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  • Writer's pictureSusan Tatum

Effectively Using CRM Automation

Updated: Sep 15, 2022

with Candice DeRiso, Owner Beckmann Collaborative

What does automation really mean and are you using it effectively? Candice DeRiso, CEO of Beckmann Collaborative, a content and marketing consulting firm, shares tips on choosing the right CRM, using CRM automation correctly, and how to avoid big automation mistakes in your business.

Notes from the Show

As a Content Strategist and Marketing Operations Professional, Candice DeRiso CEO of Beckmann Collaborative joins me to share about marketing automation with CRM. Beckmann Collaborative is a consulting firm that creates and guides businesses through content marketing and marketing automation.

Candice breaks down the explanation of automation into a simple form that anyone can understand. The most common form of automation that everyone uses, business or no business, is autopay. Most people use autopay for regular bills with a set fee, a price they know what to expect. Automation in your business is the same, it should be used for predictable outcomes with a template you know what to expect from. Simple automation that businesses use include contact forms on their website: prospective clients fill out the form and receive an auto response or an automatic subscription to the newsletter. There are a variety of ways to use automation in your business, Candice shares a few such as lead status check-ins as well as creating a point system for your customers based on their response to your automated marketing.

Many businesses make the mistake of jumping to automation before taking the necessary steps. Candice describes it as determining the needed steps to get from total stranger to raging fan. A substantial amount of time is necessary up front to understand your customer and the steps needed to acquire them. Candice suggests that if you have at least 10 clients that you are communicating with on a monthly basis, you should consider using a CRM.

There are many, many CRM softwares available, how do you know what CRM is best for you? Candice shares her experience with trialing several and urges businesses to ask these questions when shopping around: What is your strategy? What features do you need? What “niche” tools make the most sense for your business? What customizations do you need? Not all CRM’s are created equally, and not every CRM will work for every business.

You can find out more about Beckmann Collaborative on their website and contact Candice DeRiso via LinkedIn or email.

What's Inside:

  • What does automation really mean?

  • What are the biggest mistakes made in marketing and sales automation?

  • When should you consider using CRM automation?

  • What are the steps to successful automation?

  • How to decide what is the best CRM for your business.

Mentioned in this Episode:

Transcribed by AI Susan Tatum 0:36

Hello and welcome back to stop the noise. I'm Susan Tatum and today my guest is Candice deRiso, who's the founder of Beckmann Collaborative. Welcome Candice.

Candice DeRiso 0:49


Susan Tatum 0:50

So I know you're you're a content strategist, and you're a marketing operations professional. And I, today we're going to talk about the marketing outside of it and some automation ideas. But tell us just tell us a little bit about what your business is and what you'd like to do.

Candice DeRiso 0:40

Absolutely. So, Beckmann Collaborative is a true consulting firm, not an agency, but a consulting firm. And we help clients in a number of ways most commonly we're creating and guiding people through their content marketing, so social media, email, website, updates, blog posts, and then we also help them with their marketing automation, because the way we see it, they go hand in hand. And we specialize specifically in Zoho based platform. But of course, we also work with clients on HubSpot in other platforms. I have a small team, but we are a dedicated, really close knit team. And we know our clients really well have to give credit for that, because we take the time to absorb the brand voice. And sometimes clients are surprised like, oh, wow, you actually said that exactly the way I would.

Susan Tatum 2:03

That's a talent. Yeah and an important one. So a question for you as we get started here. When you say marketing automation, I'm just gonna ask a specific question. So talking about marketing automation, what comes to my mind would be something like HubSpot where you're you're automating outreach to we've got people in your in your marketing funnel, like signed up for something, and then you're going to nurture them through marketing automation. Where does a CRM, which in my mind goes more to the sales side of it? Where does that fit in?

Candice DeRiso 2:38

that's a great question. So let's take a step back from that not everybody understands what automation even means.

Susan Tatum 2:45

Okay, good. Yeah.

Candice DeRiso 2:46

So the most, the simplest form of automation that everybody's now familiar with is automating paying your bills. Right?

