secrets to scale

Secrets To Scale Podcast
007 - How Using Automations Can Help You Scale Your Business

007 – How Using Automations Can Help You Scale Your Business

Secrets To Scale is a marketing and entrepreneurship podcast that revolves around hearing the stories of successful entrepreneurs and uncovering their secrets to scaling their businesses. Music for every episode of this podcast was written and produced by Treycen Clausse.

Listen To This Episode:

CONNECT WITH JAMES:

Before we get started, if you would like to try out Content Snare for free, click here to start a free trial.

Tanner:

This week on the show, I have James Rose from Content Snare out of Australia. James and I talk all about automations and how automating certain tasks within your business can help you scale. James is an awesome guy. This interview was tons of fun. I hope you guys enjoy.

Welcome to the show, James. I’m super excited to have you go ahead and introduce yourself to the audience.

James:

Hey Tanner. Yeah, man, it is really good to be here. I love doing interviews like this. I guess it depends who I’m talking to what I say I do, but the two main things are; I have a productivity and automation blog at jimmyrose.me. That’s more of a side gig just for fun, because I like helping people work less. But our main business, I would say, is a software product called Content Snare that is used by all kinds of service businesses to collect information from clients. So kind of like onboarding staff or, you know, accountants might use it for end of year tax, web designers use it for collecting website content, it’s kind of all over the place. Just whenever you need to collect information from someone and don’t want to do it by email. That’s what Content Snare helps with.

At some point we realized that there were all these inefficiencies in web design that we wanted to help out with.

Tanner:

How’d you get started in Content Snare?

James:

So, it was actually a bit of a, I guess, just random thing. We used to build websites for clients, but we’ve always wanted to stay in the software game. We love software. It’s our favorite. It’s always been our favorite business model since we started our business in 2010. And then we somehow ended up building websites. It kind of just happens by accident. And then at some point we realized that, you know, there were all these inefficiencies in web design that we wanted to help out with. And we interviewed a bunch of web designers to find out what their biggest roadblocks were and content collection was one of them. So that was where we went, “Oh, we can build a software product to help with that.” And then it’s kind of morphed from there as, as different people find it, we sort of have to adjust it for different industries.

Tanner:

You know as a user of Content Snare, I have to say that you’ve done a really good job at pinpointing those pain points, taking care of those, and helping people gather content easier.

James:

Thanks, man. It’s funny though. Like I can’t really claim any credit for that, because the biggest thing in software is just like listening to people and what they want and listening to what they’re trying to do with it. Inferring new features based on that information, it’s really just listening to people. So it’s not that it’s not rocket science, you know?

Tanner:

Yeah. But I mean, I feel like a lot of software companies kind of missed the boat on that, where they kind of just build what they want and they don’t really care about what the customers are saying.

James:

That’s true. Yeah. That is pretty common.

It’s mostly just about attacking it at every angle that you can think of and seeing what sticks.

Tanner:

So, you know, as, as entrepreneurs, we have to have this never give up mentality. What are some obstacles that you’ve faced while growing Content Snare and how did you go about facing those obstacles and overtaking them?

James:

Yeah. So I feel like, I don’t know whether we haven’t had any major obstacles or I just don’t view them as obstacles because I said this to someone before I’m like, “I don’t think we have any obstacles.” And then they’re like, “Oh no, you do. All those things are obstacles, you just don’t view them that way.” So I don’t know, the thing is I’m never going to give up, like you said we got that never give up mentality. The reason I can’t give up is because it’s almost like the matrix red pill, you know, once you’ve left a real work, like a job, you’ve seen what it’s like to run a business, there’s no way I can go back to work. It’s just not an option. I guess it’s always been there in the back pocket to go, if everything just collapses, then I can go back to work.

I’m never going to be fully in trouble, which is privilege right there. But yeah, I don’t know, man. The biggest obstacle I say we have is just growth. You know, it’s hard to grow a business, but it’s not like running into a roadblock and being like, what do we do now? It’s kind of like, well, it’s working a little bit, how can we make this work better? It’s just constant optimization and constantly trying new things. I wouldn’t say there’s been any major obstacles.

