It's well-known among professional direct marketers that the most important factor for executing successful sales campaigns is the customer list. You can develop the most compelling offer known to man with the most creative presentation on the planet and yet completely bomb on results because your list wasn't big enough or qualified enough to deliver the sales you expected.

The challenge for most tasting rooms lies in finding a way to staff appropriately and invite every qualified guest to sign up for your list.

Most tasting room managers want more visitor traffic so that they can increase the size of their customer email and phone outreach lists. But first, instead of spending precious budget dollars to drive more visitors to their location, they could be taking better advantage of the traffic they already have by converting more visitors to list members.

You all know the weekend drill. It's a busy, beautiful summer Saturday afternoon, and a tour bus just dropped off a ton of excited guests. You're already three deep at the tasting bar, and one key staff member called in sick. At that point, surviving the day without disaster is the only goal on your radar, and asking visitors to fill out that piece of paper takes a distant second.

Come Monday morning, you reflect on all the happy visitors who were a great fit for your brand -- whose names you were not able to collect -- and you wish you had another chance to connect with them.Kiosk for data collection

I've written about the power of data in past articles, and given the trouble most tasting rooms have with collecting data (nobody does it well), we listened to our clients and designed and delivered a simple and powerful solution for capturing consumer data. This "plug and play" kiosk is entertaining for customers and allows the capture of valuable customer information you might otherwise miss.

The brilliance of the system is in its simplicity. No surfing, no tweeting, no checking in or posting to walls -- just basic data collection so that you can grow your list. There are only four easy questions for the customer to answer:How many corks are in the bowl?NamePhone numberEmail address

That's it! Other applications include collecting customer-service questions for restaurants: How was the service? How long was your wait time? Would you come back?Rapid results

The early results of our deployments to date are simply stunning! Iron Horse Winery added 975 new customers to its database in less than eight weeks, a huge increase in the size of their list. Hundreds of new names have been also collected for other clients, such as Armida, Longmeadow Ranch Winery and Cornerstone Cellars.

Several kiosks have now been deployed for our strategic partners who get these kiosks free with our service, with 30 more being deployed over the next couple of months to all of our clients.Safe, secure, reliable

What do you do with the data? After the data is entered by the visitor, it is automatically sent to a server in the "Cloud." No customer data is stored on the machine after the data is uploaded, making it a secure solution. Once in the cloud, the data can be scrubbed for Federal Communication Commission compliance, duplicates, etc. This creates a seamless data capturing mechanism that will increase customer acquisition and potential conversions to sales.

Each kiosk is managed remotely from the VinoPro offices. All software upgrades, offer changes, text changes, artwork, etc. are managed remotely by our IT folks. The kiosk connects to your wireless Internet hub -- or a cellular data provider if you don't have wireless data serving your tasting room.

If the kiosk gets unplugged or stops working, VinoPro staff can remotely manage the unit and reset it. Alarms go off in our office when the unit is unplugged or the battery is at 50 percent. We then make a call to your tasting room staff to have them check the power. If the device ever fails, we replace it.

After data is uploaded to the cloud, several things then become possible:Send data to you as each entry comes in or send a batch of data in a CSV file that can be imported into your software.New, deduplicated data can be uploaded automatically to order management systems (OMS) such as eWinery, Vin65, Magento and Nexternal.Autogenerate a welcome email that thanks the guest for visiting your winery that day.

The data can now be used in a variety of ways:It can be imported into our customer resource management (CRM) system and dedupe against names already in the database.It can be enriched by looking up the user in the National Change of Address (NCOA) database to find the address and pertinent demographic data on the customer.Phone numbers can be categorized as either land line or cell phone.A calendar appointment for the visitor can be set up for 30 days from the day they visited for a courtesy call to sell them wine.No cost to clients

VinoPro provides everything at no charge to our strategic partner clients, including the iPad tablet, software, kiosk stand and the glass cork vessel. You simply provide the corks, a power plug and a prize for the winners.

Other interested wineries, restaurants and businesses can subscribe to the service for a nominal monthly fee, and the kiosk is customizable in the number and types of questions that can be asked.Many opportunities

You can take the kiosk anywhere for data collection -- road trips, offsite tastings, special events. We built it with "store and forward" technology. Simply put it back in your tasting room for the data to be uploaded to our cloud and then automatically purged.

Other applications include customer-satisfaction surveys, as our client Farmstead is doing. You can do anything you want with the data. We use the phone numbers to call your customers and sell them your wines.Available now

VinoPro is more than a wine sales company, it's a full-service solution for your direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales and technology needs. We can't wait to show you our new kiosk.

Come see us at Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS) in Napa on June 30--July 1 for a demo of this simple and powerful solution to your data capture challenge....

Jeff Stevenson (jeff@vinopro.com) is chief executive officer of VinoPRO, a Santa Rosa-based direct-to-consumer sales, marketing and technology solutions company. VinoPRO works with Treasury Wine Estates, Beringer, Chateau St. Jean, Iron Horse Winery, Benzinger Family, Ferrari Carano, Gloria Ferrer, BR Cohn, Hello Vino and dozens of other winery brands in addition to the Loudmouth Apparel Companies. VinoPro was named to the 2013 Inc. 500 list of fast-growing companies, ranked No. 236 for attaining 1,818 percent growth over the previous three years.