December 5, 2019 Captello

Don & Mike Podcast with Ryan Schefke | Captello

Don Sedaly: Don Sedaly here with the Don and Mike Show podcast for Friday, August the 30th. On today’s show, we have the pleasure of speaking with Ryan Schefke, who’s the top dog over at Captello. Ryan, welcome to the show, and I believe we’re talking to you from your Dallas area office, is that correct?

Ryan Schefke: That is correct. Good day, and I’m super excited to be here, and Don and Mike, thank you for having us, really appreciate that.

Don: Yeah, yeah. Approaching this big three-day Labor Day weekend, and our listeners are going to get a little treat today. We’re going to talk about some technology, we’re going to talk about your product and what it does. We might as well jump right into it, but before we do, can you tell our listeners a little bit about yourself, the background and so forth?

Ryan Schefke: Absolutely. Again, Ryan Schefke here, and began my career working for very large companies, began working at TI and the hardware industry, and then moved over to the software world working for a medium-sized company and then a smaller company after that. Then I said, “Hey, I need to do something here,” so founded Captello about six years ago. It blows my mind that it’s actually been that long, it’s almost the third child for me. Late 2013, we founded the business. Just to give you a little story here about how we got to this point, so initially we began doing tracking. We tracked businesses, we tracked people, we tracked their behaviors as they came to a company’s website. We said, “Hey, all of his tracking data is really cool, it’s great, but we need to do something with it.”

Ryan Schefke: From that data we said, “Hey, let’s take this data, let’s put it in the hands of a marketing person, and then let’s allow the marketing person to do marketing and do something with the data.” After the tracking piece, we rolled out a whole marketing suite, and then once we conquered the marketing suite, we said, “Hey, we’re helping marketers, but who works with marketing?” That’s sales people, at least we hope they work together. Usually they’re on opposite sides of the fence sometimes, but we said, “Hey, let’s help salespeople.”

Ryan Schefke: Then we kind of rolled into creating sales automation and things that can help a salesperson do their job better and have more conversations and be more efficient. After we did the sales stuff, then that got into the last piece of our portfolio, which is event lead capture and event lead management. I know we’ll talk more about that, but for us that was really just another channel at the top of the funnel. It was another way for us to help our clients get more leads into the funnel, and then do things with those leads. We kind of progressed through our tenure here as a company over the past six years, but to go on this journey and this ride so far has been amazing.

Don: Time goes by so fast, and time can be forever or it can be just time passes instantly when you’re talking about the technology space and how fast it can move forward. Well, you told us a little bit about how you got up to this point after starting out there in 2013, you talked about up to now about entering the lead capture space as a natural progression and the needs of your customers at that point. What makes the Captello software different than the other options out there?

Ryan Schefke: Yeah, great question. It’s really, what makes us different, Don, is everything that we’ve been doing up to this point. Some competing solutions for us, they might just focus on lead capture, or when you go exhibit you might just use whatever has been appointed by the show provider. You might use that default app or a barcode scanner. Those are, for lack of better phrases, they’re one trick ponies. If you look at our history with our tracking, our automation, our marketing capabilities, all of that put together, it puts us in a position to help our customers do that pre-event marketing, which is so crucial to get people to the event, get them to come to your booth. Pre-event marketing, that’s number one.

Marketing during the event or actually being able to capture your leads at the event, and then the followup, what happens after the event.

It’s pre-event, during the event, after the event, that’s what makes us very different.

To add onto that, with our capture solution we’re doing a lot more, we’re finding ourselves venturing into new areas where our clients and new prospects are pushing us. I’m kind of hinting at, we’ve got these solutions to solve problems when you’re inside your booth at a trade show. What we’re also doing is we’re actually helping companies that are running their own events. We found a gap in the market where, if you’re a large corporation, an enterprise and you’re running a user conference or a software group or some sort of annual summit, whatever that might be, it’s your event, you’re hosting it, you’re running it, round table, what have you. Well, to go hire the big dogs, a CE event or whatever, that might not make sense.

