BetaKit first covered Toronto-based ContactMonkey in March 2012 when it raised a $800,000 seed round for its address book solution, which let users control and share their contact information across devices and software via a link. The company recently pivoted with a new offering for salespeople, now providing a smart email tracking service that gives users insights into the messages they send out to help them track leads and follow up with contacts.
CEO Scott Pielsticker spoke with BetaKit about how he stumbled onto what he believed to be a bigger problem while selling the original service. “As I found during that whole sales process, I was prospecting everyday, I was sending emails to people at small, medium, and large clients everyday,” said Pielsticker in an interview. “I realized I never knew who to follow up with and who to prioritize from a lead perspective. The bottom line was after I hit the send button, it was a bit of void, a black hole…that’s really what we went about solving, to give people insight into what happens after they hit the send button, and that’s were we are now.”
The company now wants to give individual sales reps the same level of insights into their messages as traditional email marketers have come to expect from mass email service providers like MailChimp, ConstantContact, or other social campaign managers like Bislr, whose launch BetaKit recently covered. Available as a plugin for both Gmail and Microsoft Outlook, the startup’s latest iteration shows up as a sidebar in their inbox that gives users insights into not only if their email was opened, but how many times, when, where, and on which devices their email was opened. It’s almost like a Rapportive sidebar, but instead of providing context on a user’s social profiles and recent email conversations, it provides insight on open rates.
They track this information by inserting a small image into each email, and when the email is opened, the image is downloaded (unless a recipient uses plain text email, or has images disabled). These are insights Pielsticker believes will help salespeople not only identify who’s most interested in what they have to offer, but help them gauge when they should follow up, as well as if their email has been circulated within a target organization. Individual user pricing for the service is $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year, with custom enterprise plans available for organizations looking to adopt it within their larger sales ecosystem. In terms of why companies would need ContactMonkey on top of an email provider like MailChimp, Pielsticker said it’s meant to track individual emails, not mass mailings.
“The whole email side is very hot, there’s a lot of activity in trying to make email smarter. If I’m a MailChimp user, or ConstantContact or any mass email too and I’m sending emails to 50 or 500 people, they’re terrific. That kind of role is done by marketing once a month or once a quarter,” he added. “Whereas with sales people we’re sending 30, 40, 50 emails a day. So the way I describe our service is that we’re using the same feature set as the mass email guys use but we’re bringing it down one level to normal people like you and I who use Gmail or Outlook on a daily basis.”
ContactMonkey is currently in the works of adding integration with a number of large CRM providers including Salesforce and Zoho, and though it’s currently targeting primarily salespeople, Pielsticker said they would be positioning the service to other verticals down the road. One possible avenue to branch out to would be helping HR departments and recruiters gauge which applicants are most interested by tracking how many times they’ve opened their emails, if at all, while on the other side of the table, help job seekers better spend their time in the process as well. Another obvious target market would be PR professionals who are reaching out to journalists.
With salespeople continually looking to better follow up with leads, ContantMonkey’s tool will likely help them track the success of their emails, despite the limitations in terms of only being able to track emails to one recipient instead of several, and the fact that some opens might not be tracked due to the recipients’ email setting. Integrating with CRM tools like Salesforce will likely be the key to finding a Rapportive-like adoption among email enthusiasts.