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Bullhorns & Bullseyes Podcast

Systemizing Sales & Marketing

Guest: Mario D'Aquila, COO for Assisted Living Services, Inc.
September 27, 2023

Episode 2

Curtis and Tom are rejoined by guest Mario D’Aquila, Chief Operating Officer of Assisted Living Services, for Part Two of our multi-chapter success story.

In Chapter Two, Mario discusses why and how creating systems led to ultimate sales and marketing success, including the implementation of a CRM and the rigor applied to its adherence.

Lesson Learned: Software alone, without processes and systems, will not solve sales and marketing. The CRM is the tool; it is the people and their compliance that will determine success of failure.

Play Video about Bullhorns Bullseyes Episode 2

Tom Nixon 0:06
Welcome back everyone to the bullhorns and bull’s eyes podcast. I am one of your co host Tom Nixon. I’d like to first Welcome back my co host, Mr. Curtis Hays of kaleidoscope. Let me say that again. Mr. Curtis Hays of kaleidoscope. Curtis, how’re you doing?

Curtis Hays 0:21
I’m doing great, Tom. Great to be with you again.

Tom Nixon 0:24
Yeah, we are back with part two of our multi part, multi segment interview with none other than Mario Aquila, who is the Chief Operating Officer of assisted living services. Let’s welcome Mario back Mario, how you been?

Mario D’Aquila 0:38
Hey, how are you, Tom? How are you Curtis? Doing great.

Tom Nixon 0:42
Awesome. Great. Well, it’s good to have you both back and exciting to kind of pick up where we left off. Just refresh everyone’s memory we were in the previous episode, we got to the point where things were kind of starting to click relative to your marketing efforts. And you were discovered some new things. Some of it was trial and error. But there was a cliffhanger at the end of the last episode, which was something you said Mario, you said, things really started to click, when you realized that you needed a CR M, I guess we should explain that a CRM for those who don’t know is a customer relationship management software. So this is sort of like an inflection point. So why don’t we start there? Mario, you realize you need a CRM? What happened? And where did you go?

Mario D’Aquila 1:30
Yeah, it’s, you know, as reflecting kind of back, it’s, it’s interesting to view what we did and what we do now. But pretty much I realized that we had all this customer data that we were using, what we call as customer info sheets, right? Where a customer would call in and inquire about services. And I think I alluded to it before we had a stack of these, you know, customer intake sheets on everybody’s desk, and at the end of the month, we would just collect them, right? And we’d say, you know, hey, how many of these became customers? Right? Sort of archaic, terribly inefficient system, right. And, you know, it dawned on me that, geez, there’s no centralized point where our system or database that we can say, gee, you know, a lot of our referrals are coming from the web, or a lot of our referrals are coming from, you know, nursing homes, or assisted living facilities or doctor’s offices. We just had these stacks of sheets, right with data on them, but no compilation of that data. So we actually put together a, kind of the next best thing at that time, which was just a good old fashioned Excel sheet, right with, you know, tallies, and whatnot on it, which, you know, did an okay, job. Excel is great, but it’s just just not the right way to do it as you’re growing leaps and bounds. Right. So browsing the online, really, I was like, you know, there’s gotta be a better way to keep tabs on customers. I, I didn’t even know the term CRM, like it just wasn’t, wasn’t a thing, right. It was just, you know, database for customers, right? And, you know, looking around and really a click on this thing called Salesforce, right, it was just like, of course, their AdWords was like number one. And right off the bat, like it said, you know, increase your sales by 25%, like, guaranteed something like that, you know, I’m like, Alright, they tell me more. So, clicking around. Of course, we’ve all heard of Salesforce, and even back then it was still a big system. It’s even bigger now, of course, and I’m like, Alright, 25%, you know, and I’m crunching the numbers in my head. And it made sense to me, you know, it’s like, we have no system now or a very old school system. Sure, if we have a system like this 25% I think is the minimum that we can increase our, our sales, you know, through our follow up processes and whatnot. So of course, you know, we reached out to the Salesforce rep, give it a shot, and Salesforce, when you get it and you know, for those of you that have got it kind of comes as like a blank, you know, it has its blank template, it’s like here’s the basic Salesforce, right. And we were really looking at it and said, you know, just this is great, but it’s just not us. Like it’s not our, how we take a customer through the sales process. You know, and actually, at that time, we started to we were tuned into the fact that there were Salesforce I think determine these are integrators where they’re just companies that aren’t Salesforce, but they integrate Salesforce with your company. And they build the platform around your process, you know? So we reached out to an integrator, right? And we said, Here’s how our sales process looks, right? It doesn’t look like how Salesforce has it here, it looks vastly different. And Salesforce is so customizable. It’s not like, very easy to do this, by the way. So that’s why we had to have an integrator. And they built it around our sales process, like I mean, it looked exactly like what we were doing, but just nice and neat. And in a CRM. And we began using it, we bought licenses for everybody and their mother. I mean, we’re like, Hey, guys, like, this is Salesforce, you get a license now. And, you know, and that’s where the expense just like went through the roof, by the way, because some people don’t need it. Right. I think that’s kind of important. And that’s sort of our, you know, our business experiment throughout the years, right. Some people don’t need certain software. We are for everybody. And right away. What we, what we in many companies run into is the issue of compliance. Right? So are the staff going to use this new thing? Right? Hey, they’re used to writing down on an intake sheet, a customer’s info. Are they going to not do that anymore? And do this? And the answer is no, like, right away, they’re not you know, there’s going to be, you know, sort of your, the folks that work for you that are embrace change. And then there’s the folks that don’t embrace change as much and they, you know, think it’s more of a hinderance and why are we doing this type thing. So really, what we’ve done was we’ve, we, you know, there’s the sort of the enforcement aspect, like, Hey, guys, if you didn’t put it in Salesforce, it did not happen, right? We have that kind of motto. Saturn fit Salesforce, it didn’t happen.

