Aviation marketing automation technology is complicated.

And many of the tools do many of the same functions.  And you may not even KNOW which functions you need until you’ve been using it for awhile.

So, a big factor for us in choosing an aviation marketing automation software tool was to pick the PEOPLE we’d be working with. It’s important to find someone who cares enough about your business to help you make good decisions, and is willing and able to listen and technologically proficient enough to help you make the technology do what you want it to.

For us, that was Nicholas Mangold of SharpSpring.

He’s since moved on from the Onboarding Team to the Product Development team, but all the more reason to sit down with him and talk about what’s important in marketing automation, and what makes some clients successful while others struggle.


Paula Williams:             Welcome to this week’s episode. I’m Paula Williams.

John Williams:              I’m John Williams.

Paula Williams:             And we are ABCI and ABCI’s mission is

John Williams:              To help all you ladies and gentlemen out there in the aviation world. So for products and services.

Paula Williams:             Absolutely. So this week we are talking with Nicholas Mangold, who is a product specialist at the fast growing marketing automation software company SharpSpring. Having previously served as senior onboarding specialist for them. He has helped countless businesses across a variety of industries be successful with marketing and CRM software. He developed a wealth of firsthand knowledge of implementation strategy and tactics that are key to growing your business. Born and raised in Florida, Nicholas obtained a degree in politics and Russian studies. Russian studies? That’s crazy.

John Williams:              That’s crazy.

Paula Williams:             Yeah. From the University of Florida and most recently a masters in global communication and digital strategy.

John Williams:              There you go.

Paula Williams:             His quest for obtaining knowledge and sharing what he has learned has brought him here today and more personally, Nicholas is our guy at SharpSpring who helped us get set up and solved all of our problems and is constantly at our beck and call being probably some of his higher maintenance clients. Right.

John Williams:              Unlikely but likely.

Paula Williams:             Right, exactly. So we’re going to be talking with Nicholas about aviation marketing software, actually marketing software.

John Williams:              Okay, software.

Paula Williams:             So most of his clients are not aviation, I guess.

John Williams:              No, they are not.

Paula Williams:             Right. And this week’s episode is brought to you by our aviation sales basics course for, this is actually something that we developed because of a need that we were seeing in the industry as we were doing marketing consulting. People could be getting leads coming in and then not know what to do with them or not feel comfortable picking up the phone and talking to them. That’s a fairly common phenomenon, you think?

John Williams:              Exactly. But now once they go through the course, they know what to do.

Paula Williams:             Exactly. So the intention of the course was to spend 12 weeks or 12 units. Some people can go through it in six weeks or even in a couple of days if they’re really motivated. But up to 12 weeks. It’s an at your own pace kind of a thing and they learn the basics of a sales process, the basics of a sales call, how to feel comfortable in a web conference, how to feel comfortable on the phone, all of those things that a lot of the folks that are not good at sales, it’s really just a matter of learning some basic skills, right?

John Williams:              Exactly.

Paula Williams:             So it can be learned. If you can follow a checklist, you can learn to sell.

John Williams:              Everybody’s in sales whether they know it or not.

Paula Williams:             Exactly. So our next aviation sales basics course, will be opening on August 1st so if you want to reserve a spot for you or your people, you can reserve your spot, number one by joining our aviation sales and marketing lab.

John Williams:              Exactly.

Paula Williams:             Or number two, if you want to join just the course by itself or you have some folks that you want to enroll in the course, it’s $499 a person, which is a bargain. If you consider some of the results that people get from learning how to sell, right?

John Williams:              In this market typically one sale pays for the course.

Paula Williams:             Exactly. Great. So thanks for joining us and let’s go straight to the interview with Nicholas.


