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Streamlined tour booking system using SharpSpring Team Meetings

When the team at SharpSpring introduced Meetings to their platform back in 2019, we immediately set up its primary use as a tool for contacts to find available time in our calendars, and schedule meetings with us. However, alongside My Meetings, there was also Team Meetings.

Example use of Team Meetings

A co-working business offers tours for prospecting leads to visit their premises. This gives the sales team a chance to present the premises in a tour format and is a unique experience for the lead where they can ask questions and give immediate feedback. The sales team is made up of five people, all of which juggle meetings and other tasks throughout the week. So when a tour is booked using SharpSpring Team Meetings, the tool randomly picks a sales person who is available for time of the tour. That sales person is then notified by email, and an event is created in their calendar with automatic reminders sent when it’s due to start.

Team Meetings in SharpSpring

This type of Meeting looks at multiple calendars based on users selected to take the meeting, and randomly selects an available time slot and user. This seemed perfect for businesses that offer individual tours of their premises, where customers can receive a one-to-one personal experience.

Understanding SharpSpring Meetings in Visual Workflows

There are 3 triggers available for SharpSpring Meetings:

  1. When any meeting is booked
  2. When any meeting is cancelled
  3. When any meeting is rescheduled
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When a meeting is scheduled – it doesn’t work how we want

The “any” from the Meeting trigger annoys me, because if you had several meetings set up the workflow would fire for every new meeting scheduled. We can get around this by inserting a filter step to only continue the workflow if a condition is true, however it’s not possible to use Meetings in an action – unless you integrate a 3rd-party app.

Our solution – a new calendar event in Zapier

Because SharpSpring Meetings can be connected to both Google or Microsoft Office 365 calendars, when a meeting is scheduled, an event is created in the primary calendar of whichever user was selected to take the meeting.

SharpSpring Meeting settings showing the calendar connection
Calendar event showing basic details and option to reschedule or cancel booking

We can trigger a zap in Zapier when a new event is created in Google or Microsoft Office 365 calendars.

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The benefit of this method is that the event data is made available to pick and use; like the event start time and attendee email address. Both these fields are required because we can:

  1. Associate the event attendee email address to create/update a lead in SharpSpring
  2. Get the event start time and populate a DateTime custom field to trigger a Time-based Action Group
Here’s the DateTime custom field (named: Tour booking date) that’s populated from Zapier using the calendar event data.

What is a Time-based Action group?

Time-based action groups can be used to create automated events that are centered around a date of interest (a DateTime custom field). More information can be found here on the SharpSpring Help website.

In our example for Tours, we want to send an email 24 hours before the tours, and then follow-up emails after the tour.

When the DateTime field is populated with a value, we can add the contact to the Time-based Action group and it will run. Only if the DateTime field is populated, will the action group work.

Here’s the DateTime custom field being used in Time-based Action Group (named: Books Tour)

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How do I trigger this Action group?

You can configure a Visual Workflow to add a contact to an Action Group, but to trigger the Visual Workflow, we have set up the trigger to when the custom field [Tour booking date] changes to anything but empty. But you could also use any trigger with an action step, to add the contact to the action group.

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How do I get the DateTime into the “Tour booking date” custom field?

We have to create an action in Zapier, to insert the fields from the calendar event to the Create/Update SharpSpring lead action:

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As the Zap inserts the Tour booking date with a value into the Create/Update lead in SharpSpring step, this is passed into SharpSpring from having no value, to a value. This fires the Visual Workflow and triggers the action-group to run. The DateTime field is used as the Time of Interest, and begins the actions as per the settings.

When a meeting is rescheduled

The integration between SharpSpring Meetings and Google/Office 365 calendars means additional features become available to the event in your calendar. See below the three options:

  1. Booking form
  2. Cancel event
  3. Reschedule event
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When you choose “Reschedule event“, the booking form is opened and it will present to you available time and date slots. Because it’s the same event, this is treated in Zapier as an “Updated” event. So we just create another zap, to remove them from the action-group (because the date and time has been rescheduled), add a delay in to allow SharpSpring to apply the changes, then add another Create/Update lead in SharpSpring action to submit the new DateTime into the custom field. This will run the Visual Workflow action (make sure the VW and Action Group are set to repeatable).

When a meeting is cancelled

Cancelling a meeting can be done by either the team member or the person who booked the tour. Open the event in their calendar, they can choose “Cancel event”. Again you’ll want another zap to pick up changes to an event in your calendar, then apply the necessary actions to update the lead in SharpSpring and remove them from the tour follow-up action-group.

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By utilising the power of other cloud-based apps and connecting SharpSpring to these apps via Zapier, we can create complex automations that fire in seconds – this simply isn’t possible to be done by a human at the same speed.

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Author avatar
Harry Norman
Creative Technologist and SharpSpring Technician at Merci.

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