I interviewed Zvi Band, CEO and co-founder at Contactually who makes a pretty convincing argument about the merits of giving Contactually a try. He chats about the benefits of using this platform and about how his journey that took him to where he is today can solve problems surrounding managing relationships.
Me: What is Contactually and how does it relate to CRM?
Zvi: Contactually is a professional relationship manager. We connect to all your communication streams (e-mail, LinkedIn, Facebook, phone, etc), and help you keep in touch with the relationships that matter. The word “CRM” is supposed to mean Customer Relationship Management, but if you look at what CRM is being used for these days, it seems like they’re built for everything but managing your relationships with your customers.
We’ve brought the original concept of CRM directly to where you’re interacting with your contacts, and help improve your experience. If you want to (or have to) use some of the features of bigger CRMs, that’s no problem with Contactually, as we are compatible with them.
Me: Who is your target audience? How can they benefit from using Contactually?
Zvi: Our target audience are individuals and teams who rely on relationships in order to do business or improve their career. Beyond sales and business development roles, we’re seeing some really strong growth in real estate, small business owners, professional services (like financial advisors), non profits, and more.
People can benefit from Contactually in a number of ways. The most valuable feature of Contactually is our ability to remind you to keep in touch with contacts that matter. You can tell Contactually to group your contacts and ensure you follow up with those buckets at a specified interval.
We can also detect contacts that you haven’t spoken to in a while, giving you the ability to get back in touch before that relationship goes cold. We can store all your important contacts in our system, and pull in other information on them, like their name, photo, social profiles, and location.
We also sync that information with third party tools like Salesforce, eliminating the need to repeatedly copy and paste information back and forth into your CRM. Finally, our team functionality can allow Contactually to help you manage your entire company’s relationship sphere.
Zvi: Contactually is completely free to get started. If you decide that Contactually is important for your business, you can upgrade (prices start at $15/month) for additional features, including adding multiple e-mail accounts, synchronizing with your existing CRM, and more monthly reminders.
We also have Team, Company and Enterprise editions. That allows your entire team or company to start using Contactually together, to share contacts, track relationships for your entire company, and add that information to a CRM.
Me: What email clients do Contactually support?
Zvi: Easy–all of them! Instead of having to install software, you simply connect Contactually to your e-mail account (we support Gmail, Google Apps, Microsoft Exchange, and IMAP–so pretty much every e-mail address out there). All information is secured and protected, and we don’t store any confidential information on our servers.
We are monitoring your e-mail accounts 24 hours a day, across every device you use. For added functionality, we’re now rolling out enhanced integrations for Gmail, Outlook, and mobile devices.
Me: What life experiences / aspects of your professional background has culminated in building Contactually?
Zvi: I started my professional career knowing no-one, other than my college friends. I quickly learned how crucial having a strong network was to every aspect of my career, and spent years meeting people, grabbing coffee, making introductions, and staying in touch.
My relationships became so valuable to me that my last business was so successful because all new business came via referrals and introductions. I never had to spend a penny on marketing. While my network became such a core part of my career, I was terrible at keeping in touch with people, even remembering who I had spoken to a couple weeks before.
I tried every contact management product out on the market, and they all asked me to sacrifice time, my time, without providing much value in return. I thought to myself how great it would be if there was something that can look at all the people I’m talking to (across e-mail, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, phone, etc), help me keep track of them, and stay in touch with the contacts that matter.
Me: What brings you the most joy from creating Contactually.
Zvi: My entire team believes in the power of relationships, and our product proves that every day. We get testimonials every day from users supporting that fact, like the financial advisor who landed another client because Contactually reminded him to follow up, the job seeker who got hired because he stayed in touch, or the real estate agent who considers this a crucial part of their business now.
I can’t count how many e-mails we get excited about how long they’ve been looking for something like this, how every CRM and product on the market had failed them, and how we’re helping. We’ve built our company from the ground up on helping people thrive professionally, and love seeing proof that we’re achieving that.
A hacker/founder at heart, Zvi founded Contactually while running skeevisArts. Prior to skeevisArts, Zvi was CTO of Workstreamer, an enterprise collaboration startup. Zvi is widely considered as a leader of the growing DC startup community (#dctech), having co-founded ProudlyMadeInDC and the DC Tech Meetup (one of the largest meetup groups), and was named to Washingtonian’s Tech Titans list. He has a dog named Astro (from the Jetsons) and is a really terrible DJ.