Interview with Nicholas Mangold

Aviation Marketing Automation Tools - An Interview with Nicholas Mangold of SharpSpringNicholas:                      I’m happy to be here with you guys and we had so much fun together in our couple of months working with SharpSpring and I’m happy to be here again with you guys and really in the last month I’ve transitioned, as you said, from being an onboarder into being a product marketer. Where we, our team, is tasked with defining how the platform should be utilized and how we should really expertly handle our software and implement it into your guys’ hands. Before this, in college I had no degree in marketing or that was not my initial thought process, actually did political science and Russian studies was what I did. And I, getting out of college, went and was going to work for the State Department but had some family issues at home and decided to stick around the Gainesville community and be close to my grandfather, at the time had cancer. So he needed help getting from place to place.

And so I stayed in town and managed to do that and I picked up actually a job working for a tech company here locally, a startup, and they did event marketing and I kinda fell in love with the idea of it, and really what it was both, I got to be part of some of the tech cause they were, had their own little event technology they created, and did onboarding for them for awhile, for about a year. And they actually partnered with SharpSpring. We were one of their first clients years ago before I even started. And we had a good relationship, and one of the current SharpSpring employees at that time was talking with me at an event and brought me on to here.

And I love knowing that I was actually going into get my master’s in marketing as well, which is something that was started by working at that company. And now I’m two years in my master’s and just now completing it up in global communications and digital strategy. And doing that while in onboarding was awesome. I got to, not only learn with my clients, but also learn at school and bring that to the table every day and really kind of grow that knowledge base and get a full encompassing picture there.

Global Marketing

Paula Williams:             Wow. So you went from a BA in Russian studies or BS in Russian studies to global marketing?

Nicholas:                      Yes, yes.

Paula Williams:             That’s insane!

Nicholas:                      It was a quick transition and in actuality I find a lot of the concepts that I learned in that degree in things there, as we all find in the long run, is going to comply to a lot of things. And so it really helped me fine tune my ideas of how to bring people together, which is both the concept of political science and Russian studies and things like global studies is kind of what I was doing there. And taking it now a step further into global marketing and kind of doing specific messaging within that.

News from the Onboarding Trenches

Paula Williams:             Fantastic. So you know, this was probably one of the better onboarding experiences that we’ve had with any company and one of the things that we really recommend to our clients is that they have a great onboarding process. So maybe you can tell us a little bit more about the customers that you like to work with. And I know you’re not on the onboarding onboarding team anymore, but it is a big part of the SharpSpring product.

Nicholas:                      It is and it’s actually even evolving day in and day out. Even right now, while I’m not in it, I am still actually part of training them and getting them up and running. Being product marketing, I’m considered a product expert here and so I get to help them and teach them ways to discuss things, how things should be presented and how best you look at the platform holistically. Which was something I learned with a lot of my clients and through trial and error, honestly, you learn how to describe things, or learning how to describe things can take a lot of time to truly develop and make sure that what you understand and what someone else understands is, both compatible there. And that was something I learned with clients and found that to actually be something that was important. Clients who really are ready to learn something new and know that they’re always going to be learning something new here with a new platform you may have experienced and been doing marketing automation since 1992 when it first became a thing.

But you know, even though you’ve been doing it, there’s the world’s always changing and you know, what we do inside is, is entirely different than other companies as well. And the way we might look at a problem can be entirely different. So really finding those people who are hungry just to learn and grow was really helpful. It allowed both myself, to really help push them and guide them cause they were hungry for it, and they knew that they wanted to get that next step. And too, it helps them as a company as a whole, knowing that you really, you can’t recreate whatever you came from. You’re now here with what you have and learning to use it to the best of your abilities is really the most important thing when bringing on a new software and knowing that there’s going to be a learning curve. But once you get past that, it’s gonna be a lot easier and you’re going to be striding and you’re going to be, as we say here, you walk, you run, and then you fly. And really that’s a big thing and we live by that.

What Do The Most Successful Marketing Clients Have in Common?

Paula Williams:             Yeah, that makes perfect sense. So your most successful customers are the ones that are coming in with an open mind and some optimism and curiosity.

