19 May 2011 – TECHFORUM – David Cosgrave on CRM Strategy “Let your message be heard”
The advances in communication technology in the past decade have given marketing professionals a lot of food for thought. David Cosgrave, Business Unit Manager at AccTech Systems says that technology can open many doors, but warns that a flood of mass electronic communications over various mediums can easily overload ones customers, making it even harder to get the correct message to the right audience. Inevitably your marketing communication does more damage than good.
Cosgrave says with the rapid spread of email and SMS communication, many companies jumped on the bandwagon, and ‘spammed’ their clients and prospects with way too much unsolicited and irrelevant information. “As a result, all of us are more selective in our attention, and much less forgiving of irrelevant communication.”
According to Cosgrave it is clear that a personalised approach to mass marketing is the only way to get the right message across to the right people – those who are going to buy from your company, and those who will influence others to do so. If done correctly, the most effective ‘marketing’ message will be one that the customer wants to receive.
“One of the most intriguing ideas described by author Peter Cheverton in his book ‘Key Account Management’ is shifting the supplier-to-customer relationship from having a single account manager dealing with a single buyer at the client, to allowing the individuals from the two businesses to interact together at their own level,” says Cosgrave. This means the CEO engaging regularly with the CEO, the R&D team engaging on a personal level with the product users etc. By fostering these personal relationships across the entire organisation, the task of ‘cross/up-selling’ products or services to these individuals is made infinitely easier, and communication flow between the individuals is exactly that…communication, not perceived unsolicited marketing.
Cosgrave says the cornerstone of a successful sales & marketing strategy is having an effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy, and with that, a software package to help. CRM software allows you to profile your audience according to geographical region, financial status and industry sector to name but a few. By remembering that a client’s business is really made up of individual people, the real power of CRM emerges once you start accurately profiling the unique person that you are interacting with. Understanding the individual’s job and responsibilities, personal relationships to other individuals in the organisation and likes & dislikes, brings the supplier-to-customer relationship much closer together. By using the information within social networking sites such as LinkedIn, you can build up a detailed picture of each individual and the likelihood of the success of your marketing message greatly increases.
A basic email ‘mail merge’ has been a standard feature in most CRM systems for some time. Cosgrave says that most of the industry leading CRM vendors allows one to set up an email template containing multiple topics, each of which displays only if the recipient falls into a specific category or profile. “For instance, if you send a monthly newsletter, you can choose that the section dealing with your company’s strategy for the coming year is only seen by senior management, whereas information on upcoming product training is only visible to the product users, however, both sets of people see the section promoting your Facebook page. Whereas using traditional methods you would have had to send multiple emails to separate lists, modern CRM systems can allow a single email template and a single group of users, and the software will manage the rest,” says Cosgrave
“By understanding the individual that you are engaging with, and leveraging technology to allow this information to drive your marketing campaign, the idea of ‘mass marketing’ loses its negative ‘one-blast-to-all’ connotations and starts to offer a rapid and cost-effective way to engage on a personal level with the individuals who make up your customer’s organisation,” concludes Cosgrave
Marketing Director: AccTech Systems