OTS 161 | Growing Your Sales


Sales number is the bottom line statistic for practically every existing business—that much can’t be denied. If you’re not growing your sales, then your company, at the end of the day, isn’t really growing, and no one wants that kind of stagnation to occur for their business. Mike Carroll uses his experience as a Growth Strategist at Nutshell as the company’s Head of Growth. He speaks to Timothy Bush about his experience with helping Nutshell’s growth and shares some lessons that you could easily apply to your own business practice. Don’t let your sales stagnate. Keep the numbers growing!

Listen to the podcast here

Growing Your Sales With “Nutshell” Featuring Mike Carroll

I am having an awesome day because I had the chance to speak with Mike Carroll from Nutshell. I’ve been trying to get the people from Nutshell on this show for a long time, and I’m super grateful to Mike for coming on and having a discussion with me. We could have gone on for hours. You’re going to see in the show, we talk about a ton of different things. We went off on a hundred different tangents, but it’s all good information. I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about Nutshell before. I’m sure you’ve heard it on the show. It is the only CRM software that I use for keeping track of all my clients and retailers. Whenever I start with a client, the first thing I do after we decide what retailers we’re going after is I set up a Nutshell account. That’s where we drop all our leads in. It is customizable. It is easy to use. It is inexpensive for what you get.

There’s no other choice out there that I have found and I’ve tried a lot of different things, but I love Nutshell. It’s the only thing I use. With all that I have been going on, it helps make sure that no retailer and no buyer gets forgotten. Nobody slips through the cracks. Everybody gets talked to and touched on. It makes it easy for my clients to see what’s going on, what we’re doing, who we’re following up with, and what the notes are. There are many cool things to Nutshell and we’re going to talk all about it with Mike Carroll. You don’t want to leave before the end because the people at Nutshell have offered this to me for you, Big Boxers, an awesome offer to try out Nutshell. You don’t want to miss that. I hope to see you at the end. Let’s jump right into it with Mike.

Mike from Nutshell, welcome to the program.

Thanks, Tim. I’m glad to be here. I’ve been looking forward to this.

I can’t tell you how much I’ve been looking forward to this. I’ve been such a Nutshell fan for such a long time. As part of the now-defunct Customer Advisory Council, it’s been a big part of my business. Once I discovered Nutshell, it has been a big part of mine and then my clients’ business. To have you here is awesome. How is it going?

It’s good. I’m working at home and I love hanging out on my farm. I always feel relaxed when I get to be here. I’ve got a small hobby horse farm here in Michigan. It’s always a little relaxing when I can look out and see the horses and hang out with my dogs and all that kind of stuff. It’s a good day to be at home, not to mention Coronavirus and all that nonsense. That’s not what we’re here to talk about.

We’re not going to get into Coronavirus politics, but interesting enough, whether it’s a hoax or not, it’s affecting things. I’ve been to The Inspired Home Show. Formerly, it was The International Houseware Show. I’ve been to that show every year for thirteen years in a row and in 2020, they canceled it for the first time. I was on my way. I was getting ready to go to Expo West and I got the notice that it was canceled and I was like, “Dropping like flies.”

Sales Hacker canceled their conference. SaaStr canceled. All the big sales and marketing conferences, some of which I plan to go to and others which I did not, but they all canceled in succession. All of a sudden, Nutshell started to look forward to thinking because we had Boundless, which is our virtual conference. Some 3,500 people attend throughout the day. We look like Sears. We have a virtual conference because a physical conference is a little much for our mighty but small team to take on at the moment. People figure it out though. That’s the beauty of the 21st century and what we’re doing. In my opinion, there’s no reason to have to go to the office. If we’ve got to stay at home, with a little bit of adjustment, things can go on.

I’ve worked from home for many years. It has this plus. I’m a social person. In some cases, I’m Jack, a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. I can get up in my head if I’m by myself too much, which is why I work with ECRM. I get to go to their conferences. It gets me out of the office. I’ve been lucky enough to wake up every day and take a couple of steps to the office for many years. I’m with you. I don’t think there’s a tremendous amount of reason why people need to be in the same place, especially with how good video conferencing is nowadays. I did an episode not too long ago about whether it’s better to be in-person or can you get the same thing done virtually in a sales meeting? I still personally believe that person-to-person is still the best medium. I’m interested to hear what you think.

It depends on what you’re selling. I sell software. It’s rare for us to be in front of our customers face-to-face. It’s not a scalable thing for us to do. We’ve got customers all over the world, and given the fact that you’ll probably spend more on coffee this month than you will on your Nutshell account. It doesn’t necessarily merit flying to Amsterdam to even meet a 20 or 30-person team. Although we do take advantage of that when we do. I do love going into some of our Michigan customers, our local customers when I get the chance. It’s one of the most fascinating things about working for Nutshell. Previous to this, I was a consultant at a digital agency.

I missed that element of working in an agency. It’s meeting people and learning about the different businesses that people operate. There are many ways to make money in the United States and the world. There’s never a lack of surprises when I come across a business and I’m like, “You do what exactly?” They sell the plastic tips on the top of shoelaces and something that I’d never thought there was a marketplace for and they’re killing it. I love being able to meet our customers, whether it’s virtually or in person. To answer your question, I think it depends on what you sell.

When it comes to software, the expectation is that you’re not going to be sitting in my office. If I’m selling you $250,000 contract for digital marketing services, then you better get off your butt and show up in my office and have a face-to-face conversation, no matter where I am in the world. It depends on what you sell. There will never be a replacement for that human-to-human connection and to be able to look somebody in the eye, shake their hands, and have them get a sense of you. From a sales perspective, I’ve always been a believer in the fact that they’re not buying what you do. Simon Sinek says it best, “They’re not buying what you do, they’re buying why you do it. More importantly, they’re buying you, the salesperson.” The first thing that you need to do is create an environment in which they feel comfortable buying. That’s everything about the relationship you create between you and your prospect or potential customer.

I sell products. I work a lot with retailers and buyers. There are certain things that you can’t get done virtually like you can’t fix things. If a meeting starts going wrong and you’re virtual, people are easier to give up on it when you’re not right there. I was selling an electric tea maker that makes chai tea. It’s a great unit. I was selling it to the buyer at Costco Canada. Because making chai has these stages to it, when you add the milk and when you do this, it beeped every time you were supposed to do something. In this quiet room, we’re silent. There’s no ambient noise. The beeping was burrowing into your head. The buyer was like, “I can’t get past this. This beeping is killing me.”

Virtually, I would have lost that because she would start losing interest. We’re virtual. She can hit the button and we can be gone. I started talking to her about ambient noise and I started talking to her, “When you’re at home, you’re not going to be sitting here waiting in front of the kettle. You have other things to do. You’re going to be out of the room and then you hear the beep, it’s going to draw you back to add the milk. Without the beep, you could be folding laundry and you missed your whole opportunity to add the stages.” She was starting to get it. That thing was going down fast and then all of a sudden, we were able to salvage it. I don’t know if you could do the same thing virtually.

There will never be a true replacement for the human-to-human connection. Click To Tweet

There’s no mute button in real life. One thing I never like about the virtual conference, particularly on the consulting side when I was doing more of that type of work, is that you can tell when it’s happening but there’s nothing you can do about it. When you’re talking to a room full of people and maybe they’re all sitting in a conference room around a communal phone or something, and then you’re talking or pitching something or whatever the case might be. All of a sudden you say, “How does that feel?” Whatever the pause in the conversation is, and it’s dead silent. You know exactly what’s happening, good or bad, that the room has muted the microphone and they’re having a separate conversation without you.

