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Feb. 17, 2021

199: How To Grow Influence In a Red Ocean [Jeroen Corthout Interview]

199: How To Grow Influence In a Red Ocean [Jeroen Corthout Interview]

How does one go about building influence in a crowded market?

I often go back to my own background in B2B sales and look at habits, partnerships, and focus.

That's why it was so refreshing to be joined by a special guest who serves the market that I used to work on who has very similar advice.

Today I am joined today with the co-founder of the simple yet powerful CRM for small businesses selling B2B, Jeroen Corthout of Salesflare.

In this interview we discuss:

  • Focus on habits rather than goals: consistently deliver value in focus areas, rather than focusing everything on goal metrics
  • Expand outside your own influence by leveraging the influence of others: partner up in every possible way with people who reach the same audience
  • Real expertise is hard to find and extremely valuable, so focus on attaining the highest possible quality (e.g. don't have copywriters write your content; pick your expertise niche; etc.)

Reference Links for Jeroen Corthout:

Reference Links for Neal Schaffer:

Transcript

Neal Schaffer:

Are you trying to figure out how to best grow your influence in your industry? How to merge together habits, and goals and collaboration in your own expertise to find your own unique method and mixture to grow your influence? Well, if that is you, stay tuned for the next episode of The maximize your social influence podcast. Welcome to the maximize your social influence podcast with Neal Schaffer, where I help marketers, entrepreneurs and business owners grow their businesses using innovative marketing techniques, leveraging the concept of digital influence throughout digital and social media. Hey, everybody, Neal Schaffer here. Welcome to episode number 199. Can you believe it? I can't believe it. But we're here it is episode number 199. Hopefully, by listening to this podcast you have grown, I know that I have grown. And I'm really looking forward to a powerful 2021 I know we're already in February. But still, I'm just really hopeful for the year and for all that I've learned. And for all my plans, and you'll have to listen to episode number 200 to find out about those. But today, we welcome my friend from Belgium 01 call tooth. Now geralyn is the co founder of sales flair. Sales flair is a CRM tool, customer relationship management. But as they like to say, sales flair is about making CRM human. What I love about geralyn and about our interview, which is all about how to grow influence in a red ocean, is his just real genuinely authentic, easy to understand, easy to buy in, you're going to be wondering, after this episode, why didn't you just do what should be natural to you earlier? And I think what geralyn brings up is just common sense. Maybe it's because he is the co founder of a CRM software tool. And CRM is obviously the sales side. Whereas maybe marketers try to complicate things and always chasing after the latest tool, the latest shiny new object. I think Germans message is really, really profound, and is really going to help you meet your goal of becoming more influential. I don't I don't know how better to say it than that. So without further ado, let's listen into my interview with geralyn cortot Hey Aaron, welcome to the maximize your social influence podcast.

Jeroen Corthout:

Thank you glad to be here.

Neal Schaffer:

And you know what, as I said, I realize it from the get the pronunciation wrong. It is your Rouen courthouse. And for those of my listeners that have never heard of you, as I will confess I hadn't done well as well until you reached out to me, please introduce yourself and the company worked for

Jeroen Corthout:

Yeah, so I'm Yun Cortez, I'm the co founder and CEO of of sales flare. And Salesforce is a CRM system focused on helping you sell better, it's made for small and medium sized businesses selling b2b and we have now just about over 2000 companies actively using our software I think many of them are our agencies and like marketing agencies, software development agencies, and also fast growing startup companies very often as well.

Neal Schaffer:

Great and from the accent I think in my memory is not incorrect that you are based out of Belgium correct?

Jeroen Corthout:

Yeah, I'm based out of Belgium you can hear that are

Neal Schaffer:

very slightly very slight. Yeah, the name you know, because your runes name is spelled je r o n so me is the the typical American is it pronounced Jarrow and obviously Yeah,

Jeroen Corthout:

I get all kinds of pronunciations like you're your own gerroa and whatever. Everything

Neal Schaffer:

I can imagine. So as you can imagine, when we want to engage with and influence the digital consumer, we have search, we have social, we have email, and obviously the email is where the CRM fits in. So I'm curious and I think when you proposed a title for today, it was really about growing influence growing your company's influence in a sea of literally hundreds of competitors that also have similar CRM. It's a very mature market CRM has been around for quite some time now and you have a gorilla in the market means Salesforce obviously. So tell me you mentioned this in order to compete in the world. I mean, I guess I'll have you, you know, jump it off, you know, how is sales flair going about using, I suppose influencer marketing, or using this concept of growing influence to win market share and win customers?

