Let me begin by saying that I’m an app junkie.
I like to try new apps, I like talking about them and I’m even the annoying person who actually sits down and watches Apple’s WWDC event every year (and I may or may not be watching it as I’m writing this).
… Being that I’m an app junkie and pretty tech savvy, it’s really hard to impress me.
Make no mistake though, even though I’m tech savvy, I’m picky as HELL about using apps that are beautifully designed and super simple to use.
I truly believe that the ability to make complicated things simple is a talent, beauty and art.The ability to make complicated things simple is a talent, beauty and art. Click To Tweet
For me, that’s Contactually.
As a caveat and affiliate disclosure, if you decide to join Contactually through this post, I will get a small commission off of it (actually, enough for a smoothie since I don’t drink coffee).
I’ve been using Contactually since 2012 or 2013 and even though I’ve tried every CRM under the sun, I always come back.
If you’re counting, as of this writing it is currently June 2018 so I’ve literally been using it for 6 or 7 years… and you know app junkies have commitment issues when it comes to apps and yet, I’m still here.
That should tell you something.
So yes, I would recommend it even if I wasn’t being paid (you can ask the people in my office about all the times I’ve taught them how to use it and wasn’t getting paid for it) and if it REALLY kills you that I’m going to get to get to buy a smoothie, you can go directly to their site and try it out there.
They’ve niched their marketing down for realtors.
Being that in addition to selling real estate, I also lead a young professionals organization (ahem, that’s where you are right now), I’m here to tell you that the system is flexible enough to work for ANY system… and there literally isn’t ANY real estate mention in the entire system unless you choose to go to the global library where there are email templates for alllll types of industries, including real estate.
It just so happens that realtors blow money on technology more than any other industry, so of course they niched down.
Alright, so now that we’ve got all of that out of the way, let’s get started.
Easy, Flexible + Beautiful of Use
First things first, like you, I’m a millennial.
That means that I’m not gonna be logging into some system that looks like it was built before I was born every single day.
I’ve gone off on tangents about the importance of beautiful design for the apps that you use in CRAZY detail right here:
With that in mind, this is actually number one and it might be for you too, without you even realizing it.
If you’re going to use it every day, you should enjoy using it… and it should LOOK pretty.
Here’s what the dashboard of my CRM, Contactually looks like:
It gives you the meat in a beautiful way, without you having to go looking for anything.
Listen up, and listen close…
Having a big long list of contacts doesn’t mean shit if looking at the list gives you anxiety.Having a big long list of contacts doesn't mean shit if looking at the list gives you anxiety. Click To Tweet
It’s IMPERATIVE that you get to segment your contacts… and I have to say, Contactually has killed it with their bucket game.
When you register, you sync your email accounts and your google/iCloud contacts and it pulls in alllll the people you forgot even existed.
Warning: you’re going to be overwhelmed at first because of the sheer number of people you have in your network.
I have 12,000 people plus an additional few thousand on our MEB email list.
Of those 12,000, only about 2,000 actually stay in Contactually and the rest are archived.
You’re going to have to go through and segment your contacts no matter how you slice and dice it but at least the bucket game makes it bearable.
Oh, as a heads up, only do 100 or so per day AFTER you’ve set up your programs or you’ll sort through 500 people and end up with 9,000 tasks on your dashboard.
Ahem, I’m speaking from experience.
Which leads me to…
There are a tonnnnn of CRMs out there and there are even a bunch of free ones…. but not all of them make it easy to systemize your follow-ups.
Without that, having a CRM is basically just a fancy excel spreadsheet.
The whole point of using a CRM is to reduce your stress and the amount of effort you have to take, not add to it.The whole point of using a CRM is to reduce your stress and the amount of effort you have to take, not add to it. Click To Tweet
In my own practice, every single person who comes into my life is added to a follow-up campaign.
I have a campaign for people who join us on Meetup, a campaign for people who become a member or join our online academy, a campaign for my new real estate clients, people who send me referrals and even people who I meet while networking.
The third law of networking is to communicate with it systematically and if you can’t have campaigns, there’s no point in even having a CRM.
Contactually’s programs are easy to set up, integrate with buckets and it will give you peace of mind that when people come into your life, you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’re building a relationship with them until their name comes up on your dashboard and tells you what to mail, call or send them.
Ok first of all, I’m going to sound like a super nerd right now but I need you to understand how important this is.
If every time you email someone, you have to go and manually add that person to your CRM and still log the interaction, how likely are you to do it?
What about every time you get someone’s number?
Precisely my point.
Contactually syncs with your contacts and email so whenever you email someone, it pulls in the contacts AND email… all you have to do is bucket them.
Here’s what I mean:
I don’t have to actually pull in their emails, it automatically comes in… And say hi to my mom (if you can’t tell, we’re going through a whole healthy eating kick with her tower garden haha!)
Oh, and not to mention that if you text from your computer, you can quickly copy and paste the info back into Contactually so everyone is always updated.
I have a weekly reminder to myself to bucket my new contacts so that everyone is added to the appropriate follow-up plans and with the mindset of committing to clearing the dashboard on a daily basis, your networking machine runs and grows without a whole lot of effort on your behalf.
Their follow-up reminders are actually what got me interested in Contactually in the first place.
