Automating the Personal Touch

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Tell us about your organization. 

We do handwritten direct marketing for businesses—we send handwritten letters, highlight parts of letters, and circle things. We make sure the material gets opened and gets read. The people you’re mailing to feel there’s a company that knows who they are and treats them as [individuals] and not just a segment. We don’t use ink-jet printers. It’s really handwritten. From that, we find that clients get 10 to 20 percent, sometimes 30 percent, higher sales. When you get a hand-addressed envelope with a real stamp, you open it. You know it’s from a person. You think it could be from a friend because someone took the time to send this to you.

I’ve been in marketing for 10 years, and there’s always a challenge of how to get through to people—especially B2B, but even with B2C. We get so much junk. Some real estate investors taught me that, to get homeowners to talk to you, it helps to hand-write an envelope and letter. I started just working with a handful of real estate investors. I didn’t have to sell them on anything. I was providing a service they needed. People get this. Companies can’t keep up with it. Soon my business spread to other industries.

What challenges were you facing? 

Keeping up with all the leads. You end up trying to do it in Outlook or Act! and it’s really not efficient. We needed something to keep up with all the conversations we’d been having with customers. I’d been looking at autoresponders, looking for a new one to do an automated email follow-up. With Infusionsoft, I was attracted to the fact that everything’s in one place. It’s one tool for salespeople. Anything that comes in from our site—people asking for information or for a follow-up—all that information gets into Infusionsoft. I don’t have to do anything. I know when a given person went to the site and I can bolster the right result series. I know when I called that person and when she got the newsletter. Since I’ve signed on with Infusionsoft, I’ve found I can do things that I didn’t realize I needed. Invoicing is so much easier because it’s integrated with the credit-card payments. I take payments and it’s all in Infusionsoft. For a small business, having a tool to allow me to do so much makes life easier.

Let’s talk about the implementation process. 

I’m pretty good with HTML and understand applications. The consultant I worked with was excellent and talked through the strategy for my company, which is what I wanted. It was, “Let’s talk about your business and tell me what I should do.” We invested time in setting it up, but Infusionsoft’s consultants are excellent. We use it three ways: One, sales management. All the leads and clients are in there and tasks and follow-up notes. It shows when to follow up and why, and gives a reminder pop-up. Second, invoicing and billing and credit-card payments. Third, all of our Web forms. When someone fills out the form, it goes directly into the system and we then set up any follow-up actions that apply.

What results have you seen? 

Getting a lot more organized with the sales process and knowing who to follow up with and what’s happened. It’s also helpful when one of my salespeople wants to pull me in as an expert. I can prep for the call just by looking at their notes and know what’s gone on to date. Also, it’s great to follow up with education: You might previously have had a 45-minute phone call to walk a customer through. Knowing that, as we get more set up with follow-on sequencing, I don’t have to make sure I’m calling so-and-so once a month. I can have something with new information go out to them. When they’re ready, they call me.

It’s nice as a small business to have one tool that does so many things and surprisingly does them pretty well. You don’t expect the all-in-one tool to be the best at each thing, but it’s been really nice to have good tools and then to have something where you have an idea and say, “Wow, I actually can do that because I have this tool already.”


How old is the implementation?

We implemented in August 2008.

Who was involved in the decision process?

It was me and the head of business development.

What’s been the best CRM idea?

Being able to do initial education for a prospect through an automated follow-up sequence. It saves time and lets them come to us if interested.

Biggest surprise?

I thought, “When I go out and start selling to other industries, I’m going to need case studies and control groups and statistics to show, ‘Hey, this is better and this is why you need it.’“ That totally wasn’t the case. Talking to people, they immediately got it. At some point, they were doing handwritten marketing and never knew a company could do it for them.

Biggest mistake?

One mistake I see from a lot of people—and we were guilty of this to some extent—is that we needed to create more materials and were not doing multiple mailings or really keeping in touch with clients and prospects. Most people think marketing is sending one letter: “If they don’t [respond], we’ll go to the next list.” You need to recognize you’re building relationships with each touch point.

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For the rest of the March 2009 issue of CRM magazine, please click here.

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