Tanner:

Yeah. I mean, it’s all about going to the drawing board and thinking, okay, what can we do to improve our product or service, depending on what your business is.

James:

Yeah. It’s definitely not easy. I dunno, you’re always just trying to find new ways or, if you’re like, “Oh, we haven’t grown much in the last two months”, I guess that’s an obstacle. And then going, “What are we going to do to fix that? What can we do?” You know, it’s definitely not easy. There’s a lot of meetings about like, how are we going to improve our product? It’s the same thing with any service, trying and improving your service, trying to incentivize referrals, whatever it is, like just coming up with ways to get more business, that’s all really comes down to.

Tanner:

Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s mostly just about attacking it at every angle that you can think of and seeing what sticks, right?

James:

Yeah. And finding what sticks and doubling down on that. That’s the common advice, you know, if you’ve got something that works focus on that. I guess that’s been the biggest problem for us is nothing has really worked to the point where it’s made sense to double down on. Everything’s worked a little bit, which is exactly what you don’t want, but normally there’s like a channel or two where it’s really obvious and you just go, Oh! You know, if you get SEO working for you and then it makes sense to go, all right, well, we’re going to write more content. We’re going to invest more into SEO. You know, paid ads are working, you double down on paid ads, but for all of our channels, everything’s been kind of halfway there.

There’s so much luck involved in getting where you need to be. And if you do the right things, you just have a higher chance of catching said luck.

Tanner:

So I know this is a super loaded question, but what would you attribute your success to? And this question really applies to your parent business, your side business, and Content Snare.

James:

I’m not sure who tells you I was successful, but uh, I guess success is kind of relative, right? It’s funny because I definitely don’t feel successful and I’m not sure if that’s something that will ever change. You know, I guess a lot of people are like that, it’s almost the curse of entrepreneurs to just want to always be better and to somewhat compare yourself with others. I have so many friends running SAS products that are much, much bigger than ours and I used to look at them and go: that’s where I want to be. I’m sure when I get there, I’ll go: Oh, now I want to be the next thing. But everything that has gone well for us, I pretty much just attribute to being here a long time. We’ve been in business since 2010. A lot of people make bigger businesses in a lot less time. All I can say is, 10 years is a long time.

I really like the concept of luck surface area. I heard this discussed somewhere. I don’t know who it was, but the idea being that, the more relationships you build, the more things you do, the knowledge you acquire, you’re increasing your surface area that would catch luck, because business is so much luck. There’s so much luck involved in getting where you need to be. And if you do the right things, you just have a higher chance of catching said luck.

Tanner:

Yeah. I couldn’t agree with you more. And I really love that. I’ve never heard that before.

James:

Yeah, I liked it too. That’s why I got my paws into it. And I love talking about that now because that’s exactly, to me, how it works. Sometimes you’ll catch that luck in the first six months, sometimes it will after a decade, you know.

Tanner:

Yeah. But I completely agree with it, like networking, just talking to as many people as you can. Just creating awareness for what you’re doing and you know. If you look at it like that, and you’re just trying to create opportunity after opportunity, then, like you said, you’re likelihood of getting lucky is a lot higher.

James:

There’s obviously smarter things you can do. You know, I don’t know what those are necessarily, but like actually sitting down and because every business is different, right? You can’t just blindly do things to increase your luck surface area, you know? I mean, when you’re acquiring more knowledge or like sitting down and thinking about your business, not just working in it, like actually having like strategic sessions and trying to identify in a clever way what the smartest way forward is. Whether that’s creating, back on the marketing channels thing, you might create a spreadsheet of all the different channels and looking at potential impact like ease of implementation or sort of thing, and ranking which channel you’re going to after, rather than just picking things willy nilly. So I guess that’s just an example of like, you can be smarter with this, but it is still all just increasing luck surfaces.

Tanner:

Yeah. And it kind of sounds like those thoughts that you get while you’re in the shower and you’re thinking about how you can improve your business you’re like, “I just got a great idea.”

James:

Oh man. The shower’s one of the best places for thinking, that and walking. You know, I just reminded myself that I have to do more walking again because I stopped. But I used to go every day and the trick is not listening to podcasts. I used to listen to audio books or podcasts and really enjoy it. But when your mind is occupied like that, you don’t tackle problems, you know? But if, if you just go for a walk and it’s silent with your thoughts, then you often come up with some really good ideas.

