724: From Lead Gap to Customer Leap: How CRM Fuels Sales & Marketing Alignment | Jason Kramer

Podcast Cover Image: From Lead Gap to Customer Leap: How CRM Fuels Sales & Marketing Alignment Featuring Jason Kramer
Podcast Cover Image: From Lead Gap to Customer Leap: How CRM Fuels Sales & Marketing Alignment Featuring Jason Kramer

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Do you struggle to bridge the gap between lead generation and customer conversion?

Jason Kramer, a CRM guru with over 20 years of experience in digital marketing and branding, is here to help!

Jason is the founder of Cultivize, a consulting firm that helps agencies leverage CRM to build stronger client relationships. Jason has been using lead magnets and funnels for years to turn prospects into loyal customers.

Ready to unlock the power of CRM for your business? Download Jason’s FREE playbook, “A Playbook for Agencies: CRM Setup, Segmentation, and Lead Nurturing Strategies” and learn how to create a winning CRM strategy for your agency and its clients! ➡️ https://cultivize.com/learnmore/

Tune in to this episode of the Conquer Local podcast to hear Jason’s insights on CRM and how it can transform your sales and marketing!

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From Lead Gap to Customer Leap: How CRM Fuels Sales & Marketing Alignment


Jeff Tomlin: I’m Jeff Tomlin and on this episode, we’re pleased to welcome Jason Kramer.

Jason is a seasoned entrepreneur with over two decades of experience in digital marketing, branding, and CRM consulting. He founded Cultivize, a leading CRM consulting firm that helps businesses improve their customer relationship strategies. Previously, he established JLK Creative, a successful NYC branding and web development agency that operated for 16 years.

Get ready Conquerors for Jason Kramer coming up next on this week’s episode of the Conquer Local Podcast.

CRM Expert, Jason Kramer Discusses Bridging Lead-Customer Gap

Jeff Tomlin: Jason Kramer, founder of Cultivize, coming to us from New York. Hey, Jason, welcome to the podcast. Thanks for taking some time out of your busy day to join us and have a chat. How are you doing, man?

Jason Kramer: I’m doing great. The sun is shining here in New York and it’s about time, so definitely makes the day a little brighter. Pun intended.

Jeff Tomlin: No kidding. Hey, we’re in the same boat out here. It’s been raining forever, and we’ve got some sun today and it’s making me happy. I’m giddy. Hey, let’s jump into the conversation because I’m excited to talk about this stuff. We’re talking all things CRM, nurturing customers. A lot of companies have trouble converting opportunities and leads into customers after the initial lead generation. I find a lot of businesses do a really bad job when it comes to nurturing and building the relationship beyond that. So first off, tell us a little bit about your company and tell us what you guys are doing right now to bridge the gap because I think it’s a really cool service.

Jason Kramer: Yeah, no, I appreciate that. So Jason Kramer, as you mentioned, the founder of Cultivize, based in New York, as you also mentioned. So we’re a unique hybrid in the sense that I have 25-plus years of marketing experience, which is unique for somebody that plays in the sandbox of CRM and technology. Because we’re not a software provider, we’re really more of a consulting firm. And what I mean by that is we’re helping our clients complete white glove, done-for-you service where it’s starting with the strategy and defining what technology is needed, because we all know, you included, technology doesn’t always solve problems. It’s the people behind the technology that actually identify and solve those problems. But we also take over and do the implementation for our clients. We’ll talk more about the pitfalls that a lot of companies have trying to adopt CRM. There’s so many choices and it’s so overwhelming to do that. But then it goes into training and it goes into the ongoing support. And that’s really our secret sauce is that we hold the hand of our clients for years on end, meeting with them every single month, weekly, bi-weekly, making sure that not only the adoption stays true and that people are using the system. And as the old saying goes, bad data in is bad data out. So we want to make sure that the system is helping the company. But we also look for changes. There’s no perfect recipe where you build a CRM and it’s going to be perfect day one. We have to make tweaks and adjustments as things change. And so being on board and staying part of the team has really made a huge impact with our clients.