Susan Tatum 2:53


Candice DeRiso 2:54

So your supplement auto pay. And the reason to do that is because it is, it's usually a fluctuating Bill, you don't want to do auto pay. You want to like your cable bill, or you know, it's gonna be $75 a month, or whatever. And it's because you know exactly what to expect. It's like a template almost. And I think that same goes for sales and marketing, you want to automate, where it is a template, right? Where it's exactly what you expect. So in sales and CRM, just like in marketing, and again, sales and marketing, these are two best friends that go hand in hand, one can't be without the other. In a CRM, for example, your sales automation might be as simple as hey, let me know when there's a new lead, who falls under these kinds of filters. You know, they're, they're new, they're interested in this topic, they have visited my website, this number of times, bring my attention to that maybe it's making a task for yourself or flagging it, or putting them into some kind of sales campaign. That'd be the simplest form of a sales automation.

Susan Tatum 3:54

Okay. And then what about, what about marketing automation?

Candice DeRiso 3:58

The simplest form of marketing automation that most people already have is on your website, somebody fills out a contact form. And you have an automated reply that says, Hey, we got your, your request, or here's your free downloadable PDF of yada yada expecting an email from us in the future, or you've just opted into our newsletter that is an automation technically, the simplest form.

Susan Tatum 4:22

So just listening to you talking about this Candice, I can It comes to mind a lot of mistakes that I think people are making when they think about automation and how to use it.

Candice DeRiso 4:34

Well, and I think the mistake I've experienced is that people don't think through the whole customer journey. Right? And, and it's so logical, you know, in this day and age, we're not living in the 60s anymore, where we just put up a big billboard, and people don't buy stuff, we are living in the day where people want things customized, personalized. They want to feel like, hey, this was meant for me, even though deep down no, like this has been developed.

Susan Tatum 5:02


Candice DeRiso 5:03

And so in knowing that, you have to think about what are the steps it takes to go from total stranger to raving fan. And people often don't take the time to just document that. And yes, there are a million paths, right, that you could probably come up with 50 paths for each company. But if you come up with what you think or let's say the top three or top five, that can be a huge differentiator for your business, because then you know how to edit that welcome message so that it actually matches that customer. Perhaps you want to different variation on your contact forms. I work with a client who is a graphic recorder, if you've ever heard of that, like the person when you go to a conference make a drawing of what the speaker is talking about.

Susan Tatum 5:49

Oh, okay. I didn't realize that that was a specialty. But yeah.

Candice DeRiso 5:52

It is a specialty because she's a great artist. But she also comprehends business rules, right. And she moves fast. So she does graphic recording for businesses, but she also does creative like life coaching, like creativity coaching. So those are two very different audiences two very different target markets. She and I took the time to make the customer journey. What is it like being this person versus that person. And now when you well not now, but very soon, when you go to her website, it will be a new path through her website, which then leads into her CRM and her emails and all her other automations, it will make more sense to you based on who you are in the context of her business visiting her business.

Susan Tatum 6:33

Well, so to take it to a somewhat simpler situation where you may not have two such differing services that you're offering. But one of the things that occurs to me, so in my mind, marketing is one to many. And we're used to automation on that, that level that, you know, I know that nobody is taking time to personally send me a message when all I did was download something, they may they may call and bug me or try to call and bug me. But I think we're all pretty comfortable with marketing automation and there's a, it's a relevance is what's so important there. And so a lot of the bigger companies or the more highly automated company, Amazon comes to mind, or one of those types of companies do a pretty good job of being able to know they're sending me stuff they think I'm interested in.

Candice DeRiso 7:36

They're using a very robust artificial intelligence to customize things that say, Oh, well, because you checked out these 10 items, we think this item is ideal for you.

Susan Tatum 7:45

Right? Right. For a smaller company, that that would seem to me to be cost prohibitive. It's unless you are an E commerce. And that's really is your thing for moving people through a marketing a business to business marketing funnel for, let's say, a relationship based sale. How much automation? This may be a question to answer, but I'll ask it anyway, how much automation is is necessary?

