Unlocking Automation with Infusionsoft – An Interview with Clint Hosman

Clint Hosman-Infusionsoft

Automation and Infusionsoft


Clint Hosman is part of Sixth Division; an unstoppable software collective intent on unlocking the power of InfusionSoft, transforming it into easy-to-use applications, and plugging in as many businesses as humanly possible. The aim? To simplify the lives of entrepreneurs all over the world so that they can live life on their own terms. Why? Because they want the same thing.

Below is an interview between Aalok Y Shukla, Co-host of DominateCon and Clint Hosman, on what PlusThis (a Sixth Division app) can do to make Infusionsoft “awesomer”. PlusThis is a confirmed partner of DominateCon 2015, the UK conference for small business owners who want to learn how to grow faster.

Aalok Y Shukla:       Thanks for joining today. The two key things I’d like to get your view on are the interactivity PlusThis provides, so, webinars, video tracking and the multi-step survey form. The second part is the automating processes in place to make sure that things actually happen. So going back to the webinars and forms, how does PlusThis work?

Clint Hosman:         When it comes to the using PlusThis inside of an InfusionSoft application to integrate with GoToWebinar campaigns, a real common practice is for people to either utilize webinars on the front end as a lead capture or a sales tool, or using live webinars on the back end as some sort of fulfillment mechanism, making it part of their fulfillment on a product or a service or so on. Without PlusThis-GoToWebinar integration, a contact can register for a GoToWebinar meeting, and receive all of the information pertinent to the webinar. However, when it comes to upgrading or updating the contact’s information inside InfusionSoft with vital pieces like did they attend or did they not attend, it just can’t do that without a manual process. You have to wait for GoToWebinar to produce the attendee list, you have to download the attendee list, go into the attendee and add the list to InfusionSoft, and vice versa for the no-shows.

Then once they’re all updated and the contacts are merged, I can run follow up on people who attended or people who no-showed. For a single person or a small team, even with a small team, it’s a labor-intensive process. What PlusThis will do for a client is integrate directly to InfusionSoft. Instead of having a GoToWebinar registration form what you can do is have your regular InfusionSoft form, look up a campaign and use that as your entry point. Number one, we’re automatically collecting our contacts into InfusionSoft, which is a huge thing. For any new contacts, let’s say we’re using it on the front end for marketing or a sales funnel, you’re going to get the contact directly into your system, no hassle.

PlusThis will then reach out and register the person for the webinar, and you can now run pre-webinar reminders, join links, all of that through your InfusionSoft app, so you have one central place where you know that all of your marketing comes from. Some people will still run GoToWebinar emails and registration stuff simultaneously or without InfusionSoft. It’s just up to them and how you want to set it up.

For me, the second crucial point, other than getting the contact immediately into InfusionSoft is that when you configure a webinar campaign with PlusThis and InfusionSoft, GoToWebinar will communicate with PlusThis and say, “here is the list of attendees and no-shows”. PlusThis will then dump that information directly back into InfusionSoft. If I’m using tag-based goals, once that tag is applied, attended or no-show, people are automatically updated in your InfusionSoft app and any of your follow up push to sale or push to re-registration, depending on what it is, fires automatically. With teams that I’ve worked with this can save anywhere from 2 to 3 hours a week, or even a day, depending on how many webinars you’re running, or just manual labor where there’s lots of room for error. Super-time saving, super-efficient.

Aalok:              There are so many times people want the content from the webinar, but for some reason they won’t go to the forum or they don’t have time to go to that webinar at the time it’s on, and that’s where your text reminders can help remind people about the webinar, isn’t it?

Clint:             That’s right.

Aalok:           For all entrepreneurs, what they’re trying to do is create the highest value business they can do by focusing on their most interested prospects and most interested customers. You really want to be able to talk as directly and as specifically to the people who show the most interest, consume the most content, and engage with you the most. With PlusThis you can filter out the noise so you can really give those people exactly what they’ve shown interest for, isn’t it?

Clint:             That’s right, so let’s take that thought just a little bit further. You mentioned text message. PlusThis has an SMS text option that’s available in the UK, so that you can be sending out text message reminders about webinars and all this sort of thing. It’s also integrable. It seems that in our modern world, text is definitely the way most people are going. They’re going to want to see reminders on their phone, and not necessarily have to go hunt for it in their inbox.

Aalok:         Perry Marshall talks about racking the shotgun, seeing who’s responding to the highest value problem they’ve got so that you can then speak to them directly. Is it similar?