Jeroen Corthout:

Yeah, exactly. So so well, I look at your podcasts, I really enjoyed some of the episodes and I saw it's mostly about maximizing your social influence. And so I thought that would be most relevant today was mainly sharing like how we go about this kind of thing. So to give you a bit of an idea how the CRM market looks, there's over 600 companies in their Salesforce is a company that focuses very much on enterprises, big companies, huge, huge company worth, I don't know, even 10s of billions or something. Sure. Then there's also a whole sea of small business CRMs, we mainly compete with systems like HubSpot and pipedrive. Okay, these are hundreds to 1000s of times bigger than us have about like in terms of resources, also hundreds to 1000s of times more resources, and established brands, all this kind of things. So it's really hard for us especially because often they can also put down more proclick and all those kind of things. So we we can hardly grow based on the traditional let's let's put in some ads and and get some return kind of model. Not even by getting paid listings and all those kind of things. For those who don't know, yet, about every listing or review site on the internet is rigged. It's all paid. So just to break your dreams there a bit.

Neal Schaffer:

And you're talking about those those b2b software review sites, right? We won't name names, but those are the ones you're talking about, correct?

Jeroen Corthout:

Yeah, I mean, even even if the reviews are real, the visibility on these sites is is entirely defined by how much you pay. And often also the the combined scores or something, the rankings, the default ranking off very often you will land on a page that is ranked by sponsored or they have made the score in such a way that big companies are advantaged. So that means that for us to get to get in front of people, we need to we need to go for alternative ways, more organic things. And a lot of it is is based on social influence. Hence the interesting and interesting topic, I would say, to actually I did,

Neal Schaffer:

yeah, I was just gonna say the fact that, you know, you reached out to me, and I'm interviewing you on this podcast, as you're the first CRM company to be on my podcast. So there you go, you're obviously doing something different and doing something organic. Yeah,

Jeroen Corthout:

I actually did the little analysis of by coincidence today, checking where people come from when they sign up for our software. And to summarize that about, let's say, 30% comes from search, and some kind of blog article or a list, but there's not many, I mean, a lot of them are bait, so our chances are a bit lower there. Then there's recommendations from friends, which is about 20%. review sites is about 10%. blog articles is about 10%. Social media is about 10%. And then that's sort of starts adding up already to 80% and, and 20 20%. other stuff. The way we go about this is first of all, when we put out content of all types on our own channels, we focus very much on quality. And we focus very much on imagining whether if you see our posts in Google, why would you see our posts in Google and what's the first thing you you're gonna want to read and then build from there? And then similarly, if you see these things on social media, like like how does that work? So we try to empathize with the reader of the article and then we don't have it written by copywriters? It's a big problem on the internet nowadays and very often you want to know something more about a specific topic. And then you start googling and then you find all these posts written by copywriters that don't really know the topic that well that have been reading what other copywriters have been writing about the topic. So you get all these fluffy posts, which don't really help you. Yeah, and at some point, we did that a bit as well. And I just started feeling really bad. And I just wanted to stop it, because it's, it doesn't help anyone. It's makes the world a worse place. And because of that, also, it doesn't really compete effectively in things like Google leader. When you write a really good article, you don't need a whole ton of backlinks It will start ranking naturally. Google always says they don't track the behavior of people on your site when they click through things. But they do, like recent arts of these trials that they're going through now, and I don't know, they released documents to the I don't know the details Exactly. But there's this kind of inquiry going on. And in these these documents, it's very clear that they actually do that. So yeah, not a surprise, which makes the case for quality contents. Yeah, that's on the content level. And then what we try to do also, so there, we tried to make quality stuff that is very helpful for people and is exactly what they're looking for. But we tried to go outside of that, as well. do webinars with other companies get on podcasts like this one, and tried to help other people with with the things they're looking for. And we tried to do that on a very consistent basis. So we have set out goal, not goals, router habits for ourselves, like how many of these we want to do in a month. So again, keep delivering value consistently to people and and keep building an audience outside of the people we already know.

