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S1 EP32 | Successful CRM Implementation With Abbie Mirata

Show Notes:

Focus Discussion of the Week:

A CRM allows you to follow up with prospects, create content, send eblasts, and even write contracts — but implementing one can be a challenge. That’s where Abbie Mirata of ApostleTech comes in. In today’s episode, Abbie joins us to discuss and explain the steps it takes to (seamlessly) introduce a CRM into your organization.

Top Topics of The Week:

  • The Governor of Pennsylvania announced that work waivers are now null and void for non-essential businesses until the end of the month.
  • Matt shared a market update regarding web traffic on the Building Perspective Facebook group. Make sure to request access to see the latest in market trends and join the discussion with your fellow builders. 
  • Builders are selling homes remotely! Promote your virtual appointments on your digital channels. 
  • Facebook is adding a new video feature to make it easier to bulk-upload a video series you may have in your content collection!

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Two thought leaders come together to explore all things sales and marketing from their unique perspectives. Each week, Mollie Elkman, Matt Riley, and others from Group Two dive into a focus discussion to talk about the latest trends, changes, and best practices.

Abbie: Think of your own team in something like this as a customer, and what are we doing when we open a brand new community, we are doing, we’re creating a VIP list. We are putting information out there. We’re doing a drip campaign. We’re getting people excited. We’re getting, we’re building the urgency. It’s kind of the same process internally.

So what are you doing up to the point where you roll out that system. And you expect them to be excited and adopt it. And then the most important thing is your is are you saying, you know, here’s the system and a couple of videos and a PDF, best of luck and you better use it. Or are you training them the same way you train them.

You know, in sales meetings and to take on a new sales philosophy and to get excited. and are you really managing through and properly reinforcing? So it’s kind of, that’s the process we recommend is get your team involved and excited. Really train them in person and properly, and then do a really good follow up and inspect what you expect.

Matt: Hi and welcome to building perspective with Matt Riley and Mollie Elkman. 

Abbie: We’re here to bring value to you and your team by exploring all things sales and marketing related, 

Matt: all from different perspectives. And today, our focus discussion of the week is. Successful CRM implementation. All right. And, can’t wait to get started to talk with Abbie Marotta from apostle tech about how we can implement successfully a CRM, within our organization.

And I think the timeliness of this is imperative because as more and more people are working remotely now. So kind of wave goes across the States, different States and different areas. It is even more vital that, your organization cannot miss a beat and making sure that all of that is set up properly.

And sales teams are trained and marketing teams are trained how to operate within the CRM system itself. Properly is, is, is huge. So, as you may notice, I’m, Mollie is a missing from this episode today. she was having a few technical difficulties. We were trying to get in there and get one recorded.

So this is Wednesday, April the first, the date of this top topics for the day. For today. We’re trying to make sure that we time this, is as quick as we can before the episode releases. So this episode will release tomorrow, Thursday the second. So just to make sure we’re bringing you guys the most relevant UpToDate information about what’s happening.

we are, we’re doing this at the very last minute. So sometimes when you do it very last minute and it’s not planned out as well, as far as the recording scenarios with, working from home, especially Mollie working from home, some technical problems can happen. So I’m going to give it a go all by myself this morning, so that’s okay.

You know, I’m not scared to talk. couple of things. just kind of updates on where we’re at yesterday, I guess I should say overnight. if you are in the state of Pennsylvania, the governor came in, well, let me back up first and say that there were some builders in the state of Pennsylvania that we’re going through the waiver process to allow their businesses.

To continue, construction, because in Pennsylvania was one of the few States that did not deem residential construction as an essential business. and it required builders there to stop operations altogether, including houses under construction. there were some, then there was a waiver process that the builders could, that you could fill out.

some builders were getting approvals on the waivers. some were not. There was not a lot of rhyme or reason why. so. I know Mollie was heavily involved with NHB and the local HBA  And local and state governments within Pennsylvania to try to help get some consistency there. And so, we thought we were making headway there, but then overnight, the governor PA said, Nope.

and if you got a waiver, Sorry, it’s now Nolan void. So Pennsylvania is getting really strict, and, and this is understandable, right? I mean, we’re all trying to nip this in the bud as fast as we can and, and literally save lives. So, you know, and we kind of make sure that we, we do it, in the, in the right.

Appropriate ways. So anyway, that is an update on Pennsylvania. So I want to talk about two things real quick. I’m going to get dive into and see what March looked like for us as it is. It is it wrapped up, so kind of a data wrap up. So for me, I’m looking at our data that represents, we represent almost a, we have a representation in here almost of every single state in the country.

every single state in the country where we actively do business with builders. some are a higher presence and other in some States than others, but we almost represent every single state in the country. And in those it would be major metropolitan areas, for the most part. So, the data that we have, I feel like is a really good sampling of data.

It’s not heavy in national builders or heavy in small builders. it’s got a good sampling of everything. so I feel like it’s a pretty good. Indicator. So, if I’ve been making some updates on, on a, I did in the building perspective, Facebook groups. So if you’re not in there, make sure you request access if you’re the only people that we’re not giving access to, to that is anybody that’s not within our industry.

Or connected. I’m getting some really random requests, so I’m making sure that it’s not like bots or just random people coming across the podcast wanting to join in on the conversation. We’re not allowing that. unless, unless you guys have somebody that you want to recommend, be in it and just send me a quick note saying, Hey, so-and-so wants to be in the group.

