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CRM and MA: the personalised route to fast-track engagement

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems such as Salesforce and marketing automation (MA) platforms including Marketo and Hubspot today offer client side marketers some very sophisticated tools for market development.

But to fully utilise these tools and create close and effective engagement with prospects and existing customers alike requires more than a high performance CRM or MA platform.

Cutting to the chase

Statistics will tell the story and fill in the gaps: in recent research, 87% of marketers claimed that email was their most popular lead generation channel; with online registration and opt-in at 70% and social networks and content marketing at 68% and 67% respectively.

So why are these channels so popular and how does this work? How is it made cohesive and why? Well, what makes it work is the ‘glue’ that holds it all together: email.

Up close and personal

Practically every form of online communication has an email component in the mix, and in many cases at its very centre, as email – whether through Salesforce, or one of the MA platforms – is the only way of delivering personalised communications direct to the recipient.

While technology is changing things, email is currently the only way of effectively segmenting prospect or customer communications in a way that is personal and meaningful to recipients, creating engagement that develops over time to form individual relationships.

Is automatic personal?

What this means is client side marketers need to focus on what makes marketing work: is it technology or is it personal communication? Hint: what got you your current romantic partner – the technology your online dating agency uses, or the strength of your personality?

Well, it had to be the latter because (as far as I know) no-one wants to date a computer. At least, not yet. So, person-centred communication, driven by a well set-up and sophisticated delivery platform works.

Empathy is everything

So, gaining a close understanding of how your prospects think, what they want from you, and using this information to build a prospect profile (persona) is the first step to developing a personal relationship.

But this relationship needs to be way more than a clear understanding of who these people are – you need to be able to communicate with them on a personal level and as you do so, offer them more information and help them on their buying journey.

Making it real, and making it work

Careful strategic planning, borne of diligent market research is key to making marketing work, because unless you fully understand and can fully empathise with your prospects, you will never communicate on a personalised level and never resonate with their needs.

And no amount of CRM or MA technology will help you. Because while technology makes it easy to become blind to your objectives and the prospects with whom you wish to engage, the salient issue is that they are people, not machine-generated targets.

Names, not numbers

In short, CRM and MA platforms are purely intelligent delivery systems designed to segment, personalise and categorise your person-to-person email communications and are configured to help you optimise customer experience on the sales journey.

So when talking with your digital agency, make sure both you and they understand that – at the end of the day – you are writing for people; folk who, if you work diligently, you will soon engage with and bring them home as long-term and loyal customers.

In effective digital marketing, email and empathetic, personalised writing skills are key. That is the glue that holds everything together. Without it, there is no customer relationship, there’s just cold, hard technology.

In short, CRM and MA platforms are purely intelligent delivery systems designed to segment, personalise and categorise your person-to-person email communications and are configured to help you optimise customer experience on the sales journey.

Will Yates

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

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