Tom Nixon 7:19
Like Pixar. It didn’t happen, right. But this is Salesforce, or it didn’t happen.

Mario D’Aquila 7:23
Yeah, exactly. You know, some, you know, we would look in and go, gee, this person wasn’t called, oh, I called her. Well, that Salesforce didn’t happen, you know, right. And sort of getting that motto around the company really got people sort of attuned to the fact that this was the system now, like, it’s not, it’s not, you know, pen and paper anymore. It is this, this is the system. And, you know, by actually benchmarking folks, performance with it helps to right, it’s not just, oh, this is the system, it’s, yeah, you’re gonna be measured with your performance on whether or not you use this system, right, because we could track engagement and things like that, which was really cool. So buy in, it is not overnight, you know, I have to say it did take some time people getting used to it, even to this day, we’re like a set at Salesforce, oh, no, I didn’t get around to it. We’re like, do it, you know, on your cell phone get get in there, you know?

Tom Nixon 8:34
Well, I want to come back to that real quick, because I think that’s such an important component to any kind of software integration. But I wanted to go turn to Curtis and say, so what Mario’s describing is one of the key elements to making any new integration of software process change work for you. But there’s also the back end of tying the sales force into this marketing tool, which you’ve now spent time optimizing, and that’s the website. A lot of times, believe it or not, I see companies kind of have Salesforce and Assad in a silo. And then they’ve got some sort of WordPress website in a silo. And they’re not talking to each other. So what are some of the early things that you would help someone like Mario do to make sure that there’s not all of these broken chain links?

Curtis Hays 9:12
Yep. So step number one for us is to integrate our forms with Salesforce. So we use Gravity Forms. It’s probably the most widely used plugin for forms in WordPress. And there’s a Salesforce add on. So we connect the Salesforce add on Authenticate via API to their Salesforce instance. And then we map the fields in a contact form to Salesforce fields. And then we can bring that contact form in as a new record type. So in their case, it’s a lead internally in Salesforce. I think, Mario, you guys call it an inquiry. If I’m not mistaken. Yep. But the, the sort of standard term for that Uh, in a standard Salesforce instance would be a new lead. So every form submission on the website, as Mario said, if it, if it’s not in Salesforce, it doesn’t exist. So we can’t send form submissions to, you know, avoid, if they just go to an email address, we don’t want to depend on that person to manually turn around and enter that into the CRM. So we want to pass that data. And step number two is to pass that data along with tracking info that’s tied to Google Analytics so that when Mario’s team receives that lead, they can look at the contact record and see how that visitor maybe got to the website before filling out that form. So we we tie a cookie to the Google Analytics cookie that allows us to capture that data. Some marketers might be familiar with, like UTM zones, which are tracking URLs. So if we were running a Facebook campaign, or we’re running a Google ads campaign, those URL parameters are passed over. And then you can see that on the lead record. And then of course, it allows us to then eventually get to reporting where we could run reporting to see how many leads did we get from specific marketing activities, what channels, what campaigns and those types of things?

