Saved on an inside salesperson
Just one year ago, Neil Beam was working a stable, corporate job. It was comfortable. It was safe. Fast forward to today — Neil has parted with the 9-to-5 to devote himself to a business with a powerful mission alongside his wife, Rebekah.
Neil and Rebekah's business, The Appreciation Company, was born out of their experience organizing a class-wide gift for their children's teachers at the end of a school year. As the Beams collected gifts from each student's parents, they found it to be an unexpectedly complicated task. They also discovered that most teachers in the school don't receive any gifts from their classes, likely because it can be such a hassle.
The Beam family saw a need and had an idea: What if there was a digital group gift-giving service that could easily collect pictures, notes and money in one place, and then organize it into a meaningful album for anyone who deserves to be celebrated?
The idea compelled Neil to quit his job and work with Rebekah to create The Appreciation Company. Their goal? To "help busy parents, teams, schools, and organizations appreciate those who serve the community."
However, Neil quickly recognized that while they knew their mission and were passionate about their soon-to-be company, there were some critical questions that needed to be settled before launch.
How can I make this business a success?
Who is going to do all this work?
How will I make time for my family and maintain a healthy work-life balance?
These are questions nearly every small business owner faces in the early stages of growing a company, and the Beam family was no exception. Neil found himself wrestling with the fact that he had just given up a predictable career path to chase a worthwhile, but intimidating, dream.
"It's not for everybody, leaving a job and a steady career. I think most corporate work is easy in terms of just being secure and knowing what's going to happen each day, each week, each month." Neil explains. "When I founded The Appreciation Company, my goal was to always work a reasonable balance with my family, with four kids, and a spouse and all the other activities we do."
The desire to maintain a healthy work-life balance and sustain this business for years to come were priorities Neil and Rebekah wouldn't compromise on. Yet, without the resources to hire employees to help, these priorities started to seem a bit far-fetched. That’s when Neil's search for the best CRM for small businesses began.
Before starting his own business, Neil worked very closely with various CRM software in his corporate job. In fact, he spent much of his career implementing systems such as Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce, so Neil was no stranger to CRMs and what features they should have. He also understood how time-consuming it could be to switch software platforms. This is why, when setting out to find a CRM for his own company, Neil focused on platforms that could endure and grow with his business.
"In selecting a CRM, it was based on a set of requirements for what I wanted to do with my business today and growing over the next three to five years," recalls Neil. "One with enough features that were robust enough to grow to a list of 1,000, 5,000, 10,000 contacts in the database, where I can nurture those individuals with automations, cadences and campaigns."
After researching software of varying sizes, capabilities and prices, Neil found himself stuck. CRM solutions for larger businesses wouldn’t work because they were too expensive and delivered more features than he would use. On the other hand, there were more affordable CRMs that wouldn’t do all that Neil needed them to. Eventually, he found Keap and began comparing it against other software.
“Solutions like HubSpot are five times the price of Keap and deliver more functionality than I would ever need in the next couple of years. A solution like Constant Contact felt like a point solution. It was a fraction of the price, but I knew I was going to outgrow it,” Neil explains.
After tapping into his CRM expertise and seeing how each software measured up, Neil decided Keap's platform was the clear choice for a small business CRM. In January 2023, The Appreciation Company launched their website and began immediately using Keap to:
These automations helped Neil and Rebekah hit the ground running with their new business without having to sacrifice valuable family time or use their limited budget to hire more employees.
After months of consistently automating lead nurturing campaigns, Neil realized his initial concerns about lack of resources and balancing the business with family life weren't even a factor anymore. In fact, after less than a year, the benefits of Keap became abundantly clear.
The Appreciation Company is:
As for work-life balance? "I have the ability to sustain this and run the business because with Keap as a CRM, I can disappear for a day or a week and the business will, in essence, keep running behind the scenes because everything I'm doing is building in automation and evergreen abilities to attract clients," Neil explains.
The Appreciation Company is all about celebrating people who selflessly serve their communities. Thanks to Neil and Rebekah's dedication, along with the help of Keap's CRM and marketing automation features, their company can continue to grow and recognize countless deserving people for years to come.
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