Steli Efti is one of the Cofounders of Close.io (http://close.io), a company that has developed sales software to empower salespeople to make more sales and close more deals. Close.io is a CRM, VoIP, and email communication tool all rolled into one that does not require any manual data entry and includes automation and syncing for seamless communication. It is software created by, and for salespeople that facilitates efficient and effective communication.
A Quick Preview of the Podcast:
- How to approach cold calling without sounds salesy
- The number one secret to increase the likelihood of leads picking up the phone
- Why you should create a strategy before cold calling
To See These Tactics In Action:
To See The Transcript:
Tim: For a lot of businesses, one of the best ways to generate significant revenue is to pick up the phone and call their leads. One of the biggest problems however is that fact that often those calls just result in a voice mail. This has been a fact of life for sales people and entrepreneurs for decades. So is there way to overcome this major hurdle? Can calling leads be more effective? Today’s guest is Steli Efti, from Close.io and he found a strategy that resulted in a 67% increase in reach rate for leads for his company. There’s no question that this can have a profound impact on your business. So how did he do it? Let’s find out. I’m Tim Page, the conversation educator here at LeadPages and this is ConversionCast.
Tim: Welcome to ConversionCast, the only podcast that gets to the heart of the metrics. Now here’s another data driven case study.
Hey fellow marketer. The episode is coming right up but first don’t forget to join me for this Thursday LeadPages webinar. This is an all-new webinar for 2015 that’s going to show you how to turn your site into an evergreen lead generation machine without spending all of your time marketing. It includes our four top list-building strategies for the New Year. All you need to do to join is text LeadPages all one word to 38470. Again text LeadPages that’s LeadPages all one word to 38470 and you’ll be registered for the webinar.
Oh and if you’re outside the US, don’t worry, you can still join the webinar. Just go to ConversionCast.com/webinar. We’ll see you there and now here’s today guest.
Hey Steli, thanks so much for coming on the show. I’m excited to have you here.
Steli: Hey, Tim, my privilege, I’m excited.
Tim: Awesome. So we’re going to dive right in. The first thing though that I want to hear about before we get into the tactic itself is I would love to hear what kind of results this has had for your business?
Steli: So the results we got from this specific tactic was an increase of reach rate of 67% what we try to all inbound leads.
Tim: Okay. And can you clarify reach rate just for somebody listening?
Steli: Oh yeah absolutely. Reach rate means you know, the difference between you just dialing a number and listening to a dial tone or a voice mail and actually reaching a person having a conversation with the decision maker.
Tim: Oh, I love that. So it’s interesting you know, this I come from a long, long sales background and this is almost like the biggest frustration for companies and sales people and stuff like that is just trying to get somebody that they can have a conversation with whether it’s on the phone or whether it’s by send me an email in person. So to improve it by 68% is a big deal and we’re going to dig into that in just a second. Can you tell everybody a little bit about you know, who you are and what you do?
Steli: Yeah absolutely so I’m one of the cofounders and the chief hustler at Close.io. Close.io is a piece of sales software that really empowers salespeople, startups, businesses to close more deals and make more sales so think about it as a CRM that’s very much focused on helping you make calls with out of the box, send and receive emails so all email communication is automatically synced up. And basically it’s a CRM that doesn’t require any manual data entry and empowers you to communicate more, communicate better with that and hopefully close more deals.
Tim: Awesome so a dream for sales people then.
Steli: Absolutely. We build it for ourselves so it’s for sales people for sales people.
Tim: That’s great. I love it. All right. So with that said let’s go ahead and get into kind of the tactic, tell us kind of what you did and what made the difference?
Steli: Yeah so, as you said I think many sales people as well as many companies have really turned that back against calling signups because it’s really frustrating. It feels very inefficient, you’re listening to dial tones, you’re listening to voice mails. You’re not really having any meaningful conversations. But it takes a lot of time in stark contrast to sending a bunch of emails that nobody looks at. When you dial, I have to dial one number at a time. So it kind of feels very manual and it feels very time intensive and labor intensive.
So a lot of the times, you know, companies just stop doing that and I think that’s a big missed opportunity. So what happened with us was early on when we launched Close.io, we decided we wanted to call every new sign-up, every new lead, every new trial and welcome them on the platform, figure out why they wanted to explore our platform, help them get there, activate them, empower them, greet them in a really nice way and kind of make an impression.
And you know, because we’re a small startup and we’re limited resources, we would basically just be very lax at this and sometimes we would call somebody you know, within an hour sometimes. In a busy day, we wouldn’t get a chance to call anyone and I’d have a list and say all right, tomorrow I’m going to call all the leads from yesterday and today.
And kind of a reach label was actually at a place that was really frustrating. We’re kind of between 10 to 15%. So if you think about that, you would call a hundred people you just have 15 conversations. It’s really frustrating. So what we did is we you know, had heard about this tactic and this strategy.
There’s actually even a study Dr. James [[0:05:05]] [Indiscernible] did some research on this and we said you know what let’s actually – let’s actually implement a policy that we want to try to call every single lead within five minutes of sign-up. There’s a couple of implications here. Number 1 if you call somebody within five minutes of them signing up on a form on your site that person is very likely to still be on line, probably looking at your site, probably not doing something else. That’s not always true but many times.
Currently you have the full mindshare, they know who you are, they’re spending time researching your site, your service, or product. So it’s the perfect time to call because you know they are not doing something else and it’s the right timing because they are the right context. Because they’re just looking at your stuff.
