Within the first 90 seconds of the “Getting Started with Contactually” webinar, they make a pretty bold claim: Most realtors are missing out on up to 30% of the business their contacts could generate.
What would you do with an extra 30%? 30% more clients? 30% more referrals? 30% more GCI every year?
Amazingly, just by using Contactually properly, you can actually capture that elusive 30%.
Can Contactually live up to the marketing hype? Let’s find out.
What is Contactually?
Contactually is a real estate CRM that focuses on relationship building and automation to help realtors get more business and more referrals from their sphere. Contactually knows it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of your contact list. When you get overwhelmed, you miss opportunities.
Getting consistent with your communication means getting the most out of every person in your database, and that is what Contactually is all about.
If we had to guess what Jeff Carbonella, Tony Cappaert, and Zvi Band (founders of Contactually) chose for their matching tattoos, it would probably be a little email icon with with the words “Relationship Marketing Rules” underneath it.
Beneath all the infrastructure, automation, and systems, that is what Contactually is about: Building, maintaining, and maximizing relationships.
So, How Does Contactually Help You Get That Extra 30%?
Contactually identifies specific areas where opportunities slip through the cracks for agents, such as failure to maximize referral potential of their contacts, not properly vetting new leads, and the poor nurturing of long term leads. Through all the time we’ve spent with Contactually, it is clear that these are solvable problems. They tackle these issues by:
- Creating a database where ALL your contacts live. No more spreading your sphere across your phone, email accounts, social media, and your excel spreadsheet. Take that organization a step further with Contactually’s bucket and tagging system, sorting your clients into the perfect path to maximize their return.
- Giving you a platform for personal outreach and automated communication. Nobody, not even the guy you hired to touch up the paint on the front door before the open house that one time goes without ever hearing from you again. Contactually helps you touch the right person with the right message at the right time.
- Creating a system that is easy to use and holds you accountable. If a CRM is complicated and hard to use, you’re not going to use it. Period. Contactually’s interface and daily tasks are designed to streamline your workload with automation and an easily navigable homebase. Also, this system is built so that you as the user feel accountable to the tasks you have set yourself.
Contactually offers three different plans. The most popular being the Professional plan ($59 per month paid annually) and the Accelerator plan ($99 per month paid annually.) There is a premium program called Concierge that comes with more hands-on help from Contactually team members, starting at $399 per month paid annually.
Here’s a closer look at Contactually’s pricing model:
|Unlimited Email Accounts, Intelligent Follow Up Reminders, Email Timing Intelligence, Email Template Library, Bulk Email Messaging (Up to 300 Per Day)|
|Publicly Sourced Contact Database, Advanced Contact Segmentation and Targeting, Opportunity Tracking & Pipeline Management|
|Mobile App for iPhone and Android|
|Smart Integrations with Other Products|
|New User Onboarding and Training|
|Team Management & Tracking|
|Activity & Relationship Insights|
|On-Demand Coaching Videos, Prioritized Support|
|Comprehensive Library of Buyer/Seller Lead Nurturing Content and Seasonal Email Templates|
|Advanced Activity, Usage, and Relationship Insights|
|Access to a Dedicated Success Manager|
|An Assigned Contactually Success Manager|
|Assistance From Contactually in Developing Automated Communication Strategies, Executing Outreach Campaigns, Bulk Messaging, and more|
|Mobile App Training, Lead Source Integration Training|
Each of the Contactually plans come with the core functions of the platform. This includes the sorts of features you’d expect with any CRM; email account linking, contact sorting and classification, a mobile app, and more.
Contactually takes it a step further with relationship scoring and gamification of your performance, an engaging (and quite frankly addicting) feature. They also feature Email Intelligence that tracks your contacts’ email behavior patterns and suggests the optimal time to send messages.
The jump from “Professional” to “Accelerator” primarily has to do with access to a much larger library of templates and content, as well as prioritized support. The term “Accelerator” refers to the fact that with the extra content available to subscribers at this level, there is less you’d need to write yourself, just plug in the names of your contacts and go.
Taking the plunge into Concierge level gives users all the Professional and Accelerator benefits, as well as things like a dedicated Success Manager, one on one coaching, and weekly personalized feedback and suggestions.
Concierge goes above and beyond by offering help in actually executing some of Contactually’s most powerful features. Yes, you pay a pretty penny for it, but you are essentially hiring an assistant to work with you in realizing Contactually’s potential for benefiting your business.
No matter what Contactually plan you choose, there are no additional costs other than the stated monthly (or if you choose, annual) fee. No onboarding costs, no hidden fees.
How Does Contactually Work?
Contactually works by doing three things really well. First, it seamlessly gathers your contacts from across all your devices and platforms and puts them in one easy to use place. Second, it coaches you to categorize where those contacts each came from and what you think their potential could be. And third, it helps you set up programs of automated communication and accountability, making it easy to stay on top of each opportunity in your sphere.