Candice DeRiso 8:16

You know, it depends on a lot of things depends on what's the size of your team depends on what is the size of the number of people coming in on a regular basis that you need to manage, or that like new leads that is, it depends on how many current clients you have. So let me give you some examples. Because I think an example shows a little bit better. A company I work with may get 10 new leads per month, not a lot, but their service based business. That makes sense, they can only serve so many bases, but they're doing outbound sales as well. So 10 new leads, but they're probably reaching out to like 50 per week going through their database. When a new lead comes into their CRM, we have set up something called lead scoring. lead scoring is one of the most basic tools that you'll find in a CRM and it is automation, you're assigning a score to someone based on different fields and activities. So if someone opens the email, you send them they get a point. If they click the link in that email, you get two points. If their city is somewhere nearby, maybe they get extra points. Is there a certain industry that your target targeting right now maybe the extra points, so that then you as the salesperson can focus on the people with the highest score?

Susan Tatum 9:28

Yeah, highest probability, which equates to the highest probability of becoming a customer?

Candice DeRiso 9:32

Correct. So it's trying to help you predict or pre qualified is a better word, trying to help you pre qualify those leads

Susan Tatum 9:41

until you know where to spend your time.

Candice DeRiso 9:43

Exactly. And then one of the other things you can automate as well, if somebody has a score below this amount, just push them into this email or automation to warm them up. And when their score was above a certain amount, and start reaching out to them from a sales perspective, right, there's that marketing sales split.

Susan Tatum 10:00

Right. Right. And I agree with that. I think that what what you said earlier about when you are automating, we're talking about the CRM, at the moment. And you said, you should be automating the reminder to do the task. And we take that a little bit further in case anybody listening to this missed the subtlety of that. You should not be automating what is supposed to be a one to one real, authentic message to a prospect.

Candice DeRiso 10:37

Yes. I often tell clients, it is great to make email templates, then customize them before you hit send.

Susan Tatum 10:44

Yeah, you know, I was talking to a sales consultant recently who, it's something that I've always done, but I hadn't. I hadn't thought of it this way. But he said, the first sentence of any use of that email. So if you're doing any kind of outreach, the first sentence should contain something that you couldn't say to anybody else. It wouldn't make sense. And we certainly find that that gets better, better response rates. But it'd be tough to automate something like that, at some point

Candice DeRiso 11:17

that has some information that you collect in your contact form. If you filled out a contact form, if you're the lead, and you fill out my name is, My company is, What is my pain point? Maybe That's your question

Susan Tatum 10:58

Oh, yeah, yeah good point.

Candice DeRiso 11:33

If your email started out with because your pain point is, and you see what you put into that form, you might not remember the word for word or wait for that form. But you see those words ago, that is so true. And that's just a merge field, right? That's merging a field in your CRM into an email. do that. But again, I always say, make that into an email template. And then it's good use those merge fields, but then add something a little more unique. If your service based business, if it's very one to one, that you're, you have that ability with a sales team. If you're a small, one man show, and you're trying to reach a lot of people at once, you may need to automate that email just so you can put out the fishnet and see what happens, especially if you're new, right? If you're just desperate for leads, and you want to get good people, some people will get a better answer if they're reaching 10 people at a time. And it's kind of depends on your brand. It's gonna depend on what you're selling, it depends on the data you're collecting from people. There's so many dependencies, I do often see people over automate, where you just shake your head and go, Oh, no, why would you do that? You just don't want to do that to people where you make them feel like another number on the list?

Susan Tatum 12:49

Well, I'll go back to some, you know, my work is with a lot of it as with LinkedIn, and and fighting against the automation that's being used for outreach on LinkedIn, and giving us all the spam that we get. And the thing is that there, there's so many tales that this is being sent to me by a robot, and one of them that I see so much, and yet, it's so obvious, is that it'll pick up the company name. It's the legal name of the company that's on your profile from the company page. So it'll say, the conversion company LLC, no human would ever say that. It's not it's it's the being conversational is so important.

