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Beau Bratton & Ricochet360 CRM

By Bill Rice
Beau Bratton & Ricochet360 CRM Feature Image
17 minute read

Today we have something a little bit different from our usual posts. We had the pleasure of speaking with Beau Bratton to pick his brain about his product, the Ricochet360 CRM system, and how it can be so beneficial and helpful for marketers.

We want to consistently provide our readers and users with helpful and useful information on technologies that can help them reach their goals and find success. When we do these types of technology informative interviews and posts, our goal is to introduce you to technology that’s available to put into your sales and marketing process. Keep in mind that not all of the technologies we go over are going to work or be in compliance with every business, though! This is just to introduce you to your options before you look into actually applying it to your business and process.

That being said, let’s get into it!

An Introduction to Ricochet360: How It’s Different Than Other CRM Systems

As you probably know, a CRM system is a “Customer Relationship Management” system. These systems organize and, well, manage all of the data and information you have on customers, leads, potential customers, etc.

They allow you to track your interactions and conversations with clients and leads. They allow you to see all preferences, past interactions, contact information, data, requests, and virtually all other consumer info in one centralized place. They can also be easily integrated into other areas of your business for quick and easy contact and connectivity.

But as Beau told us, the Ricochet360 is a CRM system as you know it with a bit of a twist. It’s a little different than the others.

Ricochet360 is a CRM, Beau says, but it’s a cloud phone system. It’s a fully functioning cloud phone CRM system so it has predictive dialing marketing automation features. It has text messaging features, emailing features, social media components, a chat system, and a lot more! It’s a one-stop-shop of CRM systems that makes data compilation and customer relationship management simple and fully integrated in one place.

Ricochet360 has been around for just about 10 years now, and we aren’t surprised as to why they’ve been around for so long. The technology is unique and different from other CRM system options in the best way.

Because of this, Beau and Ricochet360 have years of experience working with all sorts of clients. Now’s where I picked his brain about how to apply his technology and CRM systems in general to the sales and marketing process.

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Aged Leads and Follow Up

This topic is obviously near and dear to our hearts as we are the Aged Lead Store. Perhaps you’ve purchased some aged leads or were handed a book of business or perhaps you slacked a bit and some promising leads have now become old.

Whatever the case, you need a follow-up system to help you get those leads back into the present so they’re useful and can be sold to. So we asked Beau what, in his experience, is the best way to approach follow up on older data?

His approach is what he calls “hyper-targeted omnichannel communications.” Yes, it’s a mouthful, but he explains his thoughts quite well.

So you have all of your data and information in a CRM system. Then, Beau looks at it like this: you might be dealing with a millennial, a Gen Zer, or your grandpa. Depending on who you’re dealing with you want to adjust how you communicate and how you approach the follow-up. For example, younger generations may prefer emails or texts while older generations might want a good old fashioned phone call.

Back to the idea of hyper-targeted omnichannel communications, you want to communicate with the client or lead from every perspective and in a very targeted way. For example, let’s say you’re a mortgage company or an insurance company, and the lead you want to follow up with was in the military (which you know from the data inputted into your CRM system).

With that information, you can make a lot of determinations about the person’s background and personality where you can give them something fun, personal, and hyper-targeting. So that’s the hyper-targeted aspect: you know almost everything about them so you can very specifically personalize and tailor your follow up to include/match that information.

The next step is the omnichannel aspect. You want to contact them in every way you know how. This doesn’t mean bombard them in the same ten minutes, but it does mean taking advantage of every channel you can engage them with.

So you start with an email. Use the hyper-targeting information you have: include their name, the fact that they were in the military, including military images/flags, reference past conversations, etc. Send them a text message or social media message with targeted subject/intro lines. In a call or voicemail, address them by name, ask them to give you a callback, etc. them and we may do some social following or messaging to them. As you contact them through all of these different channels, you should dynamically adjust the messaging that’s going out so it’s personal and targeted.

It’s these subtle differentiators that turn a good campaign into a great one; a good sales process into an incredible sales process.

This at that personalization is becoming so important because people nowadays are getting so many messages and ads; the ones that are going to stand out are the ones that resonate with them and that are personal to them.

Beau explains that in Ricochet, you can pull any data field dynamically into a text message, email, social media message, etc.

Mobile-Only Use

Mobile use is taking over a lot of sales processes. We’ve spoken with quite a few professionals and noticed ourselves, that see that a lot of the interactions with the customer and the sales process in general fully takes place on a mobile device.