Sales & Marketing Alignment with CRM Tools

Jeff Tomlin: Today, a company’s ability to nurture leads and to retain clients oftentimes is heavily reliant on the tools and the capabilities that you’ve got integrated into your business operations. And I see a lot of CRM implementations go sideways. And not only just go sideways, the adoption falls off. Take a look at Salesforce, for example. I haven’t seen a ton of really, really good implementations to Salesforce where people are using a very small bit of it. I hear you guys can not only really help there, but I also heard that you might even be able to get marketing and sales teams even excited about having the insights. And I don’t know a lot of salespeople that get excited when you say the word CRM, but tell us a bit about that.

Jason Kramer: Well, so let’s talk about the second thing. So salespeople are hired to sell. I mean, that’s their title is a salesperson. But they’re often not given the tools. So it’s like picture I’m a roofer and I’m given a screwdriver, a hammer and one nail to go fix a roof. I don’t have the tools I need to do my job. And so a lot of times salespeople are not given the tools and they struggle. And then sometimes they let go because they’re not hitting the numbers or they’re not performing well that they should. But the reality is, I firmly believe the onus is on the company and the sales managers to equip that team with the right tools. And what really we aim to achieve is to make the sales teams we train and work with to make them work more efficiently and work smarter and not harder. Because at the end of the day, if a salesperson has to make 50 calls a day, we want to say, here’s the 50 people that are most likely to pick up the phone because they’ve been active on the website, they’ve been looking at the content, they’ve been absorbing material from the email trips that have been going out, versus here’s 50 random people I’m going to call today and hope that somebody’s going to answer the phone. It’s a huge world of difference.

Jeff Tomlin: And it’s night and day when the salespeople can see the difference in the results that they’re getting. Because at the end of the day, when they have a bad tool set and not a lot of data, they’re not making the money that they want to be making. It’s easy to see when the results start coming in the impact it can have on them, I imagine.

Jason Kramer: Of course. And not only them, but the managers and the senior level people and owners of the business as well. Because there’s nothing more frustrating for a manager not to have any eyes on what’s going on, what’s in the pipeline, what’s coming in, who are you talking to, and how big is that opportunity? A lot of times salespeople are just giving very broad-stroke information back to their manager, “Oh yeah, I’m working on a bunch of deals.” Well, what does bunch mean? What is the value of those? Where are they at in the sales process? And so without transparency and eyes on that, it’s not only a struggle for the siloed salesperson, but really for the whole organization and it’s just not efficient.

CRM Connects Sales & Marketing Efforts

Jeff Tomlin: And it really is an organizational tool from frontline people that are managing or that are conducting the sales to the managers who need to manage and coach to the sales, to the top level executives in the business to understand exactly where’s our future revenue at.

Jason Kramer: Absolutely. And you brought up something also about sales and marketing, and I think one of the challenges, and it’s a cliche thing to say, but it’s always that struggle where a sales organization would say to marketing, “Hey, you’re not giving us good leads because we’re calling people, no one’s getting back to us,” or the marketing’s like, “Well, you’re not calling them. We are giving you good leads.” So there’s always a blame game. What we do with the platforms that we have in place are able to connect the dots. So we’re able to show that this is the different marketing channels. And it’s not just digital. It’s trade shows. It’s webinars. It’s in-person meetings. It’s all these different methods of how people find out about a company. And if you’re able to track that in the CRM and then the salesperson has a way to say, “Yeah, this was a good lead or it wasn’t a good lead. And there was an opportunity and it was won, it was lost, and this is the revenue we won or we lost,” then not only does it help both teams, but really what you’re doing is you’re empowering the marketing team. And I know there’s a lot of agencies listen too who struggle with client retention because they’re generating leads for clients, but they don’t have any access to know what happens to the lead after someone fills out a form on the website or downloads a piece of content. So all they can report on is say, “Hey, Google generated this many leads for you, or Facebook generated this.” And often those clients are firing the agencies because they’re not seeing results. And it’s really not the fault of the agency. It’s because the sales organization, the company, doesn’t have a way to track that activity. And so when you do have that and you can give that information back to the marketing team, guess what? Your marketing is going to be way more refined and you’re going to see a lot more results. And this is, of course, on a broad-stroke comment. But if the marketing team knows what’s working, and what’s not working based on the sales team’s performance and activity, they’re going to be able to do a better job than just shooting in the dark.

