How TrekkSoft Doubled Signups Via Personalization At Scale and Clever Use of Software

TrekkSoft provide online booking and payment software for tour and activity providers in the travel industry. If you’ve encountered a super organized diving instructor in the Caribbean, or used your card to pay pay a ski instructor on the piste, chances are they were using Trekksoft.

trekksoft skydive

They have an incredibly intelligent setup for reaching their customers – they combine Pipedrive, Zapier and MailChimp for large scale personalized lead generation and qualification at scale. Since it’s really impressive, we had a chat with TrekkSoft’s Senior Integration Manager, Tom Iannone, and VP of Sales, Robert Lederer, to find out more.

Disclaimer: If you haven’t heard the word “automatic” enough today, you will now. TrekkSoft lives by that word.

What kind of a problem were you intending to solve when you first started configuring the Pipedrive-MailChimp-Zapier combo?

Our aim was to be more tailored as well as more effective in marketing – target campaigns based on geography and vertical (eg. diving instructors in Cancun or historical walks providers in San Francisco). This entailed a lot of manual work, copying data across spreadsheets and copying it into MailChimp.

We wanted to use the email automation features that MailChimp offers, but also keep the data up-to-date in Pipedrive. Our aim then was to increase efficiency, which we’ve definitely achieved.

What kind of results have you seen?

We’ve gone from sending out about 500 emails a week to about 4,000 a week to prospective new customers. We’ve been able to a quadruple our productivity, which has resulted in a higher rate of qualified leads and new sign-ups. All in all, we’ve about doubled the number of sign-ups since we’ve been pushing things through with the new custom integration and optimized it.

What’s the lead management and sales process at TrekkSoft like?

Primarily, we have two different pipelines.

First, we have our lead generation pipeline. Here we have three different stages, where deals move forward automatically, based on the prospect’s actions.

lead-generation-pipeline-trekksoft

Lead Generation Pipeline

All the leads we’ve gotten from various sources who haven’t been contacted yet are in the “Cold” stage. Once we email them, they get automatically moved to “Sent”. If they open that email, they will automatically be moved to “Opened” stage. Now if the prospect responds to our email or even clicks on an open email, we define it as interaction and move them automatically into our sales funnel into the “Marketing Qualified Leads” (MQL).

MQL means that the person is a little more qualified than “Opened”, because they’ve interacted in some way. From there on, once somebody actually goes to the website and registers for free account, a move to SQL – “Sales Qualified Lead” is triggered. There, our sales team will typically reach out by phone and organize a sales demo with the prospect. If that’s done, the next stage for the prospect would be to “Subscribed”, at which time they will need to get integrated with the software.

The move from “Sales Demo” to “Subscribed” also means that the support and integration teams take over from the sales team and schedule a training demo, which is when the customer onboarding begins. If the training demo is given, and the customer’s successfully integrated with our software, they’ll be moved into the “Integrated” stages. They will go to “Complete” if they integrate our software into all of their activities (eg. all of that company’s tours), and partial if not all.

one-week-funnel-trekksoft

How is the Zapier-MailChimp-Pipedrive custom integration set up?

We use Pipedrive as the database for all leads. We use filters in Pipedrive to create segments we want to reach out to (eg. we’d create a filter for all the skydivers in Cancun).

We then use Zapier to pull this filtered list into MailChimp, where we create a separate segment from it. We’re now able to send out highly tailored emails to this really specific segment.

The lists are also sent to MailChimp depending on the specific activities that are done by our sales reps. For example, we reach a potential customer and move them forward to another stage. That will trigger a name potentially being unsubscribed from our “Marketing List” and then subscribing from a list of, let’s say, “Tips and Tricks” or “Getting Started” list, depending on the activity in Pipedrive.

Example Zap: when a custom integration has been set up, an email is automatically sent

Example Zap: when a custom integration has been set up, an email is automatically sent

When we have deals moving from one pipeline to another, like in the case of moving from the Lead Generation pipeline to the Sales pipeline, we use a custom integration of MailChimp and Pipedrive API-s. To automatically change stages, we use Zapier. The API is mainly used to connect MailChimp and our internal databases.

What else can you do with this integration?

