Escoda Kevin

Innovation Specialist

Senior Advisor (Innovation, Blockchain, IA, Digital Finance...)

Communication Expert

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Digital Expertise & SEO

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Escoda Kevin

Innovation Specialist

Senior Advisor (Innovation, Blockchain, IA, Digital Finance...)

Communication Expert

Crypto & Blockchain Expertise

Design & Photography

Digital Expertise & SEO

Content & Video

Blog Post

Digital tools to improve the management of a client database

Digital tools to improve the management of a client database

Managing a client/customer portfolio is not always something easy for businesses. Whether you are a craftsman, a service provider or a e-commerce manager, a good use of your portfolio database is essential for any brand to remain successful. Fortunately, building, developing and managing customer portfolios is becoming easier thanks to tools and softwares. Let’s see which are the best digital tools to improve your portfolio management.

I. A client/customer database : the what and the why

a) What is it ?

If I should explain what is a customer database (or a client portfolio) in a simple way, I’ll start saying that it is all the customers that a company has. Most of the times, it also represent a document that contains all the information about customers who collaborate with a company at a given time.

Generally, the management of the client portfolio is the duty of the sales department, as one of it’s mission is also to develop this database by increasing the number and the quality of entry. It is a important part of the business development, as this portfolio represents one of the most important assets of a company.

This document contains informations about customers such as :

  • contact details (the more up to date, the better)
  • projects linked to each customer
  • challenges and objectives
  • history of visits
  • emails sent
  • volume of transactions carried out
  • turnover
  • etc…

Note that some important data are not included into the customer portfolio, such as prospects (potential customers), ex-customers and partners. And in the case of a company that hires several sales representatives, the client portfolio can be divided between them according to several criteria such as the type of contract or the sector.

b) Why it matters ?

It is easier to convince an already acquired customer to buy back, than to convince a new one ; this is the main reason why a customer portfolio is a gold mine to be exploited to establish effective marketing and sales strategies, and to set up ad ho actions plans.

A good management of this database is also very important for any company willing to do some account based marketing ; by knowing their customers, a company can easily segment them and personalize their offer to fit to different groups of customers.

Finally, it is important to understand that such a document requires a permanent care and management, because the more it expends, the more t accumulates datas and informations, increasing the risk of outdated datas and errors.

II. The portfolio management with digital tools

In normal times, managing the customer portfolio is a real headache for salespeople. Even when using Excel, it is difficult to be productive because these files can get scattered around and the search ineffective, preventing from focusing on high-value tasks. That’s exactly why digital tools optimized for customer portfolios are here ; provide an efficient, secure, reliable way to simplify this management. Let’s see which tools you should consider…

a) CRM

Here is the salesperson’s best ally in optimizing the quality of their relationships with customers, retaining them and increasing the company’s turnover. The first goal of a CRM (or Customer Relationship Management) tool is to simplify the customer care and, by extension, improve the link with the customer. Thanks to this tool, it is possible to centralize all the informations concerning a client, in real time, allowing a more optimal commercial monitoring,

A CRM also enables the multi-chain management of customer portfolio interactions, the easy segmentation of customers and allows to follow with attention their purchasing journey, before and after sales. In short, this tool allows for the collection of important information in nature of helping marketing teams and salespeople to more easily achieve their objectives.

Some CRM solutions can now be linked to your mailing/e-mailing solution, just like HubSpot. This link allows many features that can simplify the work of salespeople. The main advantages are the automatic recording of data, the automated production of mails, the follow-up of the leads, the synchronization with the calendar, the possibility for the prospects and the customers to make appointments according to niches, and allowing salespeoples to be more productive.

Here is a list of the best CRM tools according to Business News Daily :

Notable mentions : Pipedrive, Zoho, Oracle Netsuite, Hubspot, Quickbase, Sage, SugarCRM.

b) Sales automation tools

While the CRM helps you manage your marketing and your customer care tasks and actions, Sales Automation, on the other hand, makes the tasks of sales representatives automated, helping you to convert your database into a goldmine (if used properly). These tools make it possible to optimize commercial actions such as sending e-mails, text messages, segmentation of contacts, lead scoring actions, etc.

