Interviewer: Jorge Soto, Founder and Editor at Sales4StartUps
Jorge: What is your professional background and what was the inspiration for launching SellHack?
Ryan: Tech wasn’t always my gig. I cut my teeth in sales as a cold caller/account opener at a retail brokerage firm in 2004 after moving to NYC from Ohio. 500 calls a day, 50 connects, 5 leads, 1 account. It was a grind and the promise of money was outweighed by love for the efficiency created on the web.
I made a few moves, joined a rocket ship early on (Right Media) and stayed on to build the international business after an $860M acquisition from Yahoo! I left in 2011 to work on a social gifting company that pivoted into Sociagram (http://sociagram.com) a video communication platform.
A friend and business partner built the first version of SellHack after hearing me express frustration over the inefficiency of finding email addresses manually or with rapportive. I advised them for a while and officially joined the team a few months later after seeing the potential of a productivity hack evolving into a real company.
Jorge: What is SellHack and how can sales people leverage it?
Ryan: SellHack is an email discovery tool. Our customers use SellHack to fill the top of the BD funnel with their prospect’s contact information.
Drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, custom configuration requests, or to get on our beta list for some exciting new tools we are building.
Jorge: How does SellHack work?
Ryan: We just did a more detailed write up on this for our Blog. In short, anyone can create a free account and the first 10 emails per month are on the house. If you need more email credits, our pricing plans start at 9 bucks a month.
You can use our browser plugin, web interface or API to pass in a name and company. We’ll return a valid email address in a few seconds.
Jorge: How do you see technology impacting the sales profession moving forward?
Ryan: Email is a key component of business development. Metaphorically, it’s a key that can unlock the potential for a personal or professional relationship (both incredibly important in business development).
Before SellHack, guessing an email address felt like standing out in the rain trying to unlock the door to my house fumbling around with 38 similar looking keys. When a routine process can be made more efficient , productivity increases. For now, we are looking at creating more efficiencies in the sales process to help companies that are resource constrained and/or hyper-sensitive to cost.
Jorge: What are you favorite social media tools for selling?
Ryan: Twitter, LinkedIn, Buffer, LiveChat are tops for us. We used to include Rapportive in the list, but after their latest cut back, it’s far less effective. Our biggest source of traffic is SEO and word of mouth.
We built something that helps people do their job better and we strive to deliver a great experience as personally as we can. I answer the phone, jump in on support emails and listen. It’s important to stay as close to the customer as possible.
Jorge: Outside or SellHack, what are your favorite sales hacking tools?
Ryan: We are big fans of Yesware, Streak, and the Google suite. A lot of our the sales tools we use are built internally and always a consideration for bringing to market some day.
Jorge: What’s your opinion on the CRM market today?
Ryan: CRMs have always been a challenge for me to the point that the CRM acronym felt like Can’t Really Manage. I felt like I was spending more time managing information for someone else’s benefit taking time away from the single most important metric: revenue.
Organizational maturity happens at different times for companies, and process for process sake isn’t always a leading indicator of success. Repetition is.
Jorge: Anything else you’d like to share about SellHack or yourself?
Ryan: We are not building a product in a vacuum. Every request from a customer is taken into consideration and analyzed. We are grateful for the growth we’ve experienced and humbled every time someone tells us how we helped them.
We love what we do and are working really hard to learn as much as we can from all the feedback we’ve been receiving. A big thank you to all of our customers.