A Minneapolis-based software company has created an online sales and marketing solution designed by haulers, specifically for haulers.
SalesStryke Software is the company behind the TrashBolt System, a platform that helps increase online sales by automating the signup process for waste services companies.
SalesStryke was born as the technology arm of a hauling company that accumulated 150,000 customers in nine years. In 2018, the waste hauling part of the company—customers, trucks and routes—were sold to Houston-based Waste Management.
“Because of the effectiveness of what we did, we created SalesStryke Software to bring the TrashBolt System for haulers, by haulers, to haulers,” says K. Ryan Hasse, SalesStryke Software CEO. “We love what we do. We genuinely love when our system works for our clients.”
Focusing on online sales, TrashBolt is growing and integrates with other software solutions in the industry.
“We’re gaining ground in the market and growing rapidly. We have great relationships with other software providers in the waste services space,” says Hasse. “While nobody does what we do, companies like Soft-Pak, Cro, WIS and more have taken note of the value we bring to their clients. We complement their products as an excellent add-on. They handle the billing, operations and routing, and we handle the marketing and sales.”
Waste360 recently sat down with Hasse to learn about the company’s best practices for sales and marketing solutions and how TrashBolt is changing the way the waste and recycling industry manages sales.
Waste360: What is the TrashBolt Software Sales System for haulers?
K. Ryan Hasse: TrashBolt is a software and methodology for haulers to dramatically increase their new customer signups by focusing on online sales. To start, TrashBolt Software automates the online signup process for a hauler’s customers. In order for a signup system to work for our haulers, sophisticated mapping must take place to identify where a hauler offers service. Once a customer enters their service address, TrashBolt geolocates the customer and determines if the customer is in a service area (or route) and then presents the customer with a quote and details about services. The customer can sign up for service, pay and move on with their day.
Once a customer signs up for service and pays, sales data is sent to the hauler’s billing, operations and routing software. Work order data—cart delivery date, dumpster rental info, etc.—can be sent to their respective software or people. Data for customers who view a quote—leads who don’t sign up for service—can be sent to a CRM [customer relationship management] system. Some of our clients want us to follow up on these leads and sell their services on their behalf—we offer call center services. In these ways and many more, Trashbolt increases sales, lowers cost of sale and increases data efficiency for our haulers.
Waste360: What are some best practices when it comes to marketing in the waste and recycling industry?
K. Ryan Hasse: First and foremost, haulers must offer customers a way to sign up for service online—not just a form to fill out and a callback at some time in the future. That way of thinking was great in 2000; not in today’s world. Customers want to quickly view a quote, sign up, pay and be done. That requires TrashBolt’s sophisticated map-based automated signup software. Driving people, en masse, to sign up online benefits from a multipronged strategy, which makes it easy for customers to sign up. Some best practices are:
Map Sales Areas
Once the sales polygons are mapped in our system, TrashBolt can provide a list of all of the service addresses in a hauler’s service areas by service type (residential, commercial, roll-off, Porta Potty, etc.). As a best practice, these addresses should be imported into a CRM from which marketing campaigns can be launched and tracked. We offer managed services to accomplish this for our clients.
Marketing polygons can be created to help haulers market to all service area addresses or focus on routes requiring more density and underutilized trucks. When a big national company acquires a local competitor, a certain number of those customers will jump to another local hauler.
TrashBolt is a mobile platform, opening up wonderful opportunities for haulers to capture mobile shoppers. Using text-based marketing whereby a customer can receive a link by text to sign up for service is a very easy way to capture new business. This works in conjunction with QR codes that can be placed on the haulers’ carts or dumpsters, as well as realtor refrigerator magnets, charity newsletters or any other media source (mailer, flyer, door hanger) that makes it easy for customers to sign up.
Co-Market with Charities
Marketing in conjunction with charities is a fantastic way to increase a hauler’s local presence, as well as public image. Donors of charities want to receive the e-newsletter from their charity. Placing a buy now or buy and donate button in that e-newsletter with a message that says “buy from us, and we’ll give proceeds to the charity” is very effective.
SEO/Search Engine Results
SEO [search engine optimization] is a very effective way to drive customers to a hauler’s website and their TrashBolt buy now button. People often search for services with certain keywords/phrases such as “waste service near me” or “dumpster rental (in their city, state).” Make it easy for people to find your website, signup and pay.