Neal Schaffer:

So you're in let me let me start to break this down. Because you brought up a few points there. Let's Let's start with the content. And yes, I agree 100%, the better the content. When people find it, your your content becomes sticky, they stay on your site longer that helps your search engine rankings, I think I think anybody that is has any experience in SEO is probably nodding right now. How do you go about creating that quality content, I have a client, and they have writers on staff, but the CEO literally approves every blog post. Now I'm just curious what sort of quality other than obviously imagining that and imagining the person what they want to read. And and delivering that whether it's in the blog or for the appropriate social media platform, what is your internal procedures, or the steps you take to ensure that that content other than being written in house is high quality?

Jeroen Corthout:

Yeah. And there's, there's a few things you can do. In general, I would say always have people write the things that know about it, if you have writers on staff, they might not necessarily necessarily be experts in a specific topic. So there's a few tips I can give there. First, first step is the hardest one, but I write a lot of stuff myself, it's just a quick way often to have something qualitative, and I only write about stuff that I know about, not about other things, because that also doesn't make sense. And then another thing you can do is interview experts on a specific topic. You can make it a podcast, make a transcript of that. And then and then like there's there's great services like rev dot conferences, and make transcripts. And then you can turn that into a blog post. The danger with that is a little bit that it might not exactly be structured in a way that people are going to enjoy reading it. Right? Especially not when they come from search engines. So you might have to do some processing still there. And that may be presented to the expert and see whether they like it, and maybe they can do a little bit of extra work on it. And a third tip I could give is something that was quite successful for us is make a sort of masterclass. So you think about a specific topic. For instance, startup funding. And what I did that was break that topic down in 10. blog posts, do a lot of keyword research around it, like which are the important topics in Google searches, start grouping these things, then start investigating search intent, like what is it that people want to read when they look for these topics, and then take these these topics and, and turn them into a coherent whole. So that you make a series which is super interesting to people, and if they like one post, they can go to the next one. But all of them by themselves also represent something that is interesting by itself and that people can find in Google. And then the nice thing is you can then find an expert that knows the topic of startup funding very well. and decorate all these posts for you. The reason why I bring this up is because if for every post that you want to write, you need to find another expert convinced them at all, that's a lot of work. While if you can batch that up and convince someone to write them for you. That's that's way easier. So I did that for a topic like startup funding. I did that for content marketing, and I have one One that I still want to do also with the sales acceleration, a lot of different sales topics but I that was a bit harder because there's not a lot of sales experts that are great at writing so,

Neal Schaffer:

so Okay, so I'm gonna I'm gonna dive a little bit deeper here as well thank you very much for basically sharing your marketing strategy for lack of a better word. So you mentioned this masterclass, I agree with that approach. I will take and I work with my clients and and I say, what are the what are the 52 for any given category, like on my blog, I have, you know, maybe 20 different categories. Some are more strategic than others, but influencer marketing, I wrote a book on the subject. So I basically do the keyword research, what are the 52 keywords that I have to cover? What are the 52 blog posts? In many cases? That what is that library of content that I need to have if I'm an expert in the subject? So I'm just curious at some point, your room Do you get to a point especially because it's, you know, more CRM related blog? Do you ever get to the point where once you do the series, you go into maintenance mode, where you don't need to publish new content about that subject matter, you already have the content, but you need to keep it fresh, and you need to keep republishing it, are you I doubt you do that? Are you at that phase as well,

Jeroen Corthout:

we do that all the time. If you if you follow us on social media, many of the things that you will see appearing are actually not new posts, they're older posts, sure, that we've updated and reposted and all that that really helps to rank posts in Google one. And secondly, most people will not notice it. When you post something again, it's not like unless they're this huge fans, I read every single blog post you publish, those are very, very, very, very, very small minority. So it these posts, it's not because you once published them that they're not valuable anymore, you can repost them, update them, bring them to people again, and and make make sure that they deliver that value again. And like I said, it really helps for Google rankings as well.