I know them. I can vouch for them. Other than that, we’re not letting them in. But I posted a market update on Sunday. So here’s where we are on March. since our peak in March on what I have, the date is March the ninth. some other people I know, Meredith, Oliver, Kevin Oakley, do you convert to you? A couple other people have, the P could show a varying of, a couple of different within a few days of our date.

but. Basically, it’s going to be about the same. So we had a 12 month high peak on, I’m shown on March the ninth from that point was really about the time that coven 19 was the big push on this is a real thing. Everybody needs to take this seriously. if you weren’t already in an effected market like Washington state, and so from that point, w to our lowest, we saw about a 35% decline in overall traffic.

I’m actually a little, actually, as we wrap up the month. it was, it was more than that, so probably around 40%. So I’ve seen about a 40% decline all the way. It, it had some peaks and valleys, a little blip up and a drop back down. and the lowest date was on March the 20th. which by the way, was still above March of 2019 numbers.

That’s not a bad thing. but from that date, we have not yet. Dawn, lower. So we’ve either been flat or above for, let’s see, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11 days. So from March 20th to the end of the month, we’ve actually seen a slight uptick in web builder, aggregate website traffic.

So what we thought was going to happen, which was the big shock and drop, then people start settling into the new norm, which is exactly what we thought was going to happen. And then people come in and, okay, I’m going to get back into the kind of my routine. And they may not be spitting out at the same rate, as they sale wise and lead wise as they were before.

but the, I see that as consumer interest and intent. and that is my baseline for what things should look like. And, so that’s, that’s a really good thing. So that’s, we’re certainly starting to see a slight uptick in that. and just to kind of give you a state of the union with the builders that were, a lot of builders were talking to, people are still selling houses completely remotely.

we are still seeing that ball being moved forward, and that is what our main focus, That is the main focus of where we’re going to be. So, you know, just want to continue to move the ball forward. so that is that, and I’m happy if anybody wants to hop on the phone and talk through some of this data, just reach out, let me know.

I’ve met with a few leadership teams, with builders and, different markets and to wanted to talk through some of this data for themselves, whether you’re a group to client or not. I am happy to offer anything that could be of added a value to you and your organization. So if we were to hop on and do a quick meeting with your team or just you and we can look at some stuff together, please reach out.

M Riley, R I L E Y at  dot com. you can call me or text me nine one nine three five eight, nine two seven one or reach out on Facebook, you know, LinkedIn, Instagram, all the interwebs and all the socials. That’s where I am. But happy, happy to chat. so there’s just wanting to get, provide you guys a quick market update.

Some of the things, I think next episode of next week we’ll dedicate some time to talking about specifically what other builders are doing and what they’re seeing working. I want to, I really wanna wait. you know, we want to consistently spread ideas and please do that in building perspective, Facebook group.

but I really want to start to see a pattern here. Of what’s happening before we start saying, go do this specifically because this is working here, here, here, and here. so we’re gonna maybe we’ll focus on that next week. Give us that. It gives us enough data in time. Okay. So one last thing. just a quick update.

this just popped up this morning. I haven’t even read the entire article yet. we’ll post it in the show notes. Facebook adds a new video features, including series and updates. To their bulk uploader for videos. So it’s really for like content curation and being able to run video series, so like different episodes and things like that.

so this probably is not going to be available to everyone. Go check and see if it’s available to you. but, we’re going to check it out and see if we can’t create some series as well. So that is a, that’s pretty good. That’s a pretty good article as well as one that I have read is, Facebook is creating, making it a little easier to run AB tests and experiments.

And that’s exactly what they’re calling it is experiments where you can compare the data a little easier than what it was before in their split tests. So go check that out. And, I think that’ll give you some good info on. Comparing the ad sets that you’re running, in different ways to tweak your audiences.

So, all right. With that, we are going to take a quick break and when we come back, we’re going to dive into our focus discussion of the week, which is successful CRM implementation with Abbie Marotta apostle tech. Can’t wait. We’ll be right back.

right. And we are back from break and excited to dive into our . Focus discussion of the week this week, which is successful CRM implementation. That is a mouthful with our very special guest. Abbie Marotta. Abbie, welcome to the show. Thank 

Abbie: you so much. Mad. Excited to be chatting with you today. 

Matt: Absolutely.

Well, Abbie, why, why don’t we start, and talk a little bit about what, you know, you can introduce yourself and, you know, obviously you’re. Apostle tech and you guys are focused on some really cool stuff from a CRM side of things and build on a, you know, a pretty fairly popular platform and all, but why don’t you guys, why don’t you tell us a little bit about you, your background, kind of in home-building, how you got to where you are, and then we’ll kind of dive 

Abbie: in.

Sure. Absolutely. So I do work for a Passal tech. We are a Salesforce implementation and consulting firm, and I’m the VP of people in culture. That’s kind of my technical title. So I do a lot of work internally with our team, but I also focus on our home-building. Products and most importantly, our homebuilding clients and helping them and their people through change management and training and adopting these new systems.

So I was in home-building directly working for a home builder for about 17 years before I made this change. I’ve done pretty much every role in the sales and marketing department all the way up to the corporate level, and I got the distinct pleasure of leading. One of those projects where you take your entire company and you move them from one system to a complete other system, and it was.

It was, yeah. It’s a lot. It’s not easy no matter how. Small of a builder, how big of a builder you are. This is a really big change. And I had the opportunity to talk to a lot of my peers and ask why they made their decisions and what they were doing and, you know, really dig into this. And what I found was, as an industry, we’re not always really great at this particular thing.

And, our sales teams aren’t always getting . The right communication, the right training, we’re not implementing correctly for something that, as we look at 2020 is just so imperative and our business. And so I decided to leave working directly for a builder because I had so much fun doing this. And so I’ll set you need and go work for a company where I could help lots of builders, with this change.

Matt: Well. That’s awesome. And so you loved the process switching everything over so much that you said, I’m going to go do this for a living. 

Abbie: I, yeah, I know I’m a glutton for punishment. 