Let’s look at each of these steps in a little more detail.
Step 1: Getting All Your Contacts Into One Place
When you sign up for Contactually, the first thing it coaches you through is importing your contacts. Contactually wants to make this as easy as possible for you, and honestly, it really is simple.
First, you connect your email account with Contactually. Doing this starts a scan back through every email you have ever sent and received, and creates a contact profile for every single person you’ve communicated with.
Next, open up the Contactually app on your phone and sync the app to your phone’s “contacts” app. Similar to email, Contactually pulls a contact profile for everyone you have saved in your phone and adds it to the database.
Finally, if you have contacts saved in a spreadsheet somewhere (maybe from a past open house?), there is an CSV upload option.
Why is This Process So Important?
Contactually’s goal is to build your database as completely as possible so that when it comes to outreach to the people you know and that know you, you have one place to go.
And, the people door stays open. When someone new sends you an email, Contactually sees that and automatically builds them a profile on your contact list, same when you add a new contact in your phone.
Step 2: Tagging and Bucketing All Your Contacts
After all your contacts are in, you’re ready to start tagging and bucketing your contacts.
Tagging in Contactually
Tags are a simple way to remind you where a contact came from or to remind yourself something specific about them.
For instance, maybe you are part of the YMCA Soccer Parents email newsletter along with 20 other sets of parents. Throw the “YMCA Soccer” tag on those profiles to remind yourself how you know these people.
Buckets in Contactually
After you’ve gone through and tagged your contacts just the way you want, it is time to bucket them. If tagging your contacts helps to remind you where they are FROM, bucketing is to help direct them where you want them to GO.
Buckets like “New Buyer Leads,” “Closed Seller Clients,” and “Vendors” are defaults on the platform, but you can create your own buckets with your own names if that suits you.
By bucketing your contacts, Contactually is gently nudging you towards identifying your leads’ potential. What is this contact doing for me now and what could they do for me in the future?
Step 3: Create Programs For Communication Success
Okay, so by now you’ve built your database by importing your contacts. You’ve also established who these people are to you and where you think your relationship with them could go by tagging and bucketing them.
It’s time to put a communication plan into action, and that’s where programs come in.
What Are Programs?
A program is a multi-step communication process that can include emails, text messages, phone calls, any reach of communication towards the people who are waiting to hear from you.
Contactually has some default programs, but you are free to create your own too. These programs can be assigned to buckets, to individual contacts, lead sources, however you see fit.
Programs in Action
Let’s say you’ve created a bucket called “People in My Sphere who are Renters.” These are people you’ve identified as potential first-time home buyers, all of whom you want to stay in close contact with. You create a program assigned to this bucket called “New Outbound Leads.”
When a contact gets added to this bucket, they trigger the first step: an automated email from you.
A day later, step two of your program triggers: a phone call to that new contact. Touch base, ask if there is any questions you can answer about the first time home buyer process.
Though Contactually doesn’t have a native calling function, you can add a step to a program to ping you when it’s time to text or call your contact.
Programs can be as long or as short as you’d like them to be, but the Contactually research suggests that the minimum number of touches a program should have is six.
By your sixth point of contact, whether that is a phone call, text message, an email, or a handwritten letter (all of which are steps you could create in your programs), you should have a pretty good idea as to whether or not a contact is in the right bucket and responding to your messaging. You can monitor your contacts’ progress through programs all in one place: the dashboard.
The Contactually Dashboard
A key element to Contactually’s accountability process and its day-to-day operation is the Dashboard. Your dashboard is where all your tasks for the day appear, in one place. This checklist of sorts consolidates what used to take multiple devices, tons of writing and brainpower, and makes following up with people quick and easy.
If a contact hasn’t responded by the end of a program, make the last step to move them to a ‘cold leads’ bucket and program.
At this point in the Contactually process, you’ve identified a potential client in your contacts and placed them in the right bucket, you nurtured that contact through programs, and now that contact has turned into a client. Even better, that client has a made an offer on your listing!
It is time to add this client’s transaction to a Pipeline. Pipelines are a simple visual tool to help you see what transactions you have in progress, and where each of them are at in the process.
Pipelines are also a great way to trigger specific programs that would be helpful to clients (and you).
Imagine how much simpler your life would be if, when a buyer moves into the inspection phase of purchasing, a personalized email was automatically sent to them reminding them of the importance of timeliness in scheduling their inspection and included a short list of your favorite inspectors!
OK, Wait a Second…
You might be saying to yourself “All this is well and good, Contactually is a fancy address book, journal, calendar, and email marketing tool in one. Can’t I do all this stuff on my own?”
Maybe you could. Maybe you could take the time to figure out a way to sync every contact on your phone, every person who’s ever sent you an email, every lead you’ve every generated through your marketing.