Nicholas:                      Yes. Yes. Curiosity is key for sure. You never want to stop learning anything. And to me, for specifically, I took bringing on clients as a learning thing for myself as well because you guys have new ways and new ideas that I would not have thought of personally. You know? So maybe you want to use a visual workflow in a way that I had never thought of but I could probably help you do that or specific email cadences or specific ideas. And that’s kind of the fun part is being a product expert in that way means that I know everything and now it’s just, how do we make it fit you guys? And so we have to work together to do that.

Paula Williams:             Right. That was one of the things that really impressed me, is you were like, “Add me to your email testing queue so I can see how you’re screwing this up.”

And then, you were looking at my landing pages and telling me, “You might try this, do this differently.” And things like that, but you were learning about our company, or willing to take the time to learn about our company, as well as teaching us about SharpSpring. So that was pretty cool.

Nicholas:                      Oh good, good. I’m glad we both enjoyed that then. It was fun for me too.

Paula Williams:             Cool. All right, so can you give us some examples of companies that you have helped? Maybe they’re coming from a situation with a different CRM or no CRM at all. You know, something that you’ve solved.

Nicholas:                      Entirely. I have, too many stories honestly. But there’s some good ones and ones that just stick out in my memory mostly because their level of satisfaction and just happiness went from something of minimalism to something extraordinary. Well I had a client, oh I don’t know, six months ago they came on and first things first they wanted to do is just get forms set up, which is a big thing and that’s usually my first thing to go into as well. I mean that’s how we get contacts, we start filling it out and get their information. Digging in with them, I found they only had one contact form on their website and it was actually kind of difficult to find and I just discussed with them: “Hey look, why don’t we just create one form and throw it a couple different places? Maybe you guys can add a widget, you know, little corner for them to just put their information in?” And they’re like, “Oh, that’s kind of a good idea. Maybe we should do that.”

And we kind of also changed a little bit with some of the questions they asked to help build some profiling information and get in there. And it went from having three to five leads a week to having three to five leads every day, filling out that form.

And another part that I actually failed to mention this isn’t really, truly important, is they actually had someone that was sitting there and would respond as those forms got filled out.

Paula Williams:             Wow.

Nicholas:                      So they would get a notification and their job is to get on their laptop and make sure that they send an email back within 15 minutes, which that’s unlivable almost. And so we immediately was like, hey look, generic email, let’s put it up. Let’s just say thank you. That’s all you guys need to do. Nothing too crazy. And then we can, you know, build cool processes from that and their success rate from that was just wonderful. And it kept growing and we decided to create ways to push people to forms and and go on from that and their leads increased exponentially, almost overnight, it felt like. That was a lot of fun.

And I’ve got one other good one that really kind of stuck out as well. It was actually one of my first clients that I came to get to know and they’re out of Australia. I did international clients for most of it because of probably the international background I had with Russian studies and things. I think they thought I’d be really good at that. I did all right.

Paula Williams:             Lots of people with cool accents!

Nicholas:                      Yes, lots of accents and it was really cool. And Australia and New Zealand is just, I really am looking forward to going out there at some point in my life but they are just wonderful people to work with and just this first client was, he was a good guy, really smart head on his shoulders, but we brought on a client of his, that actually won the Australian Shark Tank, and they were super cool.

Their idea is to teach salespeople how to sell without having to do traditional sales tactics that might seem unsavory and kind of being truthful in sales and how to really make it worthwhile and they killed in the Shark Tank and they got a lot of press and he brought them on to help manage their marketing. And with them they actually now are one of our top case studies by implementing SharpSpring and some key automation and optimization tactics. They increased their ROI, I want to say by three times what they were doing before in a matter of months. And they went from having… They also tripled their contact base as well at the same time, which was was huge obviously and is now, like I mentioned one of our top case studies and I actually sent it out to a lot of people.