Tanner:

Yeah. I completely agree with you.

Automation is a habit that you need to build.

Tanner:

I’d like to take a little bit of time and talk about automation tools. That’s the reason I brought you on the show. And I know it’s something that you’re really passionate about. I am as well. How do you use automation tools to make your business more efficient?

James:

It’s really just a matter of automating anything repetitive. So I guess for people listening that don’t know what automation is, it at a basic level it can just be: when this happens, do this. So Zapier is an automation tool that I use pretty extensively. And you might say a simple example that anyone can understand. If I have a business, it’s like when someone submits a contact form on my website, add them to my CRM. That’s a simple thing. There are still businesses that when they get that contact form, they copy out the details from the email that they get and put it in the CRM for follow-up. That is a perfect example of something that’s repetitive and something that a human should not be doing. Because not only is it a waste of time, but there’s a chance for human error when you’re manually entering details and you might be putting that same person into multiple places. Once they become a client that person’s got to go into your project management, your accounting system, all that sort of stuff, and that can be automated as well.

Those are really simple examples, but automation is quite wide reaching. You know, I automate a lot of my podcasts, for example, when someone books in to come on my show, it creates a document in my Google drive with like a run sheet basically of everything I have to do and the guest’s information and the points we’re going to cover. It just creates that document for me and links it up, ready to go, right before the episode. So, I can just jump on and do my podcasts. You can get quite creative with automation. I guess, does that answer your question?

Tanner:

Oh yeah, definitely. And you know, it blows my mind that companies out there are still manually inputting data when something like Zapier is on the market. If you’re just doing a few automated tasks here and there, it’s going to cost you, like 20 bucks a month. Can you imagine how much labor costs you’d save by moving over to it?

James:

It’s huge. I’m talking to a company right now that they sell like pre-used clothing or whatever. Pre-Used, just used. Pre-Loved, I think they call it. But they were using spreadsheets for everything. Like, they track every sale they make, because they mostly sell through social media, like Instagram itself. So people will DM them and be like, “Hey, are you going to buy that thing that you put on your posts?” And then they track it all in a spreadsheet. They’re literally marking down things as sold and then like cutting that row and putting it in another sheet to tally up how much they need to pay the people that gave them the clothes. And it’s just crazy. That’s a perfect example where there’s so much opportunity for automation. You know, and that is a common one with businesses, is still using spreadsheets to do things that are just super manual.

Tanner:

Oh yeah. I know I’ve seen it firsthand and you know, the biggest thing with companies like that is that they’re so stuck in their old ways. That they’re just too stubborn to move to a more advanced way of doing it.

James:

Yeah. It’s sometimes it’s a time thing too, or not knowing that it’s possible. A lot of people just don’t actually understand what’s possible in the world of automation tools like Air Table, which is a great replacement for spreadsheets and allows you to do some very cool things. Zapier obviously, to connect different things together. A lot of times people just don’t know that that stuff’s possible and their mind is absolutely blown the first time they see it in action. I had a call with that client that I was talking about and just when I was describing what was possible, they were kind of just like, hands in the air, like, “Oh my God, this is going to be like game-changing for our business.” And it’s just like, this is Tuesday for me. I think it’s a knowledge gap. You know, people don’t, if you’re not in this tech space like we are, you don’t see it every day.

Tanner:

Yeah. I completely agree. And I have a really hard time wrapping my head around them because you know, I’ll be sitting there working on something and I’m just in the back of my mind all the time like, how could I not do this? Or there has to be something out there can make this part easier. And that’s just the way my brain works. And I understand that everyone doesn’t think that way, but I don’t know.

James:

You can change that. I’ve read a post just this morning actually, on the Zapier blog about automation being habit. Because it’s a question that I get all the time. It’s just like, how do you know what’s possible or whatever. And it really is, like you just said, it’s a mindset of trying a couple of things. If you’ve never done this before you jump in and create an automation of your contact form to your CRM and you’re like, Oh, okay. And then maybe you start thinking about other things. And so every time you do a task, you start asking yourself, can I automate this? You get in there and you play around and maybe you can, maybe you can’t. Maybe you can automate parts of it and it eventually, it just becomes a habit. So every time you’re doing stuff like in your business, you go, “Oh, maybe we can automate this.” It’s building a habit of that kind of thought pattern.