Neal Schaffer:

Yeah, and it's funny, because in blogging, content marketing, everybody's talking about writing new blog posts, but you're gonna get to the point where you have all the content you need, you know, there's certain subjects there's just it's just, you know, keyword volume and what have you, there is a limitation. So I think that's, it's good to hear you're doing that because I think more companies should probably be investing, not necessarily new content, but in updating old content really getting the best bang for their buck. The other thing you mentioned, was hiring an expert for these masterclass series of content. So are you talking about an internal expert? Are you talking about collaborating with an influencer? Or are you talking about reaching out to an external expert that that you're hiring to write the content what which approach Do you take the external experts?

Jeroen Corthout:

Well, if you have them internally, then then it's then it's easier than you don't necessarily need to batch it up because it's not a lot of work to find that person. It's really when you when you need an external expert that that makes much more sense. I personally, basically convinced people I know quite well that I know are experts on the topic. got friends sometimes to write it for us. Sometimes for bass sometimes not paid.

Neal Schaffer:

It depends, but they're the expert and that's that's the key thing. Yeah, that's the key thing

Jeroen Corthout:

to actually know what they're writing about references are is our startup funding masterclass was written by someone who used to work in m&a also used to work out a VC fund for a while. So he knows what he's writing about and it's not written by someone who's who has been reading stuff to then write stuff again. I mean, that's and that's, by the way on that topic, I sort of stopped accepting guest blogs also a few months back, because I just got really tired of that as well. So what I what I what I started doing was asking people like so you are from company x. So company x is really specialized in this specific topic, right? So I'm like if you write something I want you to write about that topic and nothing else because I assume you know that's true. But then still, I wouldn't get qualitative blog posts it would be like still a copywriter half knowing the topic even though it's it's the main thing their company does and then I get this crappy thing that I almost don't want to promote So yeah, I stopped with that as well.

Neal Schaffer:

Yeah, I that man every day just today before this call. I was going through guest blogger requests I mean, I get a few a day it's it's crazy. And I do things. In fact, you're and I take it one step further. Unless you're an expert on a specific category, in my case related to digital social media marketing, I won't accept you. If you say you're an expert. You know, first of all, what company do you work for, and show me three links, of published posts on that subject that you say you're an expert at, which showcases your subject matter expertise, and excellence, it weeds out 90% of the people that you can imagine, because they're writers and they get paid. This is actually about to record an episode on this. There's this whole black economy of people who get paid, you know, quote, unquote, I'm doing air quotes right now guest blogging, but they're really getting paid to place links on your site right back to their clients. And they're doing this for multiple clients. And they do it with multiple partners who are doing the same thing. And those posts are often coming up, you know, pretty high in search engine rankings, or those backlinks are really fueling why sometimes the best content doesn't show up in the in page one. So I, I agree with your sentiments 100%. I wanted to cover two other things that you talked about as I'm still sort of unpacking what you shared there. So you mentioned three things that you do to organically, you know, be heard, you mentioned interviewing experts and repurposing that content. You mentioned going on podcasts, you mentioned webinars. So to me, these all sound like elements of influencer marketing, you're tapping into, I assume experts in your industry that hopefully are also going to share that content to their network, obviously, relevant podcasts, and webinars, I don't know if you're bringing in experts or maybe you're working together with influential partners in the space. So I'd like to go through each one of those three things and better understand the process. So let's start with interviews. Are these you know, industry influencers? Are they customers? Who are the people that you end up interviewing,

Jeroen Corthout:

and content wise that that was just my advice? I we're currently I want to do that interview experts. I do interview people on my podcast, but it's not really about specific topics. It's more about startup founder life, specifically in SAS companies. Gotcha. But that's something I want to do I have more used to two other approaches where we either write it internally or do the masterclass. Okay, so,

Neal Schaffer:

so you have a podcast already, you're, you're unique as a startup founder and CRM company having a podcast, but that podcast right now is not. It's not really marketing your company. It's really just about offering advice and value and conversations with other startup founders, I assume correct? Yeah,

Jeroen Corthout:

exactly. It's It's, it's, it's about exposing the person behind the company, a lot of startup founders sort of feel lonely in their position, and they want to hear from others how it is for them. That's mainly what the podcast is about.