Hopefully, that’s a good conversation but you have no idea. In a room, at least you can gauge the mood. You can switch your pitch. You can get off of bad ideas faster to a good idea. I couldn’t agree with you more there unless you’re having a conversation like you and I virtually, where I can see all the expressions in your face and hear the intonation in your voice. Anybody that wants to be a salesperson, go read books about psychology and human behavior. Don’t read about sales. Read about how people behave, how they respond to things in situations and you will automatically be a better seller.

If you walk into a buyer room where you’re going to pitch a buyer, normally it’s a small room. There’s a conference table and they have way too many chairs around it. If you get lucky enough to get in there early, you can pick where you’re going to sit. Interestingly enough, most people will sit where they can face the door. They can see the door for some reason because they want to see the buyer coming in. I never do that. I always put myself with my back to the door so the buyer has to sit across from me. Therefore, I’m between the buyer and the door.

Psychology-wise, it’s harder for them to cut the meeting short because they have to pass by me to get to the door. If the door is out of my seat and I can step out the door, they can end the meeting so much faster. I used to do that when I would sell in a store. I would always keep myself between the customer and the door. There’s no real reason for it but I’ve seen it both ways. When I’m between them and the door, they stayed longer and we get to have a better conversation. It’s a weird thing about selling. I could be wrong. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m always between the customer and the door.

It makes sense. I don’t know if this is always true. I’m not younger anymore. I’m a Gen Xer. I’m not a part of the youth crowd anymore. I had to throw off that moniker. I don’t know how it was previous to the world in which we live. Every sale that you make these days, you have to overcome the legacy ghosts, the phantom of all the sales and marketing BS that people deal with regularly. The different assumption from a buyer to a salesperson is that everyone thinks they’re being sold to. You have to overcome that weird hurdle. All the assumptions that they’re making about every single insurance person that called them, the weirdo cold calls they get from your extended warranty on your vehicle is ended.

All the crap that annoys us every day, once they finally figure out that you’re not that person or that thing, then you can have a real conversation about what you’re selling. I love your tactic because that could take fifteen minutes. It takes a long time and they might want to come into the room and be like, “Tim, I’m not interested.” The door’s right there and they stand up, open the door and be like, “Thanks for coming by. It’s great to have your time.” At least this way, they got across the room. I like small tactics like that.

I used to work in politics. I’ll share one thing with you and we’ll jump into CRM and sales. You’ll find it funny. My first political job ever out of college was working for the US Public Interest Research Group. It’s a sales job. You go around, you knock on doors and you get people to give you their credit card information to donate money to clean water, clean air, usually an environmental or some type of labor laws or something like that. That’s a hard sell. To show up as a stranger on someone’s door and pitch them not even a tangible product, not even selling you a vacuum cleaner.

It’s like a promise of an idea maybe and “What I need right now is your credit card.” The number one tactic I used to do, and they taught us this, is you carry around a clipboard. The second they opened the door and you start into your pitch and you get them listening to you, you flip the clipboard around and you push it, not hard, into their stomach. The natural reaction for them is to grab the clipboard because it’s like invading their personal space. You let go and they’ve got the clipboard and you’re off to the races. I’m all in physical tactics like that.

Speaking of vacuum, I did a first short stint in door-to-door vacuum sales. To your point, the pinnacle of an inside vacuum demo is to make it into the master bedroom. You can vacuum the mattress and the crazy crap that comes off of a mattress will make anybody buy anything. You’re not going to make it up to the bedroom often but when you do, the sale is locked-in at that point.

That’s fascinating. I’m going to have to go check my mattress immediately.

Vacuum it, but don’t ever look inside the bag. You don’t want to go there. It’ll scare you and the people that live with you. My clients would know Nutshell inside and out. The reason that I found Nutshell and started using it was I don’t meet most of my clients face-to-face. Maybe only 10% and only if we happen to be in the same state or I happen to be traveling to a state that they’re going to be in but 90% of the time, we never meet. The number one thing they always need from me is, “What are you doing? What’s going on? What’s happening?” I used to spend a ton of time writing the status reports about things that we did. I used to use Salesforce, but I couldn’t get it to the point where my customers could look at what we were doing in Salesforce and understand and see any type of progression. It never helped us target the talks that we had.

Once I found Nutshell, I could customize it and create my stages. You could see people going through and in some cases, with the ring feature, you can listen to buyer phone calls. They can see emails that are in return. Now, I don’t write any status reports. I say, “If you want to know what’s going on with your account, go to Nutshell.” That’s how you get to know. What it has done for me is when we talk on the phone, let’s say I talk to my client every two weeks. Our conversation is targeted because, “I noticed that ABC Retailer is still in the first stage. What’s going on there?” That’s a targeted question that I can give a targeted response to. “Let’s go on and look at it. You see, we sent them X amount of emails. They haven’t returned. I’m thinking maybe this is not the right buyer. This is what we’re doing.” Whereas normally, what we would have said is, “How is it going? What is going on? What’s happening?”

The assumption for you as a consultant is your answer is always going to be, “It’s going great.” That’s not what your clients want to hear. I imagine that they want tangible details and you get to get past that. I love that you do it that way because it gets you past that initial fluff part of the conversation where maybe they don’t even believe you anyway. As you said, you start having a tangible conversation about real things in the pipeline and we’re talking about a pipeline. They’re sitting in the pipeline and they can see stuff moving forward. I love that you do that and I have this conversation. I don’t do a lot of direct selling anymore, but when I joined Nutshell, the first thing I did is the head of growth, which is both sales and marketing here. I jumped on the sales team as a BDR and started making qualifying calls immediately like any other BDR would.

I wanted to talk to customers. I wanted to learn about our sales process. My first priority was optimizing the bottom of our funnel. I was like, “Let’s start there and make sure that it works well before we start banging leads into it by the 2,000.” Now, I don’t do a lot of that, but I do jump on the calls to handle some major objections or if our clients want to talk about how sales and marketing can come together in Nutshell. The one thing I have the conversation about the most is when we move legacy teams off of spreadsheets or pen and paper for that matter or whiteboards or whatever it might to finally be at the end of the digital realm, into the world of CRM.

Conway's Law says that every product becomes a reflection of the business itself. Click To Tweet

The biggest objection I hear all the time is, “How am I going to conduct my sales meeting?” At first, the question perplexed me. I was like, “What do you mean? Just open Nutshell.” That answer was never sufficient. They’re like, “What do you mean just open Nutshell?” I was like, “You can set up your dashboard like this. You can go to reports. You can pull up an individual lead.” I said, “At the beginning of my sales meeting, which lasts fifteen minutes once a week, where you are doing exactly what you’re talking about.” It’s talking about specific leads in the pipeline that I have questions about for my team.

You know what’s going on 100% of the time, but it’s an interesting behavior to change when they don’t feel comfortable. They want to send out the spreadsheet that has all the top-line numbers and they want to do all that stuff. I had to figure out a different way to contest that objection. I made a small video that I sent out to individual clients of me conducting a sales meeting with Nutshell so they can see how it works. I could pull it up on a screen and share it because with Nutshell, there’s no reason to have that meeting. You should be able to log in Nutshell at any particular time and see the health of the pipeline. The only questions you’re asking, whether it’s the mention feature or you’re sending someone an email or Slack or whatever is, “What’s up with this deal? This one deal or these two deals?” I love that you do it like that. It’s very refreshing for me to hear.

It brought me back a tremendous amount of what I consider to be wasted time. Even though I know that the one thing that my clients need from me is info, having to stop what I’m doing and write about the things that I’ve done seems to be wasted time. To your point with sales meetings, if you have to ask what’s up with the lead, then somebody is also not doing their job. My sales guy is super good with notes. If he makes a call and nobody answers, he puts notes in about this lead and how many times he’s tried to reach them and this is what happened. If I see that they’re lagging in the pipeline, I go in and I look at the notes, then I know. If there are no notes in there, then I can say, “Did you forget about this guy? What’s going on with that?” It’s been tremendous and I don’t give them the option. You do business with me, you’re getting a Nutshell account. That’s how you’re going to follow-up on what I do. If that’s not good for you, then we’re not going to work together because I don’t do it any other way.