We actually provide solutions to help companies create their own badges and print their own badges. Then we’ve got the mobile sign where you can scan those badges, so we help companies run their own events. Then I mentioned getting pushed into different areas, so we actually have our capture solution in retail stores, so some of the largest retailers out there are using our app in their stores. Then also a cool one here, we find salespeople, you’re out on the road, you meet somebody in an elevator or at the grocery store or whatever and you talk business. You might want to grab their business card, snap a photo of the card, have it transcribed, and bang, it goes right into your CRM. For us, having kind of a general lead capture solution is beneficial to clients. That’s what makes us different, these new areas, and then our ability to not just support people at an event but before and after it.

Don: Gotcha. Ryan, that brings us to the next question. What problems do you overcome for exhibitors that use the show appointed lead retrieval system?

Ryan Schefke: Everybody has problems, right? Our list is growing, but good question. Don, I probably would boil it down to five main problems. Just to be very clear, we’re talking about when a company exhibits at a trade show. Typically, they’re just using whatever the exhibit house might give them, or they’re just using whatever the lead retrieval provider or the badge provider or show provider, whatever they give them. They show up at the event and they say, “Hey, here’s what you’re using for capture, and they just go with the flow.

Five problems result from that:

Number one, the exhibitor completely loses control.

They have no control over their data. What do I mean by that? Well, if you’re using what this show gives you, you’re using their mobile app, the show provider, they have your data. You might capture the leads, but hey, it’s going on somebody else’s server, it’s somewhere else.

There could be delays in getting your leads back, you might not get them that night. We have clients that don’t get them after the event’s over, it might take two days, three days, I’ve heard weeks in horror stories, so there’s delay. Then there’s a manual process, if the leads are somewhere else, you’ve got to get them, you’ve got to export them, and then you’ve got to import them so they go into your backend, your CRM, your marketing automation system. You’ve got manual process and there’s a lot of delay with that. All of that said, that’s loss of control, that’s the main thing.

The second point out of the five here is lead follow up.

This is a shocking stat and a true stat: 80% of all trade show leads are not followed up with. That just blows my mind. You spend tens, hundreds of thousands of dollars to go to an event, but then you’re not following up with your leads. Another stat is, 35 to 50% of all sales go to the vendor that responds first.

Number three, if you’re using these de facto captured solutions, you can’t follow up.

You need to follow up, that’s crucial, but the software that you get doesn’t give you the mechanisms to follow up. The third problem here is no customization, you just get what I would say is the same thing that you could get from a business card typically, which is from the mobile app just to scan the badge, and you just get contact info, you can’t customize it.

The fourth problem is that you’ve got inefficiencies.

If you hop from one event to another, if you’re a large enterprise, you’re doing hundreds of shows a year, maybe thousands, we’ve got clients that do several thousand, if you’re using the system A and then B and C, boy, that’s a nightmare.

It’s hard to teach your sales team and your marketing team, your event team, how to use these disparate solutions, so there’s a lot of inefficiencies there.

Then the fifth problem, which I think people don’t realize, is that the business model is broken.

On average, we actually did our own independent study, we found that on average if you’re using that de facto solution, it costs $390 per user to use it. If you have an app, download the app, $390 per use., We have clients that come to us and they say, “Look, we have 10 people going to this show, it’s a big show for us, but we can’t afford 10 times 390, we can’t spend four grand for lead capture, that’s a lot.”

They only buy a couple of seats or a couple of user licenses because they want to be cost effective. Two out of the 10 people that are going into the show have the app. Well, the other eight suffer, they don’t have the app, they can’t capture it. The business model is broken, so those are the five things. No control, poor lead follow up, bad customization opportunity, it’s inefficient, and the business model is broken. Don, I know that was a lot of info, but there are severe problems here, and they should be solved.

Don: Ryan, as we talk here, it became apparent to me just thinking as I listened to you, in the 38 years that I’ve been involved in the trade show and event industry, it’s pretty much the same problem now as it was back then. It’s one of those phenomenon, it defies logic. Everything you do at a trade show, getting ready for a trade show, it’s all to get the leads. There’s still people out there using the old “fishbowl approach”. Before we talk about exhibit houses, could you clarify for our listeners, why would you use an independent lead capture solution as opposed to the show appointed lead retrieval? You explained a lot of that in the last question, but can you drive the drive home that again for our listeners?

