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North Bay

Business Journal
NORTH SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA: SONOMA, NAPA, AND MARIN COUNTIES

5464 Skylane Blvd., Suite B, Santa Rosa, CA • 707-579-2900 www.NorthBayBusinessJournal.com REPRINT from October 22, 2007/ Page 1

Knowme Web-based service mines


contacts for sales leads
Novato startup’s program aids small businesses
BY LORALEE STEVENS, STAFF REPORTER sales techniques. tiveness of each advertising source.
NOVATO – E-mail, Web sites and auto- Subscribers to the service pay anywhere Mr. Butler said that’s a feature Hansel
mated phone messaging aside, nothing beats from $199 to $2,500 a month, depending on Toyota appreciates.
the power of a live human voice when it the number of employees using the system “We have print ads, electronic ads, pur-
comes to sales and service. and the modules chosen. chased leads. We like to be able to see how
But add the Web’s sophisticated data “Our goal is to provide our customers they’re paying off,” he said.
gathering and reporting with five times their ROI a month, and we’re He likes the call monitoring aspect too.
ability and e-commerce doing it,” said Mr. Medak. “Lots of times, employees don’t want to
tools to an incentivized General sales manager for Hansel Toyota admit that they can’t answer a question from
sales force, and you get Don Butler said the Knowme service re- a caller. Knowing that, we can streamline
a sum that’s greater turns 10 times its cost each month. training to fit the problem,” said Mr. Butler.
than its parts. Without a sales team as yet and little Maurine Grisso is broker and owner of
Or so is the conten- fanfare, Knowme has picked up 120 clients the set-fee Help-U-Sell Real Estate franchise
tion of Knowme Inc., a and about 1,000 users, said Mr. Medak. in Santa Rosa and central California regional
Novato startup dedi- Customers can use an array of different director for the operation, which has 800 fran-
cated to almost never 800 numbers in print and Internet market- chises in the U.S. She and her 10 agents have
Knowme CEO missing or muffing a ing. A click-to-call button expedites responses been using Knowme for about nine months.
Boris Medak business call. from Web ads and e-mail, grabbing poten- “Even in a down real estate market, I’m
“A small business cannot afford to miss tial customers at the peak of their interest. a lot better off than I would have been with-
a lead, and most come over the phone,” said If the call is made from a residence, Know- out this system,” she said.
Knowme CEO Boris Medak, an IT entrepre- me gathers the name, address and – if the By studying the time and volume of calls,
neur with knowledge of the automotive and caller has phoned before – a history of previ- she restructured both Help-U-Sell’s office
technology-led financial services industries. ous call content and transactions and puts hours and staff schedules.
“Our Web-based services turn relatively the pertinent data on the screen before the Convinced of its value, Ms. Grisso brought
inexperienced phone staff into profession- call is picked up. Knowme to the attention of Help-U-Sell na-
als and allow professional phone staff to If the call is missed or aborted, contact tional headquarters. Executives evaluated her
become even more efficient.” information appears anyway while an in- results and now recommend its use to all of
Several North Bay companies have become stant e-mail notification of the missed call, their franchisees.
converts to the Knowme service, which pays with caller information, is sent to designated Knowme is in talks with other potential
for itself in increased sales and lowered costs. recipients, enabling a swift call back. strategic partners. The company could have
“It’s easy to use and it has features no small Any user can evaluate the call and add about 20 employees in 18 months.
business should be without,” said Debi Ste- sales stages, actions, priority and notes to “We plan to leverage our technology
vens, general manager of Marin Acura in Corte indicate the nature of the call and to whom through partnerships and internal efforts,
Madera. “And the support is far superior to the call should be assigned for proper sales making it accessible to any small business
what’s offered by large software companies.” or service follow-up. that wants to be as competitive and efficient
When the founders of privately funded Management is able to see at a glance those as possible. We’re just now positioning our-
Knowme brought their IT and telecommu- employees who are doing well, missing calls selves to do that,” said Mr. Medak.
nications expertise to bear on the small busi- or not following up on leads, allowing for For more information, call 866-695-6696.
ness sector, they first built a platform to serve focused training. Phone staff
the financial segment of the automotive mar- can also review their own
ket. By late 2005, the service had expanded messages for self-guided
to serve any business requiring phones. learning.
The Knowme platform includes training Because the system cal-
and positive reinforcement elements to im- culates which ads are gen-
prove phone staff performance, data capture erating calls and compares
to deepen knowledge about callers and calls the number to the cost of
and reportage that offers several tiers of in- the campaign, marketing Knowme reportage
formation about the efficacy of a company’s staff and business owners includes bar graphs
charting call volume
marketing campaigns, its phone practices and can easily judge the effec-
and ad efficiency.
© 2007 North Bay Business Journal. Reproduction in any form prohibited without permission.