Databases Made Easy

Nick Roberts 

In previous issues I've talked about CRM and CRM tools but perhaps I put the cart before the horse, as CRM requires an up-to-date and accurate database of customers. So what are the secrets of a successful database?

  • Just keep one database, not one on Outlook, one on your accounting system for invoicing and one on Excel for mail merges, otherwise they'll all be different and updating them will be a nightmare.

  • Your database should also contain prospective customers and useful contacts such as referrers. You may send them something different but at least they'll all be in the same place.

  • Keep it as simple as possible but decide whether you want a list just for mailing purposes or whether you want to record sales information against customers. The latter will be much more useful but if for example, you're a retailer you'll have to invest in a decent Point of Sale system.

  • Keep it up to date. Harder than it seems as you probably won't be told that customers' contact details have changed!

  • Use it effectively. If it's just to remind your customers you still exist keep in contact at least six times a year by sending out useful and targeted information. Don't overdo the adverts as these are a real turn off!

  • If you're emailing invest in a web-site or email marketing software to avoid using blind cc's or even worse, showing everyone's email addresses to everyone else! Outlook is not enough!

I've heard loads of excuses over the years but they're starting to wear thin now. No database = no customers = no goodwill = poor business resale value! 


If you have any tax or business queries of any kind telephone 0800 ASK NICK, e-mail or use "Contact Us" on The information in this article is of a general nature and should not be relied upon as a substitute for specific advice.