What data should your customer database contain?

Quelles informations doit contenir votre base de données clients ?

For your customer database, would you rather overcollect data or apply the minimalistic approach? Whether you go for “more is better” or “less is more”, you may well end up with tons of duplicate or obsolete data. Start off on the right foot by asking yourself: what data do I actually need?

The right client data can help you turn a prospect into a client or win a new contract. In this highly competitive ecosystem, you have to be able to build a clear and relevant strategy to your market. This can be done with the right data at the right time. A great database can help you transform social selling and economic intelligence into a lever for growth. Continue reading to find out more about what data you should collect.

GDPR: an important preamble

Before we go into detail, let’s talk about the regulatory limitations and restrictions: you can't (anymore) do whatever you want with personal data. Since coming into effect on 25 May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has dramatically changed the way companies collect, use and secure the personal data of their users.

Each piece of collected data must serve a specific purpose in the action for which it was collected. In addition, you need to explicitly ask for a client’s consent before you can add them to a mailing list. Lastly, each customer must be able to opt out easily from any point of contact with your brand. Your database must therefore incorporate this obligation.

Compliance with the GDPR is essential, given the impact this law may have on businesses that take liberties in this regard.

What data should you put in your customer database?

Knowing which data is relevant to your business is a task that depends on the positioning (B2B, B2C, B2B2C, etc.) and the sector of your company. Here are some details about the main types of data to help you define exactly what you need:

Transactional data

This is the data found at all stages of the customer journey, such as details of purchases, order and renewal dates, value of customers and products, abandoned baskets, returns, etc.

This data can be automatically added to your database and used to feed marketing automation scenarios, in particular when sending reminders for baskets that haven't been checked out or unfinished registrations. It can also be used to test the relevance of redesigning or adjusting a product page with A/B testing. This will allow you to see which version works best to adjust the conversion rate.

Behavioural data

This is the data used to measure the interactions with your brand: newsletter subscriptions, white paper downloads, click and open email rates, event registration, etc. You can also measure these interactions with the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which helps understand the propensity of a customer/user to recommend your products and services. While behaviour data is rarely homogeneous, it can help you improve the customer journey and experience.

Sociodemographic data

This data is linked to the customer profiles used to create buyers personas (profiles of your customers): lifestyle, personal preferences, academic or professional curriculum, buying context, personality of prospects/clients, level of responsibility in decision making, etc. Sociodemographic data can help you portray your clients and know how to address them to get the right message across, at the right time, and on the right platform.

Product data

This is data related to stocks, orders, inventories, price fluctuations and competition analysis. If you sell online, you know very well that product-related adjustments need to be done often. Product data can help you anticipate demand and optimise your offer (pricing, positioning, etc.). You can also use it in marketing operations related to programmatic advertising.

Firmographic data

This is essential data in B2B, especially when you use an Account-Based Marketing approach. This data can include information about your client’s company, the decision-makers, recent news, annual reports, upcoming projects, media and social media watch, etc. and is vital if you want to customise your business relationship and make it last.

Offline data

Whether you work in B2B or B2C, this data provides useful details about your clients: telephone details to postal addresses, email addresses, bank details, feedback from the support team, satisfaction surveys, etc. It generally comes from direct interactions with the people concerned. You can use it to improve your services, ensure that your invoices are sent to the right people, and update your company's interlocutors and stakeholders.

Each set of data must match a particular need for your database to be really effective. How your data works is just as important as where it is. Without a useful platform, even the best data in the world can quickly become useless. Between data enrichment, global value chain connection, advanced filtering and sorting options, it is important to make sure your data is in capable hands to serve your business.