New technology enhances customer relationships

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:32 pm

The sales teams for many small and mid-sized companies must rely on exceptional customer service to add value and distinguish themselves from larger competitors.
Vistelar, a Mequon-based consulting company founded in 2003, focuses its efforts on those smaller companies to help them build relationships with customers through technologies that are time-efficient and cost-effective.
"We are changing the mindset of sales and marketing from branding and image to helping people correspond," said Allen Oelschlaeger, a partner in the company. "Sales and marketing departments need to be focused on improving customer interaction. Real people talking and corresponding with customers."
The most important part of sales and marketing is the relationship between the representative and the client, Oelschlaeger said.
Strategies are often lost on a smaller company because, according to Oelschlaeger, most seminars, classes and publications that address sales and marketing target larger companies.
"Most companies, when looking for outsourced help with sales and marketing, generally go to sources that are focused on larger corporations," Oelschlaeger said. "We understand the whole point that 99 percent of companies are small and medium-sized and realize that communication is the critical factor for driving smaller company sales. Within that, we are technologists and understand how to provide a company with a story, a customer interaction management map and how to implement a solution."
The partnership group at Vistelar is comprised of four entrepreneurs who were once in the sales and marketing divisions of large corporations, and all of them have technology backgrounds.
Oelschlaeger, along with Greg Smith, Scott Kroeger and Brian Dziwulski, created Vistelar to improve and manage customer interaction within smaller companies through their 15 software options.
"There is not a company in this country that does not have something unique that separates themselves from the competition," Oelschlaeger said. "Some of our customers understand why they are unique but are not doing a good job communicating that to the marketplace."
According to Oelschlaeger, sales and marketing is moving in a direction away from personal relationships and consistent contact.
"There are things we know we should do but don’t," Oelschlaeger said. "Thank you notes, for instance, are time-consuming and difficult for some representatives."
The consulting company has centered its consulting ideas on the implementation of different technologies that save time and can eventually increase a company’s revenue.
Vistelar has had particular success with its automated correspondence system (ACS).
A company that uses the program creates its own templates for letters that are commonly sent out by sales representatives after a knowledge call, follow-up call, sale or anniversary.
According to Oelschlaeger, representatives then send an e-mail to Vistelar, listing the contact information for the recipient and appropriate template.
Vistelar merges the contact information into the appropriate fields, adds a digital rendering of the representative’s signature at the bottom of the letter, places it in an envelope and sends it out the same day.
When synchronized with an applications service provider (ASP), representatives can highlight contacts and send multiple letters at a time.
"ACS is a simple example of taking a straightforward, common process representatives should already be doing for their customers and automating it," Oelschlaeger said. "The program does not eliminate the need to write specific proposal letters, but normally 80 percent of correspondence is generic, so why not send a well-written letter with a signature?"
Vistelar charges $2 per letter that is sent out and has retainer relationships with its clients that are project-based and charge hourly rates, according to Oelschlaeger.
Sales Automation Support, Inc., a New Berlin-based company specializing in integrated marketing systems, developed ACS, also called Mobile Marketer, two years ago.
Michelle Keshel invented the program and is the chief executive officer and founder of Sales Automation Support.
"People who are well-written are taken much more seriously," Keshel said. "The system provides a turnkey way to have everyone well-written and managing a process of communication with as many people as possible."
Vistelar also can send out direct mail for companies. Vistelar creates different types of direct mail pieces targeting multiple segments of the marketplace with different slogans, in real time on the Web.
Because of the software offered at Vistelar, every piece of mail that goes out can be customized to the recipient, Oelschlaeger said.
"The world has become too complicated," Oelschlaeger said. "At Vistelar, we say, ‘Come to us, and we will deal with the technology, you deal with sales.’ Companies no longer have to spend six months training representatives about software just to get going."
To further build its customer base, Vistelar has published a report titled, "The Dirty Dozen: 12 Reasons Why Your Sales and Marketing are Failing." The 16-page booklet is available both on the company’s Web site ( and in print form.
"This is not going to stop. Sales and marketing are going to become more technologically advanced, and we will be at the forefront," Oelschlaeger said.
September 17, 2004, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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