Clint:           That’s right. Just to weave in an additional PlusThis product, let’s look at video tracking. Let’s say that I want to talk to people who are the most interested. How do I decide who is the most interested unless I’m going out and actively asking? Well, you can see who’s clicking on the links. You can see who’s registering for the webinar,  but with PlusThis you can also track the video attendance. Let’s say that I’m running a funnel that includes video and I want somebody to actually watch video. If you’re hosting the videos via YouTube, you can embed PlusThis tracking that will actually tell you how much of your content people are consuming.

Imagine it like this, if I’m using video as a type of lead capture and I say, “give me your name and email and in exchange I’ll give you this 15-minute tutorial on better, straighter teeth, since you’re in that industry”, and somebody gives you their name and email, and on the very next page they’re directed to a video. Let’s just make it really simple, let’s just make it a YouTube video that you’re hosting. It’s a private channel. You take that YouTube code, you run it through PlusThis, and you tell PlusThis to apply a tag that says, “call this person” and this tag is applied at 14 minutes of the video. If a contact makes it all the way to the end of a video, it’s going to apply this tag that you specified. Once you apply that tag, then it’s going to create a task for your front desk to call. Now, I’m being really proactive about who is the most interested.

A way to do that is to monitor it through the video tracking. Now, if you were to go out and do that through custom coding, again, you’re going to be paying a programmer to do that for you. Much more expensive than just having a third-party add on do that for you. If we weigh the costs in this as well, that’s one of the huge benefits to something like an automation piece through, not only InfusionSoft, but PlusThis, is that instead of paying an admin to come and transfer the lists and do this and do that, now you just have PlusThis automatically doing it for you. That’s a huge force multiplier for you.

Aalok:            Totally. Also, in this distraction-overload environment that we’re in where everybody’s got multiple Facebook, Google pages open, if they’re actually on your video and that tag has gone to call this person that text message could also go to say you’ve got a virtual message looking at that whose job is just to be on call in the evenings and she gets a text saying at 7 pm, “Okay, Tommy has watched this video, call him.” She could easily then call him because she’s just basically being paid per call and so she wants to do the job, and she can then call him and he’ll be like wow I was just watching your video. She doesn’t have to say she knows that, but it just makes things so much more engaging.

Clint:            Yeah, it becomes a nice coincidence at that point, but for the entrepreneur who’s a solo entrepreneur, or a very small team or husband and wife perhaps, we’re talking about just tremendously upping your ability to scale your process. The entrepreneur, when they’re looking to scale, they’re going to reach a breaking point where they say all right there’s only so many hours I have in a day, I can either automate whatever processes I can or hire a person to do it for me. In some instances you have to have somebody on the phone. Looking at third-party or an outsourced person to answer the phone is completely logical. There are also components where you can just completely eliminate the need for that third party through something like  GoToWebinar integration. That’s just one less task that has to be done manually on a day-to-day basis.

Aalok:          Also you can use the phone call, invest in the staff member to make the call, you can do it at highest value point of the flow, so rather that having blunt force, every single person would be called, you can be more sophisticated about it. They came to your webinar, they engaged with a certain amount of content from the webinar, they were then followed up with and then they clicked a link to be sent the information guide after the webinar for example. They were maybe then taken to a clever survey. In PlusThis you can actually do intelligent surveys, is that right? Needs discovery can essentially be automated through clever multi-step forms done through your normal InfusionSoft form. Again, no fancy coding. Then based on that, if they answer questions in the way that distinguishes your highest value avatars or highest value customers, they can then be directed or your staff member can be tasked, tagged, and texted to contact that person, right? So you’re just being efficient in your business resource and not calling people who have not demonstrated real interest at this point.

Clint:          That’s right. One of the common scenarios that I’ve run into is making the right offer to the wrong person, and a simple example of that would be, if I’m collecting on a web form, it’s an entry point for whatever it is that I’m doing. Let’s say that I’m a personal trainer, and I’m going to talk differently to a female client or prospect than I would to a male client or prospect. The conversation’s just fundamentally different. At entry point I can utilize PlusThis to do something like this where I say, “what is your name, what is your email, are you male or female”? Contact selects male. PlusThis then runs a feature called Smart Links, and it’s going to look at that contact and say who are they, male or female, and instead of just sending them to one generic form it’s going to send them to either a male or a female for the next step. Now, for those who select male they’re going to go to a form where there’s a video that says, “hey, great to see you here let’s talk about your goals for blah, blah, blah”, right? Now I’m completely delivering the right message to the right person, instead of just one generic message that I hope will hit. I can craft it a little bit better and I can craft it immediately. That would be a Smart Links feature inside of PlusThis as well.