I think that’s true of any system. Whether that’s Nutshell or whatever system you’re using. When I was on the agency side, that was the hardest part is people would always want us to work in their project management system. I explained to a client one time, “I can’t do that.” They were like, “Why not? We use Trello, Asana and Basecamp.” I was like, “I’ve got 50 clients. If I had to log into every single one of your project management systems and follow your project management process, that’s all I would be doing all day. I’d have to triple charge you what I charge you and no one would be happy.” For those who are working independently, your advice there is, “Once you put a system together, whatever system is working for you and for your clients, to demand that people leverage the system, is critical.”

The second thing you say, which I love and I tell teams all the time, “If it’s not Nutshell, it doesn’t exist.” They’re like, “What do you mean?” I’m like, “Everybody at the agency, we use Basecamp for project management.” I told my team all the time. They’re like, “What do you mean?” I’m like, “Everybody’s in Basecamp. If it’s not in Basecamp, it doesn’t exist. If I can’t see it in there, then I don’t know what’s going on and I can’t help you. We’re going to lose clients.” It’s the same with any type of software. None more important than your CRM. I hope that we’ve addressed that challenge, whether it’s Salesforce or Insightly or some of the other larger like Bittrex, SugarCRM or Zoho.”

If you can’t get people to use the platform, then it’s useless. I don’t care how many features it has or whatever else. That’s my favorite thing when I came to Nutshell. When they went to hire me, the first thing I did was I started a free trial. I was like, “Let’s try out this software.” I’ll see if I want to sell this stuff. I set up my Nutshell account. I’m a savvy SaaS user. I use marketing tools all the time. I had my MailChimp account, my Gmail, everything hooked up in fifteen minutes. I was like, “That’s fast.” For someone who’s never touched a piece of software, it might take a day to get all those parts and pieces together. If people aren’t inspired to use it, that’s useless.

It’s come a long way. The last thing I want to say before we go backward is Nutshell is an asset. The whole idea is that my clients aren’t going to work with me forever. Eventually, they’re going to learn enough for me or they’re going to be doing enough business that they can hire their person and here’s Nutshell. Everything that we’ve ever done, every person we’ve ever contacted, every retailer that has ever looked at your product, every sample that we’ve ever sent is inside Nutshell. That becomes an asset that I transferred to them at the end of our engagement. Nowadays, I have a new thing that I’m using called a 30-day quickstart and that’s where we leverage, “You want to hit these ten retailers?”

We’re going to get that first contact started and until we figure out whether that’s the right person that we’re supposed to be contacting, we’re going to hand it over to you in 30 days. In that 30-day quickstart, we started on a Nutshell account and it makes it easier to transfer that over to them in 30 days. You don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to write anything down or look at their spreadsheet. It’s all there and you can pick it up from where we left off. I’m gushing but let’s go back a little bit. I know that you weren’t with Nutshell from the beginning. To your understanding, when did Nutshell start? What year?

It was brought around 2010. I’m sure the development of the first line of code was probably written sometime in 2009.

At the beginning, what developed as the Nutshell’s mission statement? What did they want to accomplish? They’re a good CRM for a minimal amount of money. What’s the mission? Is it still the same mission?

It’s a yes and no. I’m excited to tell you what’s coming up in the future because the mission is evolving. The initial impetus behind Nutshell is that the founders of Nutshell, Andy, who’s our CTO and one of the founders and a collection of individuals had a separate company where they’re selling it essentially like a piece of backup hardware. This was years ago, the Cloud wasn’t yet a thing, at least not what it is nowadays. That part I’ll probably screw up a little bit, but the sales process that they had to manage, they had to go to the site location. They had to install this hardware. They had to follow-up. Every single CRM they tried to work with was not working for that long gated sales cycle. Each time they tried a new piece of software, they got more frustrated. This is how good software is always created. I think it’s called Conway’s Law, which Andy always tells me about. He’s like, “I don’t want to get too academic on people, but I love that kind of stuff.”

Conway’s Law essentially says, at least as Andy’s explained it to me, that every product becomes a reflection of the business itself. The business that’s developing the product. That’s true for Nutshell cases. They didn’t find a CRM software that allowed them to manage this very long-term relationship, which spanned between onsite and offsite. The history of the conversation where they were in their process and all those types of things. Nutshell was initially built to solve an internal problem as a custom CRM for that company. It was eventually sold off to Barracuda and became the number one selling product for Barracuda the world over. Once that happened, they all came back together and it’s how Basecamp was created.

In the same way as the Basecamp, it was 37signals before there was Basecamp. It was a web design agency. That’s what they did. They needed to manage their projects. They didn’t like any of the tools so they built one for themselves. It’s the same thing here, the Nutshell core team built their CRM and they’re like, “We’ve got something here.” They flipped it out in 2010 and started taking on customers. I love it when Andy tells me about the early days. He’s like, “It was me, a bunch of developers and one support person.” He’s like, “I talked to every single customer.” I said, “I bet that felt good. Do you miss that?” He’s like, “I miss that.” Now, we’ve got thousands of customers that rolled over. That’s why Nutshell was designed and created to solve a unique problem in a B2B scenario for managing a longer sales process. It needed to be easy to use. Our mission from the beginning was to kill the idea that simplicity or ease of use and power are somehow mutually exclusive. That’s ridiculous.

The genius behind Nutshell and the way you put it and articulated it was perfect. You can have both of those things in the same ease of use and power and the same thing. For certain things, other CRMs work. To customize Salesforce, you might have to hire somebody and pay them $10,000 to get it to where you needed to be able to use it. You would have to train people because they are not intuitive.

OTS 161 | Growing Your Sales
Growing Your Sales: The beauty of the things many companies are doing now is that most of the time, there’s no reason to have to go to the office.


I couldn’t agree with you more. I don’t mean to be disparaging Salesforce. The most amazing thing about Salesforce is they built a piece of software, then they created a secondary marketplace of consultants and developers. They built a true platform that you could build on it wherever you want. I think that’s what people miss most often when they’re shopping for a CRM. They see the name Salesforce like you’d see Kleenex and CVS or something. The thing is it’s a household name for CRM. Salesforce is not a CRM. It’s a software development platform with a framework that allows large enterprise teams to build massively complex ERP, CRM and invoicing systems for their particular needs.

They have whole teams of people to deal with that. Whether or not the sales team likes using it is another question but it has its purpose. The juggernaut they become is I’m always impressed with companies that scale to that particular size. What I don’t like about what Salesforce is doing, which is the problem that Nutshell solves, is that for a growing team of anywhere from 1 to 100, everybody needs to be able to change everything. Everybody needed to be able to navigate the system. The point of a good CRM is that it should almost be invisible. It should be something that happens.

You shouldn’t have to think about it. That’s what’s missing from most of the other CRM is that it becomes disruptive. It should not be disruptive. It should be an extension of your workday. When you log into your CRM, you should be like, “I’ve got to do this data entry. I’ve got to do this thing.” You should want to log into your CRM because that’s where the work happens. That’s where you make sales. With Nutshell, I work in Nutshell every day. I’ve never once had gone in there and be like, “I’ve got to do this data entry.” I love opening Nutshell because there’s nothing but money and opportunity inside of my Nutshell account.