Matt: That’s awesome. Well, we do know. So if. I have gone through a change over like that as a builder. And you know, obviously in a previous life it is, it is painful.

not even just a cha, you know, in some cases it’s the first time it’s implementing an actual CRM and then, and I think that’s painful. But the other thing that’s, I think I can’t, I don’t know if it’s more painful either starting the process for the very first time this way or. Converting from an existing system into the new one and then having to retrain every, I’m not sure which one would be a little bit more painful.

Abbie: yeah, I mean, they’re, they’re both not easy, but I will say the conversion is probably slightly more difficult because you’ve got some technical aspects of that that fall into it, but you’re really looking at changing hearts and minds. when you move, you’re not just changing a system. You’re changing people and their habits and their comfort level, and so there’s a little bit more that needs to go into that.

Then if you’re just kind of using Excel spreadsheets and starting from scratch and getting everybody on board with the system. 

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. you know. It’s funny, we talk about, you know, our title is successful CRM implementation, but we for, I think sometimes we throw that word around a lot like implementation.

We talk about CRM implementation and to me implementation is a little bit different. Then actual usage and launching the system. I mean, what in from an adoption standpoint, D I mean, what do you, what do you think? 

Abbie: No, I agree. There’s, there’s kind of multiple steps to the whole process and implementation is only.

The first one, and I guess from our perspective as an actual implementation organization, that piece is really the creation of your system. It’s asking all the right questions, it’s configuring it, it’s getting the right people involved, it’s getting all your business processes in place and it’s building it out.

And then you have. Kind of the training piece and then you have launching it, right? So how are you turning it on? Are you doing the big bang? Are you going division by division? So, Mmm. It is kind of a separate air. The difference between what implementation is and what launching and training your CRM is.

Matt: Yeah, and I think that the key part there is for people to understand the implementation process, in my opinion, is just the beginning, right? It’s a lie. And I think the mistake a lot of companies make is, okay, once they’ve implemented it, then it’s like, okay, we’re good. And we just kind of stop and expect everyone.

To just continue and carry on, especially when they’re used to using other other systems, right. 

Abbie: Yeah. No, we do, and it’s probably one of the. Bigger mistakes or not mistakes, but opportunities, you know, that, that people miss out on. And in this process. And when I talk to people, I actually talked to a lot of people about a lot of different systems, and obviously I am a little biased to one particular system, but at the end of the day.

Most of the time, it’s not the piece of technology. So if someone doesn’t like their CRM or they’re saying, this doesn’t work for me, or the sales team’s not using it, it’s not the system. It’s how we implemented. And then, like you said, trained and adopted and then continually reinforced the use of that system.

That is the reason we’re not successful. 

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. so when you’re talking about. That training and implementation side, do you guys run, I mean, do you run through or what do you recommend, I should say, when it comes to, you know, the, the folks that you’re working with, helping them implement it, you know, is there a process that you have in place to say, okay, this is up and running, but now what.

Abbie: Yeah. I mean, we work with customers and we have some best practices, that we recommend. I think it, it really is different by organization, but it’s looking at, you know, how big you are, how many people you have to get onto this system. And it’s kind of the idea of communicating and prepping. First and so we always ask like, have you  have you told your team you’re getting into system?

Have you, you know, asked their opinion and then are you starting, okay, think of your own team in something like this as a customer, and what are we doing when we open a brand new community, we are doing, we’re creating a VIP list. We are putting information out there. We’re doing a drip campaign. We’re getting people excited.

We’re getting, we’re building the urgency. It’s kind of the same process internally. So what are you doing up to the point where you roll out that system and you expect them to be excited and adopt it? And then the most important thing is your, is are you saying, you know, here’s the system and a couple of videos and a PDF, best of luck and you better use it.

Or are you training them the same way you train them. You know, in sales meetings and too take on the new sales philosophy and to get excited. and are you really, you know, then managing through and properly reinforcing. So it’s kind of, that’s the process we recommend is get your team involved and excited, really train them in person and properly, and then do a really good follow up and inspect what you expect.

Matt: No, that’s great. Those are great tips now. And I think I got a little bit ahead of myself cause I, I love diving into that part of it a lot. But there I get questions from builder partners all the time that are looking at. Changing over systems or, or bringing on, you know, doing a whole new system as a whole.

But when it comes to, you know, and they, they ask, they’re like, what does this implementation process look like? How long does it take? Is this something that we can, you know, is this something that we’re going to be able to do on our own? So how do you guys, how, how do you guys help guide people. Or you know, through that, the actual, as we’re kind of backing up a little bit, but the actual implementation process, like what does that look like and how you work with your clients.

Abbie: Sure. So, you know, we, we do a lot of hand holding and we come in, we’ve worked with a lot of different builders in the industry and a lot of different ways. and it really depends on what your needs are. So if, if we have a customer who’s saying, listen, we have a budget and we’re small, and this is our reality.

We’ve created, an accelerator, we’ve created a product that we can come in and say. We are going to basically set this up. We’re going to ask you some questions and we’re going to get you a basic CRM and then we’re going to show you how you can then manage this on your own and get it out to your organization.

And we do provide a lot of. Videos and documentation and self-learning. And it’s another reason, honestly, that we really believe in the Salesforce platform because this is a platform that continually invest in itself, and that has these tools and these resources. It’s, it’s meant when you keep it simple for an organization.

To self self-serve, so to speak, and be able to manage it. We always say that as much as we want to, as longterm of a relationship as you’ll allow us to have, our goal is to teach you to fish and give you a tool that you guys can ebb and flow and manage on your own. so we’ll ask a whole lot of questions and lead you through that discovery so that we can as quickly and efficiently as possible, install something that.

