Interviewee: Cy Khormaee, CEO at Silicon Valley-based Contastic. Contastic discovers who you need to reach out to and provides personalized emails with content your personal and professional contacts will love.
Follow CY on Twitter @cykho
Check out the interview:
Jorge: What was the inspiration behind Contastic?
CY: In my first sales role at Microsoft I discovered that great prospecting is the way to shine in sales. Top reps are able to close ten times more deals by staying in touch with their prospects and customers to generate more leads. In fact, Forrester Research shows that companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost.
However, I always struggled with this process. Manually using a CRM or list in Excel to find people, looking up past interactions and then finding content to send just takes too long to be practical. We built Contastic to automate this part of the sales process and enable any salesperson to easily stay in touch with their entire network.
Jorge: What does Contastic do and how can sales team leverage it?
CY: Contastic automates the process of keeping in touch with customers and prospects for salespeople. On the dashboard a user see a list of contacts Contastic recommends reconnecting with. When a contact is selected the user can see their contact’s LinkedIn information, recent email conversations, and news tailored to their contact all in once place. To reconnect a user can select an article or a preset template to send an email with no typing in seconds to any of their contacts. By reducing the time it takes to follow up Contastic enables salespeople to effectively farm a larger group of prospects – leading to more leads and closes.
Jorge: Does Contastic integrate into any 3rd party systems?
CY: Yes – Contastic integrates into LinkedIn and Gmail. Our goal is to create a CRM that doesn’t require any typing or setup by the user. At this point our entire installation process can be completed in less than five clicks. We’re currently working on adding integrations into Exchange and Salesforce to support enterprise users.
Jorge: What is the ideal customer profile for Contastic?
CY: Contastic is best suited for direct sales professionals with more than 100 prospects. At this scale a rep cannot easily maintain contact with their entire list of prospects. Contastic automates much of the work required to stay in touch to save time and generate better interactions. This enables a sales professional to deliver the personal touch across a massive prospect base.
The professional services industry has been a particularly good fit for Contastic. The entire industry – from software development to business consultants to lawyers – relies on having strong client relationships. So, staying in touch is critical. They typically don’t have dedicated CRM systems (too much overhead), so Contastic becomes a lightweight tool that instantly snaps into their existing workflow to make them more efficient.
We’ve also seen job seekers, professional networkers, and entrepreneurs make good use of Contastic. Anyone that relies on and actively manages their network will find Contastic can save them time and surface great opportunities for their existing network.
Jorge: What is the vision for Contastic?
CY: We want to make staying in touch easy. By applying machine learning and NLP we believe we can automate much of the prospecting and lead qualification process to enable sales people to focus on what they do best – customer conversations and closing deals.
Jorge: Any sales tips to give early stage startup founders?
Focus on lead qualification. The biggest mistake I see founders make is to over-invest in the person who says they will use the product. In reality, you should form a thesis around your ideal customer (volume, WIP, cost of sales, sales cycle), and go looking for that persona. Decisively disqualify people who don’t match that thesis to focus on your ideal. Spend time prospecting for the right customers – not trying to close the wrong ones.