Aalok:        Most people have a website, but the website is like a static entity and is not even taking inquiries. The next level is taking inquiries by offering a free guide or whatever, but, again, that’s taking you down a single pathway. It’s better than no interaction, but it’s still a blunt instrument. Now with PlusThis what you’re able to then do is actually have a dynamically responsive way of doing it because when you’re talking face-to-face conversation with somebody, you’re reading their facial language. You’re reading their expressions and based on how they’re reacting or not reacting, or picking up their phone and losing interest, you’re not going to keep talking at them are you? You’re going to switch subjects or ask them a question. By using the combination of the survey forms, the intelligent tracking of what they’ve consumed and then at the same time using your Smart Links to then only show them the things that they would then be interested in, you’re going to be so much more likely to maintain their interest and build a relationship because you’re just being relevant, right?

Clint:        That’s right. Most business owners find that they have the same conversations with people, and they’re just repeating it. This is where sales reps get into a rhythm just knowing what to say and when to say it. All I need to know is, like you pointed out, am I looking at that person and do I actually see them because if I can get an eye on them and I can see what they’re doing then I can better custom my message to them. Well, if we’re doing it remotely, and we’re trying to scale our business through a tool like InfusionSoft and PlusThis, the next level is to think about the conversations you have on a daily basis and who are they for.

I’m going to be really simplistic. I talk to women differently than I talk to men if I’m a personal trainer. Well, what would you say differently? Let’s put a question at the beginning so that I can leverage and find out who they are. It’s going to require the business owner to really think about their process, think about what it is that they say, and then decide if they can capture that information upfront, so they can adjust the conversation. Now, typically with Smart Links you can, and you’ve probably seen web forms where I’m on somebody’s website filling out for whatever and if I answer one question I go male or female, if I select male this whole other litmus of things pop up underneath that. When I was doing kickstarts at InfusionSoft people would say, “well I want my web form to do that”. I’d say, “yeah, I want your web form to do that, the problem is you’re going to have to go pay a coder to do that for you. Then if you change it later on, you’re going to have to pay that coder again”.

Aalok:          That’s not sustainable.

Clint:             It really isn’t, and especially for somebody in the start-up phase. I notice a lot of people will start making these preposterous lists of what they need,” I need a website, I need a copywriter, I need that”. Actually, just do what you do, but leverage tools to help you do it more effectively. The time may come that you do absolutely need a copywriter. That day hopefully will come for you. In the meantime, don’t waste your time wondering about it. Just do what you can for yourself right now.

Aalok:          I totally agree. As I say, by using these tools  you’re asking them questions, you’re engaging with them more. Google and Facebook both have relevancy scores, don’t they? They mark your advertising and you’re paying for advertising, and they still won’t show it unless you’re relevant. When you’re running your own marketing, your emails, your sequences, in which you’ve invested money, time and energy, you want to have your own relevancy score. You want to figure out how relevant the journey you’re sending your prospects on actually is, because you’ve asked the key questions.

Clint:           To describe one of the problems that users will run into, I equate the entrepreneur to a lion on the Savanna, wanting to eat a zebra. He goes out to hunt zebras and the zebra is the business. The zebra’s main defense mechanism is it gets in its herd and it runs. When they run together all of those stripes get confusing and a lion can’t pick out one thing to attack. It just dazzles the lion. Business owners often treat their businesses like a lion hunting a zebra. They’ll look at their business and they’ll see this giant pack of things that are interconnected, wonder how to approach everything at once and end up with paralysis via analysis. Narrowing down your criteria for the herd allows you to focus on an individual rather than the herd, and you can track it. Now the next question is what do I say to this lead, how do I even approach this zebra, right?

Firstly, InfusionSoft is going to tell you the right message, the right time,  the right person. You can do this with InfusionSoft, but to the beginner, my advice is always start with just one source of content. With PlusThis what you can do is we have the split test email feature, as well as split test landing page feature. You can just compare head to head different email headlines or titles, or completely different sequences, so it’ll split it up 50/50. One lead will come in and get one message and one will get another.

Then you can view, over a given period of time, which of your messaging is actually most successful. Now you can begin to format which track is best for you to spend your time on, so you get the right message at the right time to the right person. Those questions that we’ve asked before identify the right person. Now with split testing, I can start to refine the right message.

Aalok:          And if you’re not testing continually, you’re never going to uncover any breakthroughs. We were giving a seminar where we always thought the trigger point or the message was that they wanted to make more money and have a fast-growing business, but actually there’s one particular group we were with they actually just wanted more time. They didn’t care too much about making more money. They wanted the same, but just wanted more days off during the week. Essentially, the same methodologies can be used to achieve both, but they weren’t even going to listen to the methodology if they didn’t hear a reason to listen to it and the first message just wasn’t ringing with them. Unless you’re intrinsically testing the two ways of phrasing the same thing, you’re not going to find these things out.