Automation also makes it possible to optimize sales by doing cross-selling* or even upselling*. Marketing and sales automation also give you an accurate view of your return on investment.

*Cross-selling : Cross selling is the process of encouraging customers to purchase products or services in addition to the original items they intended to purchase. Oftentimes the cross-sold items are complementary to one another so customers have more of a reason to purchase both of them.

*Upselling : Upselling is the process of encouraging customers to upgrade or include add-ons to the product or service they’re buying. The product or service being promoted is typically a more expensive product or add ons which can increase the overall order value.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of the best sales automation tools and their principal purpose :

  • Hubspot Sales Hub : In addition of it’s worldwidely known CRM, you can improve your Hubspot experience with the Hubspot Sales Hub which will give you deeper insights into prospects and automate repetitive tasks so that you can effectively follow up, personalize outreach, track engagement, and close more deals faster. Key points : personalized and sequenced follow-up emails automated to ensure your sales team is connecting with leads at exactly the right moment / real-time notifications about when a lead clicks on a link, opens an attachment, or checks an email / automated contact data entry and engagement history / Seamless HubSpot CRM integration to keep track of the entire sales pipeline / user-friendly click-to-call dialer.
  • Pega Sales Automation : Pega Sales Automation is an AI-driven sales automation software that aims to help you grow revenue, accelerate your sales cycle, and increase sales rep productivity. Its AI-enabled features can automate accurate forecast for upselling, cross-selling, and repeat purchases. The software uses AI to choose the best qualified leads and guide sales reps through the sales process and help make close sales easier. Additionally, its central dashboard will automatically generate personalized offers and lead ranking scores and tell you how your sales team is doing. Key points : identification of key opportunities to cross-sell, upsell, and establish repeat purchases / personalized deal generation for prospects / lead ranking scores to determine how well sales reps are performing / outlook calendar and email integration / LinkedIn Sales Navigator partnership.
  • LeadFuze : LeadFuze is another powerful lead generation tool powered by artificial intelligence. This powerful tool functions as a search engine for leads; you can search against a large selection of different criteria and reveal verified email addresses, phone numbers, and social network profiles. Along with access to leads and their contact details, you’ll also be able to use the AI assistant to automate the process. ‘Fuzebot’ searches the web for new leads on a daily basis, verifies their email, and adds them to your list. Key points : seamless integration into various CRM solutions / double-verified emails / both account-based and market-based lead searches.
  • : is a sales automation platform that can help you find new prospects and automatically send them email campaigns and follow-ups. Its email finder feature is also available as a web browser extension that can identify email addresses through LinkedIn and company websites. It also automatically verifies email addresses to save you time. Aside from providing email templates for drip campaigns and follow-ups, the platform tracks and analyses your campaigns and provides statistics, from email opens to conversion rates. Another great thing is it integrates well with CRM tools such as HubSpot and Salesforce and with more third party apps through Zapier. Key points : integration with Salesforce, Zapier, PieSync, or PipeDrive 7/ impactful email drip campaign creation / bi-directional sync with CRM / one-click variable adjustment for personalized emails and messages.

This is just a quick list, and the number of automation tools that exist is enormous : feel free to contact me if you need advices about which tool is the more suited for your business.

c) Collaborative tools to better communicate with your client portfolio

Digital has transformed companies, working methods and their processes, including the use of collaborative tools which has gradually become the norm. These tools make it possible to facilitate exchanges between employees but also with customers, if you work in B2B (or even in B2C in certain cases).

In addition, the internationalization of trades and the increasingly development of smartworking (due to recent crisis like COVID19) are events which have only strengthened and accelerated the use of these collaborative tools.

