Talking tech since 2003

Have you ever visited a website to make a big purchase and found no telephone number exists?  Or, if you do call about a specific product, you get routed to a person that has no idea what you’re talking about?  Well, this question stumped technology entrepreneur, Irv Shapiro, who thought there was a better way to track and route callers for businesses- and make money doing it.

Enter: Ifbyphone.  They are doing for telephones what Salesforce did for computers to drive sales.

For example, a business that is heavy on callers like a plumber, electrician or realtor, will use Ifbyphone’s technology to see where ads are working and how calls can be routed to the correct person.

Take for instance a house selling for $22 million.  A realtor is going to spend a boatload of money advertising that house everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to International Luxury magazines.  CEO of Ifbyphone Irv Shapiro said that as a result, realtors spent a lot of money on ads that weren’t necessarily doing anything.

“What they never knew was what was really working–because the old ‘where did you see this?’ just doesn’t work very well,” Shapiro said.  “So we handed them a whole set of call tracking and call routing solutions, so when a call comes in for a particular property, that call doesn’t have to go to an office now, it goes right to the agent representing that property.”

Premier/Signature Sotheby’s International Realty used Ifbyphone’s calling technology and reduced their newspaper advertising spend by 30 percent without materially effecting lead flow.   The company’s Sarasota, Florida office was also able to increase year over year sales by 25 percent.

The problem that many companies face is that they are using dated telephone technology such as the old Key System.  These telephone systems are limited in functionality and upgrading with more advanced technology that can route calls, costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In 2005, Shapiro realized that telephone technology was moving from a hardware discipline to a software discipline.  So he built a platform for automating telephone technology at a much lower cost by copying Saleforce’s model.

“In 1999, if you were buying a Customer Management System (CRS) of any type for your business, the IT department was doing it, ” Shapiro said.  “Salesforce came in and said we’re going to make this available in bite sized pieces, we’re going to put it on the web so you don’t need any infrastructure, and we’re going to sell directly to sales people.”

Now, any size company across a number of industries, from financial services to healthcare, no longer has to invest in advanced telephone technology and call centers.  They can use Ifbyphone’s targeted telephone numbers for each of their ads to track phone calls back to an ad, receive information about the buyer, and have calls routed to the optimal sales person, whether he or she is in their car or office.

Companies can integrate Ifbyphone with current software such as Salesforce and Google Analytics by entering credentials into their platform.  For other companies,  Ifbyphone offers a full suite of API that can be used to integrate with a propriety systems such as SugarCRM.

Ifbyphone started with 4 people and has grown to 82 employees with almost 4,000 business using the technology.  The company processes 17 million minutes of phone calls per month.

That’s a lot of phone calls.  Looks like the telephone isn’t dead after all.

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