The job I had before entering the online marketing space was helping to run a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for Zupreem. The system was very sophisticated and could produce conversion rates on email blasts of over 2 percent. They could pull lists bases on purchase history, the type of bird the person owned and other segmentation factors. The system also logged call history, notes about the account and email history. That way you could call an account and know everything you needed to know about previous conversations, how many kids they have and they favorite football team. These tools can give thousands of prospects and customers the "corner grocery store" feeling, but on a much larger scale.
If you are trying to build links in a vertical relationship management software is a great strategy. If you develop relationships within your vertical with key webmasters your linkbuilding is going to be a lot easier. Instead of "Dear sir or madam: Nice site, can I have a link," you can say:
Hey Jack, did you get that T-shirt I sent you? Great. How's your dog, Fluffy? Oh, that's too bad. Anyway, I've got this new web site that I really think you're going to love."
Think there will be a difference in your submission to link conversion? Yes.
There are a ton of CRM systems on the market and you should research them thoroughly before selecting one. I use SalesForce.com and have been happy with it so far despite it being a Microsoft product. Start researching and start building powerful relationships with your fellow webmasters.