It’s Hard Enough Being an Entrepreneur. Here’s a way to simplify it!
A database allows you to make smarter decisions! It’s a critical marketing tool that helps you find, sort, track & measure critical data on your sales and marketing activities.
- More sales,
- More efficient use of your time,
- Better customer service,
- Fewer mistakes,
- Answers on where to focus your marketing dollars and time,
- Less stress and probably better sleep if you get all that data out of your head and into a database! After all, Knowledge is Bliss!
[note: If you’re using Outlook or Excel, just know that they are not databases! My recommendations on programs are at the end of the article]
TOP BENEFITS OF A DATABASE
- Measure results by tracking the actions you’ve taken. Recording information into your database enables you to access data and measure what’s working and what’s not at different time periods in your business.
For example, if you’ve been spending 4 hours a week blogging, but you’re not sure if any of those subscribers are doing business with you (“converting” into clients, as it’s called in market-speak), or referring to you, a database can measure that to make it perfectly clear. If they’re not “converting”, you’ll know to revisit your marketing or sales activities to get better results.
A big mistake I see new entrepreneurs make is to rely on their hunches of what is working and what’s not. Often, this is erroneous and costing your business time and money.
2. Plan business finances by tracking your sales cycle (from point of first contact to date of first sale). That’s a critical factor needed to plan your business.
For most professional service businesses a standard sales cycle is 6-12 months from the time you meet someone until the time they need your help or services. Naturally, clients referred to you are faster sales cycles. While almost every client’s sales cycle is different, you can average this time to more accurately plan your business growth and finance.
3. Get it out of your head! With a database you can record the actions you take to make a sale, or discussions you have to find out what your contacts need – now or in the future. At a certain point, you won’t be able to remember it all or will need to hire staff to help manage your growth.
One of the most common mistakes I see with early stage entrepreneurs (first 5 years or so) is that they don’t get the information out of their head or calendar and entered into one place where it can be tracked.
This one activity removes the stress of trying to recall important information – especially when you’re super busy.
4. Efficiency breeds more sales!
At some point, every growing company needs to be evaluated by an expert marketing/business advisor to ensure you’re maximizing your profits.
As your company grows, sharing a database remotely with designated staff affords far more efficient communication, which also saves time.
With 4 keystrokes you can find everyone who is waiting to hear back from you so you know what you’ve already sent them and what your next step is to help them purchase what you offer.
Tracking this information simplifies your operations, and makes your business more efficient and more likely to increase sales and profits.
As your business grows, train your staff to record their activities on the database so you can monitor and manage them to ensure your prospective clients are getting what they need in a timely fashion.
5. Easily find all the people you need to follow up with on any specific date. I’ve helped companies increase sales by 100% by following up with their prospects in a timely manner (ideally 2-4 days).
We all mess that up sometimes, but tracking this on a database reduces those errors and makes it much easier to manage.
6. Track results from sending marketing materials, estimates, samples, proposals, RFP’s or messages so you don’t have to remember what item you sent to whom, the date they were sent, and the follow up date needed to get their business. If you have something they need, they’ll appreciate you following up.
7. Project management of activities, personnel, dates, costs or similar can be added to some database programs, as well. Tracking these details helps overburdened, busy entrepreneurs stay on top of deadlines and costs. Best of all, it eases the stress of starting and running a business.
INCREASE OUTREACH TO BE MORE PROFITABLE
It’s simple. If you don’t have enough sales, you’re probably not outreaching to enough people who need what you offer.
While you might be managing your outreach (to find new clients) on your calendar or iphone now, most sustainably successful businesses need to outreach to thousands of contacts, over time.
This doesn’t mean you’ll get a thousand calls a day, just that you’re building long term education of your offerings with those who may someday need your help.
This is impossible to manage properly without a database.
WHICH EXACT FIELDS SHOULD YOU ADD?
Page 2 of this article gives you my recommended list of the exact fields to add to your database to best track marketing and sales. Our clients have achieved significant gains from understanding how to use marketing databases to make smarter marketing or business management decisions.
If you need specific advice on how to choose, set up or use a database for marketing, simply contact us to set up a consultation or leave your questions in a comment below.