You have sold a lot of these attachments and certain things. Interestingly, when I was on the Customer Advisory Council I said, “What I don’t want to do is get out of Nutshell. You make me do that. If I can’t send an email with an attachment, then I have to go out of Nutshell to my regular email and send that email there. I’d rather stay in Nutshell as long as I can while I’m working on this particular client if I can be in there.” When you were talking about customization, I was thinking every time you lose a client, the reason may be different. People that don’t know Nutshell, you can pick the reasons why you lose a particular client. If you need to add a new reason, it’s two clicks, you add it, you refresh it and then it’s there. It’s not like this some big software development thing where you’re like, “I’d like to add that reason why I lost this client because it may come up again. Now, I have to call customer service. I have to find somebody who’s my add man.” You go into settings and go to activities and add or go to reason, whatever it is and add it. It’s that easy.

That’s the ease of use component of Nutshell. There’s a major feature in Nutshell. There’s sales automation. There are personal email sequences. Our reporting is powerful like a major CRM features that will help you improve sales process and grow your business. My favorite feature to demo is one of the omni-field, which is any person or company record, if you want to add a phone number, email address, physical address or URL. It’s one box. You type it in and then Nutshell puts it where it’s supposed to go. No more of this filling out a form in your own CRM. If you hover over something, you can change it. You don’t have to double click into a person’s name, go to their record page, find the phone number line. If you see the phone number, you can change it in Nutshell. That is by far my favorite thing. Sales teams all over don’t care about sales automation. Eventually, they will but that’s the first thing that always blows their mind. It’s how easy it is to touch and change things inside the CRM.

I’m constantly looking for the save button. I hover over the name and the thing comes up. I type in the new phone number. I still look for the save button. There is no save button. Once you type it in, it’s in once you stop hovering over it. I constantly go back and check if it’s there. It’s there. You don’t have to hit save. From where Nutshell started to where it is, who is your main demographic?

Nutshell is used by all sorts of teams. Most likely, the teams that either get the most value out of Nutshell or that we get signing up are two-fold. They’re solopreneurs or entrepreneurs or consultants working by themselves and need to scale themselves like you, Tim. They get a lot of value out of Nutshell. One of the emails in our in-trial trip that I wrote, the subject line is “Clone yourself.” You can’t do that, but what Nutshell allows that person to do is to do many things at once without having to worry about dropping the ball. Once you create your sales process in Nutshell, you never have to worry about reminding to follow-up or whatever else. You can set up your sales process and then when you come into your dashboard, you’ve got your to-do list, your task list, which is always on every day.

That’s one crowd of people, which we love serving. The other crowd is your mid-sized sales and marketing teams combined, but more sales teams of maybe 3, 4, 5 up to 10 people. We have people in Nutshell. We have 100 seats and 1,000 seats even. Our bread and butter are those small mid-sized sales teams that are either coming off a spreadsheet or migrating from another CRM like Salesforce. They need ease of use, flexibility, and they want to move faster. They’re across all sorts of industries. I ran the Nutshell database through Clearbit not too long ago. I was curious about the same question you asked me.

I was like, “Who uses Nutshell for real?” Oddly, I found out that as far as Clearbit was concerned, which is not 100% right, it’s not a one-to-one data match, about 27% of them were marketing and sales, consultancies and agencies. It didn’t surprise me because for the people that know software the best, they want the least hassle from the software they use. It seems when people are unfamiliar with the software, you’re almost more willing to deal with challenges or problems maybe because you haven’t been exposed to software as much or you don’t know any better or it’s a recommendation from a friend or whatever else.

I found it and I was flattered for the engineering team and our company, in general, that the people that use our software the most were our largest cross-section of customers. Manufacturers are using Nutshell for project management. People are using Nutshell for nonprofit organizations. The University of Michigan uses Nutshell to track applicants to their Ross MBA program. People use Nutshell for all manner of things that I would never think to use Nutshell for. I think that’s for two reasons. It’s flexible and it’s easy to use. I banged on that a lot and you’re like, “You’re selling me so hard that it is easy to use.” I don’t mean to do that, but it’s true. That’s what brings people to Nutshell all the time. Teams that don’t call things leads use Nutshell because it’s easy to use.

To bring it into perspective for our Big Boxers, let me give you an example of how I might help one of my clients to use Nutshell. Let’s say The Inspired Home Show didn’t get canceled. We went there and we had a lead generation machine, which I always recommend in any of my shows about trade shows. We spent $500, $400, $300, get the lead retrieval machine. For those of you who’ve never been to a big trade show, you can download it onto your phone. You scan people’s badges as they come into your booth and what you’re left with at the end is a CSV file on the name, all the stats, email and notes.

A lot of times, you would get back and as you’re going to start to follow-up, you would have to start sending each of these people an email. What I do and what my clients do is we take that CSV file and we dump it right into Nutshell. Before we do that, we might write a new email template, specifically designed for what we want to say to people that we met at a trade show. We might name it “Home Show, Trade Show, Follow-up.” We write that initial email. Once we dump these people in, then they will get that email. Everybody that we met that doesn’t require specific follow-up, we can tick those off on the list. It goes out, it’s fast, and half of your people have been followed up with.

The ones that require specific things, maybe you have to send out a pricing sheet or a deck or you might want to put a personal note in there because you spend a little extra time with them. You still can pull up the email template and you tweak it and then you send it out. The most important thing is all those people from the time that you get the CSV file to the time you get into the Nutshell is just minutes, then you can follow-up as needed. The amount of people that spend millions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of dollars on trade shows, the follow-up that they made there are very low. That’s the most interesting thing because people spend so much time and money to go there and then the amount of time that they don’t follow-up is staggering. It’s because when you get back, your job is still there. Your work is still there. It’s been piling up on you. A follow-up becomes this daunting task. That’s one way that I use Nutshell and my clients use. I encourage my clients to use Nutshell with regard to trade show follow-up.

I probably wrote this on my landing page as one of the biggest game-changers for my business and my clients’ business. Nutshell added the ability to create as many follow-up emails to your initial email in advance as you want. You write your initial email and then you can create a follow-up email that you scheduled to go out five days. It only goes out if the person doesn’t respond. If you get an email response, it will cancel out the follow-up because that looks dumb if you follow up two days later and you’ve got to respond, then they’re like, “I just emailed you.” You can create your email and then a follow-up email. To me, follow-up emails are always a couple of sentences, “I’m following up on my email. Let me know where you want me to send the samples.”

Don't read about sales. Read about how people behave, how they respond to things in situations, and you will be a better seller. Click To Tweet

I get more responses to the follow-up email by far than I get to my initial email. It’s something that happens automatically. I don’t have to do it. Here’s the real sweet spot. Everything that we do as solopreneurs are like tasks in a sifter. The more you shake the sifter, tasks fall through it and you never see them again. It would happen to me if I’m dealing with 150 retailers, some of those are going to fall through the cracks. Some of those I’m going to forget to follow-up. Some of those I’m going to forget that I’ve even reached out to them. With Nutshell, none of it falls through the cracks because you can see the progression through your stages and you can see the people that are getting left behind, which to me is super valuable. If you’re about to embark on a series of approaching retailers, you have to get Nutshell. You have to get it because from your very first contact to your next ten contacts, you put them all in there and then they’re in. You’ll never going to forget them. I think that’s the wonder of it all.

Tim, are you looking for a job? You sell Nutshell really well. One thing that you’re going to love is the personal email sequence you’re talking about. It is one of my favorite features in Nutshell. It allows you to send out personalized email sequences as you describe and make them personal. Every single one of those emails in there. If you’re using orange placeholders, it won’t send out. If you don’t personalize it, there are all sorts of ways to protect against the dangers of automation. In selling, automation can be your enemy from time to time.

You send something to Bob when it was Stan that you’re emailing.