So we did something simple in Close.io actually because our software allows us to call sign-ups and trials. We would set up and we will task an automated task. So every time somebody signed up I would get a task for somebody else or the team would get a task and it would say call this lead right now and you would click on the task and it would automate that you dial the lead and we would just welcome them on the platform.
We saw our retrades go from 10 to 15% to an increase of 67% to… So just put that into numbers if we call the hundred signups instead of just talking to 50 we would talk to 25 to 27 to 28 people. So a dramatic improvement in productivity.
Tim: Yeah that’s huge and the interesting thing there is that if you can automate it, it makes it a lot easier. You don’t have to sit there and go oh gosh, I got an email and you could call. You know that kind of thing. Just having it automated and having it tell you hey it’s time to reach out to this person. So I have a couple of questions about this, the first thing is do you find that people get kind of frustrated with you because you called them right away after they’ve just signed up and they want to try out the thing or whatever or the majority of people kind of happy to hear from you and have questions?
Steli: I love that you’re asking this question because I think that most people come up with these stories in their mind that will make this hypothesis that people will be annoyed, hence I’m not going to even try to attempt this. I think that’s a really bad idea. So his heart philosophically think about this but even more important here’s what the reality is that we face every day. The vast majority is at the end of the conversation happy that we called. There is a good portion I would say that at the beginning of the conversation so a little confused as to why they’re getting a call so quickly right? It’s so rare that somebody at the end of the call will still be like no, please don’t call me and I’m just trying to figure things out and just leave me alone. That’s very, very rare.
I think what truly matters is a, the way you do it so it doesn’t just not – it doesn’t just matter what you say when you call it, it just matters very much so how you do it. What your energy is like what your kind of attitude is like. But it also matters what your goal is with the call. We don’t call them to convert them to customers in the first call. That’s crazy right?
Steli: You just signed up for a trial. We call them to welcome them and to ask hey what’s your number one goal that you’re trying to accomplish during the trial and let me find if within two minutes I could help you get there faster. Nobody complains about that.
Steli: And even people that think they don’t want a call as I said, a lot of times at the end of the call, they thank us for the call. We have so many customers that have told us we want their business because we called them. Right?
Tim: That’s great.
Steli: Simply because we help them more. We were more present, we were more attentive. So no, we have very good experiences but it doesn’t mean that at the beginning of the call, it’s very consistent that you’ll get a little bit of irritation, a little bit of confusion as to like yeah just sign up. You know , which is the underlying subtext that’s dude, why you’re calling me right now, I just signed up.
Steli: But if you actually are nice to them and you go I know I just wanted to welcome to the platform and see hey how did you hear about us, why did you sign up to see in a minute or two I could put you in the right direction and make sure you get the most out of this trial. Nobody is pissed, everybody gets it and at the end of the conversation usually they do have questions that you’ll appreciate the help you can get.
Tim: Yeah that makes sense and so my other question is you know, if you’re generating a lot of leads , which is a great “problem” to have, you know, doesn’t this require kind of quite a bit of extra effort and how do you manage that flow?
Steli: Yeah that’s a really good point. You know, we have still [[0:09:37]] [Indiscernible] with this so I don’t want portray this as real, this [0:09:39] [Indiscernible] Every single lead always gets called within five minutes. Actually at the beginning we weren’t able to do this one as we installed this but it is our inbound lead flow group quite dramatically. It is our international lead flow crew. You know, we had to make certain decisions right? We can’t call people at when they sign up at four a.m. or three a.m. five minutes after sign up. Because we don’t have any international sales organization in place yet. We don’t work 24 hours seven days a week. So we had to make certain policies and certain decisions.
And the way that we’ve done this at the beginning it was just like best effort. Like let’s try to do this as much as you humanly possible. We know it makes a difference and we’re not going to be too dogmatic. I think that’s the right attitude to start with. Don’t make this too hard on you. Just try to improve your numbers versus making you know, everything, setting up a perfect system.
Today the way we do it and the way that we are thinking about scaling this is just making, you know, starting as you get more and more leads to score these leads better and to make decisions on what are the leads that are really high quality, high value, where it actually makes sense to put in this extra effort and call within five minutes. What are the leads and opportunities where you know, the leads, the natural leads square is lower so it means it’s a much small opportunity. It makes no sense to invest so much energy and time. And then for us, at this point just because we’re not an international sales org, if you’re outside kind of normal-ish business hours, we don’t –you know, we’ll try to catch up with [[0:11:08]] [Indiscernible] to we’re not going to call you within five minutes if you sign up from Germany or Italy or somewhere around the world. Because this one we just can’t.
Tim: Right. So you really kind of set up SOPs as how to manage you know, what gets called right away, what’s in it for it and kind of what may be you can let slip. It sounds like you still call them but may be not within the five-minute timeframe.
Steli: Yeah exactly. And as I said like as we are growing the company and growing the team, you know, you can then work on making this system more and more efficient and actually like really fine-tuning it. At the beginning if you just think about testing this and seeing if this could make a difference in your business, I wouldn’t worry too much. Just start calling it as much as you can. Start calling the sign-ups within five minutes during the hours that you are available. See if it makes a difference and if it does try to find more and more ways to do it and improve on it.
Tim: Right. Even a small change you know, getting started with this and doing this with some of your leads could still have an impact on your reach rate.
Steli: Yeah, absolutely.
Tim: Awesome. I love it. Well Steli this has been great. Thank you so much for sharing this with us and I think that our audience is going to be stoked about it.
Steli: Awesome. Hey Tim, thank you so much for having me.
Tim: Absolutely. We’ll talk soon.
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Listen To Discover The Exact Tactic Steli Had His Team Employ To Dramatically Increase Their Reach Rate