I recently had the wonderful opportunity to chat with the CEO of the Agate Group, Cherryl Macalino. Her company recently released LeadCliq, an innovative lead generation software solution. Read our interview to learn more.
- Q: Can you give us a background overview about yourself and your business (es)?
A: I’m Cherryl Macalino, CEO of the Agate Group ( www.theagategroup.com ) a software solutions company based out in Rocklin, CA. Our company has also developed www.leadcliq.com – the online opportunity marketplace.
For almost ten years, our company has worked with customers in technology professional services. Most of what we support today is CRM customizations (SALESFORCE.COM).
I’m pleased to say, the Agate Group was recently recognized as #27 out of 100 in the Sacramento Business Journal’s Fastest Growing Companies List for 2015. The list showcases the region’s top companies based on overall growth over a three-year period from 2012-2014.
As part of our portfolio diversification, over the past two years, we’ve been developing a SAAS platform for exchanging and acquiring business opportunities LeadCliq – www.leadcliq.com .
LeadCliq is a referral generation / lead generation marketplace / portal where members share relevant leads within exclusive communities. Joining LeadCliq is comparable to gaining an army of salespersons who share their leads with you. LeadCliq is currently in a Closed Release Version. We’re excited about our public release this coming October 2015.
Our two units are highly complementary of one another as we focus on the growth of our customers’ business: whether that is customizing a Salesforce.com CRM, or a customer is seeking an innovative tool to get leads and opportunities.
- Q: What was the inspiration behind starting leadcliq.com?
A: LeadCliq was the inspiration after 3000 custom installations that the Agate Group completed for our customers, many of which focused on lead and opportunity management. Lead automation is a popular demand for all organizations… as this process is and can be lengthy without leveraging technology.
We have been fortunate that for close to a decade, we’ve experienced over 60% of our business coming from referrals. This is not the same for many businesses, and most businesses struggle with a strategy to capture referrals or opportunities.
With our expertise in CRM and Lead Management, as well as our success in referrals led us to develop this unique tool – LEADCLIQ. In this tool, we combine where technology with industry best practices of sales – so it’s what you already do…packaged up in a software platform.
- Q: Are your services one-time based, or can they be purchased on multiple occasions?
A: LeadCliq is a SAAS service, which is paid monthly, and can be comparable to joining a club. Unlike other tools, like a one-time big ticket item, or multiple purchase item, or buying a mailing list. It’s a cost effective monthly cost.
Our members share relevant leads in real time within exclusive online communities. And the more you participate, the more you get leads. The beauty about the system is that, the active members who are reaping the benefits of unlimited leads, maintain the same cost for the month. Our members are pretty surprised that it’s one of the most cost efficient and effective ways to build up a pipeline.
- Q: What types of businesses are best suited for your services?
A: LeadCliq is ideal for sales executives who are “active networkers” who use channels like Chambers, Networking Events / Mixers, Linked In, and Partners.
For example a telecommunication sales professional is rarely able to complete the sale without the help of others. The customer may need special connections or equipment installed. LeadCliq allows the salesperson to request instantly from the group the goods or services required to complete the sale.
Rather than hunting down somebody who’s a good fit from your black book and waiting for a response, in this case, a member can deposit this opportunity into the system, and somebody in the group can accept it or probably know someone capable of the work required. Since members are assigned to active communities with professionals in businesses that complement their business, the leads generated in the group are relevant to each other, and unlike Social Media avenues (our system is for Active Members only) there is constantly a buzz in the Communities.
- Q: There is a trending rise in the number of startup businesses that are being created. Why is lead generation so important for a newly launched company?
A: Many new businesses are excellent at what they do, but many are just not great in the sales/marketing area. The sales cycle can be a long one. From researching your target, connecting with an individual at that company, to locating the right buyer or individual at a company prospect. Our system allows you to cut through a step or two in the process, allowing you to maximize your time vested in LeadCliq.
When a business is kickstarting, they are trying many things. Activities and events can be expensive and time consuming. LeadCliq focuses more on transactions, so efforts are streamlined to making deals happen faster, and less on social aspects.
A forum like LeadCliq is ideal for a small business just starting out, because it’s cost effective, and can cut down the sales cycle to close.
With LeadCliq, you could spend more time on setup and running of the business, and decrease the time for the many unknowns of traditional networking, tradeshows and from cold calls.
- Q: Where do you see LeadCliq in the next 2-3 years?
A: We are confident based on the response and success of our customers that LeadCliq will continue to make waves in the market. We’re simplifying how opportunity exchange happens in the market, and have a strong 2 year innovation roadmap of additional features that are due in our release. It is easy to use, saves time, money, and builds connections that actually work for you.
We see it to be a system that will a core vital tool that Pipeline Developers (Sales) use on a day to day basis.
LeadCliq is also sprung with an organization with core roots in Community Development, and we’ve been fortunate that our continued success has given us the vehicle to increase momentum in efforts for Community Enrichment programs, and continue to support the causes that are close to our hearts. We’re a big supporter of small businesses, and have developed a range of Small Business Support Plans that aid small businesses in having the stack of tools and technology that will allow them to gain momentum with lower to no cost.
We see ourselves as the company that’s making a big difference in our market… but we are also taking initiative that will make a difference in many lives and organizations that are in need of an extra boost for their cause, and that will be an equal part of our organization.