Tom Nixon 11:23
So this goes back now to what you were saying, Where are you? And I want you both maybe to comment on this. So this is sort of visibility meets accountability, because if you’re not doing the things that Curtis describes, all of the accountability in the world is good, right? It’s an enforcement compliance for Salesforce. But if you’re not tracking the results, and feeding that back, maybe to start with you, Curtis, you feed that back into the marketing strategy, then it’s just yes or no wins or losses. But you don’t know why. And you don’t know what not to do. You don’t know what to optimize for that. Right.

Curtis Hays 11:54
Right. Yeah. So traditionally, we would report just simply based on what we would call a conversion, which would be a form submission, with no visibility into what happens with that afterwards. So I might look at a specific campaign that has a high conversion rate, high number of conversions, and say that that campaign is performing well. If you look at the underlying information within that form, who that actual person is where the actual value lies, you’re missing a big part of the picture. These can either be spam submissions, or they could be real people, but aren’t a good fit for Assisted Living Services. You know, whether that’s based off location, and, you know, we’re getting form fills, because we’re advertising in a location where we can’t service currently. Or it’s the wrong service type or something like that, that’s going to feed us information that will allow us to determine what we want to change within our campaigns.

Tom Nixon 12:57
It would also though, I remember from the last episode, something you said, Mario, so before you had a system like this, an inquiry may come in, and maybe it’s the right candidate, but it’s not the right fit right now. In the old system, that person would just live in a stack of paper somewhere. But now going back to the 25%, return on investment or sales, increase it Salesforce promise, you could start seeing now that we’ll we can reach out to these inquiries that might not be customers today, but in the future will be so how are you taking the data that like Curtis might feed back to you and then feeding it back into your business development or sales? Efforts?

Mario D’Aquila 13:38
Yeah, so when the inquiry comes in now, it comes in is within the new status. And one of our representatives from our company is usually intake or sales, goes and looks at that makes an initial contact with the customer. And then, like you alluded to, if they’re not interested right now, that that lead stays in what’s called the working status, right? And people that are working, we’re working on him right. Now stay in that status until they move along the sales process, right. So we frequently do follow ups with these folks. Right, we are able to see when the last time that they were called was we’re able to set tasks which is amazing what Salesforce because if you can imagine this, getting 10 leads a day, right? Just use a number like that. 10 leads a day and I’m talking every single day. How many is that New Year? 3650. Right? Is my math offer? Or am I right about there? Right? You know, over 3000 Right. So for a salesperson to remember, Oh, I called that person last week or Call them three weeks ago, I need to call them again. It’s asking too much, right? with Salesforce, you’re able to set tasks to say, call this person today, call them again in two weeks. And it’ll sync up with your Outlook calendar. And it’ll allow you to be reminded to call that person. Right. And to follow up with that lead. Because as you know, I mean, that really the goal is in the follow up. I mean, some of the customers Yeah, hey, they’re not literally ready right now. But two, three weeks, even a year from now, they will be ready. And those really are the ones that I think Salesforce is talking about, when they say, Yeah, you’re missing out at 25% of your revenue, right? They’re not having this type of system. So once we put that in place, the system remembers for you, you don’t have to remember that you didn’t call that person, you know, a year ago or a year and a half ago, it’ll let you know, hey, when was the last time you talked to this person? Right, this lead? Or this referral source? It’s really great.

Tom Nixon 16:02
Yeah. And so what can you give, give us any sense, without revealing numbers, just the sort of mathematical impact that once you had this in full swing? The impact that you saw, right, was it X percent increase? Was it higher close rate? Anything at all?

Mario D’Aquila 16:24
Yeah, I can tell you that. In the three years, since we implemented it, by the way, I’m not attributing this specifically to Salesforce, but it definitely plays a big part. We had a while we were actually able to submit and when nomination and were posted on the Inc 5000. I mean, just for that, and I think the boy, I think it was an 80 I think it was an 80 something percent increase in revenue. Throughout the that time. I can kind of fact check that because it was quite a long time ago.

