CRM – Putting the custom back in customer relation management

Many companies have countless names in their database, but are they the “right” names to achieve success? It’s not a news flash to say that a marketing program’s success starts with the quality of the list. If the list is filled with bad data, and it often is, obtaining success is very difficult, if not impossible. What is news is that several big companies are fine-tuning the traditionally “ugly” business of list buying, using a hybrid approach of Web research and teleservices to create databases that set marketing on the right path. This new approach asks clients to start with a blank slate and answer three simple questions: Who is your ideal target consumer? What company size do you want to reach? What top three titles would your message/product be most relevant to?

A company can take the answers to these three questions and generate a targeted custom micro profile (CMP) that contains multiple contacts at account sites that match the predefined criteria.

Many companies operate in a panic mode, where the marketing program manager is forced to run to their database marketing administrator, pull a list of suspects and start a frantic process of e-mailing/spamming these random contacts. It’s an expensive process that addresses only the short-term and is dangerous to your company’s brand. The result is the creation of a potential prospect that has been bombarded with non-relevant information, contacted with mixed messages by several departments of the same company. How can marketing be successful in this no-win position?

Develop a target list. By working with product marketing managers, existing sales playbooks and input from sales, you can answer the three questions and generate a solid foundation for your campaign. Take that list of 500 contacts and trim it down to 50 live targets that can be loaded into your CRM application and run through a well-designed marketing plan. Adding focus will increase your success rate.

Let’s take the focus one step further. What if you could identify 10 key accounts that were critical to your company having a successful year? How would you reach them? How would you position sales to be successful? Forget e-mail blasts, Webcasting and expensive events; custom account profiles can be a fresh, focused approach to traditional marketing.

With custom account profiles, 10 to 20 key people are identified and profiled through Web research and outbound calling. The goal is to define the current technology landscape, identify key partners that could serve as an entry into the account and uncover the top three projects for the current fiscal year. The result is a document that is research-based and a great resource for the marketing team, account and inside sales reps, channel partners and technical engineers tasked with developing strategic account plans. Learn more about your target and their current needs before you bombard them with messaging that isn’t on their radar.

The main idea is to create a system to conduct intelligent prospecting. Spend the extra time focusing at the beginning of the process to ensure that your efforts have the chance to be successful. Custom + Focus = Success. 

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