How Cipafilter leveraged Cliently to bring its leading content filtering software to a new market vertical
Cipafilter, incorporated as Derbytech, is located in East Molin, Illinois, and has been in business since 1985. The company began with a focus on installation, setup, and integration of computer networks within Midwest school districts and other businesses. However, in 1999, they changed direction and developed Cipafilter, the industry’s first context-sensitive content filter.
Cipafilter set out to bring the world a better filtering solution that could keep pace with the ever-changing Internet landscape while requiring less management and cost. They also acknowledged that the needs for education were different from that of businesses, and for that reason, decided to continuously develop a filter solution tailored specifically to the needs of schools. Instead of working off precompiled lists like traditional filters, Cipafilter inspects the contents in real time making the filters more accurate, producing a safer and more productive learning environment.
Currently, Cipafilter is respected as one of the fastest growing technology solutions for K-12 schools. In addition to supplying an advanced filtering engine, Cipafilter provides their clients with superior support and consulting.
Micah Kuriscak has been a member of Cipafilter’s team for more than a decade, serving as a Sales Representative for over seven years and a Sales Manager for the past five. He has helped Cipafilter acquire new regional and national clients as well as enhance their position as a top content filter provider for schools across the country. Micah brings to the table past sales experience from Doors Inc. in Davenport, Iowa and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Management from Liberty University.
How did Cipafilter search for leads prior to Cliently?
Before partnering with Cliently, we used to do a lot of manual research for getting leads. It made sense to generate leads ourselves, especially at the beginning, since our customers (mostly schools) are already pretty visible and have contacts that are easy to find online.
How about digital marketing campaigns?
Digital marketing has not been a big driver for us. We’ve found marginal success with it but, frankly, most of the time it feels like spinning tires – it gave us a sense of progress, but hasn’t really led anywhere.
Have you considered using lead generation vendors before?
No – like I said, it made sense for a long time to generate leads ourselves, at least in the education vertical. It was mostly when we started ramping up business and looking at other areas as well (libraries, churches), that we considered looking at lead generation companies.
After evaluating multiple vendors, we found Cliently’s structure to be the most flexible, and the Calls campaigns have been very effective too.
What’s the return on your investment in Cliently been, then?
Cliently has been really helpful in opening doors for public libraries – places where we felt, for a long time, that there was a big opportunity for our content filtering system but never really got a foothold.
Now, it’s hard to put a number on our investment in Cliently at this moment because out of the 30+ opportunities we received from the Cliently team; we haven’t closed one yet due to our buying cycle being pretty lengthy. It’s also worth saying that each closed deal is very lucrative for us. However, our clients are usually happy with our service, and since 2002 we have had a 90% renewal rate.
We’re also very happy with the leads we have found. All of the contacts are up to date, and they are just the right people we need to be talking to. We also never really treat a lead as being “dead”. Our primary market has lots of turnovers and our product is something they must purchase year after year, so already having had a productive conversation with a lead can go a long way. We’ve placed some great evaluations from Cliently; these have about 80% conversion rate.
All in all, I was impressed to see that, during the slower part of the year for our primary market to make purchases, we have been able to generate more leads this quarter than we have in the past. Not just tire kickers but legitimate prospects. Not just tire kickers but legitimate prospects.
Could you give an example of one of your Cliently sales cadences?
We start with an introductory email, then follow up with a second email with additional information, schedule a cold call (handled by the Cliently team), send a third email with new action items, and end with a final email that makes the last attempt with a particular angle.
Overall, we pretty much make good use of everything that Cliently has to offer, except the postcards. We just haven’t had time to look into it yet, figure out a design, etc. Plus, we’ve tried mailers before, and they haven’t really worked for us. This is something that we might revisit at a later point.
Are there any Cliently features you feel could be improved?
I’d say that when we signed up for Cliently, we could tell that a lot of the features were still in beta, so to speak. While the interface has come a long way and is now very easy to use and navigate, it is still lacking some campaign management options to make them even more specific.
What do you recommend our prospective customers?
My recommendation would be to definitely sign up for the Calls campaigns. It’s pretty impressive to see that the Cliently team, having not a lot of information about our business and industry, has come up with a script that is intelligent and purposeful.