The advantage of using collaborative tools is that you will start a project more quickly, share informations with the team in real time without having to travel and the possibility of modifying files no matter when or where you find yourself, will save valuable time in the advancement of projects and facilitate decision-making. These tools are built to facilitate teamwork. However, it is essential to ensure an efficient training of your team in order to use those tools properly.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of some tools that will allow you to be more efficient in your interactions with your employees and customers:

II. Convert your database into leads by improving your digital presence and getting an efficient engagement strategy

Other tools will help you to improve your digital presence and, more importantly, convert your database into good leads by working on your engagement strategy. Let’s dive into a few of them…

a) Social Selling

Your customers are “omnichannel” and therefore most likely on social networks. As interactions become more and more complex, you can also manage your portfolio on social networks, helping you to monitor them while trying to glean new prospects. Social selling is, in fact, something that you will have to put in place, sooner or later.

It consists of using social networks such as Linkedin, Twitter or Facebook to prospect, make a sale or even chat with customers. According to a recent study conducted by Linkedin, salespeople using social networks increase their chances of exceeding their goals by 3.

Such approach is built over time, in the long term, by providing value in particular through the quality and efficienty of content publicated and shared.

In a sense, the concepts of social selling and inbound marketing are hand in hand, as they increase your visibility toward your customers, prospects and other market players. It is essential that each salesperson of your company appropriates these new methods and makes good use of them, as these are an essential acquisition layer today.

The best social selling tools according to :

  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator : The LinkedIn Sales Navigator allows you to easily discover, save and segment LinkedIn leads. It provides an advanced search option to find your ideal buyers, based on specific criteria such as job title, company size and more.
  • Hootsuite : Hootsuite is the most popular tool for sharing and managing your posts across platforms. It is also an effective tool for social listening – or keeping track of prospects’ online conversations about your industry and brand. This will help you locate important prospects and influencers, and then engage with them through social media.
  • ZoomInfo ReachOut : ReachOut, ZoomInfo’s Chrome extension, allows you to simplify your social prospecting process. When you install this plugin, you’ll get access to a prospect’s direct phone numbers and email addresses from ZoomInfo’s B2B database immediately when you view their LinkedIn profile.
  • LinkedIn Social Selling Index : The Sales Navigator isn’t the only useful social selling tool that LinkedIn offers. The LinkedIn Social Selling Index works in tandem with the Sales Navigator to inform your strategy based on the “four pillars of social selling”: 1. Establish your brand / 2. Find the right people / 3. Engage with insights / 4. Build relationships.
  • Nimble : You’re already aware of the importance of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. Nimble is a CRM designed for the social media age. The platform organizes your buyers and leads and allows you to keep track of your entire relationship with them – including your social media interactions.
  • Awario : Awario is an app that primarily focuses on social listening. The platform’s complex monitoring searches are more thorough that most other platforms, ensuring you won’t miss any mention of your brand, industry or competitors. Once you locate potential prospects, you can engage with them right away from Awario.
  • IFTTT : A big challenge with social selling is the amount of platforms sales reps must keep up with. Tailoring a message for each platform takes a lot of time– so let this tool do it for you. IFTTT (short for “If This, Then That”) allows you to create chains of commands to quickly translate your content from one platform to another. For example, you can create a command so that content you share on Twitter with a certain hashtag automatically posts on your LinkedIn page as well. This selling tool is effective for any department in your organization, but sales reps can use it to streamline the more tedious parts of social selling.
  • Bambu : Your sales and marketing teams aren’t the only ones who can have a hand in a great social selling strategy. All of your employees can help generate leads by sharing information and content on social media. But, it’s not always easy to motivate them to make that extra effort. That’s where an employee advocacy tool like Bambu comes in. Bambu provides a streamlined employee advocacy system, where employees can see and share the latest content with just a few clicks. There’s even a leaderboard to incentive employees to share content consistently. This easy-to-use tool is your key to leveraging your employees’ networks and to generate more leads on social media.

b) Interact with your customers through newsletters

Newsletters reserved for customers are not outdated as some may suggest, quite the contrary! It allows you to create strong links with your portfolio at a ridiculous cost. To use the newsletter effectively, however, you should not use it anyhow. It must be filled with information likely to interest your audience, so it must provide value added and must not be a copy paste of content already visible elsewhere, such as your blog for example. Also, it must be regular but not intrusive. In short, be original in your newsletter creation and adapt the speech to your target,

