September 19, 2014

Doubling Sales Through Automation

All About Spelling doubles sales through automationThis is the story of a small business that was able to automate their business and double sales in a very short time.  We thought it was an interesting story to share here.

All About Spelling owner Marie Rippel was suffering from the same issues other entrepreneurs experience: not enough hours in the day.

All About Spelling is an online resource for teachers and homeschooling parents.  It offers tools, testing and inventive solutions to help students improve their spelling skills. Marie and her husband Greg, started their business in December 2006.  Each month, through search engine optimization, word of mouth and other resources, they have watched their business grow.

Like many new businesses, they managed the details manually: responding to email requests, newsletter sign-ups, requests for product, and specific questions from teachers seeking a solution to help their students.

“We were working crazy hours, trying to respond to the needs of our customers,” said Marie.   “We were missing out on opportunities because the lack of systems meant that some prospects simply slipped through the cracks.”

Then earlier this year Infusionsoft, which makes CRM and online marketing software, sponsored a contest.  Businesses were asked to submit a 60-second video about how they might use the automation to grow their business. The winner was promised something unusual:  that they would experience double digit sales growth in just three months by using the software.

All About Spelling entered the contest and won.  It’s been about ninety days — and the result?

“We have doubled our sales,” said Marie.

Some of the changes All About Spelling made to their business illustrate ways we may be able to automate and improve our own businesses:

  • Produced automated e-mail response templates for the most common requests which saves time
  • Created weekly tips to automatically email members
  • Produced a free report, which offers readers 20 tips for improved spelling
  • Included the ability to classify prospects as teachers or home schooling parents so that audience-appropriate materials are sent in response to inquiries
  • More easily meet the needs of their customers and prospects because automation frees them up to handle unique requests
  • Launched an affiliate program which pays customers for spreading the word about All About Spelling

“We have a new employee starting next month that will help with customer service. We couldn’t do that in the past because all of our systems, information and instructions were in our head or on little pieces of paper all over the office. The automation allows us to grow our staff,” said Marie.

Congratulations to All About Spelling for winning the contest and the growth they’ve experienced to date.  According to Marie, the first step was when she downloaded a report by Infusionsoft’s CEO, Clate Mask (a guest expert here), called The Edge of Success.

[Note: Infusionsoft is a sponsor of the Small Business Trends radio show.]

15 Comments ▼

Deborah Brown




15 Reactions

  1. This is an outstanding story. Congratulations to Infusionsoft for delivering on their brand promise. And congratulations to All About Spelling for being a good customer. So many times we don’t experience the promise because we (hmmm – maybe I :)) don’t follow the instructions of the vendors.

    Thanks for bringing home the lesson “If you want the results they promise – do what they say.”

  2. Some really great tips to automate stuff that often gets overlooked.

    I’m just now after almost a year in Internet Marketing starting to take advantage of things I’ve had set up but not utilizing for a long time.

    Thanks for the reminder

  3. Great post. Clearly introducing efficiencies in a business should help increase sales. When I looked at the list, my first though was that by using sales automation they were able to dedicate time to business-growing-tasks such as the free report or the affiliate program, which of course leads to higher sales.

    When looking a SFA solutions, more often than not, the investment will pay for itself…. quickly.

  4. Wow, now that’s impressive. A company that actually delivers what it promises. Makes sense, though. Organization and streamlining make all the difference in the world as it did in the case referenced above.

    I always like to hear the end results of these contests, too. Many times they are run and then that’s all you hear about it. I like the follow through on them and receiving the end result. Thanks for posting about this one. Seems it turned out to be a real success for all involved.

  5. It’s amazing how we still struggle to find time to get everything done when we are surrounded by computers and applicaitons that are supposed to make things easier and more convenient. It goes to show that there’s no subsitute for good organization and streamlined processes.

  6. It is great to hear that with Infusionsoft, you get what you’re promised. Congrats to “All About Spelling” for winning such an awesome prize that has done wonders for their business and their sanity. I’m sure they will never go back to the way they used to do things!

  7. I want to re-iterate Friendly Computer Computer Guy said – about processes.

    Automation will not work if you are not willing to look at the processes involved. With 2 people it may not be too much of an issue, but with a few more “the way we always done it” comes out and you end up automating chaos.

    The People
    The process
    Then (maybe) Technology

  8. I agree, Eilliot, you have to have the process in place and then you have to convince your people that the process makes sense and why or they’ll never consistently work the plan. I think what Infusion soft offers is the process.

    As owners we can understand that if you work the process you’ll receive the results. However, just like eating right and getting more exercise is a process we know we should follow…we don’t always do what we know is right.

    Hmmmm.

  9. Good story. I also agree with Elliot regarding the processes.

    Another thing to consider is to understanding you you are using automated software. As with any type of marketing if a business doesn’t set objectives, have a strategy, know their target market etc then just automating processes I don’t think will bring the expected sales and profit.

  10. Excellent example of a few simple steps to follow so a business can spend time doing what they do best…

  11. Deborah, Susan – thanks.

    Where automation will help is the point where you are finding that there is an issue with the time it takes someone to do something manually.

    Consider this;

    In order to improve customer satisfaction, excellence in service & reduce wait times, some larger car dealers use cameras and software that decipher the license plate of cars entering the service area.

    If the people and processes are already committed to excellence, then the same end result of those cameras and software could be obtained by a body looking out the window and writing down the licence plate number as cars come in.

    And that is the point;

    Imagine that your excellence in service does involve manually writing down that plate number. That works perfectly until you get to the point that the number of vehicles arriving for service exceeds the ability of staff to manually process it.

    It is When you reach this point, the point where you cannot keep up; that it becomes the time you can look at reducing the human time by looking at technology solutions. Not before.

  12. I just found this article and wanted to add that automation has been key to so many of the things we do in our business – and in the products we offer. I can’t imagine NOT automating! If I didn’t automate reminders to keep me on top of important dates/times for example, I’d have to rely on a personal assistant to do this. Not optimal from a cost standpoint. If I didn’t automate correspondence concerning important projects via e-mail, I’d have to keep written notes organized in a way that I could instantly find them, which is pretty much impossible to do effectively. I much prefer using the “Find” in my e-mail to locate this kind of information.

    We’ve recently switched over to VOIP (voice over IP) for our phones and this offers a wealth of new automation options we will be taking advantage of as well. It wasn’t a painless process to make the move, but in the long run we feel it will be worthwhile. I think automation has that catch, the front end takes some investment, but the long term payoff is great.

    In the current economic situation, automation may be the key to survival for smaller organizations who need to “do more with less”. Provided they can learn and teach others to use the automated systems.

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