Clint:          That hits on something that I run into a lot. Clients are turned off by the different strategies and conversations I suggest they have, and I have to remind them of the priority. What’s appealing to you is not necessarily a priority and appealing to your clients or your prospects. Asking questions at the beginning of an engagement is just a strategy that everyone should be doing. Then when somebody becomes a client, once they’ve given you money, ask additional follow-up questions. When somebody leaves, do the same. You’ve got to give this stuff time to collect, that’s going to give you the avatar of who your best clients are. You may find that these people that come in and say, “I just want more free time”, may convert faster, but they don’t stick around as long because they’re just not as committed. I may find that of the people who say they’re money motivated, only 5% convert, but those 5% ended up sticking. If we’re not asking questions at crucial junctions then we’re not really forming an avatar of who these people are. Asking those types of questions are vitally important.

Aalok:         And we’ve all got the same 24 hours. If, in the same 24 hours with the same automated process, we can get more data out, you’re then going to be ahead of the person who’s copying you because these days it’s so easy for competitors to just swipe your content. The thing is if you’ve got continuous split testing built in behind the scenes, you can always then stay that one step ahead.

Clint:         That’s right. You’re exactly correct in that there are untold number of people doing basically what you were doing today. So what becomes the differentiation? As we’ve already pointed out, your timeliness. The fact that you’re doing this, and that you have space as an entrepreneur to create experiences for your clients. We’re creating competitiveness around the experience that I create in doing business with you. Unless we free ourselves up through automation and tools, we never have the space. We get caught up in the minutia of running a business and all these things that we tell ourselves that we have to do. That gives you freedom, that space to create your own story and then tell people at the right time what’s going to differentiate you in the marketplace these days.

Aalok:        So, before, you were the only one delivering that process, that experience, and maybe you got somebody else into the office who then watched you do it, if you were there at the office you knew that all the steps were being done. But now, you can actually do is break down that process into phases and you can automate the delivery of it. Certain aspects may require tasks, but you can make sure that the tasks were done and you can point at almost automatic policing and checking. Can you talk through some examples of how that’s been done?

Clint:        Yeah, absolutely. Just to set it up, one of the most underutilized functions in InfusionSoft is task or process management. People focus on leads, leads, leads, but if I had a client coming to me and if they completely, 100% trusted me, and they said, “okay I have these aspects of my business, I need to get new leads, I need to talk to close them, and then I need to fulfill on what it is that I’ve sold them, what should I do first?” I’m going to tell them button up their delivery process because I can put more leads into a bad process and I’m only going to turn off more people faster.

I had a client in this morning and what he does is he works with his clients on a one-to-one basis to help them come up with their brand story. With this, somebody will buy, they’ll go through the typical sales promo, and then once they’ve come in he has three things that need to get done. First, the owner of the company needs to go through what he calls a Target Call, meaning it’s going to be about a two hour conversation where he and this person are going to sit down, either live if they’re local or over the phone if they’re not, and go through and plan out the process of what it is they need to accomplish. Next, this owner needs his assistant to reach out and schedule recurring dates over the next 60 days where he’ll talk to his clients and he’ll talk to his clients’ team. He also has 2 big workshops that have to get scheduled.

There’s a little bit of task. Because this is a really high-dollar item he doesn’t want to automate it too much. He wants to keep a real personal feel, but he knows that there are certain red lights that he needs to check. If somebody’s given him the process and not scheduled that first call he needs to know, or his assistant needs to know. They get on the phone and call these people, so goal number one for this process is, “you’ve given me money, you need to schedule”. You can begin to bucket out these processes and say here’s a list of everybody who’s bought who need to schedule. Directly underneath that here’s a list of people who have scheduled this call, but need to attend.

Now we begin to format. I’m buttoning up my process of delivery through process management. I’m making sure that people don’t fall through the cracks.

Now, the same thing applies to a sales team. InfusionSoft can be leveraged as a sales tool so that you’re making sure that your sales reps (if you’re a manager), or you if you’re a solo person, are following up with people. Maybe you have a complicated sales process. Automating that, communicating with people, and again I’ll go back to creating an experience, I often find that people who get disgruntled with a service or a company get disgruntled because they don’t know where they stand. I can automate the process of, “hey, I just got your wire frame up and running and here’s what it is”. You can just keep people in the loop on what’s going on at each stage in your process through automation. That way you’re answering their questions before they even get asked.