Neal Schaffer:

Awesome. So but you also mentioned that you go on other podcasts like this podcast, and what is your What is your process there? I mean, I guess there are a lot of sales oriented podcasts out there. I've been in a few of them myself. Are those the types of I assume you're looking more for those sales? Or maybe small business? What process do you have for finding those podcasts?

Jeroen Corthout:

Yeah, so to give you the process fully in a in a quite practical way, you go and listen, notes.com, it's a great search engine for podcasters. There aren't really many others out there. You can type things like sales as a keyword or startups entrepreneur, I mean, it's just kind of keywords that we've been looking at. Then you basically, if you get a paid subscription, you have a bit more filters. So you can say, the podcast at least needs to have that many episodes, they need to have published something in the last month. And a few more things like that. I don't exactly remember. Then you have the listing in this notes. And what's carry my colleague does is she goes through them one by one, and picks out the relevant ones. The email address is actually already there.

Neal Schaffer:

Because it's podcast RSS feed. Yeah.

Jeroen Corthout:

Listen, notice picked it up from the RSS feed. We in the end, we take the list, and we put it to sales fair, our CRM system, which also has a way of sending an automated series of emails to people. And then we she asked basically what the what the process is to get on the podcast. And then people respond. And then that's where we then book those, we look well into what the podcast is about. So we can bring the right value to the podcast. And mostly I get to explain what Salesforce does. Sure. And then that brings people to see elsewhere. That's just the small part of the episode and the rest is just the bringing value. But people hear about us. Without us paying a dime. It's most podcasts have somewhere from a few 100 listeners to a few 1000 some of them 10s of 1000s it's quite effective. People have been listening to you for a while. Whereas imagine placing an ad on the internet. It's it's much more effective for your branding out soon.

Neal Schaffer:

Have you found instances where you know on one of those, you know, 10s of 1000s or even a few 1000s episodes been published and over the course of a few days, maybe on social media heard about on your podcast want to try you out? Or where did you find out about us? I don't know if you have that in your in your intake, but you know, podcast I mean, how are you? It's the ROI podcasting. It's very hard to measure, especially when you're guesting, other than just your word of mouth brand awareness. But you do get the sense that there is that ROI, there are any anecdotes you can share.

Jeroen Corthout:

We do get the sense, but it's very hard to measure, like you said, so Rand Fishkin says go looking Google Trends. I tried that it's very hard to notice any peaks there, except if you go on the I think when it shows hourly levels, then you can see a bit more. And then you can sort of distinguish, oh, that's that podcast going live. What we're starting to do now is ask people, when they get on the software, where they first heard about us, we have that in some running survey, but we don't get a lot of responses. So we want to up that a bit. But always without annoying people when they get on the software. Because it's kind of things. Yeah. Right. But then yeah, you're right, you cannot track where people came from in this. In this case, if you don't ask, it's not like you have a UTM code or something. Right, I heard about people making specific landing pages for a while for podcasts. But I also heard that it's one a lot of work to the return is very minimal. And it actually works much better if you if you focus on delivering that value that and and, and don't start selling too much. Instead of like sending people to a specific landing page, and then you can sign up there and all that.

Neal Schaffer:

Yeah, my my approach on that sort of brand awareness is just really to look at the direct, you know, in Google Analytics, the direct traffic, you get to your homepage, that That to me is the ultimate in in brand awareness KPI, if that's going up, you know, that's the way it should be. And I think a lot of people in the SEO space also talk about the SEO benefits of guessing that often and I'll be doing the same thing I mean, in the show notes that there is a link generated back to your website, I I would never tell people to guest on podcast for the purpose of getting a backlink. But that's a natural thing that does happen. So yeah, and and it I love the approach that listen note. So I also did a lot of guest Dean, and I use the site called chargeable Comm. I basically went through the top rankings, and they have one, you know, category of marketing, looking at the top countries and I was those filters you mentioned. That's exactly do they have at least 10 episodes, and have they published last month, and that almost gets rid of, you know, a third of the podcasts out there. The rankings really seem to bring to light very new podcasts are found. And there's also a lot of them that just haven't published in a while that that still rank, and it's strange. But anyway, I also wanted to cover the webinar aspect. And I believe this true, there's still tremendous value in webinars and people say, Oh, you know, live streams and new webinars, what have you, but especially if you if you bring in influencers or work together with partners, we've seen these virtual summits that have popped up where you bring in 10 2030 companies, and you get this mass of 1000s of people. So tell me about that webinar strategy you have.