Tom Nixon 17:12
Significant right to the point where it’s like, I mean, we’re not talking 10% growth, we’re talking on the order of 79x, which is great. And I should, by the way, I should point out that we are not affiliate marketers for Salesforce, this just happens to be the tool that Wario chose, and it’s a good one. But there’s others out there, Curtis, the more important thing, I think is that you do have something in place. But also going back to what you learn from the data and how you act on it. At some point, you’re probably getting a better understanding of which types of messaging resonates. So are you feeding that Intel back into how we might present the website or how we’re deploying advertising out into the space?

Curtis Hays 17:51
Yeah, so let me first say, there are lots of CRMs out there. And we work with lots of different customers with different CRMs. And Mario’s specific case, Salesforce worked for a couple of just mentioned quick reasons, one, the customization, which a lot is what he’s talked about. But in their industry, there’s a lot of maybe what you call like practice management platforms out there. But some of those limit you because they’re not as customizable. You know, you sort of buy the software, even though it might be web based, and those types of things. But the customization that you could do, the marketing integration, that you can do different things, sometimes is limited. And so you just have to take a look at where your business is at what you can afford, from a budgetary perspective, when you step into something, the lessons are really, you know, learn that tool and implement it across the organization building new processes, new procedures, properly training individuals, and it will start to work for you and you can evolve your business. So on the second question, as far as marketing goes, and messaging that, you know, that was something that we discovered was something that we wanted to start working on with assisted living services. So you know, over time and learning from the campaigns, and determining how we wanted to evolve the business, one of the things that we felt we needed to do was have some brand messaging that we could go to market with now that we had some measurement in place, we could start to do some different ad testing and those types of things. You know, what do we test and how do we test it? We really needed to have a messaging set of guidelines to make sure that we were always on brand with everything that we were saying, but still allowing us to do some testing. And so that’s really where we engaged another associate, to take Mario, his brother’s parents and other leadership through an exercise To really get at the core of, you know, the history of assisted living services, what do you guys all about? What makes you guys unique in the marketplace? And what are some statements that we can we can put out there and both the website as well as their advertising

Tom Nixon 20:14
himari I remember you speaking fondly of that process being interviewed something I think you had never undergone where a third party comes in and starts to ask somebody what we call the why questions, why you Why not somebody else? Why do you exist? Why should somebody come to you? And so talk a little a little bit about that process? And what you got out of it?

Mario D’Aquila 20:32
Yeah, it was. It was interesting, to be honest, at the at, you know, it sort of II evoked some, some emotion, I mean, to be honest with you, it’s like, why, why is your business? You know, the way it is? How did you get into it? And it was sort of like this collective of all the leaders of our company that kind of answered these questions. And, you know, I mean, it was a thorough exercise, I mean, quite literally getting into the, not just the business aspect, but the psyche of the mission, and, and, you know, everything that we stood for, and what was created was something that was I mean, you know, quite thought provoking, to be honest with you, we were listening to her a, you know, after she did this kind of search, right, searching our soul, if you will, of our company, she put it all on paper in a way that we hadn’t done before. Right? I mean, you know, she’s a marketing professional, right. So she, she sees us in a different light than we do. And put it all out in sort of these. She sort of wrote this just narrative, right about who our customer is, and who we are. And it was like, wow, that is us. And I’m so happy that you were able to compile that into something that we sort of had a blind spot for. And with that, we were able to create sort of this persona, right? And who we are, and who are, who our ideal customer is, right? Because if you try to serve all customers, not just the ideal customer. Oftentimes, companies, you know, sort of have an aimless direction, right? You know, listen, the iPhone is not for everyone, right? It just isn’t, I’m an Android guy. They’re not trying to get me they’re trying to get a target customer who, who isn’t me, right. And it’s like that with home care, right? You can have different demographics and different, you know, types of folks that you do market to just dependent on what the needs are. And this marketing professional that we kind of hired through through Curtis’s group was able to kind of put that in a nice package, right, that we really helped create content around, which is invaluable.