You asked Stan about his kids but he’s single and lives in Florida and he doesn’t have any kids. There are all those disadvantages. What you’re going to be excited about is we’re going to take those personal email sequences to your pipeline stages. I don’t know exactly how it’s going to work yet because they’re building it. Sometimes things change from start to finish. You can trigger those sequences automatically when a lead jobs get into different stage in your pipeline. Now, you have to launch them yourself, which is not hard. When I do follow-ups, sometimes I go out and I’ll do a talk at one of our customers, the Mirage Screen Doors. They’re the wholesale dealer. They’re the OEM.

They sell the doors and then they had a sales conference. They had me come and talk about CRM to all of their dealers, which are screen door and screen window people all across the United States and Canada. It’s a trade show experience. When I came back, I put all those people in Nutshell, loaded up the spreadsheet, and then there were about 100 people. It was a small conference and I was glad to go and talk to them. I sent them all a personal sequence. I personalized every single one of those sequences and it only took me an hour and a half. Essentially what you end up loading together is there are four emails in the sequence. That’s 100 people. That’s 400 emails scheduled, ready to go and personalized in less than two hours.

It’s a huge time savings and you don’t understand all the different things that you can do. I have my Nutshell account that I put my leads into. Every time I go in there, I’m like, “What is going on with that guy? I haven’t heard back from that guy. It’s been a couple of months and I haven’t heard.” It causes me to fire off an email. I put some email sequences together to let people know, “If they’re not ready to do business with me, there’s all kinds of cool things that they can do.” They can join my Facebook group. They can subscribe to my show. There are things that they can do that don’t cost them any money, but they can still be getting knowledge. That email gets fired off when I push a lead into pending or they’re not ready right now.

Are you using MailChimp or Constant Contact for that?

I don’t use either of those.

You’re sending off a template of email from Nutshell yourself.

I don’t like to use Constant Contact for personalized emails only because it looks like a Constant Contact email.

It will always be at the bottom and you can’t escape it. You can fake a personalized email from an email marketing tool, but not to your point. We don’t use it like that either. The marketing team uses Constant Contact or MailChimp. Sometimes, solopreneurs or entrepreneurs who want to truly automate email can leverage Nutshell in that way. I like that you don’t do that. It doesn’t take that long to find the template.

To your point, it sounds like if I push somebody into pending, it’ll trigger that email automatically.

Eventually, yes. That’s exactly the direction we’re going. You’ll get the capability of any email marketing platform from a personal email perspective inside of Nutshell. Much more like maybe reply that IO or outreach that IO, which is for your audience, it’s a very large sales engagement tools for teams of a 100 or more whatever else that focus only on scaling personal one-to-one email. We’re dragging all of that capability into Nutshell. That’s the next evolution. We’re still busy perfecting CRM and we will always be busy perfecting CRM for our customers and potential customers because the bottom of your funnel is where the most value is 110% of the time. If you want to make money, focus on your sales process.

Tell us a little bit about the future of Nutshell.

OTS 161 | Growing Your Sales
Growing Your Sales: Nutshell needed to be easy to use. The mission from the very beginning was to kill the idea that ease of use and power are mutually exclusive


We had our virtual conference, Boundless. The theme for 2020 was “Above and Beyond.” It’s talking about ways to optimize your entire funnel from sales to marketing to customer success and support. There’s a little bit of everything in there. I’ll send you the link so that everybody can get the playlist on YouTube and take which sessions they want to see. The reason I say that is because I and Andy, our co-founder and CTO, had a conversation about, “What’s the next evolution at Nutshell?” You can’t see us talk about it but it’s super exciting.

At Nutshell, we don’t have a sales team and a marketing team. We have one team that we called growth team. I’m the head of growth. I run both sales and marketing, which means I’m equally responsible for building sales process, scripts, templates, working with the day-to-day frontline sales team that we have to close deals. As much as I’m responsible for working with our marketing team to fill the top of the funnel. Nutshell is almost 100% inbound marketing. We’re getting all of our leads coming to us through content and other things. We only have one team. We run into problems with our team making the sales operation and the marketing operation work better together. It is the problem that exists across the enterprise and mid-market marketplace.

If you go on LinkedIn for fifteen minutes, you’re going to find someone talking about marketing and sales alignment without a doubt. Our contention is not a people problem, which is how it’s been described in the past. Is that, “You’re a sales leader and your marketing leader aren’t talking to each other,” or “Your sales team and your marketing team aren’t talking to each other. They don’t want to collaborate.” Those are the particular problems. In Nutshell, we took it a step further and we created a growth team because we think that measuring the same team by the same metrics and leveraging the team as one team with one leader is a better way to get results. We’ve got good results that way. If that’s the case, then the real problem is a tool problem. It’s a technology issue.

The reason why sales and marketing teams aren’t working together is that the marketing teams are working on their email marketing platform. They may be in Google Analytics, Ad Words or whatever else. They may be all over the place. Your sales team is in the CRM and rarely the two shall meet. What we’re talking about is solving or killing that tension between sales and marketing teams with technology. The next evolution of Nutshell is figuring out, “How do we tackle that with Nutshell? How do we bring more tools, whether it’s two teams that need to come together and work better, or a solopreneur that needs to have both these capabilities in one place?” As your audience knows, whether you’re trying to send off a mass email to 1,000 people, which you can do in Nutshell, but that’s not the best way to do that. To send a personal email to 1,000 people or your sales team trying to figure out what your marketing team is doing, it all has to be in one place.

All the information that marketing would need to know, that better conversations, more personal conversations en masse with their audience is in the CRM. Everything that the salesperson needs to know like what was the last thing sent to that prospect I’m talking to so I can either fix it because sometimes it creates problems, or take advantage of it or let my marketing team know that this prospect has this particular interest, “Can you please send them this sequence of emails or this asset or this eBook or whatever else?” All of those things rolled up together in one single platform is what we’re trying to figure out. We know that email is the first stop on that mystery tour of creating a new technology that’s going to be able to be leveraged. That’s what’s next for Nutshell is focusing on killing or eliminating that tension between sales and marketing and bringing it together using technology and not lip service.

I always say that there are only two ways to increase your sales. You can either bring more people or sell more to the people that you already have. I used to be a Director of Stores for a company called Oreck Vacuums. The guy I took over from was a marketing guy. His idea was to push as many people to the stores as he could and he would do that through increased advertising. My philosophy was always, “If we’re not closing those people, if we’re not selling those people, then that’s wasted money.” A customer is ten times more likely to buy than a brand-new customer. When I took over for him, my philosophy was we need to fix our pitch. We need to fix how we sell to people and sell more to the people already crossing.

When we feel like our conversion rate is at a certain amount, then we can throw gas on that and get more people in there. As far as CRM goes, I think the most interesting thing for marketing to know is why we’re closing the people that were closing. You find and you take all the people that you closed in last month and go back and find out what were the last three conversations that you had and what were the catalyst to get to close? Those are the type of people that you target. That’s what you’re talking about. It’s more understanding what causes the sale so that we can forecast on that and get more of those types of customers.

I think information for both of these teams is power. The problem with that information is it’s distributed. At its core, what we’re trying to do is bring all that into one place. Everybody’s working and collaborating in the same place. It’s not a distributed system. You’ve got to tackle this as a big problem to solve. If it was easy to solve, someone would’ve already done it. Salesforce would have done it. They can get Salesforce and Pardot and whatever else, but still those are two different software that you have to integrate. Sometimes they don’t even work the right way.

What we’re talking about is something unique in the sense that you don’t have to go anywhere. The marketing team and the sales team are going to be logging into Nutshell period. This is the same instance and the same dashboards. They can change their dashboards to pull out what information is important to them, but they can drill down on any piece of information that they want. While we don’t know what exactly that looks like, what we’re focused on first is equipping the sales team, solopreneurs, entrepreneurs or small business teams with more marketing tools in one place.