Whenever I get asked, “What’s some good things, some good tips and tricks?” I’m like, “Here. Look at these people. They knew how to sell and they knew what they were doing. And still with, just by implementing some key little bit of automations, some touchpoints. I mean even they grew within themselves, both from the traffic with shark tank and a by being able to capture that traffic and really make it usable.” Really, I always like to use the word weaponized, their marketing, it really made them accurate in what they wanted to do.


Paula Williams:             So, drop the name. It’s a case study so you can probably say, right?

Nicholas:                      Yes, yes. Their name is, let me.. The Matte Black Brand Agency is the one who is the agency that I brought on, and ISR Training is the client’s name and they’ve been doing really well.

Paula Williams:             Cool. Yeah, that’s something that a lot of our clients might be interested in because they like the non salesy sales strategies and things like that. So.

Nicholas:                      Right. There they’ve got, this Swish Methodology, what they’ve titled it. It’s selling with integrity and selling honestly. And they’ve been doing really great with it and really owning that space.

Paula Williams:             Nice. Cool. Okay. Any advice for people starting with or struggling with the CRM these days?

Advice for People Starting or Struggling with  Marketing Automation?

Nicholas:                      Yeah, I’ve got tons of advice, but you know, the things that I find most prevalent and the things that people honestly don’t know to do or… Just it’s kind of new honestly, is contact databases and managing both your old contacts and bringing them into a new system. It is important to clean that data up and make sure that these contacts are actually contacts that still are wanting your information and your content. In today’s world and as it’s changing, there are new rules and regulations on emails and what we can send to them and what will end up in that inbox and what we’ll be able to do with them. And with these new rules there, you now have basically a credit score with your domain and it looks at how you send to all their contacts. And with that in mind, if you are sending to people who no longer exists or who are bad emails or spam traps that actually hurts your credit score and you’ll see decreased.

And some platforms are competitors and some of them, they don’t tell you that you are hitting spam traps. They don’t tell you that you are sending the bad senders and you have no idea. And with that though, what they do is they put you into a new IP pool for your email sending. That has just a bad status. And so when you send emails, your emails are less likely to get delivered and, pay attention to that, and by cleaning that up beforehand and kind of just getting that ready to go, that’s gonna make sure that any email, that’s all emails possible, will end up in that inbox, which is what you want. I mean you may… You work hard to develop all these beautiful leads and maybe you’ve had them for 25 years, but maybe that email’s gone or that person no longer exists and you can get rid of it. Why keep emailing to them? They’re really of no use to you.

So really learning ways to clean up your list. Going through services, whether they’re online and you can find many of them out there, or going and doing it yourself. Your salespeople work with them, or your account managers or, maybe you just know or go on Facebook and you can find them. And that’s just a huge thing that really can actually stump you. Like when you hop on is, it’s not us. It’s not even really you. It’s just those contacts and how the world works anymore, it’s entirely changed. So we have to adapt and move into that and really own that space for ourselves.

Paula Williams:             Right? So it used to be all about the numbers and now it’s definitely a lot more about quality. And I noticed that when we moved from Infusionsoft to SharpSpring, a lot of folks that I had been emailing for 10 years suddenly showed up as not okay. And you know, I had no idea. They were no longer with the company or whatever. You know, the other services just don’t tell you that this person was not even at the company anymore. So.

Nicholas:                      Right. And it’s… That happens everyone, anyone who comes on, I mean I’ve had people who’ve been in the same business for 30 years and bring them on, I’ve had people been here just two years and they still have spam traps and emails in there and it really doesn’t matter. It’s just so, my best recommendation, even if you are leading one platform to the next is just clean up your list, print in the service or if you plan to stick with a platform long term, once a year, once every six months, take a look in there whether you do that manually or through a service online.

Paula Williams:             Okay. So let’s talk about the other side of that. And you kind of did talk about this, putting a widget on the side of your website, things like that. But what’s the best method for attracting new customers?