Is going to work for your team, you know, in that first phase, and then walk you through the rest of that process. So it can be done quickly if you kind of know what you want and you can keep it somewhat simple. If you need a whole lot of custom work and you’re going to use every aspect of the system, honestly, it’s going to take a whole lot longer and be a little bit more painful.

Matt: Yeah. Whenever you throw the, the, the custom word in there. Right. And always, whether we’re building a custom house or, you know what I mean, or a custom software gets a little bit more painful. But what are some areas where you say doing some custom custom work versus kind of the straight forward square peg in a square hole?

Like what are some examples of what custom looks like. 

Abbie: So that’s a good question, Matt. you know, and we have the two different words we use actually configure and custom, in the Salesforce world. And configure basically means we can make some real easy. Tweaks to the standard system. And custom means we’re doing development and code work.

And most of the time when we have the need for truly custom work is if there’s like multiple layers of approval processes or we’re getting really complicated without a strong. Front end marketing tool being used, you’re trying to use your CRM for things the CRM isn’t really built to do. Mmm. And the biggest place we see custom is

We’re now moving into this place where everyone wants everything integrated. And CRM is much more than just how we follow up with our customers. Now it’s where you’re writing your contracts and doing all of that. And so when we have a client. Who wants all of those integrations front to back and really need some of those specific processes, that’s when you’re going to want some custom work done to make it worth your while and your investment.

when you, like I said, can keep it simple or you’re really focused on just the CRM piece. Mmm. It is. It is easy to want to go a little crazy, but we recommend keeping it pretty standard, not just for your implementation and your costs, but because you’re going to get better adoption. The less complicated you make it for your team.

Matt: Okay. Great. Now and that’s what I figured. I figured cause cause really what you’re getting into is when you want that seamless integration to your backend ERP system. So you’re going to be able to seamlessly write contracts, push that back and forth into, into the ERP system for Pete purchase orders and design center options and all that.

Obviously that’s good. That gets really technical and a lot more complicated. But I think that’s what. The beauty of a powerful system, like what you guys do is, is all about, because you can write, you’re not this, take it out of the, you know, just solely take it out of the box. It is what it is.

Straightforwardness, right? 

Abbie: Absolutely. Yeah. No, when you, you can do all of that, and I think that. If I get to do a little field score’s plug here, that, or even with our own, you know, we have a new product, called HCP that is built on the Salesforce platform. but we’ve kind of packaged it up and we license it.

So it makes it a little bit more affordable for the customer because it is now its own standalone product, but it’s using the power of Salesforce and what’s great. Small builders feel like Salesforce is, is too expensive or too much where they don’t need it. but everybody wants all of this other stuff.

We walk in and they’re like, well, we want it to be connected to our website and we want to have all of our leads to come in and everything from Zillow and BDX and all of these other places. And then we want a chat bot, and then we want to be able to text message and then we want this and that and all of these other things.

And when you look at. A product that isn’t built the way Salesforce is, that becomes really, really difficult and expensive. And so when you’re looking at a platform, even if you need to start simple and do that crawl, walk, run, starting with something that has the ability to expand as you expand or stay as small as you need to, gives you a lot more power in the future.

And allows you to, I think it’s more cost effective than feeling like two to every two to three years. You have to make a change. 

Matt: Yeah. Right. That you’re not, you don’t have to worry about outgrowing it based on what you need it for today. And then two years from now, maybe you needed to do something different, but yet what you bought was way too limited.

And now you’ve got to go through that painful process of changing it. 

Abbie: Yes. 

Matt: And, and I think that’s what honestly prevents a lot of people or a lot of companies from continuing to upgrade their systems and processes, from this aspect is cause they don’t want to have to deal with. The changeover because they know how painful it was, you know, quote unquote painful.

It was for them when they, to get the whole thing implemented. And I, I used, I, I’m, I’m, I’m actually always hesitant to say the word painful because it makes it sound like, Oh, we don’t want to do this, but. Golly, it is so unbelievably worth it. because it makes your business run better. I mean, I can remember back and Abbie, I know you can too.

we’ve been in the industry, both of us for a similar amount of time of about seven. I’m about 17 years. How about you? 

Abbie: Yeah, just, just under 20. 

Matt: Okay. So I started off in the model home and I run as a salesperson, and I remember selling homes, and my CRM was my index card box. And I had, you know, I had red cards, the cardboard red cards, and then I had slots in the, in the index card box that were

Labeled for tabbed a, B, C, D buyers, and literally I rotated my A’s, B’s, C’s, and D’s through this index card box. Always keep tabs on how my clients.  and who I needed to be working in. My followup system was if I needed to follow up with someone. The, the red card was sitting on my actual desk with the notes written on the back of it.


Abbie: mine was the same way I had actually had like months to, so if someone was like, don’t follow up with me until, you know, February and March, I’m like, okay, I’ll stick you back there. And then when it comes to March, I’ll pull out the wrench cards. 

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. Right. And, and, and now, unfortunately, I say this, unfortunately, a lot of people have just taking, have taken that process and just feel like they’ve, all they’ve done is moved it into an Excel sheet.

Right. And instead of actually having a system in place to help them manage their business and get more sales, and I, and I think that’s kind of the difference in getting that, you know, we were talking about. Implementation and adaptation of getting it up and launched, and then getting, having the buy-in of the team and the training to make sure everybody’s excited and ready to move forward and continue to move forward with it.

But I think that’s, that is the biggest difference. you know, to get that, to get that buy-in and why people you want to save, you use the word pain where they. They went through and they bought something and they implemented a system that is limited in scope. Maybe because it was easier or they felt like it was less expensive, but now they get to a point where, all right, well, it’s kind of maxed out its capacity and they kind of hover there because they don’t want to have to go through that process of.