That’s what they’re asking for. If there’s one thing that all of our customers have been asking for is those types of features. They’re all struggling with the integration side of things. “I’ve got MailChimp over here. I’ve got Constant Contact. I’ve got MyAnalytics over here.” They get tired of logging into 3, 4 and maybe even 5 different pieces of software. We don’t think that’s necessary, particularly, for a smaller team or a small business that needs to move fast and be flexible. It needs to focus more on the doing of things and less on the wiring of things together, which usually costs money and needs a developer and all sorts of things that are usually available to a regular business and it’s not a software business.

I can even tell you that we in Nutshell experience the same problem. I’ve got a fifteen-person engineering team and the most talented developers I’ve ever met in my entire life, sitting not 20 feet from me, 35 hours a week when I’m not working at home. We still suffer through the same problems because they’re maintaining the product and all that kind of stuff. If we’re experiencing the problem, we can only imagine how challenging it is for our customers and they’ve expressed that to us. We’re going to go out and fix it.

That was the last thing I put on my landing page. Big Boxers, when you go there, you’ll see some of the things I like most about Nutshell. One of the things is the R&D and the fact that it’s not just what you get. It’s what you get now and then next day might be something better, and the next day might be something better. If you’re having an issue and you call up customer service and you say, “Wouldn’t it be great if they log those things down and send it over to guys like Mike?” If enough people want that, then they put that in the queue to get done. I’ve seen in my many years of using Nutshell. I’ve been using Nutshell for many years now.

When you and I first talked, I couldn’t believe that. I was like, “Here’s Tim and he knows more about the evolution of Nutshell than I do.” When you described to me how much you’ve enjoyed seeing a change and how responsive the team has been, it’s something I believe being inside the company. It’s great to hear from outside because even I don’t get to see all those decisions our success and support teams have yet catalogs requests and weight them. Based on how we make those decisions is like, “What thing can we do next that has the largest impact on the very widest amount as possible to help you all do your jobs better?” You’ve got a chance to see that and for that feedback to come back to us, I shared that with the team. Everyone was over the moon.

As I said, I logged it down as my top four things because what you’re paying for today is not what you’re going to be paying the next day. Your price doesn’t go up. Because they make it cooler, better, faster and easier, it doesn’t change what you’re going to pay for it. At least, they don’t charge you more to get those certain features. Speaking of how much you guys are going to pay for Nutshell, here’s a great thing that’s going to be coming your way from the show. If you go to my Nutshell landing page link that you need to go through and you use the code TLB, you’re going to get 15% off.

With any type of software, there's none more important than your CRM. Click To Tweet

That’s 15% off of your first year of Nutshell, which essentially means if you start with one user, you get 15% off that first year, whether you pay month to month or for the entire year. If you want to get a double discount, buy an annual license. There are no contracts in Nutshell and I’m digging in Salesforce there. If everybody wants an interesting read. Go to our blog and read Nutshell’s Salesforce Contracts, Explained. You can google it. It ranks number one for it. The horror stories we’ve heard from Salesforce people in getting out of those contracts was incredible. It’s nothing short of extortion. That’s a tangent, I shouldn’t be on. You’d get 15% off the first year. If you bought an annual plan, you automatically get 10% off of Nutshell by buying annually, which would double that essential discounted for 25%. I did the math. If you go to Starbucks at least three times a week, you’ll spend more money on coffee than you will on Nutshell by week two.

It’s ridiculous how affordable it is. Let me give you a little advice. If you’re trying to say, “Should I get the pro account or not the pro account?” Get the pro account. There are certain things that the pro account can allow you to do what you’re going to need to do if you’re going to be using Nutshell the way I do. If you’re getting ready to launch a campaign with retailers and you want to keep track of it the way that I do, then you’re going to want to get the pro account. I know what you’re thinking. You’re like, “How many $100 is the pro account?” It’s $39, then you get your 15% on top of that.

It’s an easy choice. It’s all flat fees at Nutshell, $39 per user per month. With that, you’ll get unlimited support, unlimited data, unlimited click to call, unlimited click to call recording and all the sales automation and reporting features that you ever need as much power as any enterprise company is using for a very reasonable price.

I feel like that little pitch you gave, you given that a couple of times. The power one because it flowed right up.

It’s our tagline. We had it on the homepage. I’m a writer, but I’m not our best copywriter. Ben is by far our chief copywriter and I love the way he writes copy. Calling Nutshell sneaky powerful is how we wrap all that up into one thing. At face value when you look at it, it becomes simple to use and easy to look at. It obscures the fact of what’s underneath the hood. There’s a lot of power behind there. Big sales teams use Nutshell to do all sorts of things all the time. I love that when they stay with us because I don’t think there’s any reason to make it any more complicated than we’ve done. Maybe this is a tangent, but this is fun to talk about. No matter what CRM you buy, you’re buying a framework or an assumption of how sales work from that company. Every CRM that is built is making some assumptions about how the sales process works in general. Salesforce assumption or even Insightly assumptions is that there are leads, then there are deals or opportunities, and then there are projects or close deals after that, which is goofy. When does a lead become a deal or an opportunity?

I don’t know. I couldn’t figure it out when I was using Salesforce.

It’s different for everybody. An opportunity for you might be, “It’s an opportunity if they respond to me.” That’s an opportunity because you’re enterprising and for tenacious salesperson, any response, any hand raise whatsoever is an opportunity. To somebody else, it’s only an opportunity if they’ve asked me about the price. Those are two salespeople in the same organization. Who decides when something becomes a lead to opportunity? Our thing is there are people, companies and leads. The importance of leads are all defined by its value and where it sits in your pipeline. If it’s in prospecting, it’s not as important as someone in the closing stage. I’ve never understood why companies delineate between deals and opportunities and leads and all the monikers or nomenclature. Maybe it’s to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Maybe we need to stick with simplicity.

I think how some people that run large sales teams do it is they have a lead generation system like, “You clicked on this, now you’re a lead. You clicked on that. You put your name or your email.” They then dumped those leads all into the system. Their idea of the lead is still cold. It’s somebody who did something that caused us to get their contact information. To turn that no face, no name person into somebody who might be interested becomes an opportunity. That works if you have this lead generation system, which is dumping cold leads into a system. They get assigned to somebody and that person’s job is to turn that lead into an opportunity. That opportunity is what Nutshell calls lead. I don’t put people into my system that aren’t leads.

We don’t dump people in there. You could have a huge list of retailers and buyers and dump it all in there and then as people start to respond. That’s not how I do it. Once we put a lead-in, that lead is an opportunity. That’s how I viewed it when I saw that whole situation. To your point, everybody is different in what they think. When a person crosses that threshold. Big companies use that whole opportunity thing to create forecasts for sales that they give to their board or they give to their private equity company and say, “This many people in are our opportunity part of the pipeline, which we convert X amount of those, so this is what it’s going to look like.” They don’t understand that half of that is bogus because people are trying to pump their numbers, “I talked to them or I left them a message,” and now they’re an opportunity.

This is why I make the argument from a sales and marketing alignment perspective. That’s why I love leading a growth team at Nutshell because I’m responsible for one number, it’s new monthly recurring revenue. All the other numbers that I report on don’t mean a thing unless at the end of the day, quarter, month, I can report a good new MRR number. That’s the conversation I have had with my boss, our CEO, and our board when we do that. You bring up a good point and I don’t want to go too far down this rabbit hole because your audience doesn’t have to deal with this crap regularly, maybe some of them do. When you’re talking about building a pipeline, to me a pipeline is the whole thing.

It’s not a linear journey anymore. Someone might come in as a prospect. You’ve never had one conversation with them, but they know your company or they know your product. They might all of a sudden be ready to buy because you don’t know what’s happening in their life that generates the need that pushes them from being a lead to an opportunity to closing the deal within hours or it can be minutes. It could be the opposite way. You might have worked someone down your pipeline and they’re sitting in the closing section. I’m going to use an extreme example, but then their dad died. Something tragic happens and they float away.

