Melissa Johnson, COO of Express Property Solutions, is a self-professed marketing nerd – and her phone system comes equipped with the tools she needs.


Express Property Solutions has been helping families sell their homes in the Chicago area for over 15 years. Melissa Johnson, their Chief Operating Officer, joined the team in 2022 and was eager to gain the big picture of what was workingwithin Express Property Solutions, and what wasn’t. Despite boasting impressive stats – over 500 families havebeen helped by Express Property Solutions – Melissa wanted to be sure that every dollar being spent on marketing was yielding a substantial return.

Data-Informed Marketing Strategy

Melissa’s strategy as Chief Operating Officer is to lead with a data-driven mind. Though she knows the real estate investing space well – she’s been flipping homes herself for over a decade – she didn’t want to start leading operations at Express Property Solutions based on guesses.

“I’m a marketing nerd. It helps me as COO to be able to track how our marketing is doing. How many calls are coming in? What are our live answer rates? How many are being missed? The longer salespeople are on the phone, the higher chance of converting that call into a deal.”

Once Melissa looked at all the data – pulling reports from smrtPhone and their CRM, Left Main for Salesforce, she discovered that a lot of outbound marketing was not yielding the same conversion rates as inbound.

“After I did a deep dive into marketing, I tied money and results to what we were actually doing, and it turned out our outbound marketing channel wasn’t performing that great. It can be deceiving because you may be getting leads and some deals.”

Though Express Property Solutions were obviously landing deals from their marketing efforts, the conversion rates hinted that they were alienating more customers than they needed to.

“We realized a lot of people were frustrated because we interrupted whatever they were doing to bother them about selling their house. They were harder to convert, and those deals didn’t make it to the closing table as often. We ended up cutting a whole marketing channel, just from that.”

A phone system is obviously how businesses make and receive calls and texts, but it’s also an integral component in collecting and analyzing communication data to make informed, data-driven decisions. Sometimes even REI experts and skilled salespeople have guesses that end up being proven wrong by data. As Melissa points out, “being able to take data and make smart, informed decisions, not just guessing what’s happening, is very eye opening.”

Phone Number Tracking to Learn Your Market

Tracking phone numbers provide a great example of how businesses can learn from their communication, even after it’s taken place. Melissa and Express Property Solutions has seen great success by running television ads, increasing the volume of inbound communication to their website. By using tracking phone numbers, Melissa can run the same ad in multiple locations, at different times, and find out which specific ads, and which numbers, are yielding the most deals.

“Have a phone number tracking for everything you’re doing for marketing,” Melissa urges. “We have a phone number for our website, for all the different TV areas, if there’s a sign on the door, we have a phone number for that. It’s really going to help track your marketing by having a number tied to each individual channel.”

Touchpoints as Truth

Data doesn’t lie – and that can help even outside of marketing efforts. When all business communication is done through smrtPhone and deeply integrated with a CRM, there is a touchpoint for everything. A lead or client can say they sent something – but you have definitive proof they didn’t. Or an agent insists a lead is cold because they tried calling 8 times, except smrtPhone shows they only attempted twice. Instead of getting into a disagreement about what occurred, a reliable, data-driven phone system will settle everything with the truth.

Melissa recounts a situation where someone insisted he sent important mortgage documents to her team, but they never received them. Sometimes during deals emotions can run high but she knew her software systems could settle it easily. “I said, I’m gonna do a little digging here. And I was able to go into Salesforce and see: this guy never sent us anything. Everything that happened (or didn’t happen) is right here in the activity.” Having a phone system that deeply integrates with her CRM allowed for a full picture of all communication, instead of having to check multiple places to figure out what happened.

Reports to Constantly Learn

Since Melissa loves data, it only makes sense that the reporting section is one of her favorite parts of smrtPhone. All reports are free, no matter the subscription level, which is one of the reasons Melissa was frustrated with a competitor that had started charging extra for access to reports. “That was a big deal, because that’s the stuff I needed,” noting that call logs only tell one part of the story. She liked seeing how many inbound calls led to acquisitions, and which led to transactions – but she also honed in on missed calls.

“If we’re seeing an upswing in missed calls, we need to figure out when missed calls are happening. Are they during work hours? Are they after hours?”

She goes on to explain that depending on when the missed calls are occurring, the solution may be different. An extra lead manager could be pulled in for missed calls during work hours, because it means volume is a problem, while missed calls during after hours might necessitate an answering service. smrtPhone’s heat maps and phone number performance reports show visually when calls are coming in, as well as exact data of which calls are missed, answered or heading to voicemail. Reports help Melissa, as COO, make operational decisions that are based on real data and not just hunches.

Of course, as with any software, questions and issues may pop up. Melissa loves smrtPhone’s documentation, and that’s always the first place she heads and often gets her questions answered. But if something happens suddenly that needs resolution, Melissa wants that resolution fast.

“A lot of times you’re in the middle of something, and it’s like – oh my god, something broke and it could really affect my business. But being able to hop on and have somebody respond really quickly, walking me through the problem or pointing me to the exact resource I need? That’s so awesome.”

smrtPhone’s product is good at what it does – but there’s always room for constant innovation.

Melissa noted that she can tell a lot of the products and features are built in response to user requests, constantly listening and building with customers in mind.

“I feel like you guys listen to your users, smrtPhone pays attention to what people are saying, and what people want. I think that says a lot about the company that you listen to your users and really pay attention.”

If your business utilizes a CRM and you need a phone system that will deeply integrate, or if you love data as much as Melissa and need a business phone system that will support your strategy, than try smrtPhone for free and we’re confident you won’t go back.