We talked about the bucket game earlier, so when you set them up, you assign a follow-up timeframe.
For example, I have a 30 day follow-up reminder for our MEB members to reach out to them, check in on them and keep them engaged.
I’ve laid out in CRAZY detail how I organize my network in this post:
My long term nurtures hear from me every 90 days.
Then, you’ll go and decide how many follow-ups you want to do per day…
Follow-ups are different from programs.
Programs are preset campaigns that tell you exactly what to say or send while a follow-up reminder is just “you haven’t talked to this person in ___ days and you want to talk to them every __ days.”
Thennn, taking it a step further, Contactually gamifies it with your RPA (relationship point average) which is calculated based on how many people you’re in touch with and how may people you’re out of touch with.
I was never a straight A student but my RPA is always an A because it drives me crazy when it’s not.
For the sake of my sanity, I only do about 5 follow-up reminders per day and recommend you do the same if you’re also using programs.
ScaleMail + Scheduling Emails
This one is my little holy grail, just don’t tell the people in my “inner circle”.
Imagine combining email marketing with the personal touch… and that’s what you get when you use ScaleMail.
It allows you to send personalized emails to a group of people at the same time and if you’re not ready to send it yet, you can schedule it. As you’re going through the editing process, you can also customize the message for a specific person within the group to make it even more personal.
I’ve used this to send emails to our leadership team, invite a group of people to lunch and for promoting our events.
The open, click and reply rates are infinitely higher on these than on traditional email marketing because they’re so personalized.
I don’t use this feature as much as I could but every time I do, it blows my mind.
If you’re in sales, you know the importance of keeping a full pipeline.
Contactually does a beautiful job of breaking down your pipelines in a useful, visual way with their drag and drop editor, allowing you to assign programs to each step of the pipeline and giving you a visual overview of your business.
What I love about this so much is it can be as simple as you want it to be or as complex as you want it to be and either way, Contactually has the power and simplicity to handle it all.
The more you can streamline in your business, the less you have to do on your own and the more you can enjoy your life without burning out.The more you can streamline in your business, the less you have to do on your own and the more you can enjoy your life without burning out. Click To Tweet
Integrations make it super simple to eliminate most of the double data entry, give you the ability to duplicate yourself and do the work of like 10 people even when you’re only one.
Remember, Contactually’s shining feature is that it has the incredible ability to be super simple or crazy complex.
After six years now, I’ve continued to refine and develop my process which has grown to include working with various apps that all run in the background (before I could start building a team, these were the only way I could grow without burning out).
We use Invoiced for membership dues, Typeform for new Meetup subscribers and leadership applications, RealScout for buyer property searches, Spotio for tracking my door knocking, Calendly for scheduling appointments and Spacio for my open houses… and every one of those contacts goes into Contactually.
You don’t need to do or use all of those, but I wanted to make sure to outline how powerful the system is.
Growing two COMPLETELY different companies at the same time is impossible without incredible systems and all of these integrations make it possible.
What I Don’t Love
Now, this wouldn’t be an honest review if I didn’t throw in the things I’d like to see different in the system.
Don’t get me wrong, overall, I love Contactually.
… but when you’re a power user like I am, there’s small stuff that makes you want to rip your hair out.
For most people, these won’t even be an issue but because I have so many automations and other things running, it DEFINITELY affects me.
In fact, for every thing I LOVE about Contactually, there’s something that I’d fix or change.
Their customer service: they don’t always update you with issues that you’ve reported and sometimes you can tell that the people reading the emails are just trying to respond as quickly as they can and giving you a basic answer, instead of actually reading the email you sent them. You’re a million times more likely to get a solid response from their Facebook group than from reaching out to customer service.
ConvertKit Integration: Contactually + ConvertKit = 💰. My life would be a million times easier that way and my contacts in Contactually would be a COMPLETE view. Ideally, when I click on a contact, I want to see their ConvertKit activity too (what tags they’re part of, what forms they’ve downloaded and so on). ConvertKit is one of the fastest growing email service providers around so it’s only right that my two best friends get married already. I’d LOVE to see Contactually’s tags AND buckets be part of the integration… I’d have a marketing automation MACHINE that way.
Programs: Being that I’m in real estate, when I’m going through a transaction, there are a lot of split points and a bunch of things that need to happen on a certain timeframe. Their programs are totally linear so they don’t allow for you to set dates like “10 days before __” or anything of that nature. I’d love to see their programs also include third party integrations too (ahem, ConvertKit and Dotloop) and for tags to be part of both programs and Zapier triggers. That’d give you next level automation and seems like something that wouldn’t be that complicated to do. These few functions alone would also make pipelines way more useful. Their programs need to take on more of the heavy lifting and instead of just doing the frontend of following up, need to become a hardcore closer too.
Dashboard: they DESPERATELY need to allow us to categorize our tasks (specifically in programs) so that when you log into Contactually in the morning, you can batch your tasks by filtering your mailings, calls, and so on (or whatever order you’d like) and can focus on that one type of task. It can get super overwhelming when you log in in the morning and have 50+ tasks. Batching would make it a million times less overwhelming and I think people would complete them more often.
Like I said, most of these things I can live without, but a girl can dream, right?