A Guide on How to Build a CRM Database

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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.

How to Build a CRM Database

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.

1. Choose a CRM

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:

CRM Salesforce Monday CRM Pipedrive HubSpot Act! CRM Zoho CRM
Best For Large organizations Startups Pipeline management Enterprise-level features SMB needs AI-powered assistance
Starting Price $25/user/month $12/user/month $9.90/user/month $18/month $30/user/month $14/user/per month
Free Version 30-day trial 14-day trial 14-day trial Free plan 14-day trial Free plan
Compatibility iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, browser iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, browser iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, browser iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, browser iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, browser Android, iOS, Web
Top 3 Features 3,000+ integrations, Automated Activity Capture, AI automation Unlimited free viewers, 200+ templates, mass email tracking Contact mapping, 10,000 open deals per company, meeting scheduler Free tools, 200 shared inboxes, email scheduling Relationship timeline, Mail merge, automated workflows Predictive sales, omnichannel presence, journey orchestration
Reviews Salesforce Review Monday CRM Review Pipedrive Review HubSpot Review Act! CRM Review Zoho CRM Review

Monday – Affordable CRM Database Solution

Monday.com Contacts template
Monday CRM Contacts Template

 

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 – Top Choice for Growing Businesses

Salesforce customer database
Salesforce Customer Database Management

 

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.

Pipedrive – Budget-Friendly and Powerful

Pipedrive Contacts timeline
Pipedrive’s Contacts Timeline

 

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

2. Add Your Data

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:

  1. Pick the Contacts Board Template

    This Contacts board template contains columns like name, title, company, type (customer, lead, vendor), priority, phone, email, and date of next interaction.
    <b>Pick the Contacts Board Template</b>
  2. Fill Each Column

    Manually fill in each column for every contact you have. Not to mention, you can add your own columns.
    <strong>Fill Each Column</strong>
  3. Connect Your Boards

    You can now connect your “Contacts” board with the “Lead” board. For this, click on the “Move to contacts” button in the “Create a contact” column on your Leads board.

3. Customize As Needed

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:

  1. Head to the Board Settings

    Visit the board settings and click “Enable item creation form”.
    <strong>Head to the Board Settings</strong>
  2. Open the Form

    Open the form by creating a new item. You’ll find a pencil icon on the tab.
    <strong>Open the Form</strong>
  3. Edit the Fields

    You can now edit the fields you want, make certain fields mandatory, and choose the order of the fields.

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.

4. Automate

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.

What is a CRM Database?

CRM database describes a system that centralizes all your customer data. This includes customers’ numbers, email accounts, ages, genders, addresses, birthdays, and all interactions with them.

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.

Conclusion

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.

EDITOR’s CHOICE

Monday CRM – Affordable, Easy to Use, and Scalable

  • Powerful Sales Automation
  • Task and Project Tracking
  • Efficient Roadmap Planning

FAQs

Can you build your own CRM database?

What should be included in a CRM database?

Is Excel a CRM database?

References

  1. Business Benefits of CRM (Info Entrepreneurs)

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Krishi Chowdhary
Tech Expert
Krishi Chowdhary
Tech Expert

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.