Tom Nixon 23:09
Yeah, I think that’s where the magic happens. So it’s like, I call it the 3am. formula. So if you have the right message, what you need the right mechanics, which are all the things that go into your marketing machine, and business development, and sales and all of that, that ties together in the way that Curtis is described. And then you have the right metrics, because you need to be measuring the right things. And then you need to be reporting them honestly and openly, both, you know, from the marketing team into sales, and from the sales team out into marketing, which we will come back to. But I just wanted to shift gears if you guys don’t mind on to something else. That’s I think top of mind has been for a long time I get I would get this question a lot dating back even five years. And I bet we’ll only get more of it now that we’re living in the age of artificial intelligence. And that is you decided to go down the road have a chatbot on your website, because now you’ve got the CRM in place, you’ve got this website with great messaging. And I’m guessing Maria, you wanted to sort of facilitate the dialogue between a visitor to the website and then you as a brand and ultimately to your business development team? Is that right? How did that come about? And how did you get it in place?

Mario D’Aquila 24:12
Yeah, that that actually was based on my online kind of experience, you know, having experiences on web sites and web stores and things like that night. I think I was just browsing, you know, buying something online, or just browsing a site and our chatbot popped up, and how can I help you? Hey, you know, what were some of the questions you had about our product. They said no thing. And as I was interacting with this chat bot on this site, I’m like, wow, why don’t we have one of these? You know, these people that by the way, this was at night, you know, I’m interacting with this chap on a 10:10pm comes thinking there must be customers for our services online right now wanting to talk to someone. Right? If I’m interacting with this chatbot for this product or this company, there must be at least one person wondering about homecare not getting the answers from our website right now, that that they just have a question, how much do you charge? How much is, you know, D service this area? You know, what if mom’s on Medicaid, you know, some of these questions that they’re not getting an answer right now. And I’m going, well, we’re missing out, right, we’re missing out this person probably needs need something. And so that’s where I said, Hey, Curtis, you know, there’s another way to capture leads that I think that we can look for, right? And it’s not just the Gravity Forms, right? Which is awesome, right? Hey, you, you fill out this gravity form. Tomorrow, we’ll call you. Well, today, I want an answer. Right? That’s what I was thinking. I’m like these customers, just like me online shopping at a 10 watt answer right now. They don’t don’t want to wait for tomorrow, tomorrow’s I gotta get the kids on the bus. I got to drive to school, to drive to work. I got to do this. And that. And I don’t have time to get that call tomorrow. I have the time right now at 10. And so it led to me asking this question, Can we can we implement one of these chatbots on our, our site? Of course, Curtis is great. I mean, the the answer is yeah, absolutely. Like, yeah, you know, great. More leads a way to capture these leads is what we’re gonna do. But whoa, like these chat bots. And I’m sure now they’re awesome with AI. But when we implemented it, it’s like, you have to anticipate that the conversation that the customer may have, and it has to you have to come up with the answers. preliminarily, right, Curtis? I mean, we had to go. You know, if a customer says, hey, I’m interested in homecare, what’s the next question your chatbot needs to ask? Oh, great. Where do you live? Right? And then when they click, where do you live? What’s the next question? Is my Medicaid or how old is mom or dad or? So you’re anticipating these questions along the way? And leading hopefully to the answer that a customer needs?

Tom Nixon 27:27
So Curtis, what was it like back then? And I’m curious if edit things evolved now that is worth adding to the conversation? What were some of the limitations that Mario describes?

Curtis Hays 27:37
Yeah, so Well, we started first with a third party tool, which maybe gave a little bit more functionality in sort of the decision trees, and maybe a little bit of the AI. But a lot of that we were having to, you know, work with the Assisted Living Services team to build out. And we were dealing with two very different audiences, because we were also helping HR do recruiting. So now the bot has to not only be prepared, really the first question was, are you looking for services? Or are you looking for employment? And then based on that question, you know, the decision tree or, you know, Question and Answer tree branched out from there. So we did eventually switch to using the Salesforce Chatbot. And having that all directly integrated with Salesforce instead of using a third party tool. And, you know, I would say that the chat bot was was decent. I think it definitely answered questions for users, I think we definitely got, you know, some leads through it. But I recall sitting on one of our monthly check in calls with Mario and the team, and I’m saying, you know, over the last year, since we’ve had this bottom place, our phone calls are a lot less. And when we get somebody on the phone, we’re a lot more likely to close that person. Because if we’re not talking to them, they’re going to pick up the phone and call a competitor. And whoever usually is talking to that person live first is usually the person that’s going to get the business interested. So we ran an experiment said, well, let’s, let’s see if that hypothesis is true. Let’s just turn off the chat bot and see if the phone call volume increases. And we did that. And sure enough, phone calls the phone during the day primarily started ringing again. And I remember to that Mario that the value in the phone calls to because we even looked you know over the weekends because you have your nights and weekends where you don’t have somebody by the phone and that’s where the forum and the Chatbot do potentially come into play. But I think I remember Maria, you guys even instituting some people who were like sort of on call because you knew how valuable on the weekends, those calls could be that if you got somebody on a Saturday, and you could you could talk to them, there was a really good chance that you were going to turn them into a customer.