And that isn’t just a “young-person thing.” We’ve seen an increasing amount of data that’s supporting the fact that the Boomer generation and other older generations don’t even have a home computer; they only use their mobile phone or device.

With that in mind, we asked Beau what changes do we have to make to our sales processes to live and survive in a mobile-only environment?

His first tip had to do with email. The email HTML copy should be mobile-friendly. You can buy templates out there and he says that Ricochet does provide some templates that are specifically designed to be mobile-friendly. That way when the email comes up on a mobile phone, it’s going to look a lot cleaner, not have formatting issues, and look professional.

There’s nothing worse for sales and engagement that when a consumer or lead opens up an email and it’s garbled, you can’t see it, or it’s unreadable. That wastes your and their time, and it will only serve to make you look unprofessional.

Beau’s next tip for a mobile-centric sales world is utilizing text messaging. The first step is making sure consumers opt-in to receiving text messages; you have to make your it’s all compliant. If and when you have that, Beau says that communicating via text message has a much higher conversion rate compared to other communication methods in terms of getting responses and getting a dialogue started. Ricochet even allows you to embed your phone number into the messages so it’s super easy for leads to click it and call you right away without even having to dial a number.

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More on Email

Next, we dive a little deeper into the topic of email. Do you want an HTML email only, or can plain text work fine? What about links? Message length? All of these attributes can have a direct effect on sales, conversion, and engagement, and Beau has some interesting insights.

He first cautions about links. You don’t want to embed too many links in your email because this can increase the risk that your message will be sent to their spam folder, which helps no one.

In terms of shorter messages, Beau agrees that shorter messages are general read more and have a greater impact on leads and newer clients. Most people aren’t going to read long-winded messages. However, he does say that if the person is already a client or already heavily invested with you, they might be more likely to read a newsletter or a longer message, so keep that in mind to have various options and message types. But if you’re trying to attract a person, you want to keep it short and sweet.

He also clarified his thoughts on HTML. Adding a little bit of HTML into the message helps it be a bit more mobile-friendly. However, short and sweet messages with plain text are perfectly fine.

In short: a little bit of HTML, a few great links, and short and sweet messages are going to be your best bet.

More on Text Messages

Some people are a bit cautious about using text messages to contact and follow up with leads because they view it as intrusive or bothersome. However, 75% of Millennials prefer text messages to other forms of communication and all consumers are more likely to open text messages before any other message/communication type. That shows you just how impactful text messages can be, and Beau agrees.

With Ricochet clients, Beau has seen that a lot of the companies that weren’t doing any text messaging at all in the recent past, once they got the opt-in and they started to do it, they saw upwards of 30% increase in application rates in the insurance space. He also heard from one client that they’d had a 37% increase in appointments just from turning on text messaging and starting to communicate with leads/clients via text messaging.

If you do it right, short and sweet, contextually targeted text messages with an embedded phone number, names, or contacts are the future of sales processes. Ricochet can add in those things and send them out to clients easily for an incredible uptick in communication, appointments, and sales.

Even if you think that texts are intrusive, think about it like this: people often prefer texts over a phone call because with a phone call, especially during the day (which is when most sales and marketing people call leads/clients) it’s pretty interruptive. Texts are overall less interruptive of because they could just see the text message and look at it later versus having to worry about a phone call or figuring out who it is or whether or not they want to answer.

Beau agrees that while you still need to do the phone call (and all other forms of communication), texts and social media messaging are super easy to get done during the day without causing an annoying interruption in the person’s day. It’s easy for them to communicate back and forth via text message even during the workday without upsetting their boss or causing a disturbance in their work, for example.

However, he again makes the point that you can’t rely solely on text message; you need to take advantage of the omnichannel approach. There are some people that prefer a phone call, or hate typing via text message, or won’t opt-in for text messages.

Different strokes for different folks, as they say.

Embedding a Phone Number or Contact

Beau’s mentioned a few times that you should put a callable or direct phone number into a lot of these different messages. Where should that phone number go? Should it be direct? Do you have to do fancy programming to make the click-to-call work?

The first thing Beau explains is that if you put the dashes between the area code and then the, the primary number, most phones are able to understand that it’s a phone number and will make it clickable. Putting them into an email is slightly different and a bit more complicated. A little bit of HTML coding will make the number a hyperlink.

He also explains the cool feature about Ricochet: you can dynamically enter phone numbers that should be called in each message depending on the purpose of the contact. For example, you could insert a sales number in a sales text message and a customer service number in a customer service email. The Ricochet CRM will pull a specific phone number and automatically embed it in there so you’ll have the most relevant number based on the message type.

