Finely tuned – Sales Automation

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:22 pm

Keshel’s tenacity drives Sales Automation Support success

Tenacity has driven Keshel to create a business that may be on its way to revolutionizing sales automation technology. And that unwavering focus on her business has kept Keshel from practicing guitar, and caused her to quit lessons after she fell behind her mostly-adolescent classmates.
Keshel hopes she might find time for the guitar one of these days, but for now she’s happy to devote her time to her Milwaukee-based business Sales Automation Support, and the company’s main product, Mobile Marketer.
Mobile Marketer allows companies to automate their entire sales systems. Prospects, campaigns and correspondence are set up in a database that is accessible via the Internet or a mobile phone by all sales representatives in a company. Sales Automation Support acts as a command central and clearinghouse for all sales-related activity.
The best way to understand how Mobile Marketer works is through an example. Say Company X sets up a Mobile Marketer account. Sales Automation Support creates a database of prospects, campaigns and various types of correspondence, from introductory letters to thank-you notes to follow-up letters. When a sales representative of Company X wants to send a letter to a prospect, he or she simply accesses Mobile Marketer via a mobile phone or the Internet and makes the request. A Sales Automation Support staff member then takes the appropriate template letter created in-house with the guidance of Company X, personalizes it to the particular prospect, and mails it. All the sales representative had to do was make a call or a couple clicks online.
"The key is personalization," said Keshel, who was the business systems manager for Cheney Systems from 1993 until 1999 when she left to take on her own business full-time. "When correspondence is highly personalized, it comes across as very professional."
Thus, instead of direct mail, prospects receive personalized letters that can feature a photo of the sales rep and that include a reproduced signature of the sales rep – but the reproduction looks like actual ink.
"The prospect would not know the sales rep didn’t physically sign the correspondence," Keshel said. "We can add flair and panache as the customer wants it."
Correspondence is sent to prospects the same day if ordered before 5 p.m. on a business day. Each week a report is e-mailed to each sales rep detailing what correspondence was sent to each prospect, what to send next and when to make a follow-up call.
Mobile Marketer "gives a business the capability to script and control what is said to everybody," Keshel said. "It can be a training tool, and the reps can manage the tool themselves."
Clients can work with Sales Automation Support remotely to help write letters and plan and design campaigns. Every client gets a campaign guide showing what content Sales Automation Support has online for them as well as sample letters and campaigns. Campaigns are designed and readily available so they can be accessed and sent as soon as a rep thinks it necessary.
"It allows reps to react quickly to changes in the market," Keshel said.
Mobile Marketer works even when a sales rep is not in the office. The rep decides when materials should be sent to prospects, sends an alert via phone or Internet to Sales Automation Support, and Mobile Marketer does it, even when the rep is on vacation.
The Mobile Marketer software is free, and there is no monthly fee to use it. A company only pays for what correspondence it uses, Keshel said.
Company revenues over last three months have grown about 200% each month, Keshel said. Sales Automation Support has a national client base, including companies in financial, technical and health care services fields, Keshel said. The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce features a program in which MMAC members get a discount on Mobile Marketer. Nextel and Motorola are examples of major distributors.
"Motorola has a program for wireless technology developers," Keshel said. "They were interested in Mobile Marketer right away."
It would seem as though Sales Automation Support requires a vast employee base to operate. But the company is carried by six full-time employees, including Keshel, the founder and CEO; Tim Pederson, vice president "of everything"; and William Onarheim, the company’s lead programer and the man responsible for all the coding. Mobile Marketer and all other Sales Automation Support’s products are designed in-house.
Keshel and Pederson not only are business partners, but also best friends. And while working long hours a few feet away from each other often seven days a week can strain a friendship, Keshel and Pederson have a support system that shows when they finish each other’s thoughts and answer questions for one another the way only close friends can.
When asked, Keshel will state that her business philosophy is tenacity, persistence, passion and action are required for an entrepreneur to be successful. But Pederson will call Keshel’s bluff and word her thoughts in a different way: "to dominate the world."
Both are pilots – Keshel flew helicopters for the Army, and Pederson flies private planes. But Keshel demands that the two don’t fly together.
"In the event that the plane would go down, there’s too much invested in the two of us," she said.
Keshel rolls her business philosophy into advice she would give to entrepreneurs.
"Be persistent. Passion is key," Keshel said. "Also, don’t spend too much money up front. Only buy what you need. Expect sales to only be one-third of what you project and take twice as long as you expect."
And then there’s the sales pitch: "Use Mobile Marketer," she said.
A successful business also requires the right partners, Pederson said.
"You need the right people on board who share your vision," he said.
In terms of being a business owner in Wisconsin, Pederson believes the prospects are good and would be better if the state’s tax situation were modified.
"As the third highest taxed state in the nation, we are running the risk of losing some of our largest employers, which would significantly affect the entire business climate and the economy as a whole," he said. "Wisconsin doesn’t attract Fortune 500 companies, and it won’t until the tax structure changes.
"But employers tend to be more stable here. There is less movement among workers here than in larger cities. There is a brain drain, but most people who are in Wisconsin are from Wisconsin and love Wisconsin."
Keshel and Pederson are confident in the potential of Mobile Marketer and of wireless technology in general. They predict wireless phones will replace computers on desks in business. More immediately, they expect all business mobile devices to be capable of using Mobile Marketer or similar wireless technology within the next 18 months.
"Microsoft’s vision was a computer on every desktop. Ours is a Mobile Marketer application on every business mobile device," Pederson said.
Perhaps once that vision is realized, Keshel can pick up the guitar again. At this point all she can play are first four notes of Blue Oyster Cult’s "Don’t Fear the Reaper," one of her favorite songs. But if Mobile Marketer makes Keshel the next Bill Gates, she just might find the time to turn some of her tenacity to music and learn to play the whole song.

For more information about Sales Automation Support and Mobile Marketer, visit www.SalesCampaigns.com or www.SalesSupportCenter.com.

Oct. 25, 2002 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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