Tanner:

Yeah. That’s, that’s true. You’re right. I’m always in that habit because I’ve already messed around with Zapier here in the past, so I know what’s possible or what might be possible. So that’s a good point.

Can you walk us through what your process is of coming up with new tasks to automate? Is it kind of just what I already said where you’re just doing something and you’re thinking to yourself, can I automate this?

James:

Yeah. So funnily enough, I’ve had, I guess categories that I normally put like automation stuff in. I’m trying to pull it up on next to me now so I don’t miss one of them, but it’s funny. Because now after reading that post this morning, I was like, I’ve been trying to put this succinctly in a nice way for like the last two years. And then this guy is just like, “Oh, automation is a habit that you need to build.” I’m like, damn it that pretty much summarizes all the things. But you know, it put it so much better than I could have.

Double Handling

The thing is that I find automations fall into a few buckets, one of them is double-handling. So we’ve kind of talked about that. If you’ve got the same bit of data, you know, whether it’s client details or something that you have to stick into multiple places, that’s double handling. Social posting could be, if you want to post the same thing on multiple social channels, there are tools that can help you post to multiple places rather than handling that same information into all the different places.

Excessive Email

Excessive email is a nice bucket. So email is one of the biggest productivity killers. If you can do anything around automating in your email, that’s always handy. Booking times, for example, like trying to find a time to meet. People still send me emails: can you let me know three good times for you to meet? I’m like, what? Just send me your CA like your Calendly booking link and I’ll book it in. I’m not going backwards and forwards over time zones. And, and like, “Oh, no, sorry. That spots not available anymore.” Like, no, just send me your booking thing. I’ll click on it. And I’ll book it in. People used to think that kind of stuff was impersonal, but it’s changing and everyone accepts now, I think, that that’s just how it should be done.

Another one in the excessive email buckets, obviously content collection, that’s why Content Snare exists. So, going backwards and forwards with clients over getting information from them, the saying all that bit is not right, can you actually send me this other thing? Like that turns email, that’s a such a mess in email. So Contents Snare is essentially an automation tool.

Repetitive Actions

The third bucket is repetitive stuff. So, you know, this kind of overlaps with double handling a little bit, but there are other things that are repetitive, right? Like if you bring on a new client, you have to create a folder structure for them in your Google drive or Dropbox. That can be automated. You can literally say when a person gets moved from our CRM in the sales cycle and now they’re into the project cycle then create these 10 folders, just create, get it ready. So someone doesn’t have to go in and create all those folders or copy it or whatever.

You know, what else is repetitive, following up invoices. If you’re always having to chase up invoices, you shouldn’t be doing that pretty much. Every accounting system has a good, every good one, has invoicing follow-ups in there now. Check-Ins with clients. So you can literally, take a repetitive task is, you know, every week you might want to check in with your clients and give them an update on how progress is going. You can automatically create draft emails with automation, ready to send automatically. Send emails depending on what kind of business you have.

Things You Forget To Do

The fourth category is stuff that you just forget to do. And this is actually one of my favorite categories. Every day, I like to have a look through people that have signed up for Content Snare and see if I recognize any of the companies. So generally, if I recognize they are a branded name, it’s kind of exciting and I want to give them like personalized service and go, “Hey, how are you guys using this?” So, I’ve used an automation to basically identify, look at everyone that signs up, and run them through what’s called lead scoring or lead enrichment. Which says, okay, this is how many staff they have. It says what country they’re in and a bunch of things, just based on their email address.

Lead Enrichment’s kind of cool. If anyone’s interested, you can go to CLIA bit.com and that’s like, that’s the big daddy of the lead enrichment space and go to their page where it says attributes or attributes. You can see all the different data points you can get on someone just by that email address, it’s nuts. Anyway, we look up the number of staff they have. And we just say, if it’s over 50, drop me a message like immediately. So I can go, “Holy crap, this really this big company signed up.” I’ve noticed that one of the top 10 airlines signed up for Content Snare once, and I got that notification and I basically jumped online and started messaging them while they’re still there evaluating the product for the first time. So you can jump on that really quick. And that’s another cool use of automation. So I didn’t have to jump in there and have a look through all the leads that signed up there that day. That’s why it’s in the stuff you forget bucket. And another example of that might be like project management activities. So I like to get a little round-up at the end of the day of everything that got marked off in our project management, so I know what’s going on, rather than having to go in there.