Changing over. I don’t know if you see that or if you guys see that at all or if that’s just my own crazy logic. 

Abbie: No, we definitely see that people, people shy away from it because of that whole process. Now, I will say there’s a lot more people open to it right now, and I think because builders are seeing that we, we have to embrace technology.

This is just how people want to be communicated with. it’s how we’re going to make our teams more effective and efficient. And so we’re, we’re seeing a lot more. Builders kind of ready to take a look or take this leap. it’s just helping them understand the process and without like shooting myself in the foot with not getting a client, I’m very open and honest.

Then if you are willing to do the full investment. And really look at doing this the right way. You need to take a step back and decide if now’s the right time. Because if you come at me and say, I have this amount of money, how fast can I get up and running and for how cheap, just so I can be on this platform?

I’m going to be the first to tell you you’re going to have a very, very, very expensive Rolodex or index file or file because you’re checking a box because someone said you can now get a new system, or you guys have. Pain. And it’s so funny, Matt, because I constantly compare this and maybe it’s why I was attracted to do this crazy thing and leave home building and come into this, to the sales process, to building a home, to dealing with our customers.

It’s a very similar idea. but you’re looking at a new. CRM or a new system because you have pain now, and so as soon as that pain is bad enough, you’re ready to change. but if you’re not really looking at the whole picture and you’re not ready to do the right investment, then I would say, wait, look at really what this takes, and then make the move when you can make the move.

Otherwise you’re going to be just as unhappy with the next system as you are with this system. 

Matt: Oh yeah, I agree. Because then you’re saying like, yeah, I think you said it perfectly, you, you have a really expensive Rolodex that’s, that’s really what you have. If you’re not going to take the time, it’s, it’s the, it’s really the, the quote unquote money in time that’s going to be spent after implementation that’s going to make or break the success of using it or not.

And that’s with any system. It doesn’t matter if it costs you $100 a month or $10,000 a month. It’s, it’s a complete waste if you don’t have the buy-in and adapt patient from the team. And so, in my opinion, I’m going to try to, I’m gonna see if you agree with this or if you don’t, I’d love to debate it, but, I think that.

One of the things where builders go wrong is when it comes to CRM implemented in that while I’m going to CRM adaptation, so the system has been onboarded and everybody knows it’s there. It where it falls short, in my opinion, is the leaders within the organization don’t. Take time for themselves to learn how to do it.

Therefore, can’t train their salespeople or answer questions when they have trouble. That’s, I think that’s where I see some of the biggest faults. when I go visit with builders, and let’s let, let’s dive into the CRM, and the sales leader, manager VP says, Oh, I don’t, I don’t get into that thing. Somebody prints out these reports and hands them to me.

Abbie: yeah, I, I totally agree with you that, and I’ll, I’ll add one kind of one more on there as to that I believe is in the same vein of that with sales management. Mmm. So the first thing we see when someone brings us in and we start this process is we have a room full of sales leaders. Who are telling us this is what we want this system to do.

And so they’re involved in creating this system from their perspective, which really is all about reporting and data  nobody’s actually asking the person who has to. Enter the information and use the system on a daily basis so that you have good data for reporting what they want. So we started with this idea that leadership is kind of, how can I use this system to get data and manage my team?

And nobody puts any thought into how do I make this system really work for the field regardless of what management wants. Because if it’s working for them and they’re putting good information in. We’re going to get good information out. Then. They go and they push this system onto the sales teams and you’re right.

They don’t take the time to learn it themselves and not just learn it, but learn how to manage the real it. When we do set up training or we do talk to someone once they’re ready to go. I’ll, they’ll ask me about creating training or we do training for the sales teams, and then I’ll say, okay, would you like me to set up your sales manager training?

And they’re like, well, what do you mean? I’m like, well, we need to sit and talk to them about how to use the dashboards and how to ask the right questions and how to encourage their team. And usually I get, no, we don’t need that. I’m like, okay. And then they don’t, and then you just invested. And this expensive system that does all these amazing things.

And yet you’re still asking your team to send you a report or send you an email, or get information when the whole idea of this system is for you to quickly, you see a dashboard or be able to communicate or ask the right questions. And then the more that. Leadership isn’t using the system.  isn’t inspecting what they expect and isn’t rewarding for it.

The less important it is to the sales team and they know how to do the workaround. We’re salespeople. Let’s just be real. As much as the world has changed, I think the core personality of salespeople. Has not in 20 years. And so if we can find any which way to spend less time at a machine and more time in front of humans, that’s what we’re going to do because that’s what affects our bottom line.

And so if I know my manager is going to ask me for a report or an email anyways, then what’s the point of me putting it in the system? Because then I have to duplicate work. 

Matt: Well, yeah, and I think what we’re talking about getting, you know, so there, I think that there’s two things there. One, you’re talking about, get the sales leaders and how they’re building the platform and then them for themselves, and then they’re not getting the input from the sales team.

I think that that’s right on. And what also happens when, because of that is. The reasoning for using the system doesn’t become about the salesperson. It becomes about the sales manager, right? So it’s about you need to use the system so I can see X, Y, and Z, right? You need to do this. So I know what’s happening with ABC community versus let’s talk about how this system, this software is going to a, make your life easier and B, make you more money.

Right? That is where I see so much disconnect is the reasoning for the reason you can’t get buy in from the sales team is because the reasoning that you’re giving them is all about you and not about them. You know, the old Withum analogy, what’s in it for me? so. I see that part and then tying that together and because they’re not getting the correct buy-in from the sales team.

