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How a customer database can help you get more business

August 28, 2011

Many businesses fail to understand how having a customer database can help you win further business.  One of the easiest sources of new business is from existing customers. However, a database can only help  if you are able to extract information from it and analyse it.

A lot of businesses think that Microsoft Excel constitutes a database. Unfortunately, although Excel is  good at storing data, it is not particularly easy to extract information  from. In particular a lot of manual effort is required to extract information such as :-

  • Who your customers are
  • What they have bought – and when they bought it
  • How much they spent

By having a proper database, you should be able to run reports and obtain this information. So how can this information be used to gain more sales ? It is best illustrated by industry specific examples.

Example 1 : Product based industries

Lets imagine that you are a printer and have a customer database. Every year your customers order calendars and xmas cards. So with your customer database you can run reports every year that tell you :-

  • which customers bought cards last year
  • which customers bought calendars last year
  • which bought cards and calendars
  • which bought neither

You can then contact these customers and see if they want to buy cards/calendars  this year.

As a next step, you can contact those customers that purchased only calendars and see if they wanted matching cards.

However if this analysis is done properly you deduce further information – in particular  you can analyse the types of customers that buy both calendars and cards.  You could deduce that marketing agencies purchase both cards and calendars. Hence you could contact other marketing agencies (who do not currently buy from you) and see if they are interested in buying calendars / cards.

Example 2 :  Service Based Industries

In this example, we assume that you run alarm installation company. You install domestic and commercial alarms – which need servicing every two years.  By having a customer database, you can determine when these service dates are due. Armed with this information you can contact these customers and remind them that their service is due. When speaking to them (by letter / phone / email) you can mention new products that may interest them e.g CCTV to increase the security of their property.



One Comment leave one →
  1. August 31, 2011 11:46 am

    Kaps – this is uncanny so many of my clients would love to be able to answer these questions and benefit from these tools. One even is interested in the business xmas card business. Melanie

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