We’re also using Zapier to sync the data that we have in Pipedrive with MailChimp so that we can further refine our marketing campaigns – i.e. we clean up data. When we receive new information about our clients, in addition to that initially mined, our sales reps make the updates in Pipedrive. Then, it gets automatically synced over to MailChimp, which makes us able to build really targeted segments for better message targeting.

We are also using the Pipedrive-to-Google-Spreadsheets zap for high level reporting, and to store certain information.

So what’s next for TrekkSoft? Have you got any news to share?

We’ve released our mobile app and integrated card reader to take mobile payments from any iPhone or iOS or Android device anywhere – from docks to on the pistes. This is exciting and revolutionary in our industry in particular. Our customers can see all their upcoming bookings, they can re-book passengers, issue refunds and use probably 80-90% of functionality that a tour operator would need on a day-to-day basis from the mobile app. This is important, since our the customers we have are always out guiding a rafting trip or they are jumping out of airplanes or going out fishing or scuba diving, rather than sitting in their office.

iOS App Takes a Big Step In Improving Your Productivity

Activity Plan iOS

Our Pipedrive iOS app just received an overhaul with one key change that can improve your productivity significantly – we introduced smart activity scheduling.

Previously, you could pick a time-slot for an activity without exactly knowing whether you already had something in your agenda that day. Now, when you’re scheduling a new activity, the agenda for the selected day will be visible. This way you won’t have clashing activities anymore – you simply schedule smarter and avoid them.

On a different note, you can now go ahead and start editing custom fields. And if you already have or are planning to get iOS 8, then fear not – we’re ready for you.

And as always: if you don’t have it, then go and get it.

appstore

Update on “Poodle” SSL 3.0 vulnerability (and Shellshock)

Earlier today, Google reported a vulnerability in SSL 3.0 technology that allows the plaintext of secure connections to be calculated by a network attacker.

I just wanted to inform that we here at Pipedrive had dropped SSL 3.0 support quite some time ago earlier this year— specifically on security grounds. Thus, Google’s recently reported vulnerabilities do not concern Pipedrive. Furthermore, we recently introduced extended validation on all our primary application and website domain premises.

If you are concerned with our security in terms of SSL encryption, you can verify our SSL security reports about our primary application domains app.pipedrive.com and api.pipedrive.com by Qualys SSL Labs at any time.

Update: In addition to SSL 3.0 vulnerability, I wanted to share an update regarding another major security vulnerability reported a few weeks ago, called Shellshock, which allowed malicious code execution through Unix Bash shell, present on majority of servers. Pipedrive’s servers got patched against Shellshock a few weeks ago already — immediately after the patches for the Linux distribution that we use on our production servers got published.

How to Keep Customers Happy By Using the Pipedrive+Yesware Combo

Yesware-PipedrivePipedrive can be used for tons of different reasons. Not least, we’ve seen that Pipedrive can successfully be used for managing customer success and its communications like they do at Falcon Social. Now for us, customer success gets fired up and supercharged when we combine Pipedrive with Yesware – and boy does the combo make customer success communication easy.

My job as the Customer Success Manager here at Pipedrive is to make sure that our clients are happy. I proactively approach customers, introduce the different available Pipedrive features and solutions that could prove to be useful for them, and help them make the most of Pipedrive.

Much of this communication with customers takes place over email – in fact it’s one of my main tools, and I send out hundreds every week. To keep track of what works and what doesn’t (like which emails people open, and which ones they don’t), I use Yesware. And to have an overview of all open deals and details, I use Pipedrive.

This combo gets me super organized, and makes sure I get to keep our customers happy.

How Pipedrive and Yesware work together:

Since I work a lot from Gmail, Pipedrive’s drop-box feature sync information across Yesware and Pipedrive. Essentially, the forwarding feature connects my emails with specific contacts in Pipedrive. I simply forward my emails to Pipedrive by using a drop-box link in the Bcc line. If I have an open deal with the contact, the whole email thread will be visible under deal details.

Yesware Gmail compose window

Having customer details and the related deal history all in one place keeps everyone in my team on the same page, since we can always check the contact’s history before contacting them.

A brief overview of how the Yesware-Gmail-Pipedrive combo works together was given by our CEO in a recent blog post.