Candice DeRiso 13:34

So true know,

Susan Tatum 13:40

I would, I would say, there's probably a huge percentage of and then we'll talk about professional services firms, regardless of their size that have some type of, well, you mentioned some type of marketing automation going on a form on their website, something like that. I mean, so is that the place that they usually start is the website.

Candice DeRiso 13:58

Usually you start with like, Hey, you want your free download, and somebody has some had an email drip campaign, right? An email drip, that's an automation.

Susan Tatum 14:06

right? Very much so.

Candice DeRiso 14:09

I mean, even if it's MailChimp, it doesn't have to be something fancy like HubSpot. It can be very simple. I think sometimes, the word automation sounds big and scary. And people think I can't do this. And as a person, I do a lot of training, not just implementation for our clients. It's so funny when somebody goes, Oh, wait, I could have done this myself. I'm so glad you taught me how to do it right.

Susan Tatum 14:35

Well, yeah. Well, yeah, calling the experts that things will go much faster and much more smoothly, no matter what it is that you're trying to do? So let's talk a little bit. So it sounds like Candice, that upfront time needs to be taken to really understand what you're trying to accomplish. Where what the different state steps and stages are in that path. And then looking at that process, determining where the where automation can go in, where it can't go in, and how it all works together.

Candice DeRiso 15:21

Yeah. And honestly, it can be. It doesn't have to be like, like, A guy using a fancy platform like, which is like an online diagramming. If you have a dry erase board just draw it out what happens when right? What happens when somebody first shows up in your realm of knowing what already happens, start with what already exists. And then start thinking about, well, how can I make this better? Don't think about the automation part, think about how can I make it better just from a marketing and sales standpoint, right? And then go back and say, well alright of these things, which is tedious and a waste of my time? That makes sense to be automated? And I think that's important, tedious, and not a good use of my time.

Susan Tatum 16:02

Okay, so I think that that result is I was going to ask you to give me an example. So it's just like, what, when somebody fills out the form on my website, contact form on my website? What happens? Okay, what are and what are we having to go through internally to, to deal with that?

Candice DeRiso 16:22

Yeah, I mean, sometimes it's really simple things like, I have an automation in my CRM that says, if I have a lead that has been untouched for 90 days, I create a task for myself, that says, hey, figure out what's going on with this person. If it's not moving forward, remove them from your CRM. 90 days is the life and death, right? If somebody hasn't talked to me 90 days at all,

Susan Tatum 16:44

they don't know who you are anymore

Candice DeRiso 16:45

yeah, they don't know who I am. Or they do know who I am. But I haven't bothered checking in with them. That's not cool. Because they could have just holding to get back to me in 90 days. And I've actually gone so far as making that a lead status from my CRM right

Susan Tatum 16:58

Been sitting here.

Candice DeRiso 17:00

Yes, no, it's one, I have a lead status for check back in at 90 days, check back in at six months and check back in in one year. Because people will literally say, Candice, I love this. I don't have the budget. I don't have the time, I don't have the people right now, check back in with me in and they'll tell me number of days, I just pick one of those three buckets. And I have automations that have that person show up at the top of my task list in that time period.

Susan Tatum 17:24

So if you wait, if you wait 90 days to contact somebody, even if they said, you know, get back to us in 90 days, what are the chances that you will lose them that something will happen? And that 90 days that they can without you? Or?

Candice DeRiso 17:40

It depends? I mean, you know, you'd be pleasantly surprised. I think if you as a salesperson do a good job on your your initial contact, and you make a positive impression. I've had people come back to me three years later, three years and

Susan Tatum 17:57

without you sending you're not you don't have them in a drip system of any type that they're they're coming back.

Candice DeRiso 18:02

Nope. But they've opted in to my like my email newsletter. So I've been like, kind of, you know, in this background, see the email. I've even checked open rates in my box personally open one email or two emails in the past three years. But it was just enough.

Susan Tatum 18:14

Right? So it's a fine line between not bugging them and being forgotten.

Candice DeRiso 17:22

agreed. It's honestly, again, as a marketer, I hate newsletters that are like every day or week, because I had too many. I do it once a month, once a month, it's like, this is the blog. Here's your one juicy piece of content. If you have stuff you want to talk to me about. I'm here. That's it.