TrashBolt makes it easy for internal or third-party mobile sales teams to sell services. Presenting a customer with a tablet that collects a signature and payment looks very professional to prospective customers. Sales can occur at charity events, county fairs, trade shows or anywhere else. Even the neighborhood champion, the customer who wants to convert her neighbors to your services (for a free month or discount?), can use TrashBolt.
Social Media Marketing
We have a client who accumulated 7,000 customers in his first year of operations via Facebook. We can do the same for other clients. Managing social media platforms is an art. Placing buy now capability in front of social media users is very effective.
Waste360: What are the best sales approaches?
K. Ryan Hasse: As proof of the effectiveness of adding buy now capability to a hauler's website, Jeff Bezos is now, by far, the richest man in the world ($40 billion more than Bill Gates). Called the “Amazon Effect,” 80 percent of buyers now expect to buy services online. Haulers are not immune from these market forces. But, because of the complexity and cost of a map-based online sales portal, most haulers don’t offer online signup.
The big national companies know this. That’s why they have their online systems already deployed. They’ve spent millions doing so. They’re too smart to waste money. They got big by being smart and aggressive. It’s time for smaller haulers to compete online and stop ceding this easily captured business to national haulers.
TrashBolt’s clients get it. With TrashBolt, they see more sales and sales that come in after business hours. In fact, our haulers see a net increase in business ranging from 10 to 55 percent and a shift to customer self-service sales from 20 to 40 percent (lowering cost of sale). Roughly 30 to 40 percent of all business comes after hours. Think about that. A customer signs and pays for business on Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, 2 a.m.—it happens all the time. It’s estimated that 50 percent of that business may have been lost to a competitor. But because our haulers presented their customers with the ability to view a quote, sign and pay for service, they captured that business before a competitor could respond. Instant online purchase beats “we’ll call you back Monday” every time.
Data security is becoming ever more important and regulated. If the U.S. continues to adopt European standards, collecting a credit card over the phone will soon become illegal. TrashBolt was designed with Payment Card Industry compliance baked into the sales process.
Using TrashBolt in conjunction with a CRM speeds up response time for leads, those who may have viewed a quote but for whatever reason didn’t sign up for service. When a customer is searching for service or a dumpster, response time is critical. Leads age out as customers may call many competitors. The hauler that responds fastest often wins the business, even if at a higher price!
Aside from adding buy now functionality to a hauler’s website, the most important sales best practice is measurement. I say it to our clients consistently—you can’t manage what you don’t measure! TrashBolt works with our clients to establish key performance indicators (KPI) to measure the effectiveness of marketing and sales. How many people view your website monthly (gross traffic)? How many leads do you capture (conversion rate)? How many sales come from those leads (box score)? What’s your cost of sale? What’s your cost per marketing dollar? How many move-out customers do you recapture with the new homeowner? These KPIs and more are critical for haulers who want to win.
It’s amazing to me, and to our clients, how few haulers actually know their own vital marketing and sales statistics. Haulers are often ultra focused on what trucks they choose, or what compactors to use, or what dumpsters to purchase, etc. But very few actually focus on the marketing and sales side of the business. That’s where the revenue happens! We shine a light on that side of the business and make it more effective.
Waste360: Why is a customer’s geolocation important?
K. Ryan Hasse: Mapping a hauler’s service areas is at the heart of what we do. No service company services “everywhere,” so we precisely map a hauler’s sales areas into their respective shapes, called sales polygons. These sales polygons are often expansions of a hauler's current service areas (operational polygons), as routes or current service areas can often be expanded to encompass every street, house, neighborhood in which a hauler would like to sell. It’s amazing when we work with our haulers and they can view where they want to sell but aren’t. This alone is a huge benefit to our clients.
A hauler profits with density and truck capacity. We work closely with our haulers to focus on areas needing the most attention. Marketing polygons can focus a hauler’s marketing activities on those areas needing more density or capacity. This is the importance of sales geolocation.
Of course, once this setup is complete, the TrashBolt system does the heavy lifting, presenting customers with the right quote, accurate taxes, surcharges, distance charges or any other fees associated with a customer’s service address and service type.
Waste360: How does effective quoting software work?