It’s easier for both of you.

Tanner:

I tend to use automations a lot for reminding me to do certain things like recurring tasks notifications, stuff like that. Or like you said, double input or double entry, double data entry. That is the biggest waste of time. I mean, if you have a contact form that gets all of the information you need right off the bat, why would you take that email and input it into QuickBooks and your CRM and whatever the hell else you use, when you can literally spend 10 minutes, set up an automation that’s done for you every single time. And it’s always accurate.

Going back to what you said about the Calendly link. I love that you said that it’s now more socially acceptable because I really agree with that. It seems like in the past that a lot of people made it impersonal because they were just hammering your inbox on LinkedIn with their link to book a time with them to say something.

James:

But I think it’s definitely changed.

Tanner:

So I think when you use it in the right way, like you’ve already been talking to someone and maybe someone’s already your client, or maybe you already know that person, you send it to them. I feel like that’s practical, right?

James:

Absolutely. Yeah. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. And if someone does have a problem with it, then they’re probably not someone you want to work with anyway, I guess. You can obviously try to word things. I’ve got canned responses or just shortcuts on my keyboard that put in sentences that might say something like “Yeah, just to save us going backwards and forwards by email. Would you mind just finding a time here? It’s easier, you know, you might say it’s easier for both of you.” I don’t usually say that, but just to save us going back to the forwards by email, enough people understand that.

Tanner:

Yeah, I think that’s really good approach. I always say time’s our most valuable asset. How much time do you think you save every single month by using all of these automations? And I know that you’re probably more of a special case because you are like the automation guru.

James:

So it’s, it’s really hard to say like, because it depends how you’re using these automation tools. Like I can look at my Zapier account and see how many tasks are being run every month, for example. And if you just say each one of those tasks costs 30 seconds of time to do normally, then I think I’m at like 12,000 tasks and that ends up over a hundred hours a month saved. Just from Zapier. You know, it’s hard to say if that’s over the top or whether it’s overestimate or an underestimate. I think it’d be fairly accurate. A lot of that is contact synchronization or making sure that different tools are in sync, but you know, if that wasn’t happening, it would still need to be done manually. So, it’s hard to say for sure, but that’s one tool.

And then a text expander is another productivity tool that I use where it enables you to create shortcuts on your keyboard for things that you type all the time. You know, whether that’s a website address, like I use it for a booking link back on the Calendly thing, so I don’t have to go, “Oh, would you mind booking your time through calendly.com/jamesrose/blah, blah, blah”, and like type it in and try and remember what that link is. I literally just go to .BI for book interview, for example, and it expands into my full booking link for the podcast. Or I might just go .B for a normal chat. That’s not only saving me time in typing, which is what texts expander reports do, it’s like you’ve saved an hour typing this month. But what it’s also saved me is the time going and finding that link. That’s not included in their reports, you know, like I would’ve had to go, Oh, crap, you know, log into Calendly, get the link copy it, put it in an email, whereas now I just go like .BI and it’s done. There’s probably at least a few hours a month just on another tool called text expander. It’s hard to say, but I think it’s a lot.

Tanner:

So I think it’s fair to say that collectively with all the different tools that you use, you’re probably saving the same value as it would cost you to probably employ someone full time, wouldn’t you say that’s about right?

James:

Oh yeah, yeah. At this point, for sure. Like not everyone has automated that many things. Some people use it a lot more. But yeah, if you add those hours up, what’s a full-time employee? That’s 160 hours a month approximately. I think I’d be there.

There’s nothing wrong with saving bits of time while still keeping things heavily personal.

Tanner:

So, you know, when we start automating tasks one concern, I feel like is always brought up, personalization. Especially with sales. If you’re automating certain tasks, like you mentioned automating emails in the past, how do you keep everything personalized? And are there certain tasks that you don’t automate to keep personalization there?

