This post is part of an occasional series on the AppExchange as Salesforce.com celebrates the seventh anniversary of its launch. The series will focus on some of the most interesting AppExchange applications of the last year.
Contact management has always been a challenge. Before CRM tools, there were no software tools for the job and contact management amounted to juggling paper lists or Rolodex’s that quickly went out of date. Today, we are faced with a different problem — too many software tools from which to choose.
We have email, CRM tools and various social media products on which our contacts reveal important information. While each tool captures some information, there has not been a single tool for consolidating the information for future use until now. That’s where Contactually comes in. Contactually aggregates and synchronizes contact data from the most widely used communication media, including email, social networks and CRM tools, so that sales people can efficiently capture the “big picture.”
Sales is an activity that takes multiple touches and relationship building in order to reach a goal. However, sales people have a responsibility to bring new and valuable information to each customer encounter or risk alienating him or her. Naturally, keeping tabs on what customers are saying is an important part of adjusting overall messaging.
Contactually helps sales people manage the contact lifecycle, which includes capturing, sorting and communicating. Sales people capture contact information in their Contactually address book and synchronize it with other data sources including email, social network profiles and CRM tools like Salesforce. Users then segment contacts into appropriate “buckets,” or categories, like leads, hot leads, future interest, etc. Sales professionals can then strategize situations and set up action items, reminders and due dates that help them to organize their sales processes.
This is a far cry from managing this sensitive process with paper lists, but Contactually is not simply about automation. With automation comes faster and more accurate processes, which also make it possible to turn the solution towards different business problems. For example, it would be great if a sales person had the bandwidth to give attention to past customers who will buy more and others who may act as deal facilitators, but who may not be in an active purchase situation.
How often should a sales person contact someone who is not in an active sales process, but who may refer business from time to time? While social networks provide an easy way to socialize with individual prospects and maintain high value contacts, there are many situations where a sales person might wish to maintain a looser relationship with someone who will recommend or refer them, but is not a direct purchaser. However, it’s difficult to maintain a special bond with someone if potentially hundreds of other people receive the same social post; contacts need to be treated as special individuals.
Less than two years old, Contactually figured out the value to a company of these “soft sales” situations and leverages the AppExchange to deliver its solution to Salesforce CRM customers. The company’s sweet spot is in providing companies having fewer than twenty employees with greater reach into their markets. By bringing together information from so many sources, Contactually makes it possible for sales people to more effectively use their time and resources and focus on the most valuable prospects and opportunities.
Contactually entered to market with a freemium model and provides an escalation path to a paid subscription. So far, more than 20,000 individuals are connected to Contactually and there are about one thousand paid subscriptions. Contactually integrates beautifully with Salesforce CRM so that updates to Salesforce are quickly reflected in Contactually and vice versa, along with updates from other services such as email and social media.
This young company has multiple evolution options. In the future it could easily become an important fixture in specialized sales processes and methodologies. As the customer experience will inevitably remain a very hot issue, vendors will surely be looking for ways to be more intuitive about customers and maintaining relationships. Contactually will provide that ideal solution.