Susan Tatum 18:41

Right? Yeah. And then yeah, to get me started on that I've got this one bought a pair of shoes from somebody that will not leave me alone. And I and they're send me something every day. And I have unsubscribed so many times. And it's like it's making me hate the shoes. Even if I really like them.

Candice DeRiso 18:58

yeah, that's right.

Susan Tatum 19:01

Yeah, yeah. So when. you and I were talking, when we first talked about the number of professional services firms that I talked to, that are managing their clients with a spreadsheet? What are the signs that this spreadsheet is not really working for you?

Candice DeRiso 19:25

I mean, the first time should be something fell through the cracks. I mean, actually should have been the last time correctly, for me the first time when I finally figured out but I was also in my 20s when I figured this out. I don't know if that made matters. But that's what happened. I figured out when I was like 28 or 29. I was like, Oh my gosh, I totally mixed up these two people who are very different. This are the same first name. And that was my sign of like, well, I can't be on a spreadsheet anymore. I no longer just had like four or five clients I have to have. Right. So I think in some ways, it's a numbers game. I think that that's what I should have realized even sooner. When you get to a certain number of relationships that you are managing on a regular basis. I think the number I'm gonna make up a number, my guesstimate number would be 10. If you have more than 10 clients, customers, whatever that you are engaging with on a very regular basis. So within every 30 days, it's probably time to switch to a CRM, even a basic one. It doesn't have to be.

Susan Tatum 20:25

But if you've got if you've got 10 clients, then you've also got prospects, partners, other people that you are that you're dealing with all of them fall through the cracks.

Candice DeRiso 20:37

That's true. Well, also, as soon as you hire anyone, frankly, if you're going to hire a contractor even forget about even that employee, if you're gonna hire a virtual assistant, like that's the lowest level, right? That's lowest level hire. If you're gonna hire a VA to help you, we need a way to share information. In a spreadsheet, it's just not. It doesn't work because people overwrite each other. Right? You overwrite someone else's, and then you don't know when it was overwritten. What is the history? A CRM allows you to have that. So I can log into my CRM, and if someone else my team updated the, I don't know, address a certain client, I can see Oh, Elizabeth, updated this address on this day at this time. You don't have that in a spreadsheet all the time. Sometimes Sometimes Google will give that to you if you're using Google Sheets.

Susan Tatum 21:23

Yeah, I thought it's not as clear.

Candice DeRiso 20:55

outbox that's a hot mess, Dropbox.

Susan Tatum 21:32

I don't want to be bashing any software. But yeah, we went to Google some years ago, and it just has kept us from making a lot of this overwriting mistakes that you're talking about. But we do use the CRM and talking to you makes me realize that we should be using it a lot better than we're using it. So there is, I don't know, two 3 million CRMs or marketing automation applications out there. How do you decide? How would a business owner, list owner calm the client owner? How do they how do you make a decision about what's the best CRM?

Candice DeRiso 22:09

Well, I think step one, what we just barely covered was knowing your shark strategy, right? If you know what your strategy is, you know, the features you need to implement that strategy. Right. So if your strategy is to automate a certain thing, or send an email, then you know, there's certain features you want, right? So when I was going out looking at CRMs, and by the way, I tried on a lot of CRMs.

Susan Tatum 22:31

If anybody has questions about what any CRM does, I can call you

Candice DeRiso 22:35

a strong opinions on it. And think there's a lot of fantastic tools. In fact, what I've learned over the years is that there's actually a lot of niche tools that for some people, it makes no sense because out of the box attorney, there's, there's one that's just for business coaches. And it's a CRM is a scheduling tool. It's document sharing with your clients, like I get that. I work with attorneys who have a document sharing platform that has now become also with their CRM, I get that. So it depends on what your busines is and what features you need. For me, I've been using Zoho, I became a Zoho partner because I started, I used it so much. And I liked Zoho because the flexibility, like it didn't matter what industry I was in, I can completely customize it myself. And huge part for me was I didn't want to have to rely on a developer to change and customize things. So if you're, if you're a business that has like a developer, or somebody has been code, good for you, that wasn't me. So if you do have that, then you can go with one of the bigger players maybe, again, budget, that's not the key, right?