Maybe you could go through manually and identify each of those contacts as leads or otherwise.
Maybe you could go to a calendar and set individual reminders for every single step of communication with every single person.
But, you probably won’t.
The place where Contactually really shines is in its form and functionality. You could take all the above steps, but that would be a full time job.
Contactually streamlines, automates, and consolidates all the above processes so that what would take you hours a day takes minutes.
What took you multiple devices, multiple windows, and multiple streams of thought can be done by checking items off a single list.
Contactually also does a bunch of stuff that, unless you are a technology guru, you can’t do on your own.
Advanced Email Features
We mentioned the email automation already, which is super helpful. Being able to trigger an instant message to someone without having to spend time writing it is huge. The potential client you just got the email address for in the coffee shop will be very impressed with you when you are sending them a follow up email before you are even back to the car.
But, the email features extend beyond automation.
Contactually offers email open tracking, link click tracking, and automatic follow up tasks if an email doesn’t get opened or responded to in a certain period of time. These features are available on every single one of the Contactually plans, and don’t require a special email address or coding knowledge to use.
Bulk emailing also lets you send out larger communication pieces perfect for things like newsletters, buyer pool updates, or major announcements.
Lead Generation: Simplified
Thanks to a great partnership with Zapier, Contactually integrates with more than 100 lead sources like Zillow, Facebook Lead Ads, Google Forms, Ring Central, and Unbounce to automatically create contact profiles. These integrations bucket new contacts appropriately, and get them started on programs that are going to advance them down the lead funnel before you even put your eyes on them.
For anyone who has dealt with Zillow Premier Agent leads before, you know that follow up speed is key. You can set Contactually to follow up immediately, and with your ability to craft exactly the right message for your Zillow prospects, you get to ask all the questions you want the answers to before actually speaking to the lead.
Is Contactually Easy to Use?
Actually, it is. For all the layers of options Contactually offers, this platform is very intuitive.
Before we dove into the webinars and official training, we spent about 30 minutes just clicking around the dashboard and interface. In that time, we figured out the core functions, workflows, and even set up some contacts in buckets.
That’s not to say that Contactually can’t be a sophisticated and in-depth tool, just that it doesn’t require a Bachelor’s in Computer Science to use.
Webinars, Training, and Customer Service
Contactually’s webinars and training videos are very helpful, and thus far there hasn’t been a question we’ve had about the platform that we couldn’t find an answer to there.
There are a lot of resources built right into the interface itself (for instance, the first time you open the Buckets tab, there is a two minute video at the top introducing you to the feature) as well as in the training area.
We also found a LOT of training videos from Contactually on their YouTube channel.
If there are questions that you are not finding answers to, they offer phone and live chat support as well. We tried out both the phone and chat support, they were prompt and very helpful, our questions were answered within the first 90 seconds of the call (or chat.)
For those of you who prefer more of a ‘user’s manual’ approach, unfortunately, Contactually doesn’t roll that way. There is no comprehensive written resource that details the platform from top to bottom, and probably most frustratingly, there isn’t an index we can flip to if we have a specific question about a specific function.
Contactually Isn’t Perfect
Contactually checks a lot of boxes for us, but it isn’t perfect. Here are some of the things that we wish were different.
No Native Phone and Texting Integration
For a platform that encourages the tracking of all conversations and communication, you’d think that it would be working to provide a way to have those conversations in app. One of the great things about the Contactually email functionality is that when you send an email to a contact, it is automatically logged in their profile.
However, when you send or receive a text message with a client, you have to manually log that conversation in their account.
No Native Social Interaction, Other Than Twitter (Sort of)
Though there are some Zapier interactions with social platforms, there is no way to make the most of them when it comes to direct social media interaction. As with most real estate CRMs, in order to record interactions on social media (commenting on an Instagram photo, exchanging an IM on Facebook, etc.), you have to manually make note in your contact’s profile.
The exception to this is Twitter. There is a connection that Contactually can make with Twitter to sync direct message communication, but not Twitter Likes or Retweets.
Let’s Look At The Big Picture
Contactually isn’t the cheapest CRM out there, their most inexpensive option is still $600 per year (Insightly and WiseAgent are better budget friendly options.) But, for someone who is craving some accountability, some standardization of communication systems, and help with an overwhelming contact database, Contactually is a good option.
And, if Contactually claims are true, an agent who pulls $2,000,000 in volume out of their sphere this year actually missing up to another $600,000. The added GCI from that new volume would more than cover the cost.
So Could Contactually Grow Your Existing Business by 30%?
What do you think? Could you grow your sphere business by 30% using Contactually’s platform and systems?
Head over to Contactually, and try it out with their 14-day free trial. We’d love to hear your take! Drop a comment below, tell us your experiences with Contactually and whether it has helped you tap into that 30%.