You can finely segment and personalize your communication in order to offer exclusive content such as VIP invitations, discounts for an event that concern your customers (birthday, party, etc.), promotional codes to take advantage of an event, a service or an exclusive product…

Best tools to manage your newsletter :

  • MailChimp : Mailchimp is a leader in email marketing tools that you’ve probably heard of. Their free plan provides you with basic email marketing features such as email creation and scheduling. What makes this a great email marketing tool is its smart recommendations feature, which provides you with valuable audience insights to optimize your marketing efforts. Designing emails on the platform is easy using the Content Manager, where you can store your images and files for easy access. Mailchimp lets you automate your emails at crucial steps of the buyer journey, so you can easily send out welcome emails, order confirmations, abandoned cart reminders and more.
  • Constant Contact : Constant Contact helps you create email marketing campaigns like a pro. It includes a smart email editor that makes it easy to customize and design great-looking emails that stand out on every device. IOther features that make it a catch for smaller brands and non-profits include automation, social marketing for lead generation, and the ability to build websites and landing pages. Constant Contact also has specialized email marketing for eCommerce tools to help your online store grow. You can upload contact lists from Excel, Outlook, Salesforce—or wherever you store your contacts.
  • AWeber : AWeber is a great email marketing platform for teams, small businesses, and entrepreneurs. It includes a drag-and-drop email editor, templates, automation and workflows, A/B testing, segmentation, autoresponders, and tons of integrations. Like others on our list, AWeber offers a landing page builder. It’s clean and drag-and-drop-based, making it easy to use for anyone who needs to quickly build and deploy a landing page along with an email campaign.
  • Drip : Drip is a powerful email marketing service suitable for eCommerce websites, and digital marketers. It comes with a bunch of smart customer relationship management (CRM) features that help you to capture leads, engage them, send personalized emails, and grow sales. Drip has integration with an extensive list of website builders like WordPress and WooCommerceform and survey plugins, and other different services. This allows you to use Drip with your favorite platforms without doing any extra work.
  • Benchmark : Benchmark’s superpower is its international focus – if you need things in lots of languages this is probably the one for you. It’s available in nine different languages. The email newsletter tool also emphasises its high-quality, international customer support as a key selling point, and the company has offices in 15 countries including China and Japan.
  • Mailjet : Mailjet comes with intuitive and collaborative tools to help you build effective email marketing campaigns. Customize any of the pre-designed templates and create responsive emails to impress any recipient no matter which device they’re using. If you work with a team, you’ll love the platform’s real-time collaboration feature that allows for seamless collaboration. This email marketing tool also lets you add dynamic content so you can create personalized and relevant emails for each recipient. This helps you get much better results out of your email marketing campaigns. You can also integrate the platform into your CRM and easily manage your mailing list through a single dashboard.
  • Autopilot : Autopilot is an easy-to-use software for multiìchannel marketing automation. It makes it easy for any company to automate their marketing, nurture their leads beyond email, and gain insights from analytics. Autopilot’s built-in integrations to best of breed marketing, CRM, and business intelligence tools empower marketers to create and track buyer journeys using email, mobile, and direct mail.
  • SendinBlue : Sendinblue is an all-in-one platform covering many business communications types, including Email, SMS, Facebook, Chat, CRM, and more. The company’s mission is to help businesses meet their customers. They help you to focus on the important tasks and put the rest on autopilot with automation. You can create professional-looking emails in no time, using its email builder, but the magic is in the platform’s combination of features. With chat, SMS marketing, Inbox, CRM and automations, you’ll find it easy to piece together smarter and more compelling email campaigns. Facebook Ads functionality is built-in, making it possible to retarget contacts and attract new leads.

c) control retention and loyalty

Customer retention is important to a growing company as an indication of literally “withstanding the test of time” when it comes to addressing the needs of existing customers, not just attracting new ones. When the cost of acquiring a new customer can cost five times as much as maintaining a relationship with an existing one, high retention rates are crucial to keeping your ROI in the green. 