Mario D’Aquila 30:09
That’s exactly right. And that’s where implementing other things, you know, the Chatbot did a good job until we said, Wow, we can do better during these other times doing these things by employing, you know, a third party answering service even, right, where it’s like, you can’t it’s us, I mean, answer, hey, assisted living services, how can I help you? And what they’ll do is they’ll triage that call and get you right to a sales rep. Like an our sales rep, right? If needed. Something that a chatbot can’t do. Right? And, you know, so it was all about experimentation, honestly. And I think that one thing was pretty funny, too. I was browsing our site on my, my phone, my smartphone, and I’m trying to like get, you know, try to navigate on this page to actually like, see something important that I had to potentially change. And this chatbot pops up. And I’m like, Okay, I can’t get around, like the Chatbot was in my face, and I couldn’t get around it. And I’m like, trying to exit out and it’s asking, How can I help you and this and that. And I’ve got, I just need the number, like, I just need to get our number, I want to see if it’s right or wrong or something wrong. And I couldn’t get around this thing. And I’m going how many people are looking at our site, right, you know, a week on a mobile device that this thing’s popping up, and they just need our phone number. Or they just need, you know, a piece of information.

Tom Nixon 31:56
It’s like, Clippy from the old Microsoft program, right? I’m

Mario D’Aquila 31:59
dating myself assays right away, right? My car

Tom Nixon 32:03
trying to hire a assisted living? Can I help?

Mario D’Aquila 32:08
You know, the things that things in the way? And you know, and I’m like, the I’m like, Oh, this is a bad experience for me right now on my own website. And I’m like, thinking customers might also be having this experience. Yeah. So we tailored it to pop up at certain times, you know, hey, if you’re browsing the site, and after X amount of time, it’s going to pop up, it’s not going to pop up right away. Or it’s going to pop up on these specific pages that garner more explanation. explanation, right. We did a lot of AV testing, Curtis, I know. But it’s all through this experimentation that, you know, you wouldn’t kind of run into this until you experience it, you know, and myself experiencing it on my own. My phone, I’m like, wow, you know, this is, this is a problem, you know, so we fixed it right away. And we again, we further honed in on perfecting the sales process,

Tom Nixon 33:14
Score one for the human race, I would say so we can still do some things better than artificial intelligence. Last question for me, guys. Because maybe I’ll start with you, Curtis, unless you want to defer back to Mario. So we talked about how you were taking this intelligence and baking it into the website and updating the messaging and the branding and all of that stuff. What were some of the things that now that you have your CRM in place, and you’ve got your tracking in place and your metrics and your your mutual accountability reporting meetings that I know that you have with Mario’s team, which we’ll come back to in episode three. But for this, so now that you have all of this, the mechanics are in place, you’ve got the metrics in place? What were some of the tactics then that you started to roll out that were influenced by the data, whether it was social media or content you were creating? What do you remember some of this early sort of, again, trial and error approach to see what was going to work and what wouldn’t work?

Curtis Hays 34:07
Yeah, so some of the things that we definitely discussed, Mario just mentioned, having the Chatbot on certain pages, putting forms on pages directly on the page, or having a button that took you to a contact form. Placement of different buttons, especially on mobile, you know, having them available up in the header. Certainly when we learned we needed to drive phone calls, making sure that the phone phone number was easily visible on mobile, clickable, trackable. All of that became really important. There’s been recently I’d say in the last year, a lot that we’ve learned from the data and what’s happening with the offline sales and conversion data that’s allowed us to make a lot of changes within our campaigns. Because we know that campaign source, and we now know it not only on forums, but on phone calls. And I think we’ll have a future conversation about how we’re doing that and tracking phone calls and the source of a visitor from a phone call. But really, our optimization now, because what we started three years ago was basically taking a spreadsheet. And we’d enter all of our marketing data into that spreadsheet, Mario would come in, and he’d enter a Salesforce data. And then we could track quarter by quarter, what’s happening within the marketing and sales kind of pipeline. And we set some goals, Mark, Mario came to us and said, look like this is a lifetime value of a customer. This is what we need to be from a profitability Perspective Perspective. Where can we get? And how do we get to these numbers that we’d like to be up? So we started measuring that we certainly weren’t there. In the beginning, we set some aspirational goals. And so all of our conversations really centered around that spreadsheet every month, when we have a call that spreadsheet comes up, we review the numbers. And then from there, if there’s a story that started starting to reveal itself, then we we open up AdWords, we open up some of the other dashboards that we have, and we really start to dig out, dig into that and say, yeah, do we want to make some changes to our budget? Do we want to pause this campaign from for now? Do we want to shift budget from this campaign to another campaign here? And that’s got us to really the the some of the best, I would say return on adspend we’ve ever seen. So, you know, what? What could you add to that? Well,