Data-Driven Nurturing Boosts Loan Renewals

Jeff Tomlin: I want to talk about the marketers for a bit. You’ve got a case study from a local loan provider that you had a lot of success with. I wouldn’t mind hearing about what a world-class nurture sequence looks like or world-class nurturing results, because it’s something that’s been top of my mind. I’ve signed up for a number of different tools lately because I’m doing a bunch of experiments, and I’m on some terrible, terrible programs right now. And even internally talking to one of our teams and I was going through one of the programs that we were running and said, “Oh yeah, these emails, they haven’t been touched in five years.” There’s a lot of people doing bad jobs of that aspect, and it’s a really important part of building relationships and making sure that you’re getting the most out of your marketing efforts at some date. So tell us a little bit about a real-world experience.

Jason Kramer: Yeah, I’ll give that story. Before I do, if it’s okay, for literally 10 seconds, the thing of what you mentioned is really important to note on, I want to capitalize on that just for a second, there’s so much I’ll call it just technology out there that’s available. Relatively a lot of it’s inexpensive or you can try it out or you can do it month to month. But just because it’s easy to sign up, it doesn’t mean it’s the right tool or that you can use it the right way, or you put something into place, to your point, and you have an email campaign running for years and you never look at performance, you never look at open rates, click rates, see how people are engaging. Is it leading to anything? So a lot of people just put stuff on autopilot and forget about it because it’s easy to forget about it. That’s something really important for any listener today to just think about, “what do we have in place? What’s running?” Similarly, if you had investments, you wouldn’t just never look at your report to see if you’re making money, or losing money on your investments. You’d be looking at that pretty often I would hope. But with marketing, usually, it’s like a blind eye. So getting to the story, so an agency we have here in New York, and we work with agencies across the US and even internationally with white labelling, what we do, which is the scenario here, where this agency didn’t have the email marketing capabilities in-house for this particular client. And the client operates about 230 physical locations. They do alternative lending, and they have roughly about 250,000 contact records in their database, give or take. So a pretty large healthy database. And what they weren’t doing effectively is doing anything more than someone applies for a loan, they either get approved, they don’t get approved, and thanks for your business, have a nice day. It was all very transactional. And so what we were able to do is take all the data about the customer, about when is their payoff of the loan, what’s their balance, what is their date of birth, key indicators, and then create automated email campaigns based on that data. So some scenarios, for example, would be sending something as simple as, “Hey, happy birthday. Thank you for your business. And by the way, if you’d like to celebrate or needed some more money, here’s a link to apply for another loan.” And I will tell you, there’s a large percentage of people that click that button to get another loan on their birthday, which I was even questioning myself, are people really even going to do that? But you’d be surprised. They’re like, “Hey, yeah, sure, I need more money. I’ll take another loan out.” And other things like, “Hey, congratulations, you’re almost done paying off the loan. That’s great. If you need another one, here’s a link to apply again.” And so there’s all these different avenues to upsell and cross-sell based on data. And what we’ve seen by doing that is we’re getting a lot higher conversion rates on people applying for those new loans versus, oh, we’re just going to send out the first Tuesday of every month a newsletter to all our customers with just a generic message, because we all know that doesn’t really work. It’s like having a billboard in Times Square. Yeah, it’s there to create presence, but it’s not really going to make a huge impact in making people take action right away. That’s just one example of how we’ve used data to help influence buying patterns.

Email Nurturing Boosts ROI by 400% for Top Performers

Jeff Tomlin: By the way, working with so many clients like you have, I’m curious to just get your take on of the people that are doing a good job, what percentage of their pipeline you think are across… Again, the crop of people that are doing it well, what percentage of their pipelines that are coming from email activities. Because in my experience, when people really do it right, they’re driving a huge percentage of their pipeline through email as opposed to brand new inbound.