Ryan Schefke: Yeah, absolutely. By the way, I couldn’t agree with you more. You make that huge investment and it’s really for two reasons, it’s to get the leads, but then some companies actually, maybe they don’t care about leads, they just want to show up so they’re seen, and it’s all about the relationship. That’s important too, and if you’re using a solution that doesn’t allow you to customize it and have an engaging conversation, kind of a template to communicate with people, then it’s hard to build the relationship. If you don’t have the ability to follow up, then it’s also hard to build the relationship, so they kind of work together. Why would somebody use an independent solution? I mean look, whether it’s us, Captello or someone else, of course we’d love for people to be using ours, but it’s to solve all of these problems.

I’ll take one very simple example, and it’s a tip, so I hope the listeners here do this, but think about a big event. I’m just making this up, you might have 50 different boosts, a hundred booths, gosh, 300 different booths, Exhibitor Live, several hundred. These people that come into the event, they visit everybody and they meet so many people, they’re in Vegas, so yeah, they’re probably going to go party and socialize, et cetera. They’re losing brain cells, and so did they remember a conversation you had with them, because they talked to everybody else? Very simple thing: get to the event, take a picture of your team in front of your booth, and put that picture inside an email that you can use to follow up. We help our clients do that.

You can build emails, fancy-looking emails, send these out with our system, but once you capture the lead, later that evening then you can define send it 10 minutes later, send it five hours later. We do all that. Send that follow up email of you inside the booth so that it’s memorable, you connect the conversation to your followup, and you’re following up with your leads. That’s the first thing is the followup, we help companies do that. We help them customize the app, so if you want your own colors, your own logos, you want to have questions that you want to ask inside your lead capture form that are pertinent to your business, whether it’s about servers or how many machines or how many, whatever do they do, ask those questions, that helps sales people, again, engage in a conversation.

More importantly, that data can flow immediately into your CRM or your marketing automation system. That’s really the fundamental issue here, that’s the number one problem, is that lack of control and getting your lead immediately into your CRM or your marketing automation system. Our solution has over 1,500 different connectors where you can connect your backend system, whatever that is, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Pardot, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Eloqua, you name it, connect that up to the app that you use to capture leads in your booth. That way, you capture a lead, it immediately goes in your system, you can execute your business process, you can follow up, distribute the lead, do everything you might need to do, but that’s an instant process.

Ryan Schefke: Then inefficiencies, we solve that because everybody’s using the same app at every show.

It’s very easy to scale and to train, and there’s costs, there are hidden costs there that people don’t realize. Then the last thing is for us, we actually have an all-you-can-eat model. Basically, we want every single person going to an event to use our app. The more, the merrier, right? We don’t have a business model where we say, “Hey, pay per user.” Yeah, we solve all those five major problems, don.

Don: Well I’ll tell you what, living here in the land of the buffet here in Las Vegas, having a phrase I’ve never heard used really before, must be a newer generation thing, an all-you-can-eat approach or something, I like that.

Ryan Schefke: Yeah. Well, if we just include crab legs with our software, then we might sell more too.

Don: You can’t beat the excitement here on the Don and Mike show. Ryan, this is a lot of fun. I’m learning a lot, and I’d been around this stuff for a lot of years, so it’s very fascinating to see how this morphs from decade to decade, year to year in everything. That brings us to my next question, and I’m starting to get an inkling now how this all works bigger picture, but do you guys partner with exhibit houses? Because I know exhibit houses, like anything that helps them do more for their customer, the exhibitor, and they know that better their customer has the experience at the show, the more shows they’re going to go to, the bigger booth spaces they’re going to get, and more business for them. Tell us about, do you guys partner with exhibit houses?

Ryan Schefke: We absolutely do. If you’re a listener and you’re an exhibit house, give us a call, we’d love to work with you. We’ve built a model to help exhibit houses provide more value to their customers. Before this conversation, Don, I just Googled, “Hey, what’s a full service exhibit house, what’s that definition?” The definition is “design, produce and manage trade show exhibits for their clients”. they want to provide value, they want to be stickier, if you will, provide more incentive for their clients to stay with them. What we’re finding is a lot of, I’ll call it “medium-sized” exhibit houses or display shops, they don’t have the capture piece, and their clients are saying, “Hey great, you can design and produce and help me with setup and all that, but okay, now the most important part, my leads, I’ve got to make that process easy, how can you help me?”

