I have been using Contactually now for a few weeks in our ever evolving efforts of improving the engagement and communication that our company has with our customers. I am a firm believer that in order for a company to succeed you must engage your customers on multiple levels from the sales channel to marketing and training and make sure that all parts of your business are taking care of your customers needs.
We are looking for a small business tool which will help us improve meaningful customer communication without breaking the bank that will truly add value to our customer communications and in turn our bottom line.
The latest service we have started using is Contactually and this post is my early thoughts on how Contactually works so far and the value it does or does not bring to our company.
Contactually can be summed up as a hub where all of your customer communications are stored. The idea is that it pulls in all your customer emails, phone calls, notes and tasks and stores them in one place. None of this is unique as it is done by a slew of other CRM’s.
One of the more unique features of contactually is its ability to pull in data from your mobile phone automatically. So as I talk with customers or send them text messages as soon as I am done it syncs with Contactually so that we dont miss out on anything.
Here is a review of the features so far and my thoughts.
Email Buckets for Customer Followup.
In contactually your customers are organized into buckets and each bucket you give a priority. An example would be ‘New Dealers’ with a 2 day followup. Contactually than reminds you to followup with the customers that you have not engaged with in the last 2 days to keep the dialogue and engagement ‘fresh’.
I find this is especially helpful when you have a ton of new B2B leads coming in to stay on top of the ones that have been followed up with and those you and your team are overlooking. I can sometimes be accused of being overzealous in the office on making sure leads are managed properly but I have my reasons.
A study by Harvard Business Review showed that leads that got a response in under 1 hour were 7 times more likely to become a qualified lead and result in a positive action. This is why it is so important to make sure that your team is managing B2B leads in a timely and professional fashion.
Contactually doesnt really make the intial lead followup happen quickly because I cant capture my leads in Contactually without paying for and using another service but it certainly does help us stay on top of the leads / customers that we put into contactually. People we email it is worth noting are automatically added into Contactually but when you are dealing with hundreds of leads we would prefer to have them bucketed without us doing it manually which is painfully slow.
Contactually Gripe: I love how when I go into my Gmail I can see what bucket the person I am emailing is and even add them to a bucket but what I dont like is the fact that I can not generate a task for myself. So if the email is about closing a sale I cant task myself to followup. I asked Contactually about it and they said its not something that you can do. This to me is a huge oversight!
Contactually’s dashboard is an easy go to every morning to see who needs followup and after that you carry on with your normal work day. By pulling in emails, phone calls and texts from your sales and tech team it also means you can also review who has or has not carried the ball on the accounts needing attention.
Contactually also has a Pipelines section where you can log your quotes and opportunities but I have not deep dived into it because after my first look it seemed under developed. I still plan to dig into it but it strikes me as something that got tossed in to quickly and is being under utilized.
I have no way that I can see on my dashboard to get a report of open quotes, lost deals, closed deals or deals that are being neglected. All I can do is put a deal in, link it to a contact and hope I remember to go to the ‘pipelines’ tab and look at it.
I will be scratching more at Pipelines this week and hopefully I will change my mind on the value that it offers.
Contactually also has programs which allows you to send customer followups automatically but similar to pipelines we have not dabbled with it yet other then to check it out.
Unlike the pipelines that seems like a last minute ‘hey we need this feature’ with limited features ‘Programs’ looks like it might be the holy grail of communication with new customers on specific topics.
The ability to add new technicians to our ‘training program’ or to add customers by brand into ‘product programs’ that feeds them helpful information to me is fantastic. Having not used this feature yet the jury is out but this week we will be deep diving into it.
In Summary My Thoughts So Far
Overall so far Contactually is a slick CRM that meets some of our needs. The tech support by email is quite good and they have put together a site that gives users a great run through of all its features. The biggest and really only draw back so far is the price.
At $39.00 a user it is expensive compared to other CRM options. We will likely renew it and keep using it for one user for at least another month as we feel out its features but I am going to need to discover more value to justify putting my entire team into the program because it goes from a reasonable $39 to thousands. I do feel that we have only scratched the surface of Contactually and it will likely show us more value as we dive deeper.
It is worth noting that expensive is subjective. Is a $5 cup of coffee expensive? I buy one at least twice a week and it does nothing to enhance my team. Is contactually worth the value of a weeks coffee to our company? It sure it. Unfortunately our CEO doesnt drink coffee so this proposition wont work on him 🙂