Immediately App’s Founder Branko Cerny on Startup Sales

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Interviewee: Branko Cerny Co-Founder/CEO at Immediately

Interviewer: Jorge Soto, Founder at Sales4StartUps


Jorge: What is Immediately App and how does it help sales people close more deals?

Branko: Immediately is a cross-platform email tool for salespeople designed to enable closing deals from anywhere, as opportunities happen.

Immediately was founded on a big challenge: Can we build a mobile email tool so powerful yet elegant that salespeople will want to use it at 10 p.m. while walking their dog? All salespeople want to be able to capture opportunities while away from their desks, but the quality expectation is really high. We strive to make salespeople feel like we’re giving them a full-fledged mobile extension of the processes they’ve developed for themselves on desktop over the years.

It feels magical—send sales emails from your computer, and then get notified on your phone if they get opened when you’re away from your desk. From both your phone and your computer, you can track when your emails get opened, get reminders to follow up with leads, offer suitable meeting times in a couple taps, and use email templates for sales pitches.

Immediately automatically syncs your prospect emails into Salesforce, and pulls relevant contact information from LinkedIn, so that you always know who you’re talking to at-a-glance.


Jorge: What are some best practices that sales people can follow when using mobile devices and apps to sell?

Branko: Pete Kazanjy – the CEO of TalentBin, and one of our earliest customers – put it best: “Two things are important in sales: activity and timing. Immediately gives you both. First, it lets my reps quickly send instrumented, templated emails whether at their desk or mobile. And then as prospects interact with that messaging, Immediately lets my reps know, on their browser and on their iPhone, that a client is engaging with their outreach, and lets my rep execute accordingly, by calling or quickly sending another communication.

The result is impactful, perfectly timed activity–the aspiration of all sales managers. Immediately is sales intelligence, whenever and wherever.”


Jorge: How do you believe that mobile and tablet devices will continue to shape the sales person’s workflow?

Branko: Sales is no longer a 9-to-5 job. You’re always selling, always closing. If you don’t, your competition will. Many days, more opportunities will become active after hours than while you sit at your desk. And so it’s super important that sales reps be able to push deals forward just as easily from their mobile devices, as they would be if they were sitting in front of their computer.

That’s obviously a huge user-experience challenge, since the screen is so much smaller, and it’s much harder to switch between services like your CRM, lead gen, LinkedIn, and email. A lot of sales people tell us that they simply don’t do mobile, because it’s too clunky and time-consuming.

That’s why we’ve made it our mission to create one mobile app that has all of the information (account dossier, opportunity history..) and tools (email tracking, templates, scheduling…) in one place and easy to use.

The hope we have for shaping the sales workflow is that with time, the phone will become a natural extension of the desktop, and it will be equally easy to use one or the other.


Jorge: What is your take on the state of CRM and what is your favorite CRM systems?

Branko: There are many good products in the space. We’re linked in with Salesforce at the moment, since they are obviously the most robust platform in the space. As for a broader commentary on the state of CRM – I believe it’s to a great extent a broken workflow.

You go to your CRM for information, then you take action inside email where you have your tools and extensions, you run background homework on sites like LinkedIn… and then at every step you go back into your CRM to enter what you did.

That’s really fragmented and inefficient. In an ideal universe, everything should happen in one place. That way, not only do you not waste time switching between tools, but since everything is happening inside one tool, there’s no need for manual data entry.

Even more important – if everything is happening in one place and all of the data is consolidated, it becomes possible to do pretty amazing things with the data, and create ever more powerful tools.


Jorge: What is your take on inbound versus outbound; what is more important to focus on during the early days of a b2b startup?

Branko: I think more and more it’s become true that if your product is in an active space with lots of competition, you need to do a lot of proactive outbound efforts. Even if you have the best product in the space, building it and waiting for them to come is most often not going to be a winning strategy. But you also don’t want to jump the gun on sales and cut the branch from underneath you.

I’d say a good rule of thumb is: build it really well, and then sell the sh*t out of if. Build a product that is robust, extensively tested, that you’re proud of, and that you genuinely believe is the best in the space. Then switch to focusing everything on sales. At that point, you shouldn’t be building more of the product in a vacuum: everything from that point over should be guided by what the customer wants, what your biggest bottleneck is in customer acquisition.

Nobody will tell you that better than the guys who get paid based on how much of your product they manage to sell.