It would be something that I would put on as soon as you log in to InfusionSoft, so you’re going to see a pipeline of where everybody’s at in your process, whether it’s a sales process or a fulfillment process. For example, there are five in stage three, five in stage four, and then at stage six, there’s 30 people. So what’s the hold up at stage four? That allows me literally at a glance to identify the bottleneck. We can establish whether you need more staff here, or maybe you even find that you get complaints, like people are just sending you emails asking what’s going on with this between stage one and two. We’ll build in some extra automation there that keeps people in the loop, that sets the expectation that, again, creates the experience of doing business with you.

Aalok:          And you can easily do that, as you said, by realizing you’ve now entered stage three. Stage three means that we’re doing this, this, and this, and you could also then put in a wow experience if you wanted to, if you knew that based on them entering stage three they’re going to be coming to the end of their website in say the next 30 days, you could then automate some fancy business cards with their website details or a postcard as an extra personal touch. That could be automated as a simple task, which a virtual assistant could do and it just gives you that really high-touch feel. You could do that just as easily to 500 customers as you could do it to two because you don’t have to worry about someone forgetting anything.

Clint:          That’s right. You can integrate outsourcing. Let’s say that you identified with a card or a book at some particular stage of doing business. Get an outsourced fulfillment house to do those things for you. Much cheaper than having a full-time assistant fill out thank you cards and send them. Again, you’ve created a little bit more space for yourself.

Aalok:        And you’ve provided a scalable structure because they’re incentivized on the number of things that they’ve done for you versus just looking for passing the time.

Clint:          Totally. If I have an office admin, I want to make their tasks so clear for them that they know what they should be doing on a day-to-day, hour-to-hour basis. So let’s say that my secretary needs to be alerted when somebody has been in stage one for more than three weeks. That’s a red flag to me. Then I can pop that up on my secretary’s desk and say, “hey this person has been here for three weeks, they need a call”. Now my secretary knows what they should be doing, and they have the context around what they should be doing: a stage three reminder call at three weeks. No ambiguity there.

Aalok:        In the email could you even have a standard operating procedure, a PDF or an explanation of the key things to having that call if you really wanted to?

Clint:          Totally. You can script out a whole conversation and have it just there. You can will utilize what are called internal forms inside InfusionSoft so that when the time comes to have that call, all the rep needs to do is open the form. They’re already looking at the contact, and then I have this scripted out conversation right there above the call options. Were they a no answer, did I speak to them, did I leave a voicemail, and I can plan scenarios for each, but if I get a hold of them the script is right there for them as to what to say and how to say it.

Aalok:        Basically what you’ve got with PlusThis is a structure that allows you to replace a development team. You can also replace multiple employees, or rather than replace, you can assign your employees to the highest value items and you can build a structure, which could be running 24 hours a day, also supporting the tasks of your employees to help remind them about anything they may have forgotten and/or to support them for the standardized tasks for the way that they can actually complete those tasks.

Clint:        That’s right. Again, the whole idea here is not necessarily ways to get more things automated. The goal here is to create space for the entrepreneur, to exercise their native genius. Unless you are a web guy, you’re not a web guy so don’t waste your time trying to learn web design. Get the tools in place, use the templates, and just get it up and running. You may or not be a copywriter. You may or may not be any number of things, but use the tools and the resources to leverage your time to create the space for you to do best, and that’s really one of the most powerful things about automation.

Aalok:        Completely. Thank you very much Clint. I can see that the main points are that with PlusThis, you can enable the interaction, the complete targeting and personalization of the experience and journey based on your prospects’ answers. You’ve got the ability to use the webinars to get more enquiries in the beginning, and also to deliver on them if you’re using webinars for fulfillment at the end in a very scalable way. Yhen you’ve got a way to have all the follow up processes within the sequence, completely customized based on their answers to different questions. If your team has to then do something you can then have a system and you can sleep very peacefully because you know that all the steps in the process are there. Nobody can ever fall through one of the stages and the system will remind the person who’s responsible for that stage if something’s not being done and alert you.

PlusThis are Partners of this year’s DominateCon. You can learn more about automation, outsourcing, teams and gaining control over your time at DominateCon, but we recommend booking your tickets today to guarantee a seat!

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Lucie & Aalok

Lucie & Aalok are husband and wife and co-founders of Click Convert Sell. When they first started to use Infusionsoft in their private dental practice in London (their marketing lab), back in 2012, they saw a constant growth in the following years. After lots of testing they refined and created a scalable and reusable system, a unique framework they now teach and plug in other businesses. They are all about delivering a premium experience and quality service through integrated solutions and the leverage of automation & outsourcing. Continue reading

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