Tom Nixon 36:46
I was going to ask Mario, specifically about the experimentation with social media. And one of the discoveries you made that was maybe a surprise in terms of how to best use social media, or what social media could be best used for in your case, I

Mario D’Aquila 37:00
guess. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I think that initially, again, we’re looking at all of these things as marketing pillars, right? You have the website, you have PR, we had TV commercials, radio ads, is that new thing? And then we’re like, Okay, well, social media. I mean, that’s kind of the most obvious one, right? And really one of the more cost effective marketing mediums as well. So initially, we thought, let’s do this as sort of like a branding effort, like, you know, not not many calls to action, like, Hey, if you need homecare, click here, it was more just branding, right, providing maybe some content around, you know, sort of like one page PDFs, people can click on and things like that. As well as job ads and things, right. So we’re in a sort of a unique industry where we need staff as much if not more than we need customers, right. So we were doing both on social media. And what we found was that we were able to see this through the integration of Salesforce that driving customers or potential customers through social media really wasn’t as fruitful as we thought it was going to be. We were dedicating, actually a significant amount of, of our budget to social media, for brand recognition for customers. But what we were noticing was that more of these leads, were not customers, they were folks that wanted to be hired for employment. And what we said, through sort of analyzing that data was let’s only focus our social media efforts on recruiting, you know, since the only people that are clicking on these brand awareness campaigns are potential employees, let’s just dedicate it towards recruitment. And in doing so, we were able to get many more leads, not customer leads, but staff leads, right where they’re equally as important in the home care space. So we found that and particularly the folks that are using the social media are in the age group that we were looking to hire right. And it was easy to get a vast outreach, relatively inexpensively, right through social media, and specifically Facebook, to be honest with you.

Tom Nixon 39:54
Interesting, well, we will have to leave it right there, gentlemen. This is where I tee up our cliffhanger because what we’re going to talk about in the next episode, I think is the holy grail, if you will, of successful marketing and business development, that is the solving the frequently disconnected chasm between the sales efforts, the marketing efforts and the bank account. So any final words of wisdom that you want to part with gentlemen?

Mario D’Aquila 40:25
Well, I can say that we’re actually living right now in, in between this gap between sales and marketing. We’re experiencing it now. And, you know, to connect the two is really the silver bullet here. And I think that that that’s an interesting thing to explore. And I recommend, everybody really looks at that because you can get all the leads in the world. You could spend millions of dollars in marketing. And if you’re not closing the sale, wasting your money.

Tom Nixon 41:00
That’s a cliffhanger. All right. Thank you, Mario. Curtis.

Curtis Hays 41:03
Yeah, don’t forget to take that step. Yeah. I mean, dig in, look at it. You know, don’t don’t be afraid to go that extra level of detail when you’re looking at that data.

Tom Nixon 41:14
We’ll talk about exactly how to do that on the next episode of bull horns and bull’s eyes. Thanks, guys.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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Other episodes in this series:

Bullhorns Bullseyes Episode 1

Episode 1: Trial & Error and Investing in Success

Curtis and Tom are joined for Part One of a multi-chapter success story by guest Mario D'Aquila, Chief Operating Officer of Assisted Living Services, Inc. in Cheshire, Connecticut.

Bullhorns Bullseyes Episode 3

Episode 3: Closing the Loop Between Sales & Marketing

Curtis and Tom are once again joined by Mario D'Aquila, Chief Operating Officer of Assisted Living Services, for Part Three of our multi-chapter success story.

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