Ryan Schefke: There’s a void there, there’s a gap. With our solution, it can be white labeled as well, so if you’re an exhibit house, we’ll basically appear as your solution. You can plug this in, we have a model where we provide discounts and help the exhibit house so that they can offer that to their clients, to have a really good pre-event, during event, post-event solutio, get those leads immediately in their CRM or marketing automation platform, and solve those problems that I talked about. Yes, we absolutely do partner there.

Don: Ryan, it sounds like quite a product and technology behind it, because when you and I were speaking earlier this week, you had mentioned that you and your team just got back from HCA Connect down in Miami, and those are some of the biggest exhibitors in our industry, those health care exhibitors. You said you guys were met with great open arms, so to speak.

Ryan Schefke: Absolutely. Yeah, we’re filling some voids there. We forged some really good relationships with a handful of exhibit houses, and those conversations are growing for sure. Yeah, definitely a void, and having the mobile capture piece. Outside of what we talked about here, I mentioned our history, so if you’re a small company and you’re exhibiting, I think there’s even a play there too. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a big enterprise, but we have other modules like a CRM module, an analytics module, we help to plug all of those things in, and really it becomes a holistic platform for people.

Don: White labeling is highly attractive to a lot of our audience, as they run their businesses and remain profitable. Especially now, as the economy has been running so good for so long, people are getting leery about a downturn and how severe it’ll be, when it’ll come, and all that other good stuff. Ryan, it’s been great speaking with you and learning a lot more about the segments that you guys specialize in. What should the industry expect from you in the coming months?

Ryan Schefke: I think three things really, Don, number one is the whole activation piece is interesting. When people come up to your booth, how do you engage them? How do you get them to walk in the booth in the first place, and then stay there and have that conversation and get more information, turn it into a lead or a strong relationship. Engagements and activations, we’re really looking there, so I think your listeners can expect that. Also, richer analytics in our platform, so that’s key. We have very large enterprises that, again, do lots of shows, and they might want to do analysis across all of their shows and to answer key questions and report to executive management. Analytics is a piece, and then really just more customization as well with what we offer.

Our mission here, Don, is really to make this self-service, different from typical let’s say exhibit houses, where you might go to them and, “Hey, I need this custom build.” Our mission is, it’s software that you can take off the shelf, super configurable and it’s self service. That’s a key, so you can just make these changes real time on the fly, and just instant changes, instant leads right there that you can grab. Just more customization there, and maybe the last Thing we would include would be some crab legs.

Don: Yes, we are, we’re talking here with Ryan Schefke from Captello, and they’ve got the all-you-can-eat option in their offerings, and we definitely suggest our listeners investigate more if they have a need, or want to seem knowledgeable to their customers as they go out there and try to keep up their book of business and expand it. Ryan, I understand you have an exclusive offer to our listeners. Can you tell us what that is?

Ryan Schefke: Absolutely, and again, super thankful, Don and Mike, for you all having us here, but to also give our thanks to your listeners, if you are an exhibit house, if you are an enterprise that does shows, events, or again, running your own events, and you are interested in our services, we’re offering a 10% off of anything that you purchase. All you need to do is mention the very popular Don and Mike.

Don: Okay, that’s an awesome offer, Ryan. We’ll see what shakes free from it, because I think we’re going to have a really great listenership for today’s segment. I want to thank you for us today, and we’ll be speaking with you in the near future again. Again, everyone, it’s been Ryan Schefke speaking with us, he’s the top dog over at Captello. Ryan, thank you again for your time today.

Ryan Schefke: You are welcome. Have an amazing day, thank you.


Captello provides cloud-based marketing and sales automation solutions that help businesses worldwide attract, convert and close leads.

Lead capture enthusiasts, such as trade show coordinators, retail marketers, and event marketers directly benefit from improved lead retrieval workflow, in particular, being able to send marketing qualified leads to an endless array of CRM and marketing automation platforms. The solution empowers enthusiasts to do their job better by effectively measuring results, capturing crucial sales insights, and supercharging their organization with a seamless lead flow process from capture to close.


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