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Tom Rogers, Intellitec Solutions

4 Things to Watch for When Sending a Microsoft CRM Email Blast

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Today I got an email that said, among other things, that the business sending me the email would like the opportunity to sit down with me or “any other member of the sales team at {Recipient.contact.parentcustomerid[0]!""}” Yes, that is not a typo or system malfunction in the previous sentence; they referred to our company as {Recipient.contact.parentcustomerid[0]!""}. It appears to me that the sender was utilizing email personalization, and that the e-mail was supposed to populate the name of my company from a database. It also appears to me that the sender's database did not have that info, so it just left that line of code in the e-mail body.  

Nearly all Customer Relationship Management software, like Microsoft CRM, gives end users the ability to personalize emails by pulling information such as names, company, and other useful data. But as the above example illustrates, there are important things to remember if you are utilizing email personalization.

Personalization does not apply to every e-mail. It may seem like you are adding a personal touch by including each recipient’s first name in an e-mail blast. But if your e-mail contains graphics or other “bulk e-mail” identifiers, do you really think your customer is going to believe this is a one off note you sent them? And if the answer to that is no, why try to make it appear as if it were? People do not mind receiving important and useful information in an e-mail blast format, so don’t feel you need to personalize in every situation

Personalization should be personalized. Your client “Doug” is going to cringe if he gets an e-mail from you that starts with “Hi Douglas”. If you are going down the road of personalizing, make sure you account for the fact that some name in your database may not be how the person likes to be addressed. Depending on the size and age of your database, you may be better off not using names for that very reason.

Don’t kid yourself – it’s not that impressive to personalize. There is a famous movie scene from the 70’s in which Steve Martin is thrilled to see his name in print for the first time – in the phone book no less. Your customers, of course, are not like that. Personalization has been around for a very long time, and people aren’t going to think that much of it. There are of course many situations in which personalizing an e-mail is the right idea, but if you are doing it for the sole reason of looking slick, then don’t bother.

There is no excuse for incorrect data. Back to the original example – you must check your database for blank fields, or worse. If you are using Microsoft CRM, others in your organization can edit fields that you will be pulling into an e-mail. Are you sure that there is nothing you don’t want added, such as a first name field that reads “Charles (he goes by Chip)”?  You need to make sure EVERYTHING you pull into an e-mail is correct and appropriate. If you can’t, then don’t personalize.

To summarize, e-mail personalization can be great, but there are many downsides. For more information on best practices in Microsoft CRM, please visit us at www.intellitecsolutions.com, or call us at 866-504-4357

By Intellitec Solutions, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner serving Delaware

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