My favorite Yesware features are:

  • The opportunity to save template answers and emails, and categorize them appropriately for easy-access sometime later.
  • Tracking the customers’ email openings
  • The visual graph for the last 30-day email opening tracking report.
  • Reminder notifications, which help me to remember when I last sent an email to a customer, and when I should ping them next for a response.

To keep track of where I am with every customer, and help me manage customer success proactively, the second part to my combo is Pipedrive. Even though I don’t use Pipedrive for sales, the pipeline is great for managing customer success, since I can get a really good overview of who requires my urgent attention.

My favorite Pipedrive features are:

  • The pipeline view, which is my main working view gives me a bird’s-eye view of all processes.
  • Deal “rotting” feature, which highlights the deals that need my urgent attention, coloring them red. This indicates the deals I should work on first.

Customer Success Pipeline

One final tip for managing success

One final and really cool way I organize my work is using Zapier trigger actions within different pipelines in Pipedrive. For example, whenever someone from the sales team closes a deal (= wins a deal with specific criteria), a new deal gets automatically added to my Customer Success pipeline into the “Ready for approach” stage.

This nifty automation option saves me a lot of time, and helps me stay on top of everything.

That’s it – that’s how I manage customer success communications. If you like it, why not try it out with a 60-day trial using the promo code CS60. 

Andy McLoughlin joins our board

As you may have noticed, we’re growing fast both in terms of number of customers and employees. This means we have to get better at everything all the time, and this includes setting the longer term course for our company and business.

Andy McLoughlin - Hy! Summit - March 20, 2014 - Image by Dan Taylor-2I am therefore extremely pleased that one of our earliest investors, Andy McLoughlin, has joined the board of Pipedrive, Inc. Andy is co-founder of Huddle, one of Europe’s most prominent and awarded SaaS startups with offices in London, San Francisco, New York and Washington DC. Andy is also a highly active angel investor, working with great SaaS companies like Pipedrive, Rolepoint, Apiary, Buffer, Intercom, Bugsnag, and Import.io, as well as exciting B2C startups like Postmates, Thread, Hullabalu and Secret Escapes. Andy lives in San Francisco, is an enthusiastic (rather than skillful) skier, and an avid consumer of fine food and adult beverages.

In his own words:

“I first met the Pipedrive founders in 2011 and was immediately impressed by their hustle, vision and early metrics. Having participated in their first two seed rounds, I’ve been lucky enough to stay close to the team and watch the company mature into the great business that it is today. Joining their board and being a part of their continuing journey is a huge honor and I’m excited for their next phase of growth.”

Andy has been very helpful to us as a seed investor, and I’m really excited to be working with him on this slightly more formalized level as well.

We owe you an apology

I wanted to take a moment to address the unfortunate downtime last Friday that impacted the majority of our Americas-based customers who couldn’t use our application in the middle of a workday.

First off, we’re very sorry for disrupting your workday. I want to assure you that we take this very seriously and find it absolutely unacceptable. As a team we feel bad for letting you down.

Secondly, we’ve learned some important lessons and have already made some changes to improve issue detection, technical processes and communication. While this doesn’t reduce the frustration you must have felt last Friday, we’ll be both quicker and more efficient in responding to any issues in the future.

What happened on Friday

For background: for some months now we’ve been working on significantly improving the infrastructure underlying our application. This project is ongoing and is meant to dramatically improve stability and performance of our app – along with giving us enough headroom to support our rapid growth.

Some configuration elements (namely, switch ports) with our new infrastructure setup failed on Friday and a rare technical event (a spanning tree failure event) took down our network.

Our operations team was immediately aware as we monitor the performance of Pipedrive 24×7 through many automated tests and alarms. We urgently coordinated a response with our network hosting providers. While the effort was immediate parts of our application take time to recover from a complete shutdown so some customers faced unreliable functionality for up to two hours.

Steps taken to avoid such situations in the future

Together with our hosting providers we have taken extra precautions in migrating to our new infrastructure setup. In the last couple of days we’ve also discussed and agreed upon several new internal workflows that will help to identify and fix any issues faster.

As I mentioned, there already were quite a few things in our roadmap that will reduce our exposure to issues like this. For example, reducing the size of databases and using multiple hosting locations. We’ll continue executing along these plans.