Jeroen Corthout:

Yeah, the summit's I've done a ton of those in March, April, May, I cannot prove any returner, I'm not sure what are what are worked. Very often, it's this kind of big events, where people don't go listen to one person, but go through a series of those, and they just, I don't know, there must be almost asleep or something. And then the networking possibilities, I've never seen it really work so far. It's hard. So I'm not really super excited by that. webinars with other companies that have a similar audience is something that tends to work much better. There's much more commitment there. People know what they come for. You can adjusted very well to their audience, you can discuss with each other also which audience, you're going to focus on what the message is going to be how you're going to collaborate, for instance, did one this week for the audience of duck soup, which is a LinkedIn automation to Yep, that was very successful. They have a huge audience, all interested in things like LinkedIn automation, and I did something on Sales Automation, which included some LinkedIn automation. And I got a lot of people connecting with me after that on LinkedIn, and also a bunch of trials of people wanting to try out what I what I showed in the presentation. So I definitely recommend that much more than than the generic conference talk kind of thing.

Neal Schaffer:

So these are these are companies that serve Have a similar market. They're not competitors. And you're reaching out to them saying hey, let's, let's do a webinar together and really cross cross promote to, you know, the audience's in the product.

Jeroen Corthout:

leaders. There's there's multiple things we can do together. There's integration possibilities, there's putting each other on each other's integrations pages, there's maybe maybe the founder is a good fit for my podcast, maybe they have a podcast, you maybe you can do a webinar together. And there's all just kind of things that you can explore.

Neal Schaffer:

Yeah, so my background is is b2b sales. And I've always had that ecosystem approach to business. And I think a lot of businesses forget about that partnership approach, and especially in digital and social media. And I think that can be really powerful. So thank you for sharing that. And you also mentioned, you know, that just the last thing I wanted to cover was the KPIs and the KPIs for a lot of this just cadence and I'm with you. It's the same reason why I published a new podcast every week, I blog every week, I'm actually adding guest blogging every week to that. And I recently did 100 Guest podcast episodes promoting my new book, but I want to continue, you know, maybe weekly, maybe once the I don't know, continuing to appear another podcast. So I assume you have similar numbers, whether it's weekly or monthly, or quarterly, or yearly that you want to, you want to appear on other people's digital. Yeah, that's correct. Yeah, that's

Jeroen Corthout:

it. We think about it the same way. Now, like in the past, we used to be very focused on reaching certain numeric goals. But then we started figuring that what helped us most if we if we would put consistent effort behind things, and this is not just when it comes to influencer marketing is all across the company. It's also the way we build the product. And now, we know we want to do a specific amount of something in a month, we define these things, we have clear focus areas, and then the goals are still there, and the numeric goals, but it makes it much easier to reach those if we put in that consistent effort that we put forward. And that's exactly like you're doing if you if you keep at these things, it will pay off. It's just a matter of always keeping that that habit like we call it or that cadence like you call it, you will you will get to whatever it is you want to achieve.

Neal Schaffer:

And I think when you get there, I'm now at a point where I'm starting to look at quarterly goals. We're recording this the first day of q4, October 1 serendipitously. But now it's like okay, q3 versus q2, how did I do? Let me either increase or decrease those cadences and see how it might impact things right. So once you have that track record, you can begin further experimentations to find an even better cadence. So I'm glad we think very much like your ruin you've been an awesome guest really been really open about sharing your your experiences in influencer marketing, what have you, I did want to give you a chance to I know you weren't expecting this. So those of you that know me know that I used to run a conference called the social tools summit. And I've always been seen as sort of an expert on martec. You know, technology. So I am one of those small business owners. I actually used him earlier, my sales career, I used to use a tool called goldmine, probably laugh about Right, yeah. And then Salesforce came out and we all had to move to Salesforce. And I understand the complexity of Salesforce is really intense for a smaller business. So I'm one of those typical small business owners that don't have a CRM, I do an Active Campaign. So a lot of email marketing companies are getting in and offering very simple CRM. But in terms of being able to tag to the email marketing and running automations, I'm able to do certain things with that CRM, how would you sell or how would you sort of compare? What am I missing out on? And for everyone listening as well? What are we missing out on by not using a tool like sales flair?