James:

Yeah. And that really depends on the kind of business, you know, what kind of volume you’re doing. If you are a low volume business with high costs, you’re probably going to shy away from automating. You want that level of personalization where every email is like manually typed for that person, but there are levels of automation, assisted personalization, I guess you’d call it. You know, like for example, text expander, there’s probably a lot of the same sentences that you’re writing in these emails, no matter how personal they are. There’s probably a lot of things. For example, the booking link, like, Oh, let’s grab a time to chat. Here’s the link that could be a snippet in text expander. And you just type in a little shortcut on the keyboard and it expands and writes that in. So you didn’t have to type it all out.

An example of this that I’ve seen, that I I’ve been a bit lazy on recently, but I used to use heavily was Bonjoro, which is a video tool where it creates a notification on your phone. You click it, you record a quick 32 second video personalized to the person that notifications of. So it’s like, Oh, such and such just signed up or something such you know, did something, they clicked a link in an email, whatever. You could send them a video mentioning their website, mentioning them, and just hit send. And that’s all you’ve had to do is that 30 seconds to send that video and hit send, whereas everything around that is taken care of by automation. So, you know, something monitored when they replied to an email of yours that created the bond and then after you click send it’s gone ahead and emailed them that video. And if they don’t open it, it follows up in three days. Like all of that is automated around this level of personalization. You obviously can’t automate the video. We probably shouldn’t. But in that case, it’s this category of automation assisted personalization, there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with saving bits of time while still keeping things heavily personal.

Tanner:

Yeah. I mean, I think that’s a really good point, as long as they can tell that it wasn’t automated. I think that’s all that really matters. Because if you’re trying to be personal, who cares, if you did all the tasks to set up the videos, as long as the video is personal, that’s all it really matters.

James:

Yeah. And the emails are the same. I always look for that when I receive cold email, you know, if this email could have been sent to anyone, I don’t reply basically. It’s got to call out something and not automated, you know, if it’s like, “Oh, I saw this blog post on your site.” They could have scraped that. So that’s still automated. Right?

Tanner:

Yeah. I agree with you there. I do the same exact thing. If I can tell that they didn’t put any work into it, I hit delete right away. I don’t need to read the rest of it. And that’s why personalization is so important because that’s what’s going to help you stand out.

When you automate stuff, you straight up feel like a wizard.

Tanner:

James, what would you say are your secrets to scale?

James:

We kind of talked about this earlier. I think it is really finding a channel that works. You know, unfortunately we haven’t been able to find that for our current business, but previous businesses if you’ve got a channel that works for you to get more business or customers, whatever the hell that is, and then just double down on that. That’s how all the people I know that run extremely big businesses like SAS products, for example, they found a channel that really works and they just went hard on that. And we did that in our agency before we shut that down. Our previous software businesses we just pretty much focused on one channel until you’ve maximized the value of that. And then you move on to the next one, which is fairly standard advice, but a lot of people don’t follow it. They try to do everything at the same time. And I need to take my own medicine there too, because I’m trying to do too many things right now as well.

Tanner:

Yeah. I think that’s a good point. I think we often spread ourselves a little bit too thin, like, Oh, you know what? I really need to focus on content marketing, SEO, pay-per-click social ads, email outreach, all at the same time. The truth is if you’re doing all those things at once, unless you have a really big team to support that, then you’re really just going to be really mediocre at every single one of them.

James, what’s a good way for anyone listening to get started with automation. I know you have a automation course, right?

James:

Yeah. So, I mean the best place would probably just go to jimmyrose.me. And if you want to grab, I’ve got a little guide on the homepage there, around on just some of my favorite productivity tools. That talks about text expander and Zapier. There is like a small introductory course on both of those tools that’s like $17 or something or the alignment. So but yeah, I do have a full Zapier course as well. Teaching people basically start to finish. If you haven’t used Zapier before through the point of like all the advanced stuff that I’ve learned over, you know, six, seven years of using this product. And how I’m able to save over a hundred hours a month just with one tool. But yeah, that’s all at jimmyrose.me. If you’re interested in that Zapier course, it’s in the head off cook on Zapier course. That’s probably it. I mean, you can always come and follow me on Twitter @_jimmyrose as well.