K. Ryan Hasse: When we were a hauler, we spent an average of 10 to 15 minutes with a customer, answering their questions and presenting information before a sale was made. We sold, probably, 150,000 agreements. That’s 25,000 to 37,500 hours of time spent at the bottom of the sales funnel, selling an agreement that was, mostly, already sold. It just took that 10 or 15 minutes to complete a phone-based process. At $25 per hour labor plus burden, that’s a million bucks! We had a sophisticated call center, hold queues, auto-routing, tens of thousands in equipment and software, all to give a quote and close business—bottom of the funnel stuff. And many of those customers would have preferred to just buy online.
Look at how many folks pay at the gas pump. They don’t want to go inside. They just want to buy and move on. So, first and foremost, an effective quoting software must convert quotes to purchases, prompting a customer self-service sale.
After the sale, we spent another 10 to 15 minutes per agreement/customer setting them up in our billing, operations and routing software. Software users were often paid more than $25 per hour, so easily another million! And that’s before we spent the money on the cart or dumpster delivery, etc. The process of conveying that data to the respective operations personnel was also expensive and laborious. So, data efficiency (integration to your billing, operations and routing software) is hugely important, not only from a cost perspective but also from a customer expectations perspective.
Not only must the quoting software present the customer with the information necessary to prompt them to purchase, but it also must shift the hauler from phone-based sales to customer self-service sales. Again, our customers see upwards of 40 percent shift.
We recommend to our haulers that they use that 40 percent time savings to redirect customer service representatives (CSRs) to marketing—top of the funnel—activities and see the multiplier effect take hold. As a hauler, this is what we did. We put ourselves on a trajectory where we were adding 30,000 customers in six months.
Waste360: How can you maximize the online buying experience for customers?
K. Ryan Hasse: By recognizing that customers have shifted their expectations. Haulers must recognize that shift. Many haulers are sticking their heads in the sand, pretending they aren’t seeing what they’re seeing every day. Even when a hauler admits they personally pay at the pump, they self-check at the grocery store, they use Expedia/Priceline, etc., some haulers are ignoring reality.
We hear things like “my customers want to call in and talk on the phone” all the time. Really? Or, do they just not have a better choice? Of course, some will call. But many will not. And they’ll sign up with a big national just because it’s online and easy.
Waste collections represent $44 billion in the U.S. There are good minds seeking to capture their piece of that revenue pie. The easiest and most vulnerable way to break into established markets is to dominate online sales. Why would you risk your business to the newcomer who has TrashBolt? That’s a silly risk.
Waste360: Why are sales data and systems integration important?
K. Ryan Hasse: Many customers wait until the last minute to purchase essential services. The trash is already stacked in their new home. The first company with a reasonable price that can supply a cart or dumpster wins the business.
Consider this scenario: A new homeowner needs service. It’s Friday at 6 p.m. All the local haulers are closed until Monday. But you have TrashBolt. You offer online signup and pay. Who does the customer choose? The company who will call them back at some random unscheduled time on Monday, or the company who presents the ability for the customer to solve their problem immediately with an online quote, agreement and payment option?
Moving the sales data to the person or software that manages cart or dumpster delivery is the next step. The most successful companies have a culture where customer service is 24/7/365. When data is imported or integrated to operations systems, that Friday evening order can be in the cart delivery driver’s route and added to the collections driver’s route—instantaneously. Next day, even next hour, service becomes a possibility and a huge competitive distinguisher.
Fast response is critical, particularly in areas where “on-demand” pickup is prevalent. TrashBolt supports the on-demand pickup by moving sales or customer service data quickly, instantly in most cases, to the operations or routing software. Just having the technical capability can create new product or service offerings for a hauler, further distinguishing them from competitors. Adding QR and Text functionality can literally allow a customer to signal TrashBolt for a cart or dumpster pickup. This is an emerging trend in today’s collection market.
It all begins with the TrashBolt platform.
Waste360: How can customer self-service help?
K. Ryan Hasse: On average, TrashBolt clients can expect about 30 to 40 percent of their new signups to come through the TrashBolt portal—even more for some. At 10 minutes a call, each six online sales saves an hour of CSR time. That time can be redirected to top-of-the-funnel marketing activities. Imagine if your company could focus more on marketing than on sales? That’s how companies grow.
It bears repeating—just having an online sales portal will increase your sales. Many customers prefer an online self-service experience versus talking to a CSR. TrashBolt increases sales by giving shoppers what they want.