I hope this explains the reasons behind the downtime on Friday. I hope it also sheds light on our commitment to avoid outages and keep improving the speed and reliability of our app. Last but not least, I hope you’ll accept our apologies.

I expect to be writing more upbeat blog posts in the future.

PS. If you have questions or if you’d like to know more about our infrastructure improvements please contact us via our support email.

Interruption on Sept 26, 2014

On Friday, Sept 26, 2014 at 6:32 PM GMT (11:32 AM PST), a network failure caused Pipedrive app to be unavailable. Our infrastructure team was immediately notified. Because the network failure affected our entire physical infrastructure, we had to get on the phone with Rackspace, our hosting provider, who started looking at the issues immediately to restore access to the services for us.

By 6:57 PM GMT (11:57 AM PST), our central physical networking layer had been restored and we started to eradicate the effects of the network failure. However the external storage volume mounts had gone into read-only mode, and thus our databases were not operating correctly.

Update #1: As of 7:21 PM GMT (12:21 PM PST) we are actively working on regaining read/write access to the storage volumes which would allow us to bring the app fully up again. We are still on the direct line with Rackspace engineers and work actively to get the services restored fully.

Update #2: As of 7:36 PM GMT (12:36 PM PST) we have regained network access to our environment and are currently restarting core services as fast as possible.

Update #3: As of 7:50 PM GMT (12:50 PM PST) we have restored functionality across roughly 65% of our database clusters. The remaining DBs are in the process of restarting now. Side services are being started now as well but some of these such as Google sync may continue to be unreliable until they are all up and running again.

Update #4: As of 8:01 PM GMT (1:01 PM PST) we have restored functionality across roughly 90% of our database clusters. The remaining DBs are in the process of restarting now. Side services continue to progress toward restoration and our operations team will begin validating performance across the application soon.

Update #5: As of 8:16 PM GMT (1:16 PM PST) we have restored functionality across all database clusters. Side services are generally available too but some users may continue to experience issues with search and mailbox-beta as the components facing these features are still being restored. Pipedrive operations is now commencing performance validation and monitoring the situation closely.

Update #6: As of 9:24 PM GMT (2:24 PM PST) search functionality has been restored for all users.  Our elasticsearch clusters are now syncing to their replica shards and this will improve search performance throughout the day. Mailbox beta users should see delayed mail delivered within the next few minutes, and mail will return to real-time delivery status shortly thereafter.

Fortunately, for those of you that need to make use of search today we do have a proposed workaround. You can actually use Pipedrive Filters as a form of advanced search, and this is a best practice we often recommend for people trying to search deeper than the search bar allows them to normally.

To take advantage of this all you need to do is create a Filter that you can then edit later each time you want to search for something different. An example screenshot is below:

Using filters for advanced search
Using filters for advanced search

Below is our support center documentation on Filters as well, in case you wanted to brush up on the power of searching cross-item records easily.

http://support.pipedrive.com/customer/portal/articles/1076914

Update #7: As of 11:24 PM GMT (4:24 PM PST) we’ve completed validation of the app and all services are fully operational. Search performance will continue to improve throughout the day as our elasticsearch clusters sync back to their replica shards. I want to assure you that we take matters like these very seriously – today’s events should simply never happen and we will be conducting a full root cause analysis investigation in concert with our datacenter provider to ensure precisely that.

We are profusely apologetic to all our customers for the interruption today and sincerely appreciate the patience you’ve shown us. For the technical crowd out there, initial reports indicate today’s outage was caused by a rare and unexpected spanning tree event during a planned network extension as part of our ongoing infrastructure migration project.

We have temporarily suspended any further network extension efforts today and will cautiously proceed with the scheduled maintenance tomorrow morning, however the recent events have prompted us to extend tomorrow’s maintenance window hours to 2:00 AM – 9:00 AM PDT.

 

Scheduled maintenance on September 27, 2014 (updated)

Scheduled maintenance window:

  • Saturday, 9/27/2014 @ 2:00 am – 11:30 am PDT  (Saturday, 9/27/2014 @ 9:00 am –  6:30 pm GMT)

As part of our ongoing infrastructure migration project we’ll be working with our datacenter partners to perform a scheduled maintenance of various network components comprising the Pipedrive infrastructure on Saturday, September 27th, 2014 between 2:00 AM and 9:00 AM PDT. We expect a short interruption of service for all Pipedrive users during this maintenance window. Please be aware that Pipedrive may be briefly unavailable at times during this window and plan your work accordingly.

