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For people new to databases, learning the ropes can seem overwhelming. But as is often the case, great strides can be made by breaking down information into smaller, more easily digestible pieces.

‘Linking tables’ is one of those very critical pieces – at least, this is what it’s called in Airtable. The more common term within databases is ‘building relationships.’ Relationships are those connections that link data in one place (table) to data in another place (table).

Imagine the following example: suppose you had a database that contained all of your customer or client data (some type of CRM). This is a vital database for most businesses, but how do these customers get into your CRM? In many business cases, they’ll have gone through some type of sales pipeline. If your business is like mine, that pipeline could look a little something like this:

    1. Watch a YouTube video about Airtable
    2. Follow my blog or YouTube channel to learn more about Airtable
    3. Schedule a free consultation
    4. Receive proposal
    5. Become a client

All sales pipelines are a bit different, but I’m sure you get the picture. Well, in Airtable, you could easily build this pipeline in one table, allowing you to move your prospects through your pipeline as they got closer to becoming a paying customer.

But that’s only the beginning, right? In order to really get value out of this data, you want to get your prospects to convert to clients, and to then maintain each client’s data in your CRM, which is usually a different system/workflow than your sales pipeline. You need your tables to talk to one another.

This is where linking tables comes in to play,

So, in this example we could build this relationship in Airtable using three unique tables as follows:

      1. Table 1 – Clients
      2. Table 2 – Pipeline
      3. Table 3 – CRM

In the first table, we would store all data about our prospects/clients. This might include contact info, company name, website, email address etc. Basically, all data associated directly with the client.

The second table would be our pipeline data. Here, we would store relevant data to track our client as they moved through the pipeline. We might include their current stage in the pipeline, along with notes about conversations we’ve had and what their hopes/expectations are. We also might have some financial information like the estimated value of winning this customer.

Lastly, our third table might include the data associated with our client relationship. Are they a paying customer? When did they sign up? What services do we provide for them? How much revenue have we earned? Etc…

The second and third tables both give us an important view of our business.

The second table can be analyzed to show us the deals in our pipeline. How much revenue can we project to be coming in over the next month? How well are we doing at moving prospects through our sales process? That information all lives in the second table, aka: Pipeline.

The third table can tell us how well we are providing solutions for our existing customers. How long do clients stay with us? What is the average revenue earned per customer? This data lives in this table, aka: CRM.

But, in order for this data to be relevant, it all needs to ‘talk’ to itself, right? Knowing your pipeline is great, but if you can’t connect that data to a living, breathing prospect and the information in your CRM, then what good is it? Data living in a vacuum generally serves little purpose. This is where ‘linking tables’ comes into play – essentially, we want Table #2 to link to prospect data in Table #1, and for Table #3 to include data from Tables #1 & #2.

Creating a relationship between data records in Airtable is one of the most important parts of building integral databases for your workflows and business needs. Getting your data to ‘talk’ to itself is the best way to unlock the capability for true analysis, and thereby unlock the ability to quickly grow your business.

For customized help with Airtable, schedule a free consultation with me here.


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