How to organise a telemarketing database ?…..
….it’s a question that needs answering as we know people are searching for an answer when they find our website.
So, how should you organise a telemarketing database? or organise a sales database? essentially they are likely to be very similar.
To decide how to structure your database you first need to engage the users:
- User Engagement
Organise a workshop style meeting with the people and teams that will use it to ensure they have an input in the database design. This not only means the ‘inputters’ but the people that will use the data for reports.
It’s an essential meeting and guaranteed to generate some interesting conversations as it might be the first time they have got together and shared opinions. Stay focussed and be prepared to make recommendations!
This meeting will identify some aspects and requirements that you may not have been aware of and of course it will support the training that users will attend when the database is delivered.
During the meeting you should then consider all of the following:
- Reporting Requirements
So you are setting up a database, no doubt you will want to generate reports and produce statistics to monitor progress and success rates. You cannot report on something that is not in the database!
Consider this in the database design and add the fields and options that you will need.
- Database fields
Your database needs to have the right fields to support your sales activities and your business, think these through carefully. Make sure that the options available in each field make sense and are actually valid.
If you are canvassing potential customers you may well need specific database fields to capture their interests, or suitability for the specific products and services being offered. You should also consider recording what products they buy currently if they are already your customers. All of this will help support future marketing and sales activities.
When considering future marketing think about flag fields on the database to identify marketing preferences e.g. email marketing, telephone marketing, postal marketing.
- Structured data!
What do we mean ‘Structured data?’
It’s very difficult to produce meaningful reports from a database where the fields just contain free text. To produce accurate reports the data must be structured, that means where appropriate the database fields should always use centralised ‘Drop Down Lists’
Just think how many ways a light bulb can be described, not only that if you take into account possible spelling errors, free text fields should be avoided at all costs.
Whilst we are on the subject of data you should also consider ‘mandatory fields’ i.e. a field that must contain a value. These should be used with caution but so many times we see databases where key data is missing and this could easily be avoided.
- Sales processes & Opportunity Management
Business processes play a big part in sales databases, you’ll need to track at what stage a sale is at but you should also ensure that contacts are categorised accurately. Are they ‘Suspects’, ‘Prospects’, ‘Customers’ all of this will aid reporting and database queries. To support this see ‘Structured Data!’
- Document or Quote production
So you are capturing prospect and customer data in the database, how are you going to communicate with them? Whether it is by email or post you will want to ensure that all communications support your brand and conform to your standards.
The answer is to integrate your database with your email system and MS Word and produce documents automatically populated with the customer specific information from shared templates.
Those communications can then be attached to the contact record in the database so that all users can access them and see ‘who said what to who and when’
- Activity scheduling and recording
This links to Reporting, because most Sales Managers and MD’s we speak to want to know ‘how many phone calls have been made and by who?’ or ‘who attended client meetings this month?’
The database will need to have the ability to record these activities and also schedule future activities. The requirement to have ‘custom activities’ in a database to support the specifics of services offered, is a regular requirement and links back to structured data.
- System usability
It’s no good having a database with hundreds of fields capturing masses of information unless it is laid out on screen in a manner that’s easy to use and information is easy to locate. Some data fields will be more important than others, e.g. the name of the person, their company name, their phone number, their email address etc.
Some data needs to be on the front screen can be placed on tabs and accessed when needed. Use colour to highlight fields, bound fields with boxes, do whatever you can to make the screen attractive.
This aspect is regularly overlooked but if done well it will help immensely in user adoption and success of the database implementation.
There are also other factors that should be considered, but these are the main ones that have priority. If you need assistance give us a call.