The other thing that I hear all the time is, well, the from marketers specifically, right? This is for the firm, the marketing department is we’re talking about leads and we’re talking about web traffic and leads and filling the funnel from the top. All of what you know, what that process looks like in the bottom to all the way to the bottom and understanding what’s happening.

Out there and it’s like, well, we can’t really rely on the data in the CRM is accurate because the salespeople don’t put the stuff in there the right way, or they’re just not putting their buyers in the system. And I think it circles back around to it’s because you’re giving them all the reasons to use it as for you and not for them.

Abbie: Oh, I totally agree. And I think that is an area I think, I feel like I’ve been fighting that for years and years, even when I, as in homebuilding is this relationship between marketing and sales and how they need to coexist and it, and that’s totally true, because what, what marketers need to be able to do what their job is, which is.

Fill the funnel is actually sometimes different information or information used differently then what the actual salesperson needs to help someone make a buying decision. And so it’s finding a way to. Bring those things together and it’s marketing. You know, they really need this technology in this data and this information, and they’re always, they’re saying, because if I don’t fill the funnel and get people through your door, you’re not going to sell anything.

Mmm. With how does this information benefit me as a salesperson? Why, you know, why should I put this and how can I use it and how can I become with this data? A micro market manager allows me to do a better job on site and focusing on how all of that works together and creating tools. I think that allow salespeople a glimpse.

Into marketing. You know, I, I hear and we made me like totally off topic, sorry Matt. I hear people say things when we’re looking at that front end marketing system, right? That marketing’s gonna use and then the CRM, and we want them to integrate, obviously, but we’re using them for different things. But I have salespeople all the time, once I actually get out there and start training them on their system, who ask about, well, I want to send emails.

Right?  maybe they’re not doing mass emails to 100,000 people or whatever, but they’ve got there group of people and they want to make their life easier and they want to send something template. And I’m pretty, and if they do send that email, they want to know, did they open the email? And while yes, marketing is able to see that and their fancy system and they’re tracking open rates and bounce rates, and.

All of that is percentages. That doesn’t help me as a salesperson looking at my top 28 prospects to tell me are those a prospects in real time opening my emails, clicking on things, still interested, even if they’re not. Mmm. Calling me back right now. Right. Maybe they’re not replying to my email or calling me, but at 10 15 last night, they spent 25 minutes playing on the website.

So clearly they’re still interested in, I shouldn’t give up. So it’s, it’s balancing all of these things and bringing sales and marketing together and starting to let the field in on some of this information and finding the tools that give you that and make you work together so that. Sales gets excited, they get to use some version of these tools.

They understand the importance of it and what they can do with it. And then that way, again, it’s still to me, all goes back to that end user. If you really make it, they’re your customer. Those salespeople are our customers and management and in marketing. So if I make it about them. And I get them excited and I get them emotionally involved and I get them using it and all the rest of us are going to get everything that we need out of the technology.

And I’m not at all passionate about sales people, man. 

Matt: Not at all. Well me either. Right. And I was going to say. You know, you as a, you know, recovering ex homebuilding sales trainer. I think that what you said was, Hey, like understanding that they may not be responding to you right now, but. You can see that they’re on the website, which means that they’re still engaged.

I think the date of this recording is March the 13th right? So we’re, we’re fresh into the Corona virus, you know, all, all that happening. And I think it’s perfectly timed conversation because what do you think is going to be happening right now? So. We’re seeing, just so, I was just looking at this yesterday, so I’m seeing a, I looked at March 1st through the March through March 12th of this month compared to the same timeline of 2019.

Right? So still prime selling season now, but this time of year, we’re now in the coronavirus confusion. however, I see the website activities up 55%. For the same period over period year over year period. So what that’s going to mean is that people, so. I like to use from a marketing and sales perspective, when I was always forecasting what was going to happen 30 to 30 to 60 days out, I’d never liked to use walk in traffic is my, my my level or, or my barometer.

I like to look at online activity because that was always going to give me that 30 to 60 day out look outlook on what was going to be happening. And I think that that, you know, that is going to be a huge. Thing to understand what’s actually happening out there with your customers. Cause they may not be responding to you right now.

Right? I mean, they may not. I think that one on one walk in traffic is still going to be pretty solid. But if you’re trying to host events and things like that, it’s just not gonna happen. but this is a great way and a perfect example of saying, Hey, my customers, John Smith is still. In the market, he’s still active or she’s still active, that they’re just not responding to me right now, and how can I put together a plan to make sure we stay in front of them?

Abbie: Absolutely. And we, we think that buying a house  and it is buying a home. I do believe that may be changing slightly, but it is the biggest, most emotional, most expensive purchase of a person’s life. So when we decide, right, so when we describe it that way, you’d think that it would be a top priority. But the reality is we all.

Have lives and jobs and kids and things going on in the world. And unless you have like a key urgency, such as, I have a job relocation and I have to be in this place at this certain time, or my house has sold and I, right. Those are the things that say I have to make a decision, I have to move and I have to go fast.

if you don’t have that, then it’s not that you’re not interested in, you’re not ready. It’s just that you have, have a life. And so responding to that salesperson’s email that’s now pushed 200 emails down between, every single promotional or business sending me a coronavirus email now. Right? It doesn’t mean they’re not interested because they’re not, they’re not responding.

And I, and I do think we’re moving into this place of technology where we’re still emailing, we’re moving into text message. Because our consumers like that, but we’re still doing that more. Then we’re picking up the phone and calling and people have the ability to send you to voicemail. So we’re just a society more today that would prefer until we really are ready to not have to have that conversation.

It’s easier to ignore an email or shoot a text. Mmm. So. It is having those tools in front of them that are still kind of considered marketing marketing’s wheelhouse and not the sales person’s wheelhouse is, is going to become more prominent. not only in an environment like today where we’re probably going to have more people doing things remotely.

