GreenRope® provides an all-in-one solution to consolidate, simplify and automate your daily sales and marketing operations. The mission of GreenRope is to provide a user-friendly, cost-effective, and efficient way for business owners to consolidate their operations on all levels. GreenRope® aims at always understanding the present and future needs of small business owners and helping them achieve their business goals.
GreenRope’s features include email marketing, CRM, marketing automation, accounting, social media, websites, analytics, project management, calendaring, support ticketing and more in one online dashboard.
MO: How did you come up with the concept for GreenRope®?
Lars: We started first as one of the first email marketing service providers, named CoolerEmail, way back in 2000 and built our business up to about 1,500 clients. In talking to our users, we learned that they really needed a way to better use the data they collected, so we embarked upon a journey to build something fully integrated between sales, marketing, and operations. Everything we built in to GreenRope is based on feedback from clients over the past 13 years, and we use our own tools for the growth of our business.
Running a software company is a constant learning process. Our clients, competitors, bloggers, and thought leaders provide continual pathways for us to improve our offering. It has always been important that our company’s culture focuses on making our clients successful. From customer service to our help videos to our aggressive (low) pricing model, we want to give our community tools that help them compete with the best-of-breed while saving over 90% total cost of ownership.
MO: How have you managed to building a successful business without any outside funding? How has the lack of external investment helped influence the vision and direction of GreenRope?
Lars: Our vision has always been focused on providing the best value for our customers. When companies take on VC funding or a private equity placement, it almost always creates a radical shift in corporate culture. Usually the people that suffer the most are the customers, while employees struggle to shoulder the yoke of bureaucracy. Customers become less important than the profit the company needs to make in order to make their new investors happy. This results in shifting priorities and cost-cutting that sacrifices the customer’s experience. I’ve seen it happen over and over again, and I’m happy to have preserved a positive, healthy environment for everyone in our GreenRope ecosystem. I’m proud of our development and support team for all they are able to do and all the great things they have been a part of over the years.
Another advantage is that we have always maintained a lean, flat organizational structure. There is a free flow of ideas around GreenRope’s staff, and we take everything we do very personally. Every client’s success is a success for us. Every client’s idea is valued, and many of those ideas are acted upon. In contrast to many other companies, we have never charged a client for implementing one of their ideas. We feel everyone should benefit equally from our hard work and believe in making the environment around GreenRope completely symbiotic. We’re more interested in making the best software on the planet and helping however we can, not nickel-and-diming clients or getting them to directly fund our development team.
MO: Can you elaborate on how you’ve recently made strides in developing the most user-friendly and efficient business operating system out there?
Lars: When we started 13 years ago, we were very focused on outbound marketing. In the early days of the internet, you could send lots of email marketing pieces and they would all perform well. Over time, the consumer has become more educated and more discerning. People want to be communicated in a meaningful way, not treated like a number. This means gaining a greater understanding of who everyone is and what they want.
GreenRope has spent the last 5 years developing more intuitive ways to present that sales and marketing information to our clients. A business can store every interaction with a lead, vendor, or client within our CRM. What’s more, we do things automatically for our clients – tracking website visits, forms, surveys, purchases, and other important interactions between a company and its contacts. From this, GreenRope can run marketing automation campaigns targeted toward special subsets of a company’s contacts. The term “Big Data” is becoming more popular now, and collecting it requires an easy-to-integrate way to interact with your clients and prospects. We believe GreenRope is the vehicle that can bring any organization, company, or non-profit to that next level, where leveraging Big Data is just another tool for communicating more effectively.
The final step, often considered the Holy Grail of marketing, is the ability to integrate all of the data collected and present it in a useful, actionable way. GreenRope now has a predictive analytics tool, which correlates what has generated purchases (a.k.a. “conversions”) in the past and will tell you who is likely to purchase from you in the near future. This helps focus the sales team’s efforts on the best leads. We do all the heavy number crunching for you automatically, and the good news is that it works. Very well.
MO: Do you think that it’s essential for all businesses, no matter their size, to have a mobile app on the market?
Lars: I think it depends. Not every business needs its own app. I would say that any business that wants to maintain regular interaction with their clients and can support their app and make it truly useful will see a return on their investment in that app. Our GreenRope CRM app was designed to help sales and marketing people on the go access critical data if they aren’t by a computer. It’s relevant, useful, and timely for our users.
Not all businesses are in that mode, but if they can find a way to communicate relevant, useful, and timely information, their app will be a huge benefit to them. Everything is going more mobile, and everyone loves to share and talk about the apps that provide the most value to them.
Like most things, it comes down to seeing a positive return on the investment costs of developing and marketing that app. If that app drives more sales, and more precisely, profit, then it should be developed and supported.
MO: Can you share some best practices when it comes to email marketing? Also, are there any common pitfalls that our readers should avoid?
Lars: Email marketing has been around for a long time, but I’m still surprised when I hear about people buying or renting lists. In short, it doesn’t work. Maybe for a few months in 2001 it might have worked, but every piece of marketing about how much money you’ll make from spamming is overblown. History is littered with damaged brands who thought it might be a good idea.
Here’s a thought – if you’re going to send email to people, make it relevant and useful for them. Don’t send email with a big “buy stuff from me” action button on it. Tell them in a concise way something they can use. Is there information that helps them? Is it a clear benefit to them to take action? Give your subscribers a reason to take action if that is what you are trying to do.
Use personalization. The more information you collect and store about a contact, the more relevant you can make your messaging. Beyond “Dear Mary”, embed content just for her based on something you know about her. The technology behind dynamic placeholders (putting content in an email if certain criteria are met) has been around for awhile, so use it.
Use marketing automation. Save yourself time and set up auto-responders for your lead capture forms on your website. Set up drip campaigns that get triggered when people do something of importance to you. Get alerts sent to your staff when contacts you know do something valuable for you. Integrate with mobile, so people can interact with your brand with their phones.
With all things (not just email), test. What you think is the best, prettiest, most effective design probably isn’t. Learn from your customers and prospects what works and what doesn’t, and fold that learning in to your marketing strategy.
MO: How do you plan to keep the momentum going ?
Lars: At GreenRope, we constantly innovate. As an agile business, we are able to identify key ways we can help our clients and take action. We learn every day from our 3,000+ clients, which is why they value what we do for them. We will always listen and continually provide more value, giving our clients an edge over their competitors.
Some companies feel once they get a good thing going, they can sit on their laurels and complacently rake in the dough. GreenRope is not one of those companies. We are at the forefront of CRM and marketing automation technology, packaged in a single, easy-to-use platform. We work tirelessly to make efficient sales, marketing, and operations a reality for organizations worldwide, something we plan on doing for a very long time.
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