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Building a CRM database is important for businesses looking to grow their client base and serve existing customers well. However, making a database can be tricky, given the parameters involved.
In this article, we’ll explore how to build a CRM database for your business alongside the best tools for doing this code-free.
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You have two options to build your own CRM database. First, you can take the long route—build the whole system from scratch, which requires special expertise that you might not possess.
Not to mention, this approach is pretty expensive. The other option is to use ready-made CRM software, which is a more economical approach that most businesses opt for.
There are plenty of highly-rated CRM systems for you to choose from. We’ll outline the best ones below.
First things first, you’ll need to pick CRM software where you’ll store all of your customer data. Here are a few of the top CRM apps we’ve picked after our in-depth testing and research:
We found Monday CRM to be one of the easiest platforms to build a database. Among its 200+ templates, you’ll find the “Contact” templates as well, which you can customize to your needs.
You can even start from scratch and build your own contact board. On this, you can fill data in various ways—enter it manually, import it from an external source, or pull data from the “leads” board.
Once your contact is created, you can link them to a specific account, such as a company name, where all data related to this company are stored in one place.
The Contacts board also allows you to segment your contacts into various groups on the same board. You can categorize them based on any parameter you like—New, Active, or Former, for example.
You can click on each contact to view the Item Card for information like emails & activities, related accounts, and contact info. Monday allows you to add or remove widgets as needed, too.
Monday CRM is best for businesses looking for an affordable CRM database solution. It starts at $12/user/month and allows you to save unlimited contacts in your database.
Salesforce is one of the best CRM platforms that allows you to build your own contact database. On your Salesforce dashboard, click on the 9-dot icon in the top-left corner.
You can either add a contact from the “Accounts” tab or from the “Contacts ” tab. Doing it from the former is more organized. Let’s say you have four clients—A, B, C, and D.
You first need to create four accounts by these names. After that, let’s say you want to add a contact from company A. Click on the “Accounts” tab and choose the “Contacts” option.
A new contact form will open, requiring you to fill in all the required information about that connection.
Salesforce is best for growing businesses that need a scalable solution. It offers 5 plans, starting from $25/user/month all the way up to $550/user/month.
It can get expensive, but it’s ideal for organizations that want to save time with its Einstein AI, which is one of the best AI CRM solutions in the industry. It lets you fetch data in a matter of seconds.
Let’s say you want to look for the phone number of the CEO of company B. Instead of manually opening the “Contacts” tab, you can simply ask Einstein.
Much like other CRM apps, Pipedrive lets you save and customize contacts. But what we loved most is its Smart Contact Cards feature. Let’s say you don’t have all the data about a customer.
In this case, businesses spend hours searching for any relevant information. Pipedrive automates the whole process for you. You simply need the client’s work email ID for this to work.
Click on the Smart Data Search option on the left of your contact dashboard. Pipedrive will then search for public information associated with this email, such as LinkedIn and location details.
It works well when you want to collect information about an organization, such as the number of employees, their social media handles, type of industry, or legal name, for example.
Pipedrive is perfect for businesses looking for some degree of automation in their database structure. It’s very affordable when compared to Salesforce, too, for example.
The platform also offers a timeline view of all your contacts—a visual representation of activities linked with the contact. It helps you understand how often you communicate with the client.
You can set a “follow-up frequency” for your contacts (say 30 days). So, contacts that have had no interactions in the past 30 days will show up in red, for example.
Related: A Full Guide on How to Choose a CRM
Once you’ve decided on a CRM system, you need to add data to build a database. This data generally involves basic customer details such as their age, gender, email, or phone number, for example.
It’s not necessary that you’ll have all the data while making the database. That’s why it’s important to build on the database and keep adding details with every customer interaction that takes place.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can add data with Monday.com as an example:
Custom fields are a must, as every business’s needs vary with the type of data they need. For example, a health insurance company would find the leads’ age, gender, weight, and height important.
On Monday.com, you can set up the board to populate a form with the required fields — custom to your needs. Here’s how:
This is a more sophisticated way of customizing your Contacts board. Alternatively, you can simply add a column by clicking on the “+” icon on the board.
However, this way, users will be able to save contacts even without some information (say age), whereas, if you enable forms, you won’t be able to save the contact without mandatory information.
Manual data entry often results in incorrect data and, of course, is a productivity killer. That’s why it’s important to automate your database.
A good way of doing this is by linking your contact database with your leads database so that every new lead can be automatically saved as a contact.
Another way of automating a database is by linking it with third-party platforms like Facebook or Gmail, for example, so new contacts are saved automatically from the platforms your business uses for lead generation.
A CRM database is a better version of your phone’s contact book. One of the key benefits of a CRM is that it ensures that sales reps have access to the latest customer interaction information to better understand their needs and preferences.
Though it might seem challenging, building a CRM database is simple if you use CRM software. This approach is also cheaper than building a CRM database from scratch.
You can customize the type of data you want to collect and automate data collection. It’s an ongoing process ensuring each interaction with customers is recorded and kept up to date.
Monday CRM – Affordable, Easy to Use, and Scalable
Yes, you can build your own CRM database. However, not only is this expensive, but it requires expert-level knowledge of software building. Plus, it can take a lot of time, and you may not be happy with the results. Ready-made CRM software is usually the best approach.
A CRM database includes all the information about your clients, including their age, gender, date of birth, email address, phone number, and other information relevant to your business. It also includes all interactions with the client in the past, including emails sent, phone calls made, and surveys filled out, for example.
Yes, Excel is a very simple form of a CRM database. This spreadsheet can be designed in a simple table format with customizable rows and columns. However, this is quite labor-intensive. Each entry must be recorded and updated manually. Plus, you don’t get to benefit from automation.
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Krishi Chowdhary has half a decade of experience writing buying guides and product reviews for numerous leading technology websites. He spent two years writing for Business2Community.com before joining Techopedia.com. He has a degree in Commerce and extensive experience in the technology industry. He's also the key driver behind TechReport.com's news content, delivering expertise insight into the latest tech and cybersecurity news daily.
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