Once they floated away, maybe it’s a business reason or not. It doesn’t have to be so extreme, but they float away for whatever reason and they float back at the top of your funnel. They need to be renurtured by the marketing team or reintroduced to your product. You’ve got to start the whole process all over again. You don’t know when all that happens. If you’re working in a world in which the process is nonlinear, I’ve never understood why we report out metrics and all that kind of stuff based on the idea that everyone’s going to go through the same step by step process. It’s good to have the sales process, so you know where are you going to gauge interest and all those types of things, but you’ve got to be ready to pick things up and to set things aside at will. A tool like Nutshell allows you to make sure you stay in touch with the people that you have to put aside. When I was on the agency side of things and I never used a CRM. We always spreadsheet or Airtable. We are not getting a ton of leads, but we were a seven-figure agency. We’ve got 40 clients and I might get four or five leads a month. That’s fine. That’s the pipeline to us.

Each one of those deals is at a minimum of $250,000 a year. It takes months, sometimes six months to almost a year to close those deals. What would always unnerve me at the time I didn’t use a CRM. It was stupid. We didn’t make the good decision to be like, “We’re going to create a process and do this,” is when someone comes back to me and say, “Talk to me next quarter.” I’ll take a little sticky note and put it on the corner of my computer. Now that I use Nutshell, I don’t know why I would ever do that. With the keep in touch feature, you just click a button and next quarter on this day at this time it’s like, “Mike, you should reach out to so-and-so.” I look at their record and remember our conversation without even having to think about it. That’s the subtle difference. Nutshell helps you pick up that nonlinear experience in the real world and turn it into something repeatable and understandable inside a piece of software.

When you were saying, whether it’s relevant to the readers or not, I think that it is. With any pipeline, you have to be honest with yourself as you move people through the pipeline. Nutshell allows you to move somebody to a different stage of the pipeline, even if you haven’t checked all the boxes. I know Big Boxers, if you don’t use Nutshell, some of what we’re talking about here might be foreign. If you picture a sales stage that has seven stages in it and each stage has tasks that you have to accomplish before it allows you to move to the next stage. Why that’s important is because when you see people in certain stages, you know that they’re there for a reason. For me, even though I’ve accomplished a task and maybe the task says, “Send them an initial email,” and a couple of other things. I can click all those things, but it still doesn’t advance me because it won’t advance until they respond to my email. Nutshell knows when they respond. Sometimes, if you get an out of office response, it’ll still do it.

OTS 161 | Growing Your Sales
Growing Your Sales: Nutshell doesn’t have sales and marketing teams. It has only one team that works together, and it’s called the “Growth Team.”


We’re working on that.

Many times, I want to advance them because I’m like, “I don’t have anything else I can do in this stage, but I know that until I get a personal response for them, they’re not viable to go to the next stage.” You just moving them doesn’t make them a viable prospect? As a manufacturer of consumer goods, you can start to take a look at what your sales are going to look like based on where people are in your stages. If you start to track, which Nutshell does for you, how long it takes for them to get out of each stage, you can start to say, “This person is now in this stage. Based on my trend, I should be closing this person or they should be a dead lead to me by this time.”

Mike was saying, “Sometimes you get them to all the way to the end and something happens.” The coronavirus happens and all of a sudden, everything comes to a screeching halt. It may be months before you can pick it up. If you’re picking it up with them, hundreds of other people are picking it up with them too. You just can’t start where you left off. You got to go back and massage. That’s why they have the keep in touch feature. If you have a team, you can follow certain people. It’ll notify you of things happening with your team because you have certain interests. If there’s a big account that’s happening and you want to keep track of what’s going on, you can follow that account on its way through it.

We could talk for hours about improving sales processes, whether to use Nutshell or not and how to do that. It’s one of my favorite topics. I live in that funnel report. I check that thing every day to see and looking at different time frames and different people that are going through it, different salespeople, and how they’re doing things a little bit differently and translating that to our larger process. I’ve always been a sales and marketing guy, but I’m a Nutshell evangelist in the sense that it’s almost like the Hair Club for men thing. It’s like I’m the president of the company, but I’m also a client. I have to use Nutshell every day.

I think we can use your process. You know when people use it and don’t, based on how you can converse with them, you’ll know what’s going on. Big Boxers out there, as you’re reading, I know some of these things don’t make sense. I know some of these things you’re wondering about. All you need to know is if you’re looking to contact people, if you’re looking to manage that and make sure that nobody slips through the cracks, if you want to be able to customize your emails and send it with first names and follow-up appropriately. Nutshell is the only system that I have found that will do it the way that we need to do it. I continue to learn. I canceled my Nutshell account on accident because I had a client that left and I was meaning to cancel his account because he was done. They’re not selling anymore. He didn’t even need the data in there. I canceled my own instead. I still had time left on my monthly. I went back and reinstated it and all my stuff was still there.

Just so everybody knows, we won’t delete your data for a minute. That’s the other thing about Nutshell, which I tell people about all the time. Your priorities and things are going to change. We make the exit easy even. The reason I share that is not because I expect people to leave Nutshell, but it says something about the type of company we are and the type of service that we provide. There’s nothing more frustrating, for example, if you try to leave your Salesforce contract, you have to hire a lawyer and I’m not even kidding. I won’t say who it is but a friend of mine who runs three different businesses. I went to go work at Nutshell and he’s like, “I hate Salesforce. It is a problem.” I’m like, “Get out of your contract and come over to Nutshell. I’ll set it up and we’ll get you rocking and rolling, no problem.”

It took him a year to get out of his Salesforce contract. He gets to hire an attorney. They tried to extort him for the money that they supposedly he owed them, which is a three-year-long contract. It was insane. There are many CRM companies that behave in a nice way like, “You sign up. You want to go away, you get to go away.” Nutshell always made the exit door easy. You’ll always have access to your data. You can export it all at any particular time. You don’t have to ask anybody. You hit two buttons and you get a full data export. If you want to export all your people, select them all with clicking one button, hit export, out comes a spreadsheet of all of your data. Some of the undersold parts in Nutshell that I talk about a lot. I don’t do it as much because our sales cycle is a little shorter. On average, I know it takes 21.6 days for someone to purchase Nutshell once they’re on trial. There’s not a whole lot of long-term relationship stuff that we have to manage any more even though we’ve built a system that is very good at managing long-term relationships. Our support team leverages Nutshell to manage these relationships over the years.

If I go to your record Tim, I will see every single conversation you’ve had with our support team since you started years ago. Even when you changed email addresses, we put your new email address on there or whatever else and merge everything together and I have a total history of Tim’s conversation with anybody at Nutshell. Half of the team don’t even work there anymore because he’s been with us for so long. The contact management solution part of Nutshell is almost the most beautiful part of it. If you’re not even using a pipeline, if you want to go in and be like, “Who have I talked to in the last seven days? It is easy. You just select, “Who I’ve talked to in the last seven days,” set your filter and then up pops a list of people. If you want to flip over to a map and see where they are in the United States because you’re on a going on a trip, you can do that. The way that Nutshell allows you to find and visualize things makes it an extension of your regular workflow. It’s a logical way to do things. That’s what’s missing from a lot of pieces of software.

I use the opposite of that, who haven’t I spoken to in the last 30 days. It pops up all the people that I haven’t talked to in the last 30, 60, 90 days, which then creates a task list for me on that particular account of people that I need to or one of my sales team guys needs to get in touch with.