What’s the Best Way to Attract New Customers?

Nicholas:                      For attracting new customers. This is good and this is… Puts me to the test I’m sure. But from me, the things that I like to kind of remember here is: the content you distribute and the brand image yo you want to present to the world. You know, what makes you different? There’s some great people at one thing to great people who talk in marketing and things. One thing a lot of all of them focus on is: not focus on what makes you better, but what makes you different. So you know, what makes you stand out in the crowd? And focusing in and fine tuning that with your content that you guys send out with the things you’d like to talk about with the landing pages, the way you present your full image, whether that’s even just a little Facebook ad on the side or a billboard you purchase on the street, that really matters.

And that’s what is going to make you stick in someone’s head long term. You’re always moving from awareness to trying to get them to convert, right? And so by continuously showing them that content and showing them why you are not necessarily better, but where you are an expert, is going to help. And you can do that in many different ways. But the best way is really to just kind of do some small blogs and do some small things to write about what you guys know.

I’m a huge fan for example, of things like event marketing. You have an industry you’re in or something you can do and you can put on a show, invite people to come and help, and teach them a new skill and while they’re learning a new skill, you know they can… They’re learning about you at the same time and you can do that with an event. You can do that with a blog. You can do that with emails you send out to the contacts you already have, you can do that on Facebook. There’s lots of ways you can put that content out in the world and it’s important. No longer is the… Necessarily the sales cycle as long as it used to be in the salesperson is less inclined to need to present their image on behalf of the company. Marketing has now kind of started to own that role. And with the Internet I can find out relatively all I need to know about you in a matter of a couple clicks. So you want to make sure you put that best foot forward out there and kind of put that in there before they have to do that phone call, before they have to get in touch with you personally. They’ll at least feel a little more comfortable with that.

Paula Williams:             Right. Okay. So quality content such as a podcast or a blog or any other thing.

Nicholas:                      Exactly. A good podcast. Yes.

Paula Williams:             It is a good podcast? Right. Okay, cool. I like that. Okay, so these are some questions that we ask everybody on our podcast. And what book or movie inspired you most as a kid?

Favorite Book or Movie?

Rudy MovieNicholas:                      You know, this was a good one. I was an avid reader and I’m a huge movie buffs and so picking the most motivational one is a difficult one for me. But I’m primarily… I think Rudy, if you’re familiar with the movie, but the football player of Notre Dame who had that success story of finally getting to play. Growing up I was never an overly athletic person or an overly most intelligent kid in the room or anything like that. But I was definitely the most diligent in the sense that I will keep working towards something that I want to do. For example, I was born in the university that I went to, but it was actually only university in the state that didn’t: A, accept me, or B, give me any money to go to school there. And then I just moved here anyways and I decided… And I did my finish my AA and then went there anyways. That’s what I wanted to do and I didn’t want to be deterred. So I picked up and did it. And that’s kind of defined most of my life.

I like to jump hop over those obstacles and kind of get around them and that I try to take into my day to day. You know with marketing there are always obstacles and always things that pop up. And really in any job there are always things that pop up in anything you do. So learning to get around those obstacles and move through them and in any way, in the best way possible is really something that, that movie itself inspired me because: Rudy over the entire course of it, everyone’s telling him no, everyone’s telling him you can’t, and well he did it and now he’s taken all of those lessons and he’s a motivational speaker nowadays. So if you’re also looking at something to listen to you to get motivated for your day, his speeches are quite good. I’m a big fan of those.

Paula Williams:             Excellent. I’ll have to look those up. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that movie. I remember seeing trailers for it, but that sounds like a good come from behind kind of underdog sort of a movie. So, right?

Nicholas:                      Yes, it’s your homework for the night too.

Paula Williams:             Homework for the night. Look that up, okay.

Favorite airplane. I know you’re not in aviation, but this is an aviation podcast, so you have to have a favorite airplane.