Jason Kramer: So it’s a great point. We should all know, people listening, that it’s far more cost-effective to go back to your existing database and try to nurture them to resell or cross-sell or upsell versus finding a brand new prospective customer that’s never even heard of you. We all know that it’s much cheaper to go the first route. I would say in terms of the people doing it right, I mean, they’re seeing upwards of a two to 400% ROI on conversion on the time they put in to getting that out. And the reason they’re seeing that is because… This is the world I love. Our business I’d say is roughly about 90% B2B and the rest is direct to consumers of the types of clients we work with. On the B2B side, even the consumer side, we just signed up two new clients. One does roofing, one does high-end pools. So that’s not a small purchase. It’s an important decision. You may not make that decision right away and may take you a couple of months to decide. So if you’re able to have those email campaigns go out and a CRM that’s able to tell you who’s going back to the website, who’s looking for more information, who’s clicking the link that says, “Oh, I’m interested in financing,” isn’t that important information for the salesperson to know that Jason’s interested in financing when I haven’t been able to speak to Jason in two months? That’s a good indicator that Jason might be ready to make a purchase. And so if we can use that information and give it to the salesperson in real-time, it’s a huge impact. Because think of the visual of I’m going into a car dealership and I’m looking around. There’s a difference of somebody that’s just looking around that’s not going to talk anybody versus someone getting in the car, sitting behind the wheel, checking it out, or saying, “Hey, I’d love to take the new Camaro for a test drive,” that could be a sign that it’s more likely a real buyer versus someone that just wants to see what the new models look like. So if we have those indicators and we could pass it to the sales team, it’s a radical change in terms of performance.

AI Sales Tools are Good for Research, not Replacing Salespeople.

Jeff Tomlin: By the way, I think mindset is really, really important about how you think about nurturing and how you think about doing it. Different cadences are appropriate for different types of business. You see the people that do it. I’ve got the Great Canadian Oil Change up here. They send me a message just at the right time when I need to think about getting another oil change, but they don’t abuse it. They’re not running away with it and sending me an email every week. My car dealer that I’ve used for a couple of my different vehicles, they send me a message once every year just to check in, and see if my vehicle’s still right for me. And it’s the right type of cadence. And when I think about nurturing, I think about it as building a broader relationship or building broader relationships and thinking about adding value to the right people at the right time. I wanted to ask you, there’s a lot of cool stuff going on with new technology, especially AI coming around. What are the trends that you’re seeing that get you excited about things that are going to make an impact on our ability to improve marketing going forward?

Jason Kramer: Well, I mean, certainly AI is a huge topic of every podcast out there. Right now it’s a good tool. I think I personally recommend it more for research and idea generation. I don’t think it’s there yet where it could replace a human by any means and be personable in the way that you and I can be authentic to somebody as we’re trying to reach out to them, whether it be on social selling or via email, et cetera. The tools that I think that are going to be most helpful then that are coming along are more research-oriented. There are some cool tools I’ve been actually checking out too, where you could put in the name of let’s say a company and the person you’re trying to reach out to at the company and some things you know about them and where they live. And then this software will tell you, oh, there’s a new sporting event going on, or there’s a new food festival because you know the person likes food in the area. And so the system monitors what might be of interest to the prospect and to the company and lets you know so you don’t have to do all that research.

So when you do reach out to them, you have something interesting to provide that would be relevant to them. I think tools like that is where it’s headed. I mean, even LinkedIn is starting to use AI where if people haven’t already gone in and you go into your notifications of what have you missed kind of area now, and it’s like work anniversaries, birthdays, and all those things. And in the past, you would have to manually put your effort into that. Now it’s automated where it’s putting the message there which you can tweak, but making it a lot easier to reach out to somebody on something relevant in a relevant time period. But I agree, the cadences are not complicated to build out. It really comes down to like for you the oil change or the buying of a car. They know someone’s not buying a new car every month, so to send you an email or phone call every month is not realistic. But those cadences have to be aligned with what it is you’re selling and what the sales cycle looks like. If you need an oil change every three months for a car, that’s when you should be getting a text or an email reminder to get your oil change, because on average that’s when you should be, let’s say, doing it in general speaking terms.

