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Our Relationship with Roots of Development

Our Relationship with Roots of Development

Last year, we decided to establish an official partnership with a non-profit called Roots of Development (Roots). Their mission is to aid in economic development efforts without creating dependency. In fact, they do not even consider themselves a charity; rather they are a community investment organization. This resonated with our leadership team, because their values aligned with our company’s values. Furthermore, when we met Chad, we were blown away with his committment to building authentic relationships within communities. One of the ways that Roots differentiates itself is that all projects must be sustainable. In other words, if money is donated to a project, it is seen as an investment and must be sustained by those receiving the money. Because of that, relationships become increasingly important in order for the recipients of the money to sustain projects. This is what makes the partnership between Contactually and Roots of Development so perfect: turn relationships into results. Our partnership officially started last Feburary when a team of 4 from Contactually took a trip to Haiti with Chad to help The Villager’s Association for the Development and Advancement of Gran Sous/La Gonave (APDAG). We hosted workshops and taught people how to build and sustain authentic relationships. And, we worked with an entire village, which absolutely changed our life (and hopefully made a huge impact on theirs, too)! To see more from the trip, please click here. What Happened After The Trip? Overall the past few months, our team decided that we wanted to do even more. We asked ourselves, “what if we could raise money to directly fund projects?” So, we did. On October...
Special Announcement: Contactually Series A

Special Announcement: Contactually Series A

Contactually was founded in 2011 with a few initial beliefs. These have guided everything that we’ve done for the past four years. And today, I’m happy to come to you with some great news. In the spirit of transparency, one of our core values, I want to open with sharing them. The most successful businesses in the world will be built upon personal, authentic relationships with their clients and partners. Announcing the Contactually Series A What they teach you in school is just the start. Being good at your craft is table stakes in today’s world. The key to our future — the gatekeeper to success — is the people that we surround ourselves with. People do business with people they know, and therefore the world needs a platform – a system – a team – that helps them engage with and leverage their key relationships. Software should work for you, not require more work out of you.  It’s no secret that traditional business and enterprise software requires more work out of the end-user than actual value to them. When we’re home, we demand nothing but the best out of our software and our interfaces. If something is too hard, too slow, or too confusing, we will immediately move on. An end user is just a consumer at work. There’s huge untapped potential in the biggest software market CRM is soon to pass ERP as the biggest overall business software. Yet, when you walk into the average real estate brokerage, law firm, consulting agency, or small business — the average “CRM” is a spreadsheet. That’s because the top-down, enterprise-focused transactional...
3 Ways to Motivate Top, Middle, and Bottom Performers

3 Ways to Motivate Top, Middle, and Bottom Performers

I started listening to a new podcast called Hidden Brain by NPR. It discusses and breakdowns the hidden intricacies of the human mind. The one I listened to, that sparked this blog post, talked about motivations and how our brain feels when we are motivated. The interesting spin was that people generally don’t feel more motivated after winning or being rewarded, they feel much more motivated when they are so close to a goal that they can taste the victory. You can listen to it here. This isn’t to be confused with rewarding top performers for exceeding their goal, instead it’s entirely related to internal motivations and “almost winning.” Winning doesn’t necessarily create more motivation, but instead more drive is created when we get close to a win. So using this psychological theory, how can you motivate your top, middle, and bottom performers with “near victories?” 3 Ways to Motivate Top, Middle, and Bottom Performers on Your Team 1. Visualize the Win We can take a cue from the nonprofit playbook. One example that immediately comes to mind is why and how people donate. We should look at the meter with the amount donated. That’s where this “near victory” can be found. Consider these scenarios: If the meter was at 20%…would you donate now or would you wait? Or if the meter was already at 80%, would you feel the urgency to donate now? The first option probably feels a little daunting and you would probably wait to donate because in your mind your impact wouldn’t be significant, your donation would be no where near the goal. As opposed to...
Inside Contactually: Making “Thank You” a Habit

