In Episode 17 we speak with Tripp Wallace- Head of Global Partnerships and Alliances at SMS Magic a leading SMS and conversational messaging company. Tripp discusses how modern organizations can take advantage of one-to-one messaging across different business cases for sales, marketing, support and commerce.
Tripp dives into several industry specific verticals including Healthcare, Financial Services, Legal Services , Higher Education and some interesting Travel and Casino use cases for personal messaging.
About SMS Magic:
Founded in 2007 SMS Magic is recognized as a Global Leader in the messaging space with key partnerships with leading CRM platforms like Salesforce and ZOHO. SMS Magic rated as one of the most downloaded apps on the Salesforce AppExchange and ZOHO marketplace and trusted by thousands of organizations worldwide.
This podcast is sponsored by OMI the company that makes CRM work. Today, we are speaking with Tripp Wallace, head of global partnerships and alliances at SMS magic. And I asked Tripp to get us started by introducing himself.Tripp Wallace:
Yeah , absolutely. I'm Tripp Wallace. I , lead our partnerships and alliances here in North America at SMS magic. So essentially I manage all of our resellers and referral partners that refer SMS magic to their customers. As well as handling our strategic partnership with, with Zoho CRM, as well as Salesforce CRM.Play the King:
Got it. Tripp, can you tell us a little bit about SMS magic? You know, just broad strokes. What do you guys do? H ow do you serve just the story of the business.Tripp Wallace:
Yeah, absolutely. So , we were founded in 2007, so we're a multichannel business messaging solution. So what I mean by multichannel is we use the standard carriers around the world. So when you receive a text to your c ell p hone, you've get it over at AT&T , T-Mobile, Verizon, all that good stuff. We also integrate with Facebook messenger and WhatsApp. So you can you can receive messages, through those channels as well. We're a global business. So we have customers all over the world i n every geography we service every industry. Essentially anyone that needs to communicate with their customers and prospects could be a fit for us. However, there are a couple industries we seem to do the best with, y ou know, they seem to gravitate towards us the most, he althcare, l egal, higher education and financial services. We provide automated messaging as well as one to one conversational messaging and one to many bulk messaging capabilities. As I mentioned, you know, working with Salesforce and Zoho, our solutions are fully integrated into their CRMs. We also have standalone solutions . So if a customer's not using a CRM, they can just use SMS Magic standalone. Particularly with Salesforce, that's probably our biggest relationship. We get the majority of our customers through their app exchange. If you go into their app exchange and you search business messaging, we're the first name that comes up. You can compare us to our competitors in that space. You'll see, we've got the most five star reviews, got the most downloads. Literally 91% of our reviews are five star reviews, quite proud of that. We were recently named 20 21 APAC partner of the year by Salesforce as well. So that's something we're real proud of when it comes to Zoho , we're not just the most downloaded messaging app for the Zoho marketplace, but we're consistently one of the top five most downloaded apps annually overall on their marketplace. So We do really well in messaging space.Play the King:
That's an awesome overview. I appreciate that. I want to dig into the business a little bit in a minute, but I'm curious, you know, founded in 2007, and we've just seen, you know, mobile commerce and delivery services and just all of that stuff take off in the last decade. You guys were really early and of course, SMS is in the name, but you mentioned that you do work now in Facebook messenger and a bunch of other services like that. So I kind of wonder if you could just talk to me about the staying power of text messages, because it seems like even though there's so much disruption, people still text all the time, it's still like just a very, very fundamental way that we communicate. So how do you guys think about all that?Tripp Wallace:
Yeah, absolutely. It's I think it probably comes along with the younger generation. Not that I'm old or anything. I don't consider myself I'm 39.Play the King:
I'll give you a pass . Yeah.Tripp Wallace:
I'm technically a millennial according to, I guess what they say a millennial is, but I never really considered myself a millennial, but I didn't get a cell phone until my freshman year of college in 2001, but there's a whole generation behind me that grew up with cell phones and that's their preferred way of communicating is through text. And , it's kind of funny. I think back on when I first had a cell phone , you getting a phone call on your cell phone was like a really cool thing. If you remember, we used to have ring back tone, so people would call you, they could hear a song playing and then you'd have your favorite song as your , as your ring tone. So, you know , but now people don't even have their phone ring on anymore . It's always on silent. No one's paying any attention to phone calls. No, one's going to answer a call if it's not a saved contact in their phone. But people will answer text messages. I mean at any time , I mean you could be in a meeting with your boss and someone shoot your text, you'll look and read that text. So what companies are finding out is that like, Hey, this is a really good way of communicating with folks a really good way of reaching them. You know, if you we've got numbers to sort of back all this stuff up of course too. So a lot of times messaging sort of gets compared to emailing as a way of outreach. So , response rates to text are 45% compared to 6% for email. Yeah. IPlay the King:
Don't think I don't see them as the same at all. That's really interesting. I just, it's so much better to text so much faster.Tripp Wallace:
Exactly. Yeah. You get much faster response rates. You get much higher open rates. So , um, initially when we sort of land with a company , a lot of time, it's the marketing department , marketing will say, okay, we need a way to blast out messages. The emails are are okay. It's a channel that works. But if you think about your own life , think about folks in leadership positions at companies, their email gets out there through all these different companies that sell these marketing services and LinkedIn and all this stuff. And I know me personally now that you know, my career has progressed and I've gone from an SDR to now head of partnerships, I get a lot more marketing emails in my inbox of companies trying to sell me their services and solutions. And I can, you know, I get so many of them I can't read them all. So , decision makers out there, they have to decide, you know what they're gonna do about all these emails you can't read. them all. So you've really gotta catch my attention with that subject line. And if it's something that might interest me, I'll start reading, but I can tell within the first couple sentences, if this is something that I'm interested in or not, and I'll just delete it. If I'm not interested, most of the emails I get took it deleted and phone calls. I'm not answering my phone unless, you are in my contacts or I'm expecting a call with you. When it comes to text , people are using, you know, people are reading those texts . So marketing departments are using that to sort of start engaging better with potential leads. Once they do get that engagement , then usually goes over the sales teams and sales teams start to realize, Hey , you know , a big part of sales is that follow up . You know, you do your demo, you do your presentation, you establish next steps with the prospect and then you have to follow up with them. And a lot of times those emails go unresponsive and you spend a lot of time chasing folks around. I think anyone in the sales world can relate to that, but they're finding that , Hey, if I just shoot this guy a text, I'll get a response, I'll get an update on their decision making process here. And I can kind of move this sale along faster. So if you can move the sale along faster, you can start closing more deals. And then once those leads that were brought by marketing become customers , closed by the sales team, then they become customers. And then so now companies are trying to find ways to better engage with their customers. How can we update them on product releases? How can we send them information? You know, about our services and solutions , support team, for example, maybe there's a support case. We have to close these support cases faster. Texting is a great way o f doing that. Then when it comes to particular industries, every industry kind of has their own unique use cases that they use messaging for. I know w ith h ealthcare sending out appointment reminders is a big deal. You know, people skipping or missing appointments sort of backs them up and sort of a waste of time and a waste o f money. So being able to send out an automated text that says, Hey, thanks for booking your next appointment. It's at this date. And then an automated text can go out a week prior or , and then another message can go out the day of reminding them that they've got these meetings, legal industries use that as well. Financial services can use text messaging to speed up the loan process. I actually had a call with the Salesforce team that oversees hospitality and leisure recently, and they had all kinds of cool use cases. If you're thinking about the casino industry or the hotel industry, or, you know, cruise lines, things of that nature , they can use text messaging to better engage with customers that are on site . You know, they can set it up as a Q&A center for customers or allow customers or guests as they call it , allow guests to order room service, order bottles of champaigne. They want to drive activity at the casino or whatever they got going on. They say, Hey, go down to craps table, meet our hostess there. She's got a promotion for you, or don't forget about two for one drinks down at the cabana, all that kind of stuff. A great way to sort of give a V I P experience to the customers,, messaging is a great way of doing that. People have their phones in their pockets and they're checking their phones all the time.Play the King:
All right . Well, you answered my next question, which was, I wanted some examples of the ways that companies are using conversational marketing. You gave m e some industries, you know, legal, medical h ealthcare, a nd then some use cases. T hat's fascinating. And, and I guess, you know, the question that comes to mind for me is, you know, I get various texts from companies and so, and I sort of think of t hem in levels of like, I don't know, usefulness for me. The reminders super useful. Right. then like, it goes all the way down to maybe, I don't k now, like I don't really need a text about outdoor furniture. I'm getting those now. Because we just moved and I'm getting a lot of those.I guess what are some things that companies should keep in mind as they think about, instituting, conversational marketing or whatever, maybe that's only a subset of what you guys would consider your business. But you know, across sales, marketing, commerce, various service areas, what are some things people and companies should keep in mind a s they start to spin that up?Tripp Wallace:
Yeah. Well the first one's was pretty obvious and I basically already touched on most of that already ready is what's your return on investment going to be with this. So if you're thinking about how can better communication affect the business is someone in marketing, some head of sales that that's gonna be pretty easy for them to figure out the ROI is fairly obvious on, on better communicating. But you kind of touched on that with some of your , with how you said, you know, sometimes I get messages about appointment reminders, which is very useful, but sometimes it might just be sort of a , a marketing message. So things to consider are compliance. That is a big thing. We get a lot of questions about that from interested prospects on, Hey , how do I make sure that I'm compliant in my industry? Financial services has a lot of regulations around data. Healthcare in particular, you think about HIPAA compliance. You know, we can't share certain information over the phone, over text , that kind of thing. If you're thinking about doing business in Europe, they've got GDPR to consider. And one of the major selling points of , of our solution with SMS magic is all the tools and functionality and features to remain compliant in any industry. And any geography are built into our solutions . So ways to capture consent, there's variety of different ways you can capture consent. You can opt in, you can have keyword , you know, yes or no , uh , ways to say yes, I want to receive the appointment reminders, but no, I don't need the marketing stuff. All those are things that need to be considered when you're a company looking at messaging solutions, how easy is this to implement? How can I make sure that if we're ever audited, that I can say, okay, this customer opted into this, here's a record of it. That type of stuff is doable on most platforms. But a lot of times it requires specific coding for every option of consent, where with our solution SMS magic, it's much simpler, much easier to use, much easier to set up. We've got a team that can, that can help the users because a lot of customers know they need to be compliant, but they might not have anyone dedicated to understanding all o f those regulations and they'll rely on our team to sort of guide them through that process. And that's always been since I've been w ith the company here a little over a year, now that one of our major selling points is, is understanding the compliance aspect.Play the King:
That's great. And, I should be clear sometimes those marketing messages do work , uh , if I'm feeling hungry or something. Yeah , exactly. I'm wondering, you know, we talked about how messaging, SMS, you know, now people are using Facebook messenger, other services, WhatsApp , I'm sure you guys are considering all this stuff. So what is the future though? Like I , you know, we sort of know where we came from. We know where we are, where do you see this going?Tripp Wallace:
Well you're gonna see greater adoption , surprisingly enough in north America. It's not as widespread as you would think. You know, people are starting to see that they're getting a lot more messages, but places like Asia and Europe have been adopting business messaging much sooner. So , first you'll see it become much more prevalent in the United States and in north America. You'll also start to see more social media platforms being leveraged. So I mentioned that we've got at SMS magic, Facebook integration and, and WhatsApp integration, but , globally there's a lot of them. There's a lot of platforms that people are using to send messages out there. So you'll start to see a lot more of those integrated in! You'll also see a need for a single hub or tool that it's going to integrate all of these platforms into a single place. Currently what you see a lot of in the business messaging space is okay, I'm using this CRM and I have this separate app here for my messaging and they might have some API calls but not fully integrated. Then we've got our VoIP phone service that we use it . This is another tool. What businesses are gonna want is a single tool and a single hub that incorporates all their social media platforms, all their email marketing or email messaging needs. All their text messaging needs. All their voice phone needs all integrated into a single Hub,. I would say the, I thing that's probably coming in the future that you'll start to see more of is artificial intelligence incorporated into , into messaging bots. Think of messaging bots. You go to a website, little chat, bubble pops up and says, Hey, what can you know , what are you interested in? And you'll say something like I need support and it'll the way it , most of them currently work now is it's a keyword response. It recognizes the word support and that'll trigger an automated responses, says , okay, it sounds like you're interested in support, which of these options best fits your request, that type of thing. And all that gets is pre-programmed in when it comes to keyword responses. So I believe in the future , there's gonna be a lot more artificial intelligence that will start to recognize response patterns and behaviors and be able to provide , better replies to your messages that are more suited to your needs.Play the King:
That is super interesting. Tripp, where people can find more information about SMS magic and then maybe sign up for more info or to get started.Tripp Wallace:
Yeah. Well the easiest thing is, would be our website, sms-magic.com . Most people probably find us through Salesforce app exchange. There's an Intercom feature on there. You can reach out to us strictly through there , same with the Zoho marketplace. If you're using Zoho or if you're using Salesforce. S o you're likely working with a Salesforce systems integrator or consultant, you can ask them about us. Majority of them out there know who we are because their customers have asked about SMS magic or specifically have asked about messaging. They might not know who to use. So they'll turn to their trusted advisors with their CRM, say, Hey, we need to incorporate messaging those trusted advisors, then turn towards the app exchange o r, or the marketplace. And, a nd because we're so prevalent on those, we're using the first one that pops up and that's how we get a lot of our resellers and referral partners i s customer will a sk their consultant consultant, doesn't have a messaging partner. They go to the app exchange, they find us and they reach out that way.Play the King:
Well , Tripp has been really interesting to hear about this thing that we all use, but I don't think most of us know a whole lot about behind the curtain. So appreciate your time today and thanks a lot .Tripp Wallace:
You're welcome. It was a pleasure.