If you’ve ever worked in the business world, even briefly, you’ve no doubt heard the term “lead generation” over and over again. People love the concept, but few have mastered the art of converting leads into sales. CallAction founder Jessie Beaudoin has not only excelled at the lead generation game, but is also an expert on how to use technology to follow up on those leads.
CallAction is much loved by businesspeople in all sectors, from real estate agents to e-commerce entrepreneurs and beyond. Jessie sat down with me to explain exactly what his company does and how he grew CallAction to be an invaluable asset to so many.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with me, Jessie. I’d like to start out by learning your story as an entrepreneur. Do you mind sharing how you got to where you are today?
Sure. It pretty much started when I was 15 and working my first job as a telemarketer for a mortgage company. I kept with that job until I was about 17 or so. And by that point, I already knew I wanted to go into real estate. As soon as I turned 18, I got my real estate license and was a mortgage lender for the next 20 something years, until 2002.
I always had a little penchant for automation stuff. My parents were both self employed, my Dad was a mechanic. So we had this amazing life – but when he closed the garage, the money stopped coming in. So my interest in technology evolved really early on from that; I wanted to figure out how I could keep working when I wasn’t working. So long story short, I got into database marketing, I did WinFax, I was in all the cutting edge technology as it was coming around. I figured out how to use it to do whatever I needed to do to generate inbound business to me, because being a young salesperson, it’s hard to chase after people. It’s a lot easier if they’re calling you.
So the real pivotal moment into technology was in 1997, when I started buying domain names. I taught myself how to build websites, learned about SEO really early on in the blogging space, did all the REBarCamps. So I built up these websites, got really good at lead generation…
Let’s dive a little bit deeper into your experience with lead generation.
Of course. I spent about 15 years selling mortgage leads to Lending Tree and Quicken Loans, some of the biggest lead buyers in the country. And that’s actually how I got out of doing mortgages, because I was able to sell so many leads. That let me be a lifestyle entrepreneur. I had a couple children, we moved down to Argentina and lived there for a year, did an immersion plan for them.
Then five years ago I started CallAction, based on a problem that I knew was big – this lead follow-up thing.
So how does CallAction solve that problem?
Well, the problem we’re trying to solve when we look at the sales process is that the core bottleneck is time. And the reason why is because an average inquiry that you generate – whether it’s an online lead or anything like that – is going to take somewhere between eight and 10 attempts to get a hold of that person. And the majority of the time that is unilateral in outcome – meaning you call and there’s no answer, over and over again.
So I looked at this and decided the lead business was not the problem, because you can just buy leads and generate leads. The problem is, I can’t follow up with leads enough and still have enough free time to actually work with real customers. So what CallAction does is automate all of the outbound outreach, so that we can create inbound conversations directly to the salesperson. So that’s the fundamental problem that we’re solving. We do that by leveraging automation that sends outbound text messages, makes outbound ringless voicemail calls, can send emails…
So when a real estate agent has a TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) compliant lead that they’ve generated through a website where someone says “Yes, I want to talk to you,” then we can apply this automation. What happens is when the customer is ready, they’re the ones that are going to respond. And this is a big difference in the sales process because if I call someone, I’m probably interrupting them they’re not in the moment; they’re not focused on the sale, because maybe they’re trying to make dinner or do something else. So they might be nice and listen to me, but they’re not paying attention.
But when someone calls in response to the agent, their intent is much higher because they’ve actually set off the mental bandwidth to say “I’m going to take care of this now.” So that’s what we do as a company, is automate the lead follow-up process.
That sounds like a great way to free up time for real estate agents! What are some other problems that CallAction tackles?
The second big gap for salespeople is that they’re using CRMs, and a lot of the studies show that about 30% of an average businessperson’s time is spent doing data entry into CRMs. So that’s a lot of wasted effort if there’s not really an outcome. We need good data in the CRM because if we don’t put it in the CRM, there’s no value in the CRM, and no leads to follow up with. So the other thing we do is we have numerous APIs (application programming interfaces) that automate all of the data entry into CRMs from inbound phone calls, inbound text messages, and inbound emails. We can create all of the leads into the CRM automatically, so we save time on data entry, we save time on the lead follow-up. So what that does is create free time so they can handle more inbound conversations – and in turn, have more sales.