Jeroen Corthout:

Yeah, there's a lot of tools to compare with the goldmine is something from from a long time ago, yeah, Salesforce, that's actually actually started sort of from frustration with Salesforce, I had to use it myself for for about four years as an account manager, a salesperson, and also we would use it at clients, I noticed that I couldn't organize myself on Salesforce. People told me I was a tool to organize myself with my sales. But I didn't see that working. And for my colleagues, it didn't really work either. Like it's very hard to keep track of what you've been doing and what you need to do, and all those kind of things in Salesforce. And what it ended up being was a management reporting system.

Neal Schaffer:

It's a term salesmen have always thought more than salespeople.

Jeroen Corthout:

Yeah, well, yeah. But But I don't think it was initially intended that way. But then as their focus started going to bigger and bigger companies, that's certainly what it ended up to be. Yeah, so I had that frustration for a while. Then I started working together with my current co founder and business intelligence software company, and we had a lot of leads and we wanted to follow them. up, and I knew Salesforce wasn't gonna help us. I tried some other serums. And we actually, in the end made a sheet, I think, because we felt that was the easiest way. And I know a lot of small business owners are the same. Yeah, we had a Google Sheet because we could share it, that was not as easy. But what we what we always noticed, whatever we used was that it always started failing, because we were failing, we were failing to properly keep it up to date, to fill it out the way we're supposed to. And then we started figuring that actually, the things we were inputting into our quote unquote, CRM system was data that was already somewhere else. So we were emailing in one system, and then going into our sheets and saying, we emailed the person, or we were copying their phone number from their email signature, or we had a meeting with them in the calendar, and we had to then put that in the sheet, or we call them that was in our phone that we had. And then now all these things that are in different systems already, that need to end up in the CRM, but we all had to do that manually. And we saw a system in front of us that would like sit on top of all that these, that existing data, sort of integrated all of its surface it and make it super easy for us to keep track of it's without us almost having to do anything. And at the same time, actually, I also showed MailChimp to my co founder, like we did our first email marketing campaign for that company. And a shout out like, Oh, you can see when I open the emails and click and then and then he was like, Oh my god, that's so interesting. So from the start, we also built an email tracking, opens and clicks, integrated website tracking. So it became the system that tracks everything within your sales process without you having to do anything. And we turn that into a tool that also really helps with following up your leads, because sales fair will create the overview, it will send you automated reminders when you need them, so that you can perfectly follow up your customers at every point. Now compared to Active Campaign, Active Campaign is really like more like an email marketing solution that has some CRM built in, it's much more focused on the email marketing than it is on on the sales part. For us, it's the other way around. We are a sales CRM. And we have actually built in some email functionality as well. That email functionality is quite different from the email the Active Campaign functionality, though, where Active Campaign sends from a central server, more marketing style emails, we automates personal emails at scale. So it connects your inbox. And you can make it sense. For instance, a series of emails like I explained earlier that we send to, to podcast to get on get on the podcast from your inbox, it looks completely personal, nobody knows it's an automated email. And it also ends up in your sent folder, like every other email and all that. That's what we do in Salesforce. So that's,

Neal Schaffer:

that's great. Thank you. So it's really exciting. You You built it from the ground up based on your own experiences, your own frustrations, and instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, you know, sit on top of everything and bring everything together and make it smart. It sounds like y'all solve some machine learning or some AI, you know, Automation Components as well, that when I assume you put in your goals, those reminders and those things will start coming your way correct?

Jeroen Corthout:

Yeah, you can customize them also a bit like if you want to have reminder every five days or every depending on the stage that you're in, whatever all this kind of things are possible.

Neal Schaffer:

Excellent. So you're in thank you so much for that explanation as well. If my listeners are interested to learn more about sales flair, as well as maybe your podcast because I'm sure there's some startup founders here as well. Where can people go?