Right now and wanting to talk to us remotely, but just as we continue to move down this path as a society and we get to this idea that people are going to be willing to buy homes online, it’s going to change the role of the salesperson and getting ready by getting them adopting and using technology to help them sell houses and not just as a data entry tool is going to become even more important.

Matt: So, I, by the time this, I guess, quote unquote errors, this data that I’m getting ready to talk about, we’ll have, we’ll have it out there, but we just finished up a big online builder shop. and. So some of the information, you know, basically we created a buyer persona, gave him a name, email address, an actual phone number.

If someone called it, there was a real life person in the voicemail. and we went out there and filled out all these forms, right? And across builders and all a whole bunch of builders on the top and the top 100 and 200 list. So those are all not like little startup companies. Right? And so. The average risk.

This is hammering home the point of why we have to have something in place. because the salespeople were distracted. so we, we are, and we actually broke this down between builders with an online sales presence and without, but in general. So the average response time was 26 hours. Right from the in a, an autoresponder doesn’t count.

So an actual response to an online lead, the average response time is 26 hours. The LA, the shortest time that they responded was three minutes and the longest amount of time was seven days. Before they got back seven days. So I know, and I’ll be interested to see if this is any of this number, any of the surprises you, the average number, and this is where I think obviously the CRM becomes a huge part of it.

The average number of followups that the entire out of the entire list that was made was 2.87 and that was over about 40 days. Does any of that surprise you? 

Abbie: I’d like to say yes,

but no, 

Matt: let me, let me continue. I know, right? Let me continue. all of these leads had a name, email address and an actual phone number. Only 15 builders on the list made a phone call.

And only six of them utilize, I shouldn’t say only I should say, six of them utilize text messaging. So I was excited to see that in the followup activities. so anyway, I know that was like a rabbit hole. Sorry. I was just got excited to share some of that interesting data, but when it comes to CRM, like this is even more the point of why you absolutely.

Have to have, have to have this stuff in place. 

Abbie: Well and right. You have to have it implemented. Right when it, you know, that’s an interesting thing because one of the things we get asked all the time, it’s about creating these followup tasks for people. So all that does in it, it logically, we think that’s at least to do so that we remind sales people to do something.

whether it’s an online sales person or an in, a model home sales person, they, they get. 8,000 tasks and all of these little boxes of the check, and there’s, you know what I mean? That there, it just becomes noise and they’re not doing it. So it becomes even more important that you really think through that and the implementation and all of that is correct.

For balancing cause you’re balancing all of these relationships, what your salesperson needs to do and get out of it. Marketing, management, and then the consumer themselves. Right. Making sure that they’re getting the best experience and they are getting followed up with without it feeling too. Auto follow up.

Thank you so much for your visit today. 

Matt: Well, and that’s the thing. Everybody wants the automated, right? They want, Oh, we’ll automate my follow up. And I think that can be a dangerous, it’s a good tool, but it can be a dangerous and slippery slope. Do you agree? 

Abbie: I agree with that. 

Matt: So I use a CRM for our business and our business development, and I automate.

So I have a hybrid model, right? So I have once a week, if someone requests information from us, I’ll, you know, I’ll personally follow up. I will enroll them into a sequence of events that it’s a mixture of, all right, these are some emails that I know I’m going to send and I don’t have to. This can go out.

But there’s also things that come into play that it’s reminds me that only I can do to do certain things. And it’s not as, it can be as, Hey, connect with this person on LinkedIn. Right? connect, send this person a video email, send them an, interesting article that you found that relates to their company or what they do, or whatever it may be.

And so I think finding the hybrid version of. Streamlining certain things, but not letting it take away from the overall human interaction is a really important piece. And I think when someone’s looking for that automation. They’re kind of doing it for all the wrong reasons, at least in my opinion. 

Abbie: No, I agree.

I totally agree with you. And we still have a little ways to go to get there. I used to imagine, I don’t know anyone who’s built it, but I talked about it, and this was back when I was, working for a builder as a salesperson, is these, these maybe these reminders, but how do you still keep it. Human and even think about, how people respond to social media and all of those types of things today.

And when you talk about influencing and branding and product placement, that people are less apt to engage when they feel like you’re constantly trying to sell you something. But if you’re giving them valuable information that they can use in their life or that is interesting, they’re going to engage and they’re going to recognize you.

And then when they’re ready to buy or you know they’re in that, please, that’s going to be the product that they want to get to. And so kind of like this is like my dream world is this library of templates or abilities for a salesperson to say, okay, I need to follow up with Matt, but I don’t want to send Matt another.

You know, it’s been a week, and if you’re still interested in, let me tell you how great my community is, or I’ve got a new incentive, or let me just keep trying to sell you something. But Matt has a dog that he’s obsessed with, and so let me send just something that says, Hey. You know, really enjoyed hearing all about fluffy and here’s something about a local dog park, or how did you know that?

Here’s how to keep your pet safe, but whatever it is that a customer is actually interested in what you uncover, and we teach them to uncover in their discovery when they’re one on one with a customer, how do we help them engage with customers that way? And make it easier and quicker and less about, let me just keep trying to sell you my home site or my home, or, you know, all of those types of things.

that would be a lot of work though, I think.

Matt: It would be a lot of work, but I liked the dream world you live in because I think we should try to make that dream world a reality and be much more of a premonition than, than a dream world. I think that would be a pretty amazing. but so we’ve talked about, we’ve talked about implementation, we’ve talked about like three different rabbit holes that we went down, which I love.

Those were, that was awesome. But specifically I want to give you an opportunity to make sure that we cover. You know, cause we talked about you’re an implementation company, but I don’t want to glaze over the fact that you have an, that you are an actual, you do have an actual product and HCP home, CLA, home, cloud pro.

