By Laura Schwab, President, Aston Martin
As President of Aston Martin the Americas, I oversee what we affectionately refer to as a ‘104-year old startup.’ Throughout our history, while Aston Martin’s on-road, on-track and on-screen presence delighted and inspired, behind the scenes our business has not always been so stable.
Underpinned by unprecedented investment and a regular cadence of exciting new products in our ‘Second Century’ business plan, we have vowed to be different. To support this vision we must be self-critical, objectively analyzing the changing landscape to learn what’s working and what’s not, so we can swiftly change lanes, or take new roads.
In the Americas, Aston Martin delivers around 1,000 cars per year, so the small customer set has played to our advantage.
The more data we gather, the better informed we will be at every turn
There is no excuse for us not to know our customer base and to deliver a highly personalized interaction with our brand. I make a point to send a handwritten note to each one of our new customers; it reinforces the promise of Aston Martin’s unrivaled, custom-tailored experience. It is not scalable, but it is memorable. We are all time-poor, and this sends a message to each customer that we appreciate their business and that they are well worth the time for us to put pen to paper in a time-honored tradition.
As we drive into our Second Century, Aston Martin will continue to champion the personalized experiences, even—or especially—those delivered via more distinctive, non-scalable methods. Yet we realize that if the charm of a handwritten note were a model for how we ran the business, the next 100 years would be as tumultuous as the first.
To grow our business effectively, the handcrafted approach must coexist with the latest CRM technology. Tools like Salesforce help us to view consumer interests, responses, and behavior from a higher altitude. Before patting ourselves on the back for what might have felt like a successful campaign or event, CRM connects the dots, like an impartial engineer, to test whether our own sales and marketing engine is as finely tuned and as we had thought. We analyze data on everything from email open rates to events, from test drives to new product introductions. The more data we gather, the better informed we will be at every turn.
An Aston Martin is an emotional purchase, and Salesforce helps us to decipher some of the motivation behind what moves our customers to act. Will horsepower, hand-stitched leather or the sheer beauty of the new DB11 encourage a prospect to take one home? Every bit of data gathered by our CRM technology helps Aston Martin to nurture its ‘customer-first’ mindset, analyze and improve our processes, conserve time, uncover patterns, and even optimize sales forecasting. As we embark on a brilliant second century, the predictability is as important as our progress.