There’s a feature request that I have that I don’t mind sharing because we’re always improving. It’s my personal feature request. Once you make that list, I’d like to be able to en masse create a task for each of those people on that list. I want to contact all these people and then it might waterfall those tasks. You can only see my engineering team rolling their eyes whenever I’m like, “I’ve got an idea.” At least, they were part of the day, but that’s one of the things I love to get in Nutshell.

If we’re going to talk about things that we love, I would love for me to be able to link Nutshell accounts because I manage eight Nutshell accounts. What I can’t do is I have to use a separate task. I can’t use the task feature inside Nutshell because that would cause me every day to go into every Nutshell account and see what tasks are coming up. I use something called Monday.com, which I love.

It’s such a cool product. I love Monday.com. I don’t like that they advertise themselves on Capterra as a CRM. It’s not a CRM.

They have a whole part in there where you can create leads and stuff like that, but you have to customize that. I use it for what people might use Airtable for, but it’s way more customizable to exactly what you want. I like it.

I’m also a Monday.com marketing fanboy a little bit. I’ve always been a fan of their video marketing. I like seeing companies do cool things both on the marketing side and on the product side and we don’t use it. I’ve never been a leader that will change the project management system for my team if they like what they’re using. I’ll figure out what they’re using. When I came to Nutshell, they use Trello for project management. I’m not a fan of Trello but they like it. I don’t have to do all the stuff that they have to do.

Nutshell allows you to find and visualize things and becomes an extension of your regular workflow. Click To Tweet

I thought you use Basecamp.

I use Basecamp at Kaleidico which was the agency where I worked at previously.

I use Basecamp, Monday.com and Nutshell. Those are my three.

I’m surprised that you don’t move all your Basecamp stuff into Monday.

I like the client feature of Basecamp better.

That’s not a part of the feature of Monday. It’s a collaboration feature where you can publish this to the client and keep this internal and then the client conversation rolls up inside of the Basecamp. I would love that feature as well.

On Monday.com, you can create a board that’s private that nobody else can see. Even my sales team can’t see it. If I want to put my personal tasks or whatever, I can do that. The other thing too that I like about Basecamp is when I have a client, everything goes. We store all our files in there, any pricing sheets and all of our pitch decks. Everything goes in there. When our contract ends, we can export all that. It keeps me out of email. Once I start with a client, no more email. I get 200 emails a day, which for some people it might be a lot, for some people might be a little, but it’s a lot to manage it.

Once I start with a client, we only converse in Basecamp and for me, on my iPad and on my iPhone, it gives me all my notifications. To your point, all my clients also want to communicate on it. Some want to communicate on Skype, WhatsApp, text or Facebook Messenger. Once we have a relationship, we’re only communicating through Basecamp. That’s going to be our message app. That’s going to be our everything. Instead of sending me an email that has an attachment, you can place that attachment and files and write me a note and then we can collab on that attachment. Now we’re doing a Basecamp tutorial. That’s why I liked that more than Monday.com. I just use Monday for myself.

I think that’s cool. It’s a product I’ve wanted to dig into, but I haven’t had the time. I’m always going to Basecamp fan, a fan of the company and of Jason Fried and his business philosophy. For your audience, there’s a piece of valuable information if you’re running a business and you’re curious about how other people have grown and scaled their businesses. What I love about Basecamp, it’s not a huge company. I think it’s only twenty people. They hired their first marketing director in 2020. Jason Fried is a wonderful entrepreneur and he’s very strong opinions on many things. You may or may not like him, but check him out if you’re an entrepreneur or a business owner, he’s a great person to listen to about how he’s created a culture.

He has essentially a beautiful lifestyle business for him and for his employees without all the pressure. I know the out the world out there is always scaling. That’s all well and good. That’s awesome to be ambitious and all those types of things, but not everybody gets to be a unicorn. At some point, you got to call a reasonable goal and be like, ”Where do we want to be? How do I get there? How does it affect my life?” That a whole other conversation. It’s how to balance out your life so that you’re enjoying everything you do as opposed to feeling like the constant pressure.

I’m still trying to master that. If you’ve gotten anything out of this episode, you know that I’m a huge fan of Nutshell. I use it every single day. I 100% recommend it. You can use my link and use the code TLB to get yourself 15% off for the first year. I highly recommend that you do that. You will not be disappointed. If you have any trouble setting it up or you want to know how to set it up, you can always reach out to me. I’ll show you how I set it up for my clients and you can emulate that and then you can tweak it from there. Any last thoughts?

Thank you for having me. I love talking to you about this stuff. The only thing I would say to everybody is that if you’re ever interested in learning more about Nutshell, go to Nutshell.com. The other thing I wanted to offer to everybody, if you have questions about sales or marketing, come find me on LinkedIn. Ask me a question, I will answer everybody’s questions about anything. If it’s something I said that you want to know about, I love talking about this stuff. I’m always willing to have those conversations. Tim is your first resource, consider me a second.

Mike, thanks so much. We could talk forever about this stuff and I’ll enjoy it. I know you have things to do and so do I. Thanks so much for coming on and sharing all your information. I appreciate it.

It’s been my pleasure, Tim.

OTS 161 | Growing Your Sales
Growing Your Sales: If you’re working in a world in which the process is nonlinear, reporting metrics based on the idea that everyone’s going to go through the same step-by-step process is questionable.


Big Boxers, we are out. Mike has left the building. There are lots of tangents, but you can tell Mike and I speak the same language. We like the same things. The same things get us excited, which is weird. Not everybody’s into CRMs, software and sales. There was so much cool stuff to talk about. I’m sure that we will have more conversations to come, but I hope you’ve got a good sense of the power of Nutshell and what it can do for you, what it can do from the very beginning when you start prospecting to retailers.

From the very first retailer that you decide to call, you need to put them in there. From retailers to specialty, it doesn’t matter. If they’re a lead or if they are somebody you’re trying to sell your product to, put them into Nutshell so that you can make sure that you don’t lose track of them. One of the features I love the most is the feature that says, “Who have I not spoken to? Who have I not contacted?” I can run that report and easily see these are the people that I need to talk to. I can’t say enough about Nutshell. I hope you will go right away and check it out.

We talked about a little bit of a special offer in there already, but let me recap. If you go to my landing page for Nutshell, it’s going to allow you to use the code, TLB, to get 15% off your entire first year. If you sign up with a single user for the pro account, it’s only $39 per month and you’re going to get 15% off of that for being a Big Boxer and an audience. We appreciate you. I want you to go and get to know Nutshell. I’m dying to hear what great things it’s going to do for your business. This is going to be an advertisement. I know how you love when I throw advertisements right in the middle of a session.

If you haven’t heard, TLB Consulting launched its very first mini-course people. It’s on presale and you can find it at TLBConsulting.com under the tab, Courses. It’s all about how to price your product for retail. Everything that you need to know about pricing your product for Big Box Club store, specialty, distributor, eCommerce. There’s going to be worksheets built into the course that you’re going to be able to use on the site. It’s going to be amazing. It’s the very first of a series of different courses that will be coming out from TLB. I can’t wait for you to get your hands on it.

The course launches on April 3rd, 2020. If you buy it at presale, you’re going to get it for 25% off and there are a couple of other bonuses too. You get lifetime access to the worksheets. That’s not something that is going to be in the normal course. You also get three months free access to our private community on the website where we’re going to constantly be sharing awesome tidbits about getting your products into retail, even more than you can get in the private Facebook group, which you have to join. I keep telling people, go in there.

See some of the Facebook Lives that are going on in the private Facebook group, On The Shelf Now. You’re going to be blown away. There is so much going on. It’s going to be a great year. The way to build your business is through knowledge. Don’t miss this very first mini-course on pricing your products for retail. Thanks so much for joining us and for being here. I appreciate you. Thank you for supporting the show. I look forward to talking to you next time. Until then, I look forward to seeing your products On The Shelf.


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