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“…my recommendation to any small business owner or any other company is to spend time with customers and to spend time with prospects in order to get some traction, and when you have that traction, I think it’s quite easy to get some money.”

Mike:
Hey everyone, it’s Mike Sullivan and this is MO.com. Thanks for joining me. Today I have Alexandre Rambaud with me. He is the founder and CEO of Agendize.

Alexandre, thanks for joining me today. Can you tell us what is the goal of Agendize?

Alexandre:
The goal for Agendize is to make sure that we can provide more calls, more appointments, and more visits to our customers. Our customers usually have a website, and they invest a lot in getting traffic to the website. But they like getting more conversions from their website. This is where we can help. We have developed a large series of tools, conversion tools that make it easy for their web visitors to contact them, to set appointments with them, and to remind about them, and also to give testimonials, and to visit them. So, this is what we do.

Mike:
So it sounds like you’re converting traffic into actual business. Is that correct?

Alexandre:
Yes, that’s right. We believe that traffic is important, but when you have a shop, you have a retail shop, that’s fine that people visit you and enter into your shop. But what is more important for a business owner is that people really transact.

The Web is fine. In order to bring visitors and to have a web presence, but what is important is to transform the visitors into true contacts, into true conversations. It’s only when you start talking with your customer, for most of the businesses, that you have an opportunity to make a sale. So this is where we connect.

Mike:
Do you have any tools or metrics or any way to measure the success of your services?

Alexandre:
Yes, we have customers. We use those conversion tools for any kind of business, small business and very large organization, large bank, insurance company they could use our tools. But also plumbers, any kind of restaurants, any kind of small business. As an example, we have a business that got around 40% more calls. In the past, they were using contact request forms on their website, and they switched that contact request form into our web call back functionality. That means that users can directly enter their mobile phone number or direct line, and automatically our servers will call them… in terms of business, they dramatically increased the number of … You are receiving an email saying that this person wants to be contacted. But when they tried to contact that web visitor, the phone usually rings but they don’t get an answer or they get a voicemail, and it was really hard for them. With the web call back, they got 50% more calls.

Also, people will deploy our online scheduling, online appointment functionality on their website. Just a few minutes to deploy it. They got 35% more appointments and more visits to their spa or to their salon.

So really we increase the number of contact points and conversations. Another SMB, it’s a plumber. He got 40% more calls. So it really depends on the business, but usually you can expect to get at least 25% more conversations and hopefully more transactions.

Mike:
So I’m looking at your website, and it says on it, “Nearly 22 million activities powered to date.” What exactly does that mean?

Alexandre:
That means that we have provided today over 20 million calls, appointments, conversations to the websites that use our technology.

So any website, any SMB customer or a… customer can go to our website or ask their web agency or their web designer to go to our website. In a question of minutes, they will be able to customize, to pick the right conversation tools that fit their business, to deploy it, and to see the impact and benefits.

So because we offer some credits for free, it’s really free to use the technology, and they only pay when they receive a call, when they have been able to set up an appointment. There is a few cents or a few dollars per action.

Mike:
What I really like about your site is, when you go there, there are videos showing exactly what the product is or how to use it. Are you finding that other people are finding those videos valuable as well?

Alexandre:
One minute or two minutes videos are really key in order to focus on one benefit or one functionality. I think that instead of having long, support pages with a lot of Q&A and a lot of written material, it’s much easier to shoot a video. Technology is for that. With Skype, with a lot of technology you are able to turn any of your content into a small and relevant video and to publish it.

Mike:
Can you tell me how you funded the company, especially around launch time? Can you talk a little about how you prepared and where the funding came from?

Alexandre:
Yes. So we got two funding. We got seed funding and A series. In total, we raised $3.2 million. First time it was back in 2006, and second time it was in 2009, two years ago.

So when I started the funding process, I contacted a lot of companies and I had plenty of meetings. The point is I discovered that it was much easier to get money from my customers than to get from VCs. So I went back try to grab some money and some revenue from customers, to put some traction. Then it took me between 45 days up to 3 months in total to close the seed round or the series A round.

So my recommendation to any SMB owner or any other company is to spend time with customers and to spend time with prospects in order to get some traction, and when you have that traction, I think it’s quite easy to get some money.

But, during the first year, we invested our own money, our time, our money, that’s true.

Mike:
All right, great. Well, any closing thoughts?

Alexandre:
I will say that my recommendation to any entrepreneur that is willing to launch his company is first do it. This is a big job on earth. I worked for a large company, for L’Oreal, for Oracle. I had a very nice executive position. But there is nothing better than running your own company. It’s tougher for sure. It’s difficult, but it’s really very, very nice experience. So I strongly recommend that.

Also, never give up. Never give up, and the best way not to give up is to spend real time with your customers, with your prospects to see what I need to do to refine my product, what I need to do to refine my pricing, what I need to do to improve customer service. Then what is really great is to ask them for testimonials, to ask them to shoot a video, and ask them to get … This is really a very, very nice… Go and start your own business.

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