My Baby Made the News! And Lead Management

Scott CostelloAll, Blog, Featured, Lead Tracker, Marketing 3 Comments

I don’t have anything huge to update, so I figured I would just throw out a few things that I’ve been working on over the past couple of weeks.  Granted I haven’t been working on a lot besides trying to get some sleep.

Lead Manager and Word Integration

One of the draw backs to my SI Lead Manager software is that the letters you can produce out of it are limited.  Adding images and special formatting are nearly impossible to do.  This never bothered me much because all my letters thus far have been Plain Jane.    However, one of the program’s users (Brian Meidam) was looking to insert his company logo in the letter as well as a signature image.  After some messing around with my current solution I found it inadequate to handle that situation gracefully.

So over the past week I’ve been experimenting using Microsoft Word 2010/2007 to generate the letters.  Basically you would setup a template letter in word, put in the mail merge fields (i.e. <<owner_last_name>>) and then just point Lead Manager to the word template to mail merge the data and print out the letters.

I’m positive it can be done, I just have to get all the pieces working together and flowing in a usable fashion.

Duplicate Leads

Because I pull leads from multiple sources, sometimes I’ll get duplicate leads.  For example, the out of state owners list I pull from the tax records will at times give me the same leads as the probate list my partner gets from the courthouse.    The other day, we got an angry call from a probate lead and we want to make sure that we don’t mail to that person again because we are sure the lead will surface again when pulling out of state owners.

Si Lead Manager does scan for duplicate leads when importing based off the property address.  However, if the property address differs some..

  • 213 Main St, Washington Boro
  • 213 Main Street, Washington Boro
  • 213 Main St, Washington Borough
…the import process will think it’s not a duplicate and import the record.  The question I have for myself is how to make the duplicate check better? and more importantly is it worth it?

Sql Azure

Over the past 2 months my partner and I have been using a version of SI Lead Manager that uses Microsoft’s’ SQL Azure database platform instead of MS Access.  This has REALLY helped us work together more efficiently because we are using the same database now.    In the past I would have to export all my data to a CSV file for my partner to upload into his system.  Then he would have to tell me to change the status of leads we no longer wanted to mail to (we had google doc spreadsheets out the wazu).  Now we just update the system and all is good.  It has been a HUGE time saver for us.

The cost of the SQL Azure database has been really cheap as well.  For last month, it was only $5.46!!  You can’t beat that with a stick!   If you don’t know what SQL Azure is, the simplest way to explain it is “a cloud database”.

Goal of finishing my mailers by end of May

I was off to a great start before the baby came, but now I’ve been slowed to a crawl.  I only have completed till May 15th.  I am hoping at some point a few more hours free up during the week so I can get cranking again.    It is a really good thing that I got a head before though!

Hope everyone is having a great week!

P.S. – My baby made the news!!!

Scott Costello
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