A Playbook for Agencies: CRM Setup, Segmentation, and Lead Nurturing Strategies.

Jeff Tomlin: You have a playbook for agencies that we’re going to provide to all the listeners to make it easy for them. Share a couple of the takeaways that people are going to find inside.

Jason Kramer: There’s two actually books. One is The Playbook, which is really designed… It’s a 13-page playbook that I’ve written here, and it takes you through what are the fundamental components of not only your CRM but what your team needs to do to really develop a lead nurturing strategy. It’s about using segmentation. We talked before about setting just a broadcast message, same message to everybody. So there’s a whole chapter about how to segment your database and how to use that segmentation to deliver personalized content to them. There’s a paragraph there or a page I should say about behaviour. We talked a lot about behaviour today in the podcast, how to track that behaviour and use that information to your advantage. And then at the end of it, they’ll find also some diagrams of plays we’ve written out, so like onboarding a new customer, what those different steps look like in an automation. We talked about these different drip sequences, so we have different examples visually for how you would put that together and build out that workflow. Another resource too which we can share is a guide to have for the agencies that are listening on how to position this to their clients. Because a lot of agencies we work with, they’re awesome at what they do at generating leads, whatever means that might be. They don’t have the bandwidth or always the technical expertise to be the CRM expert. So they know it’s important for their clients, they just don’t have the capability to really bring that up in conversation. So we’ve been able to white label, as I mentioned earlier, everything we’ve talked about today. And so this other guide helps jumpstart the conversation for agencies to introduce this concept and idea to their clients. And we do it as a rev share. Because we believe if we could bring value to the client, let’s also bring some value to the agency. So it’s really a win-win for everybody.

Add value with Timely, and Relevant Messages. 

Jeff Tomlin: Good stuff. And pro tip to everyone, no one wants to be dripped on. So take it seriously and figure out how you can add value, sending the right message to your right people at the right time. Super valuable and important stuff. Jason Kramer, I’m so happy that you’re able to take some time out of your busy day to join us here in the podcast. If people wanted to continue the conversation, how do they get ahold of you?

Contact Jason Kramer at afterthelead.com.

Jason Kramer: So the easiest way to get ahold of me, I mean, certainly you could search me everywhere on social, but go to afterthelead.com, afterthelead.com   . My link for LinkedIn is in there. The giveaways that we talked about are there for free downloads, as well as a wealth of other information. So that’d be the best place to reach me and connect with me.

Jeff Tomlin: Hey, it’s been a pleasure spending a few moments chatting with you about this, and I wish you all the best and wish you a fantastic summer. Hope you come back and join us sometime in the future and continue the conversation.

Jason Kramer: I’d love to. Plenty of topics to talk about. Thanks so much. 


Jeff Tomlin: There you have it. Jason Kramer with all things CRM. The first takeaway is to align Sales and Marketing with CRM for Growth

CRMs can and should promote teamwork: People don’t always get excited when it comes to talking CRMs, but Jason argues they bridge the gap between sales and marketing. By tracking interactions and analyzing data both teams gain transparency to refine strategies and maximize results. They can help everyone on the team win and win more regularly. However, regular data analysis and workflow adjustments based on customer behaviour are essential for ongoing success. It’s got to be part of the regular process. 

Another takeaway from our chat is that Personalization is Key, But Leverage Technology for Efficiency. Your emails better not be generic in today’s day and age. People are smart and bad marketing is too damn obvious. Segment your audience with customer data and personalize messages. Technology is your friend. You can automate tasks and leverage AI for research, but remember, the human touch is irreplaceable for building genuine connections.

If you’ve enjoyed Jason Kramer’s episode discussing Customer-Centric Collaboration for Marketing and Sales Growth, keep the conversation going and revisit some of our older episodes from the archives: Check out Episode 721: Human Touch in Digital Age: Optimizing Customer Interactions with Alex Levin or Episode 711: The Value Sale: How to Simplify Your Message and Close More Deals with Ian Campbell.

Until next time, I’m Jeff Tomlin. Get out there and be awesome!