A fun look at the problems the right CRM automation policies and practices can solve.


Every day I wake up at 4.30am. I look outside, see it’s dark. And then I go back to bed, because it’s far too early. Oh, wait. That’s what a sensible CRM marketer would do. Trouble is, I’m not one of the sensible ones. Despite the glowing way everyone else describes CRM automation, I’m not sure it’s all it’s cracked up to be. So I make a point of getting to the office before 7am, so I can do with my own hands all the stuff CRM automation could do for me.

(And about that 7am – that’s just on Saturdays! Monday to Friday, I’m here about 6. Brrrr.)

Well, don’t human eyes at each step of the process add more value? Here’s a few of the things I do by hand each day, when apparently CRM automation could be doing them for me:

  • Making sure every fresh lead is checked against the whole database
  • Scheduling campaigns for release at the most worthwhile times
  • Customising outbound communications based on interaction history

On the first one, look, I can’t expect software to know a new enquiry from Mr H. Landers of Schulwick Consulting is the same Harry Landers we’ve been doing business with for years, can I? Oh, I can? What’s this “Intelligent pattern matching and duplication flagging”? Look, it’s a lot simpler to just run your eyes down the entire database. You can always correct the mistakes when customers phone you up and start screaming.

And on the second, I’m pretty sure I know better than some always-on SaaS when I should be sending my campaigns out, thank you very much. Of course, I have to build each distribution list manually and schedule a send-out every time, but that only takes a few hours out of the day. And why else would I come into the office before 7 if this sort of thing didn’t need doing?

While on that third point, I happen to like writing a personal email to all my potential customers. Even if the response rate to what I write average around 0.015%. (That’s just as good as AdWords, you know!) I don’t bother testing what works in an A/B split, or templating useful calls-to-action for different audiences to increase conversions. High response rates are for wimps.

But the main reason, of course, is that CRM automation sounds a bit like marketing automation. And I’m not sure about this “marketing” stuff. Managed conversations, nurturing strategies, lifelong customer relationships? All sounds a bit woolly to me. Even if the best bits of “marketing automation” – saving time, increasing conversions, boosting sales – are now available in your CRM system, if you’ve got the right provider.

And anyway, doing it all by hand doesn’t take that long. It’s now 4pm and I’m ready to start my real work for the day. So if you’ll excuse me – I really need a nap….


  • List the tasks your people do manually to check which are automatable
  • Ask your CRM partner about easy-to-add services that can solve business pain
  • Look at your error rates and see where automating can drive them down
  • Be careful who you authorise to post on your company blog!

On a more serious note, download this new report: The ultimate guide to: increasing sales performance to see what CRM can really do for your business’ marketing and sales efforts.

This article first appeared on the Redspire blog.