Jeroen Corthout:

Yeah, so for sales Fleur, it's a sales flare.com and sales and then flare flares, FL ar e.com. If you want to try the software, there's a button at the top right, and there's a trial that you can use for I think seven to 30 days depends on how many steps you take in the setup, you get extra days, it's a gamified a bit. Then for the podcast, its founder coffee.salesforce.com. And if you want to get in touch with me, you can do that through LinkedIn. And there's only one person with my name you need to find somewhere how it's spelled. And you just input that in the search then please add a note because I get an enormous amount of spam on LinkedIn. So if you don't say that you got from this podcast and I won't know and I will ignore you. But if you add a note I will accept and we can have a conversation.

Neal Schaffer:

Excellent. I'll put those in the show notes. Your rune Thank you so much. I know I've learned a lot today and I'm sure that this listeners have as well. So thanks again. And best luck hopefully we'll win this pandemic is over were we able to meet in person at a conference sometime?

Jeroen Corthout:

Sounds good. This was fun. All right, I

Neal Schaffer:

hope you really enjoyed that interview as much as I did. And I want to ask you, if you would please hit that subscribe button. Actually, geralyn is the last interview that I recorded in my last round of interviews. So starting in two weeks, you'll hear a fresh these were recorded in 2021 interviews, people like Pam dibner, who's going to talk about sales and marketing alignment. This is if you work in a b2b environment. I think this is going to be really important. We have Stephen Spencer, who is one of the top 10 authorities on search engine optimization. look him up. He's legit written like college textbooks on this subject. We're going to be talking about YouTube, and really search engine optimization for YouTube, not just YouTube search engine optimization in general. But we're going to talk a lot about YouTube, we have Kate Scottish. Speaking of video, Kate is the CMO of wave dot video and we're going to talk about all about how to really get started and or optimize your video. We also have James Creech James is the CEO and co founder of two companies. One is an influencer marketing tool called Paladin, and the other is a newly launched social media measurement specifically on content that I think you're going to be really excited to hear. So make sure you hit the subscribe button. You so you won't miss those upcoming interviews. Obviously the next episode is episode number 200. And I'm excited to be announcing something of my own, you'll have to tune in for that. So subscribe. I really appreciate all of the reviews that you have posted online. I've seen a lot of you share episodes on and tag me on Instagram on Twitter. I really appreciate that please make sure you tag me so that I can thank you and who knows what will become in the relationship. I also want to thank all of you who have joined me on clubhouse I continue my almost weekly every Monday 9am Pacific on clubhouse but in addition to these weekly episodes, and I'm going to be introducing podcast guests on these episodes going forward as well. I've also been simulcasting the recording of my podcast episode. So starting with Pam, if you were following me on clubhouse, and if you signed up for notifications, you would have known when I interviewed them, and you would have been the first to hear the interview. And in fact, for those of my podcast guests who are actually clubhouse members, you would have had a chance to interact with them as well. So make sure you follow me on clubhouse, you subscribe to my notifications, I get invites to send out regularly. So if you're in need of an invite, the number one place to get it is by following my email list. So go to my website, Neal schaffer.com, make sure you sign up anywhere on the website. And then you'll get notified the next time that I have invites available for you. Finally, every week, I see this podcast sort of trending in different parts of the world. And I'm just so thankful, you know, when I got started with blogging back in July of 2008, I just thought why limit myself to my native Southern California when my voice can reach so many. So it's really awesome to see in countries like the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Finland, India, New Zealand, Japan, I think it was IMS, Ireland, Mexico, Australia, Great Britain and of course right here in the United States to see the maximize your social influence podcast. You know, zoom up the charts, I want to thank you all for that I'm committed to really providing you value, and giving you advice that hopefully you don't find elsewhere. We all have something unique to contribute to society. And I'm hoping that this podcast serves you well. So thank you all keep subscribing. If you haven't written a review, I'd really appreciate if you could spend a minute to do so. Follow me and clubhouse and then get ready for Episode Number 200 which will be next week. But until then, wherever you are in the world, make it a great virtual social day. Bye bye everybody and cyan nada