CRMs and Marketing: The Basics

Now that we picked Beau’s brain about some general lead follow up questions, we wanted to get more into the CRM side of things, seeing as that is his speciality. We asked him about some of the basic questions about CRMs: at what point should someone start to consider a CRM? Does it matter what kind of marketing is being done? When should you start thinking about a CRM?

Beau keeps it simple, and we agree with him: you need to consider using a CRM if you’re doing any sort of customer service or sales. The reason for that is that our own brains simply cannot handle all of the data and information that you have to work within those fields.

We have limited memories and if you’re working with hundreds or thousands of people, you want to know the details that you simply cannot remember for everybody. You want to know when you talked to them about last, what you talked to them about, how you’ve contacted them, etc. The most efficient and easy way to keep track of all of this information is through a CRM system.

A CRM will help you show that you respect their time since you’re keeping things personal, you’re efficient in your communication, and it shows you care about them as an individual.

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CRM vs Lead Manager

While these two concepts are similar, there is an important distinction between the two. Using a CRM is more about nurturing the database that you already have and tracking different things that are going on across your database. Lead management is more about the real-time or the data that’s coming in and reacting to it to trigger different things to happen.

CRM systems imply that you have some sort of relationship with the person while the same isn’t necessarily true for lead management since they could be bought leads, cold call numbers, internet leads, etc. When you don’t have any relationship, you need to approach the contact and conversations differently.

Do you need a CRM or lead management manager? Ultimately, you need something that can handle both of these applications. If you’re a larger organization or if you have a sophisticated organization with specific needs, you really should take the time to write down what your needs are, what your daily operational procedures are, and see if there’s a system that can streamline these things along with both CRM and lead management applications.

Where to Start with Your CRM

OK, so you’ve invested in a CRM system. What’s the first place to start? What’s the first thing to get right?

Beau recommends starting with the simple things: getting your data into the system and mapping it should be your first steps. You’re going to create your “fields” and entry points based on your industry.

For example, in Ricochet, Beau  explains that that already have all the insurance fields built out. So all those clients really have to do in Ricochet is import their data and it’s going to map in automatically. A benefit of a program like Ricochet is that is has an application that guides you step by step on how to enter and map your data in the system.

After that, the next step is coming up with your call and email plan. Calling and emailing are really easy to set up and get going on quickly once your data is inputted. In the Ricochet system, for example, they’ve created “the blueprint” of call and email plans for you. This includes exactly how many times you should call the lead, the cadences of when you should call them, the text messages, etc. All of these plants are all prebuilt depending on the industry template you choose.

For example, you can go into Ricochet, pick the “Insurance” template, and you’re going to get a series of emails and texts that are all prebuilt for you to immediately get started on your contact campaigns.

Once you have your plans set up, all you have to do is train your agents on how to use the platform and they can get going!

Beau stresses that the goal of Ricochet has been to bring everything together seamlessly and to automate a lot of your day-to-day processes so you can focus on other things like planning, campaigns, marketing, etc. Let the CRM do the data and busy work for you and use it as a tool to help you reach your goals.

And while this does streamline a lot of processes, it isn’t going to do all of the work for you. It’s going to help you get the work done more easily and more efficiently, but you still have to make the calls and you still have to make the sale.

Built-in Scripts

Another awesome feature of Ricochet that Beau highlights is scripting. They have scripting built into the software. This is awesome for new hires, making adjustments to the script, and reduces the risk of making a mistake as a newbie.

You want to give your employees the best chance at being successful and making the sale, Beau says, and that’s why the built-in script option is so helpful since it puts the general outline of the call right in front of them at all times.

We think that this is helpful for all employees even your most seasoned salespeople. Even just having a kind of a framework can help you go through the call more smoothly, remind you of things to mention, remember certain steps, etc.

The System Is a Tool, Not a Silver Bullet

Speaking with seasoned professionals like Beau can give you a great perspective on how to use certain tools to your advantage. Ricochet is just one of many CRM systems, but it’s a great option for streamlining and automating your process. It sets you up to have amazing fundamentals and organization to make your sales process easier and more efficient.

But don’t think that this is going to do everything for you. It’s still a tool that you need to use alongside your own sales and marketing mind to be truly successful.

To learn more about Ricochet360, check out their website. You can also learn more about some of our other favorite tools on our blog and on our podcast.

Leave us some questions in the comments or contact us to continue the conversation!

About Bill Rice

Bill Rice is the Founder & CEO of Kaleidico, a lead generation agency. Bill specializes in mortgage marketing, legal marketing, lead management, and sales automation.

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