Capturing information about your prospects and clients should involve more than just names and email addresses. The amount of detail you collect is crucial for successful prospecting and developing meaningful relationships that go well beneath the surface (which ultimately results in client retention). Client databases will provide you with a plethora of information to increase service capacity, improve effectiveness, better support your clients, and better understand and quantify their impact.
Steps to Creating your Client Management Database:
- Establish a stable foundation in technologywhether the database system is in-office or web-based. Some factors that may apply to your technology needs, are:
- Internet connectivity, a company server for sharing access, a security or data back-up system, and virus protection.
- Define your information needs and determine the most powerful and effective data that will help build strong relationships with your clients and prospects throughout your interactions and campaigns. This should be guided by the way information flows through your practice, which will result in a database system that is embedded in your workflow processes. Consider the following:
- Reporting requirements, input from all team members, information needed for internal evaluations.
- Acquire a customer relationship management tool that tracks each step of the relationship – phone calls, emails, services/products, contracts, billing, referrals, and much more. Choose a Client Relationship Management System (CRM) that is tailored to your industry and your needs – Redtail is a web-based software designed with the financial professional in mind. Read more about the minimum requirements for a CRM in our blog, “Workflows & How They Enable Execution Of Your Business Strategy” –http://aeschlapia.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/workflows-how-they-enable-execution-of-your-business-strategy/ )
- Plan for future service needs by creating or acquiring a management system that can adapt to business growth and changes. It is easier to acquire new technologies that are flexible, when you are looking to solve one or two growth needs, such as automating services, rather than trying to find a comprehensive system that solves all needs at one time. A CRM that exports reports to Excel is desirable, since it allows you to conduct your own data analysis.
- Keep the end in mind and remember how your data will be used after being captured. Whether it is used for client reports, internal executive summaries, or usage analysis you need to monitor the relevance of the data being tracked.
- Segment your database in order to collect information that is parallel to your overall client & prospect development plans. Identify, target, and split groups of individuals who are similar to one another in certain ways. This will allow you to personalize your communications and deliver messages that resonate with your clients. Consider the following categories to use in distinguishing your segments: age, income, assets, debt, occupation, geographic area, how long they’ve been a client, marital status, number of children, etc… You can also read more about segmentation in our blog, “Create The First Step Towards Greater Efficiency With Client Segmentation” – http://aeschlapia.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/take-the-first-step-towards-greater-efficiency-with-client-segmentation/
Once you get your database and standard operating procedures set up, evaluate your system quarterly and make the adjustments you need to keep things running smoothly and effectively. By developing a solid operating plan for your CRM, you can streamline your business, increase your productivity, and boost your potential for success.
Contact us for assistance in starting and improving your Client Management Database. We want to hear from you! Share your best ideas here!
You won’t want to miss our next in the series: The Human Element-The Performance Evaluation