I’m starting to understand why all the agents I talk to have such great things to say about CallAction! What else can it do?
Well that’s the core of our automation product. The second core product we have is that we do what is called “Text for Info.” Nearly 50-55% of all internet traffic now is on a mobile device and most customers don’t like to fill out a form on their phone. Like if you’re asking for First Name, Last Name, Phone Number, Email, Where Do You Live, that’s pretty painful. So we have a solution with “Text for Info.”
It’s a code that you can create, and someone can send a text message to that code and receive a response automatically. So it’s like a virtual landing page to generate leads. So you may have seen this, occasionally, like throughout the whole political campaign. Both parties were basically telling people to text a code to receive information. And that’s because it’s the path of least resistance since this is now the primary access point to the internet, to communicate, to everything. And texting is the most natural, frictionless way to communicate with people.
And then with that same technology – and this is where we get super nerdy – you have platforms on social media like Instagram and now Clubhouse which is really exploding really quickly. It’s a voice-based kind of social media. And in these bios on all of these platforms, you can only have one link. So it makes it really difficult to share information or capture leads from social media profiles, including your Clubhouse bio or anything else. So you’re using these Text for Info numbers in those social profiles, because you can’t put a link. But if you put a really easy to remember phone number then you can generate leads from that. We’re using a CallAction number as a contact phone number in those bios or social media bios, and then Text for Info is the lead generation for that kind of stuff. So that’s probably the most nerdy, more cutting edge stuff that we’re doing.
Aside from that, we do some call routing work on real estate yard signs, this is the other kind of bigger touchpoint. On any kind of advertising where there’s a phone number, we put a CallAction number to capture those inbound phone calls and then we do that data entry into those CRMs.
CallAction is great for real estate agents, but not just real estate agents. Who else uses it?
We focus a lot on the largest real estate teams in the country, a lot of the top teams on the REAL Trends 1000. We’re also working with Robert Slack, the #1 real estate team in the country. We work with the #1 RE/MAX agent in the country, Gary Ashton. We also work with Veronica Figueroa, a top agent in Orlando, and top San Diego agent Kyle Whissel. A lot of the top Zillow teams are using us.
But we really transcend all sales and marketing industries – so any industry that’s doing online lead generation or advertising and has salespeople that need to follow up on those leads. We’re not a real estate company, we’re a sales and marketing platform. We’ve worked with all kinds of businesses, from solar companies to insurance and mortgage companies, attorneys, home services, and more.
We also do some e-commerce, which is kind of interesting, like when people place their orders or when there’s an abandoned cart, we take those and we actually follow up directly as if it’s the company saying “Hey, we saw you added something to your cart.” And instead of just having an email, if it’s a high dollar ticket item, we actually send a text message and try to get someone from the company with them on the phone to encourage them to complete their purchase. So that’s pretty interesting.
A technical term that you might sometimes hear is that we’re a sales enablement platform. But our core motto is “Conversations Create Closings.” And we do that by having authentic automation that creates those conversations.
CallAction saves hours per day by taking control of outbound leads and follow-ups. And it gets response rates in the 50-60% range.
Let’s switch gears a little bit now. I’m curious what you think of HighNote, as an entrepreneur who knows a lot about the real estate world.
There’s power in the ability to send out the presentation in a super nice way. You’re trying to make an impression and HighNote gives the customer the chance to say “Wow, that’s a really nice thing.” It makes the agent look exceptionally professional, and that professionalism builds trust with the other person they’re trying to do business with. And it’s that trust that helps the deals come together.
But for me, it’s the analytics. The analytics of knowing who opened it and what they’re dwelling on, what they’re struggling with. The value is that ability to be able to follow up accordingly on that, through those insights.
Thanks, Jessie! It’s been great hearing all about CallAction and how it helps real estate agents and other professionals save time so they can focus on the other aspects of growing their business.
If you’re interested in learning more about CallAction and all the great things it can offer your business, you can sign up for a free 14-day trial.
…And if you’re a real estate agent looking to take your business to the next level, click here to get started with HighNote.
Lastly – if you want to get in touch with Jessie, you can find him on Clubhouse!