We will update this blog post again once the maintenance has been completed successfully.

UPDATE 1: As of Friday 9/26 at 4:35 pm PDT we have extended the maintenance window hours from 6-9 am PDT (originally posted) to 2-9am PDT (new updated time). We are very sorry for the short notice about this update.

UPDATE 2: As of Saturday 9/27 at 9:05 am PDT maintenance is still underway and the window will need to be extended by a further 1-2.5 hours. During the planned maintenance we encountered abnormal performance from one of our loadbalancers and decided to replace it entirely – this added to the work we needed to perform during the window and is the basis for extending the hours again. The Pipedrive application remains generally available throughout and we do not expect significant impact to logged in users as the application is online, fully functional, and operating normally now.

UPDATE 3: As of Saturday 9/27 at 12:05 pm PDT we are conducting a validation of the environment. The application should remain stable throughout and we will close the maintenance window upon completion.

UPDATE 4: As of Saturday 9/27 at 12:40 pm PDT the environment has been validated and the maintenance window has been closed successfully.There will be no further updates to this blog post.

Shh… we have updated our iOS and Android apps

We’re always improving our iOS and Android mobile apps. Here are some of the things that got done over the last months:

iOS updates: Android and iOS phones feature

  • Global search
  • Deal and contact custom fields in read-only mode
  • Contact list filters – you can now filter your contacts based on the same filters as in the web app
  • Delete deals, contacts, activities

Android updates:

  • Google Sign-in
  • Notes for deals and contacts – you can now see the notes added in the web, as well as add new notes directly from the mobile app
  • Custom fields now available, currently read-only
  • Add and edit organizations

Coming soon on iOS:

  • Google Sign-in
  • Custom fields editing for deals and contacts
  • New activity scheduler

Coming soon on Android:

  • Global search

And as the ancient app store saying goes: “if you don’t have it, now’s the perfect time to get it”.

appstore googleplay

Sept 17th degraded search functionality (FIXED)

UPDATE #3: As of 4:05 PM PDT (11:05 PM GMT) all replica shards for the affected elasticsearch cluster have been synced and search performance is back to normal. There will be no further updates to this blog post as this issue has been resolved.

 

UPDATE #2: As of 1:05 PM PDT (8:05 PM GMT) the primary shard index for the affected elasticsearch cluster has been rebuilt successfully. Search is functioning normally again and search performance will continue to improve throughout the day as our replicas are synced back to the primary shard.

 

UPDATE #1: As of 12:39 PM PDT (7:39 PM GMT) we have manually restarted the service and the index is being rebuilt. Search functionality for affected customers will be restored once the index is rebuilt which we estimate within the next 15-20 minutes. Search performance will continue to improve throughout the day as our replicas are synced back to the primary shards.

As of 10:15 AM PDT (5:15 PM GMT) we are aware of degraded search functionality for some select customers. This morning a few of our elasticsearch shards failed leaving one elastic cluster with a suboptimal number of active shards to handle incoming requests. We are very sorry for the impact this may have on your use of Pipedrive today but our operations team is on it and actively investigating a recovery plan.

In the meantime users that were connected to this cluster may continue to experience some degraded search functionality. Closed beta testers in our Gmail Mailbox Beta are also affected as mail may be delayed today. We recommended defaulting back to your normal inbox for the remainder of the day if you are a beta tester of Pipedrive mailbox.

Fortunately, for those of you that need to make use of search today we do have a proposed workaround. You can actually use Pipedrive Filters as a form of advanced search, and this is a best practice we often recommend for people trying to search deeper than the search bar allows them to normally.

To take advantage of this all you need to do is create a Filter that you can then edit later each time you want to search for something different. An example screenshot is below:

Using filters for advanced search
Using filters for advanced search

Below is our support center documentation on Filters as well, in case you wanted to brush up on the power of searching cross-item records easily.

http://support.pipedrive.com/customer/portal/articles/1076914

This blog post will be updated again later today when the index is successfully rebuilt and all functionality is restored.