Clate Mask Interview

CLATE MASK Interview

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Editor: Hello and welcome. Today’s guest is someone I’ve been itching to talk to for some time. Clate Mask is the CEO and cofounder of a company called Keap, which was formerly known as Infusionsoft. Now this is a company you may or may not be familiar with, but it is one of the most Revolutionary software as a service companies out there today. But what is Keap and how does it help power business? Well, we’ll find out that and so much more. Clate, welcome.

Clate Mask: Thanks so much. Great to be with you.

Editor: Well, it’s great to have you with us and for anyone listening, who doesn’t really understand what Keap is or what it is that you do, maybe you could start by telling me what it is and what it does.

Clate Mask: Yeah, the simplest way to say it is that it’s sales and marketing automation software for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurial small businesses, they’re busy, they’re wearing so many different hats. They’re trying to get all kinds of different things done and it’s really tough to not drop the ball with prospects and customers. So you need a system to help you follow up effectively. You need a system to help you to nurture leads, turn them into clients, turn those clients into rating fans and that’s what our software does. It’s an automation platform for small businesses.

Editor: Is this what is known in industry as a CRM?

Clate Mask: Yeah, a lot of people will refer to it that way. Sometimes we’ll talk to entrepreneurs and small businesses and they’re like, “I don’t know what CRM … I can’t even spell CRM. So, we definitely refer to it as customer relationship management software, CRM for entrepreneurs, but simply put, it helps you to do a better job with your sales marketing and customer service.

Editor: Great and what is it that inspired you to start Keap?

Clate Mask: Yeah, well, we were helping small businesses do their sales and marketing online more effectively. This was years ago, 18 years ago. What we found was that there was so much disorganization and chaos that made it really difficult for our customers to follow up effectively. So, we created an automated way to send the right message to the right person, at the right time to build relationship, to do it efficiently and put more hours in the day for the entrepreneur.

Clate Mask

Editor: Makes sense and how difficult was that as a concept for you to achieve?

Clate Mask: It’s interesting, it took us about three years in the early days to get it right. We began using it ourselves and when we started to see our customers use this personalized, automated follow-up, we saw what a game changer it was. The funny thing is we weren’t using it yet. We weren’t using the automation aspects ourselves. We were using it to organize our contacts and follow different calling lists and things like that. But it was really manual and it wasn’t until we started to see our customers using the automation, that we said, “Hey, you know what? We ought to use that ourselves.” Once we started using it ourselves, it completely changed the game.

Editor: For anybody who’s never seen Keap and what it is capable of, I know that there’s maybe some confusion, perhaps, because for a long time you were called Infusionsoft. Maybe you could just explain a little bit about how Infusionsoft evolved into Keap?

Clate Mask

Editor: For anybody who’s never seen Keap and what it is capable of, I know that there’s maybe some confusion, perhaps, because for a long time you were called Infusionsoft. Maybe you could just explain a little bit about how Infusionsoft evolved into Keap?

Clate Mask: Yeah. So for years, Infusionsoft was this powerful sales and marketing automation software, but we heard customers and people who wanted to sign up for it, they’d say, “Oh, I need something lighter.” I need a lighter, easier version of Infusionsoft. So we began creating that and when we got done creating it, we said, “You know what? Most people are going to start with this new product and then some will grow into Infusionsoft.”

So Keap is the lighter, easier version of Infusionsoft and the reason why we renamed the company is that most customers will start there and we want our software to be known first and foremost for ease of use. That’s not what Infusionsoft was known for. Infusionsoft was known for all the power, all the bells and whistles, all the things you could do, and we want that too. We want our customers to have that version. So today you can buy a number of different products from Keap. You can buy our Grow product, which is for the earlier beginners and then you can buy the Pro product for people that are starting to move up a little bit, and then you can buy our Infusionsoft product, which has all the bells and whistles.

Editor: Great. So, I mean, it’s a fully featured suite of solutions, I guess is what you’re saying. That you went from learning to drive in a Rolls Royce with Infusionsoft, now you can learn to drive in a much smaller car and then advance up to the driving in a Rolls Royce.

Clate Mask: That’s exactly right and the car analogy is a good one. We’ve heard that many times where people said, “Infusionsoft’s a Ferrari and I just need a Honda Accord,” you know?

Clate Mask

Editor: Yeah.

Clate Mask: So we now have … you can get started with the car that’s right for you and if you want to get all the power and all the capabilities of Infusionsoft, you can upgrade to that. The reason we named it Keap is that for those who know Infusionsoft, you know that we’ve always been about empowering the entrepreneur and encouraging that entrepreneurial spirit. The reality is sometimes it’s really tough and you just want to quit. Our message has always been to these entrepreneurial, small businesses, keep going, keep serving, keep growing and we call it Keap. We spell it with an A so that we can own it and it’s been fun over the past year to start building this brand.
We’ll continue to do that. We have a mission that takes us through the year 2030, and our mission is to simplify growth for millions of small businesses and we’ll continue that encouraging entrepreneurial spirit to keep going.

Editor: Oh, love it. Love it. Now, alongside your work with Keap, you’re also a published author. I know that you coauthored the New York Times bestselling book, Conquer The Chaos. Maybe you could just tell me a little bit more about that, how you got involved in writing books.

Clate Mask: Yeah, you bet. So boy, it’s been about a decade since we wrote it. What happened was, as we were helping our customers, we saw these common challenges that were causing small businesses to not grow and entrepreneurs to be frustrated and not able to find the freedom they were looking for when they started their business in the first place.

See, that’s the thing about entrepreneurship is we get into it because we want to have freedom. We want to have impact. We want to have the control to earn what we’re capable of earning. The reality is when you get into the business, a lot of times you don’t have freedom. You have captivity, the business controls you and owns you and dominates your life.

So as we saw this problem, we began to see very common patterns in what caused the problem and we also saw very common patterns among those who were successful in finding the solution. So we began to do some research around it. We began to collect our thoughts and really what happened was we had a bunch of friends and family and people we cared about who were asking us for all sorts of advice. We said, “You know, we just need to write this.” So we wrote a book and we write all about the entrepreneurial mindset and we write all about the systems strategies that are needed in order to conquer the chaos and grow a successful business.

Editor: Fantastic and congratulations for becoming a New York Times bestseller, I know how difficult that can be.

Clate Mask: Thank you.

Clate Mask

Note from the editor:

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