Contactually May Be A Sourcer’s Best Friend

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Mar 29, 2012

When I first saw Contactually, I didn’t think it mattered to the world of sourcing.

It won’t help you find more potential candidates. It won’t help you do a deep dive of Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. It also won’t help you narrow down results for searches that are overwhelming in size.  And it won’t help you construct the latest cutting edge Boolean strings.

So why is Contactually potentially one of the best tools sourcers can use to beat the competition?

It all comes down to relationship building.

Keeping on top of follow-up conversations

When I think of the types of relationships that sourcers are building on a daily basis, I can think of several different types of people they are in contact with:

  1. Candidates and possible candidates for immediate or imminent openings
  2. Co-workers, contractors and vendors you work with on a daily basis
  3. Long-term candidate targets or people who have been contacted in the past and said to keep in touch
  4. Industry and sourcing network contacts
  5. Other business contacts that don’t fall into either one of those

When people think of the day-to-day obligations they have, they probably think of the first two. The immediate needs of current reqs as well as the demands of the people you work with probably dominate your inbox. And that’s probably for the best.

But what happens to candidates who have expressed interest for the types of positions you regularly hire for but simply aren’t available right now?

If you don’t have a Customer/Candidate Relationship Management system (CRM), you might have an e-mail folder you put their information in and whenever you have an opening, you can go back to it once again and ping them. And if you have a CRM, you might set a task to follow up.

And even if that is effective, you probably aren’t putting in people who are industry contacts or people who you should keep track of in a CRM system.

Bucketing and automatic tasks

Contactually makes it fairly simple to categorize contacts into different categories or buckets and create automatic tasks based on the type of contact.

For example, you might have a bucket for contacts that are for a current open position. You want to make sure you’re in touch with these people at least once a week so you setup that function in Contactually.

The real power in my view is the fact that it will help you keep in touch better with longer-term prospects and industry contacts. You can choose to follow up with these people on a schedule that isn’t annoying but also helps you build a relationship over time.

Not only will the system prompt you to reach out to them based on your follow up schedule, it will also highlight the last e-mail exchange you had with them so you can build off every successive conversation. Contactually is also working on integration with social networking sites. That would add some additional punch to the convenience.

The other positive is that it integrates directly with your e-mail, and if you have a CRM through Salesforce or HighRise, it integrates with that as well.  It will also work retroactively with your inbox to figure out whom you should be contacting next, even if you’ve just set up the system.

Some other considerations

While bucketing and categorizing is easy at to do when you set it up, it is still time consuming. And really, the value with the system comes through categorizing contacts and setting up those automated reminders. They’ve tried to make it more fun (you can even play an game to categorize) but it is still fairly manual.

Contactually seems targeted mainly for the small to mid-market and functions pretty readily as a lightweight CRM solution on its own (and even more robust with the HighRise integration, I did not test Salesforce). Those larger mid-market and enterprise systems that won’t happily communicate with Contactually might find the system more work than practical.

The integration with social networking sites, most important of which is LinkedIn, would be necessary to help make it a better standalone product. Being as the product is built around e-mail, it would be nice to see a bit more consideration for those who use the phone.

All in all, Contactually is interesting because it is so lightweight and there is a high ease of use factor in play. And for sourcers who are looking at developing long-term relationships with candidates who might not be in play right now, it might be the best tool out there that can help make that happen without a ton of set up time.

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