Tanner:

Is there anything that I haven’t asked you that you think might benefit the audience?

James:

I think we’ve done a pretty good job of covering it. Hey, like it’s the thing with automation is you just have to get started, you know, it seems like it’s kind of unattainable to people that haven’t done it before. It seems like wizardry. And I can tell you when you automate stuff, you straight up feel like a wizard. Like I still feel like when I get a new automation running, I’m just like, yeah, like, I dunno, man, it’s just, it’s such an exciting feeling, but the only way to get there is to get started and to start with a simple thing. Try to connect your contact form to your CRM, very, very simple example. And pretty much anyone can do it and then it probably will wet your appetite. And then you’ll be super excited about automation.

Tanner:

If you’re not using a CRM, get a CRM.

James:

Oh yeah. Good idea. I mean, spreadsheets work up to about 10 people.

A lot of people see having everything in one platform as a positive, but I like to get the best in class of each tool.

Tanner:

What would it be? What’s your favorite CRM? What would you recommend for CRM?

James:

It, it depends on the use case. So I currently use active campaign mostly just for email automation. I’m not really using the Kanban style CRM. The best one I’ve seen for that kind of thing is Pipe Drive. So to moving people through sales stages, I really like pipe drive. And you know what HubSpot is, it’s cliche, but it is a pretty good product. It’s obviously a lot more expensive than those other two for bigger businesses. But it does a good job.

Tanner:

Yeah. HubSpot can get pretty pricey when you start talking about all of their marketing tools and stuff. Do you feel like they do a better job at the marketing side of things and marketing automation than some of these other tools that’ll probably cost you like 10% of what HubSpot costs?

James:

Yeah. Look, there are a lot of things that it does really well and it just depends what you need. That’s why you have to have an idea of what’s possible. That’s why it’s good to talk to someone who is like an automation consultant or a process consultant. Because if you tell them what you need, they should be able to recommend you something. You know, there are automation consultants that will be like, all I use is HubSpot. So of course they’re going to try and push you into HubSpot. But I don’t know, man. After playing with HubSpot for a couple of clients recently, I’m like, okay, it is pretty powerful. There’s stuff that I can do in that, that I haven’t been able to do in the others, but you know, for everything we need, the bottom plan of active campaign is perfect.

It does everything we need. So I don’t need to go and go and spend the money, you know, but I also think HubSpot goes a little too far in some ways, like actually integrating your blog and like lead magnets and whatever, like opt-ins into one system. I really don’t like that. Because then your blogs on a different sub domain and it’s like, you don’t even kind of, I don’t know. I much prefer to have my blog on my website and then just have the upgrades through other opt-in tools. I don’t know, man, a lot of people see having everything in one platform as a positive, but I absolutely do not. I like to get the best in class of each tool, you know, Active Campaign’s good at email Pipe Drive’s good at CRM, Convert Box is good at opt-ins. Connecting them all together and that, and that you have that benefit when you know how to automate stuff. You can just use best in class tools instead of these half-ass middle grounds.

Tanner:

Yeah, exactly. So if you know how to do automation or, you know, someone that can help you with automation then stringing these different platforms together is no problem. Absolutely. Well, this has all been really great, James. I really appreciate you taking the time. What’s a good way for everyone listening to get in contact with you?

James:

Yeah. Well actually, like I said, Twitter’s probably good. I’m getting way more active there recently. So @_jimmyrose, Jimmy rose.me is the is the website. If you want to jump on the email list and there’s a YouTube channel as well, you can just directly go to jimmyrose.me/whitey, but there’s also a link on the homepage. I kind of like just helping people out with video content, all about automation and productivity.

Tanner:

Awesome. Well, everyone go check out James and his automation course get started. And thanks again, James. I really appreciate it.

James:

Thanks for having me. This has been good.

sTAY cONNECTED
get notified when new episodes are published

Free Download

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE HIRING A WEB DESIGN AGENCY

Free Download

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE HIRING A WEB DESIGN AGENCY

Learn everything you need to know to prevent making a costly mistake. Fill out the form below and we’ll email you the 19 page PDF!