Susan Tatum 23:46

Yeah, they get expensive in a hurry, don't they?

Candice DeRiso 23:49

do you know that some of the bigger players like Salesforce are shorter, those gets really expensive, really fast? And funny, because they're like, we're targeting small business and like, what are you really?

Susan Tatum 23:59

Do you end up I think that that's really important the point that you were making about understanding how you're going to use it.

Candice DeRiso 24:09

Yeah, on a daily basis.

Susan Tatum 24:12

Otherwise, you pay for all of these of these capabilities. And that's what I saw happening with HubSpot. And yeah, I know, they become really solid for large companies, but but they started off, you know, working with small agencies and that kind of thing and you, but you just see them, adding it, adding it adding features that are not relevant. And then the price goes up each time they do that. So

Candice DeRiso 24:36

I guess that's what I liked about Zoho. I didn't have to buy into the whole suite of apps. I could buy just the CRM, and they'll even have like a free I mean, Zoom hotspot, and a lot of other ones. A lot of them have a free option, right? Simplest leanest option, I was on the leanest, free option for Zoho for like a year or two before I decided to buy into it. I mean, I really needed to test drive it for a while to decide. So you might need to do that you might need to test drive some tools. And realize when you start saying I wish this had make your wish list and take your wish list and go shopping around you know use a platform like G 2 which compares all the different CRM software software and find the one that works for your business.

Susan Tatum 25:22

That makes good sense to just start with because because a lot of the CRMs have a free version. There'll be very, very Basic version, but you can get used to using a CRM that way. So in general, how if you make a mistake, and you pick the wrong one? How difficult is it to change to another one?

Candice DeRiso 25:46

Depends on what you're switching to and from. I actually have moved a lot of clients not purposely, or not purposely by the way, from HubSpot to Zoho just happens to be a transition I've done several times now. That was a little complicated because the export from HubSpot has some funky fields like trying to figure out where that matches in Zoho was funny, because HubSpot treats everybody as a contact. Zoho is a more traditional CRM that says a lead is converted to a contact. So like that's like a funny one, right? So we had to actually take the mega list and separated out first, right? Yeah. So that was a little bit of extra work. But ultimately, as long as the platform you're on allows you to export things into a CSV file, you're probably fine.

Susan Tatum 26:37

So this has been really helpful Candice. And I know that on your website, you've got a whole bunch of blog articles, you've got resources that people can go if they have questions. And so tell us, tell us, give us a how to get to your website, and then how to get in touch with you what's the best way?

Candice DeRiso 26:56

If you would have Beckman collaborative, so Beckmann with two N's, you can actually search for anything that has the tag CRM or customer relationship management. We've thought of case studies and specific examples of some of these automations we've discussed. In fact, I think the most recent blog posts is on client nurturing. And you get really specific examples like you're taking nurture clients without making them feel like another number. But it helps you operate better. And if you want to get into contact with me, you can email me or I don't want to call me because I have a small child. So I don't want that. And if you email me, I'm Candice, I always will answer my emails. Unless it's the weekend and you have to wait till Monday.

Susan Tatum 27:44

Well, I think we can do that. Well, thank you. Was there anything that I should have asked you?

Candice DeRiso 27:48

No, I'm, this is a great conversation. I love talking about CRMs and automation and geeking out, probably because I'm half engineer brain, half marketing brain. So if anybody feels like you're missing one of those sides, I'm happy to help fill in that side of the brain for you. And I would also point out that, as a small business owner, I'm always happy to have a conversation. Not everything has to become a client relationship. So if somebody just wants to talk and hash out an idea, I'm happy to just be a fellow entrepreneurs.

Susan Tatum 28:21

Awesome. Well, thanks again for stopping by and have a good day.

Candice DeRiso 28:27

Thanks you too. Bye. Bye.


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