before launching to the broader organization.

crm database change management person in company to help

Step #5: Track the Results

Lastly, you will want to track the results of using the new CRM database. This means, checking if your employees are inserting all the data correctly, are following company new procedures and best practices, and if there are any drawbacks in the new processes that should be changed or updated.

All this needs to be monitored to successfully implement a new CRM system and use your new database effectively with the right data in it.

Therefore, ensure your leaders are accountable and fully on board with the new system so they can keep accountable their teams using the new CRM database.

Learn more about Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM Applications

Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM Applications are standalone business apps developed to help companies manage customer data, attract new customers, retain current customers, and improve business efficiencies. Microsoft CRM applications cover business processes including Marketing, Customer Service, Sales, and Field Service. Together with AI, you will get a 360-degree view in real-time of your customers and prospects.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales - sales management solution

Is Sales Management & Sales Force Automation CRM system that enables salespeople to build strong relationships with their customers, take actions based on insights, and close sales faster with actionable insights and a personalized approach.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing

Is a marketing-automation application that helps manage multi-channel campaigns and turn prospects into business relationships. The app is easy to use, works seamlessly with Dynamics 365 Sales, and has built-in business intelligence.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service

Is Customer Automation and Customer Management system. Differentiate your brand by taking advantage of built-in intelligence to deliver faster, more personalized service and add value to every customer interaction.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service

Provides complete field Service Management including service agreements, predictive maintenance, preventative maintenance, work order management, resource management, product inventory, scheduling and dispatch, mobility, collaboration, customer billing, and analytics.

Download the Latest CRM Ebooks

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