Favorite Airplane?

B52 Stratofortress

A B52 Stratofortress flying overhead.See more bomber aircraft here:

Nicholas:                      That’s fine. I’ve got a good one here and I actually have to tell you guys this. I have been doing my discovery plane flights to actually try and get my pilots license here in the next couple of years, or how long it takes me, but I just did that a couple of weekends ago and got my first hands on the wheel, if you will. But growing up-

Paula Williams:             Congratulations, that’s wonderful.

Nicholas:                      Yeah, I am super excited. And growing up I had an interest in it. I’m actually, and this is going to sway my answer here, but I’m actually named… My great grandfather was a pilot and I’m named after him and he was a B-52 pilot on the flying fortress in World War II and he’s a someone, who overcame a lot of obstacles to actually become that. So he, he was a war hero, then got out of the war and actually was able to become a professor of physics and head of university after having not graduated college, or not graduating high school, excuse me. And also moved on to become also an expert carver. So having that name growing up, I always loved B-52 bombers, going to air shows and getting to climb on board those and take a look around. And to me that plane itself almost revolutionized the aviation industry as a whole. So yeah, that’s my favorite and I have bias I guess.

Paula Williams:             Wow. No, you’re in good company as a B-52 fan and you know, that’s really timely since this is an anniversary of some of those, actually, well I guess we’re pretty close to Memorial Day. This is… Will be airing later, but.

Nicholas:                      Yes.

Paula Williams:             Well that’s fantastic and congratulations. I have to tell you, you’re going to be ruined for a day job by the time you finish your flight training. That’s, I knew what did it in, for me. I was working in the finance industry and then started in my thirties, my flight training, and I actually asked for time off, my husband and I took delivery of a 172 from the factory and wanted to go pick it up. We had a choice of two delivery dates. I told my employer he could pick which delivery date he wanted. He picked the later one and then told me I couldn’t go. So it’s just like, okay, we’re starting our own company. That was the beginning of the end for me, it was flight training. So that’s cool. Your life will never be the same.

Nicholas:                      That’s what’s what everyone’s been telling me. And I got in the seat and the guy looked over at me, and he actually was a professor for a long time and then he actually moved out of that to do flight school and become a pilot. And literally, he goes, “You know, I’m an addict and you look like an addict too. So here we go. We’re about to become addicts together.” And I was like, “Yeah, sounds good. I’m excited.” And I’ve been in love with it since, I’ve been so happy. And it’s just such a thrill and empowering in itself.

Paula Williams:             Right? Oh, that’s a good but expensive addiction. So congratulations and welcome to the addict department. Okay, cool. All right. So how can people get more information about SharpSpring, and/or about to get in touch with you?

Marketing Automation PlaybookNicholas:                      Yeah, obviously you can go to SharpSpring.com and come with us. You can find me and shoot me an email if you have any questions. And I can hook you up with the right people. It’s Nicholas, N-I-C-H-O-L-A-S dot Mangold, M-A-N-G-O-L-D at SharpSpring.

And I’ll be sure to put that in the meeting notes as well. But also I think the best way to get in touch with us is to go directly through you guys and really downloading that marketing automation playbook that we’ve put together. And you know, learning, like I said, right content’s key. So learn about marketing automation and then decide if you guys are ready to bring that to your businesses as well.

Paula Williams:             Absolutely. And we’re doing a lead generation system where we add some content to your SharpSpring, we write some content for you, in the process of doing that. So it’s a collaborative process between SharpSpring and ABCI. So-

Nicholas:                      It’s been great.

Paula Williams:             All right, cool. Well, thanks Nick for taking the time, and it’s been a great pleasure working with you. Of course, in the process of getting ourselves onboarded with SharpSpring and also offering that product to other people.

Nicholas:                      Oh, it’s been great to be with you guys, and you guys are already killing it. So it’s been a pleasure being here and I’ve had a great time talking with you all.