Customers who find their needs served and their loyalty rewarded are, unsurprisingly, more likely to leave positive testimonials and provide referrals. This means that customer retention also plays a significant role in a company’s reputation. In short, retention is a KPI with regards to gauging the quality of the relationships being built with customers over time.

Three kind of tools and programs will help you track, manage and improve your retention and loyalty :

1: CRM’s (see part II a for more informations)

2. Customer Loyalty And Gamification Programs : a customer loyalty program is one of the most straightforward methods for boosting customer retention. Offering exclusivity through membership or rewards points adds perceived value to your offers and your company image overall. And loyalty programs reward more than just purchasing behavior; they can be used to encourage feedback, social media activity, referrals, etc. Gamification refers to the application of game mechanics to the customer experience. With gamification, software users (employees) as well as customers are motivated to complete actions by making them more interactive, enjoyable, and competitive. Sites that incorporate gamification often display features like leaderboards, statuses, and badges.

Best tools to manage your loyalty and gamification programs :

  • Loyverse : Loyverse is a POS, or a point of sale system – the place where a customer executes the payment for goods or services bought from a company. Unsurprisingly, it is an eCommerce-targeted software, and a great example of a lower-level customer rewards tool, particularly given its price. With this software, users can manage inventory, sell products directly from mobile devices, visualize sales analytics and manage customer relationships.
  • RepeatRewards : RepeatRewards is a multi-channel marketing and customer loyalty management platform designed for primarily eCommerce businesses. The software includes tools for automating campaigns, tracking member activity, and implementing loyalty programs in-store or digitally. Loyalty program members receive access to exclusive promotion and are encouraged to play games and engage on social media to earn rewards.
  • Annex Cloud : The Customer Loyalty Cloud is one of 3 clouds offered by this company, including the Referral Marketing and User-Generated clouds. The CL cloud offers a variety of loyalty solutions, including: online loyalty through the online company store and rewards points systems, in-app loyalty through a custom-built business application, social and behavioral loyalty through social media engagement, reviews and referrals, aid membership loyalty with multi-tier program management capabilities and omni-channel loyalty for a more well-rounded loyalty program.
  • Influitive : Influitive’s AdvocateHub is a customer-oriented incentive tool that, put most simply, identifies repeat customers and engages them with a rewards program. Customers can connect to the program via social channels, on-site, through e-mail, a CRM or even paid channels.

3. Customer Experience Management : CEM (customer experience management) is subtly, but distinctly different from CRM. CEM is the collection of processes a company uses to track and manage all of the interactions that occur between a customer and a company throughout the customer life cycle. It often provides similar functionality, but also focuses on the customer as a person, rather than simply a faceless client. A CEM platform is designed to collect experiential data from customers and prioritize their feedback as a means of gaining insight and continuously optimizing the customer experience, so common features may include survey forms, A/B testing, customization settings, and customer support. Customer support systems can incorporate both automated and live chats, as well as access to customer communities and self-help resources.

Best tools to improve your customer experience :

  • Yotpo : Yotpo is aimed towards eCommerce stores and retail businesses. The software utilizes product reviews to create their sales-boosting incentives. Companies collect, analyze, manage and respond to user-generated content from a single platform, with integrations with social platforms and third-party rating systems, such as Google Seller Ratings.
  • Qualtrics : Qualtrics Customer Experience uses a unique predictive intelligence engine to extract deep insights and predict the key drivers of a customer experience. Information about your customers can be gathered through transactional, pulse, and other kinds of surveys, among others, as well as NPS, or Net Promoter Score.
  • SurveyMonkey : SurveyMonkey is an online survey software that can help improve customer satisfaction and engagement by reaching out to different audiences to gain insight into their preferences. Users can create custom surveys, quick polls, or request customer or employee feedback.
  • Zendesk : Customer support is a major component of CX, and one that Zendesk specializes in managing through a variety of marketing channels. Zendesk is a suite of support apps with chat, call center, and community forum and knowledge base features, allowing even a small business to offer an industry-class help desk as a resource. Upgradeable advanced tools include answer bots, CSAT surveys, web SDK, and more.

Feel free to share questions and advices in the comment section. For particular demand / request, reach me out by email or through the contact form on this page.