And I want to give you the opportunity to make sure we talk about what it can itself can do differently than what some of the more basic systems and CRMs can do. And, and the tools that. People can have at their disposal with home cloud, home, cloud pro specifically. 

Abbie: Sure. So, you know, the biggest, biggest thing still in this concept of, it’s built on this amazing platform.

So it’s allowed us to be a lot more. Flexible and do a lot of different things for our customers when it comes to an industry specific product. So we’ve got the very simple version where we’ve taken and created through the Salesforce platform. The ability for you to take your customer. All the way through the process.

And I think that’s a big differentiating factor for us as well, is whether you’re using HCP to sell homes, which you can, we have a scenario builder and, and the ability to write contracts, you know, in this product. so whether you’re using that or you’re not using that. You’ve got to assist them. That’s made to take the customer through the home buying process as well, all the way to close or post-close.

Because why have a powerful, why have a CRM is a customer relationship management system, right? So it’s not just get them to the contract and then to heck with them, right? So use the tool for that. So we’ve, we’ve built all of that in. we’ve looked at the industry and said, you know, here are. We’ve given that flexibility, so to speak.

So we’re not saying that we’ve decided this is the best sales practice. So you’re going to come in and you’re going to say that your prospects are a, B, and C, and this is what the followup is going to be and all of that. So we, we have. the ability to say, let me ask you some questions. Let me help you.

Not customize, but configure to your business and change these fields and make it your own nomenclature and create that followup path and do those. And so kind of taking the customer all the way through, we’ve, we’ve put a tool, the standard Salesforce tool to be able to do emails. And in that the salesperson is able to see if somebody opened their email, they’re able to see us bounced.

You can add templates to it, so the salesperson can create templates or someone in marketing can install templates. So we’ve given them a little bit more of that marketing power and HCP as kind of a simplistic product that they may not have before. And then I think the biggest thing is. What do you want to build onto it?

So it is, and is web based and it’s cloud based and it’s an open API. So what other systems do you already have? What do we need to connect to it? How do you want it to grow? and then we can do that for you. And then of course, you don’t ever have to leave. HCP. So because it’s built on that platform, when you do grow, when you do get bigger, when you do need to start adding on more tools, or you do want to integrate with an ERP, we’re going to be able to easily do those things for you without saying, well, now we’ve got all these disparate systems that don’t talk and we have to start from scratch.

So, we just, and I think that with our experience and background.  both industry, like in the technology industry with our other customers that weren’t home-building. And then we’ve made it a point to bring on people who come from home-building. So all of our, you know, team members, we have client managers, we have trainers, we have, I’m certified Salesforce admins.

actually  in homebuilding did this job in homebuilding worked, you know, with all the different departments in home-building. So we bring all of that to the table to help walk you through the whole process, do the implementation properly, and train your team properly. So I feel like that that’s what makes us a little difference.

And we do all of that for that same, you know, competitive monthly that any of anybody else in the industry is doing right now. I love 

Matt: it. That’s good. Okay. All right. Before, let’s, let’s to put a kind of a big red bow on this, cause I just looked at the time and realized, Oh my gosh, we’ve been chatting for a really long time.

I hadn’t even been paying attention to the time. and I want to be very aware of yours cause I appreciate you giving you, you spend some time with me. so what couple things for, let anybody go. We always ask them this. What are you reading. What are you binge-watching and what are you listening to? 

Abbie: Oh my gosh.

Okay. What am I, no, I did it. You didn’t prepare me for this. So what am I reading? I’m actually always reading multiple things at the same time. So I am reading right now a book called , the chief Julie officer as kind of my businesses self-development book. And then I’m also reading, I’m kind of obsessed with this, like Dan Brown slash Indiana Jones type of.

Genre and books. And so I’m reading a whole series about that. I’m listening to a lot of podcasts right now, getting into the podcasts. One in particular that I love called becoming you by Rebecca Cafiero, who is someone else who comes from our industry and has moved on to do great things. Mmm. And then I don’t know what I’m going to be honest if I can say it on here.

I’m binge watching a show that has a bad word in it

Matt: with 

Abbie: something Creek.

Have you heard of this show? Like the name of the town? 

Matt: I don’t think so. Are you talking about shits Creek? 

Abbie: I know. I can pay it. Yeah. I’m someone who doesn’t eat a lot of bad language, but yes. That is what I’m binge watching. The 

Matt: way it’s spelled. It’s totally fun. I think it’s right. It’s totally fine. I just making sure.

so that’s, I have not seen that show. However, and for Halloween at our office. FIS, everybody dry. We have a big Halloween costume contest. and there were several people that dressed up as different characters from shit’s Creek. 

Abbie: Yeah. It’s, it is a great, it is so well written and well acted because it is kind of one of those like mindless, silly, these people are not real type of shows, but it’s just so well written that it keeps you engaged in it.

It’s funny. So yeah, that’s what I’m watching right 

Matt: now. I’ll have to check it out. 

Abbie: Super exciting, and 

Matt: I love it. I know you’ve got to have some of that mindless activity, right. I think that’s, I think it’s important. So anyway. All right, Abbie, I really so appreciate you coming on. That was. An exciting and fun conversation that was just loaded with good info and really appreciate you spending the time with me today.

And if anybody wants to reach out and get in contact with you, what is the best way for them to do that? 

Abbie: you through our, website puzzled tech.com or emailing me directly, finding me on LinkedIn, any of those ways. 

Matt: Awesome. All right. Well everybody reach out. Okay. Thanks so much, Abbie, for coming on the show and look forward to chatting with you soon.

Abbie: Thank you so much, Matt. .

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