Inside Contactually: Making “Thank You” a Habit

Our first and foremost core value is focus on the user. That’s mainly of course manifested in the product we sell and the always-be-helpful mantra of our customer-facing teams. But we know that we needed this a bit more baked into the DNA of the company than what we produce. First Attempts We’ve iterated with a whole lot of things. We’ve shown up to a user’s office with balloons and a big fake check. We’ve mailed out hundreds of sunglasses and stickers. We’ve sent mariachi bands, cupcakes, and who knows what else to offices. From time to time someone would walk around recording a short video for someone. We had a “Surprise and Delight” team that met to figure out what to do, with the budget to do it. However, why didn’t that work? Well, it’s not like any of those efforts failed, but what we failed to do is to do it consistently. When you think about the habit cycle: We didn’t have a cue — these were all one-off actions. Even finding time for the committee to meet for an hour or two per month, that was a lot of work. Routine — The harder the routine, the greater the chance that this could fall apart. And do you know how much work it is to schedule a mariachi band to show up at someone’s office halfway across the country without them knowing?! The reward was pretty consistent — Well, for us. Since the habit cycle relies on the operator of the cycle to be the recipient of the reward, doing the act seemed to have a...
Inside Contactually’s Customer Referral Program

Inside Contactually’s Customer Referral Program

Want to generate more business with little to no cost and without any prospecting? If the answer is yes (which it likely will be for 99% of people reading this), you and your business could greatly benefit from a customer referral program. Customer referrals — sometimes also referred to as word-of-mouth marketing — can have a major impact on your business: Referrals account for 20-50% of the factors that go into the purchasing decision 1 in 3 people come to a brand through a recommendation Customers who were referred by loyal customers have a 37% higher retention rate What referrals look like in the real world Dropbox is the perennial example used when citing successful customer referral programs. Part of Dropbox’s success is owed in large part to creating a dual-sided incentive that makes their product much more “sticky.” Back in 2010, Dropbox decided to implement a two-sided referral program — meaning that both the inviter and invitee receive an incentive. In this case, for every person you referred to Dropbox that signed up, you received extra storage space. Pretty simple, right? Well, Dropbox’s simple solution took them from 100,000 users to over 4 million users in 15 short months. You can learn more about Dropbox’s referral program here. In a more interpersonal example, my colleague, Elizabeth Moore, recently wrote a great post about why referrals are so important, especially in real estate. The big takeaway, in Elizabeth’s words? “In a world where we’re constantly being bombarded with ads, marketing emails, and mass social media updates, a genuine 1:1 relationship is the exception.” The important thing about customer referrals...
Inside Contactually: Whitespace

Inside Contactually: Whitespace

One of the biggest productivity dangers in life is getting sucked up in the urgent, at the sacrifice of the important. We spend too much of our day in firefighting mode, responding to whatever’s in our inbox and whoever has a question or a need from us. We don’t spend enough time doing what’s important — building the business. You may be familiar with the idea of a Maker’s Schedule and a Manager’s Schedule. That is best applied to differentiate how someone who is primarily a maker works vs someone who is primarily a manager. Managers run by their calendar. Makers (developers, creatives, etc) sometimes don’t even see that there was anything on their otherwise-empty calendar. The issue we faced is that managers need to make sometimes too. How does that fit in when every 30 minute block of your calendar is booked up by one or another thing? Inside Contactually, we introduced among our team the idea of whitespace. I know that in sales roles, there is sometimes admin time to answer email. Or other roles have core hours where they are willing to have meetings. Whitespace is different. Whitespace is: Scheduling It has to be 2-4 hours. It has to be in your calendar. It can be moved, but cannot be broken up or interrupted for a “quick 30.” Focus Get out of the office. I go to a hotel lobby nearby. Unplug from email, chat, Skype, and phone. Put on music. This is for important time This is not to clear out your email inbox. This is your time to focus on the big rocks in the business. Have...