April 28, 2015

Contactually's RPA is a better way to check the strength of your business relationships

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What's the fastest way to see how you can get more from Contactually?


For the last few years, you've been able to evaluate how you're doing in Contactually by consulting the nifty little grade indicator located on the right side of the dashboard. But while almost everyone liked the idea of the Contactually grade, this incarnation never seemed to get it quite right.

Here at Contactually, we felt the same way, and we've been thinking about a better way to give you a sense of how your relationship management efforts are going. Today, we're deploying our first pass at this next generation of feedback.

Introducing your RPA




As I said, in general people loved the concept of (a) getting an overall sense of how they're doing, and (b) getting it in a form they could relate to, like a grade. So the new score -- which we call your Relationship Point Average, or RPA -- keeps these important qualities, while addressing the most common frustrations of the old system. In general, those frustration were that :

  • ... the grade didn't seem right for many users

  • ... it was unclear how to really improve your grade

  • ... even improving your grade didn't necessarily lead people to a better experience with Contactually


The RPA starts to address all of these issues, even in its initial release. Here's how it works.

How your RPA is calculated


Your RPA is influenced by two main factors :

  • the number of strong relationships you have in your network compared to the number of fading/weak ones

  • the overall number of active relationships (a.k.a., people in a bucket with a follow-up Reminder Timer)


In short, the quickest way to raise your RPA is to turn the fading/weak relationships in your network into strong ones by following up. Once you've done that, you can further increase your score by expanding your network with additional strong relationships. Finally, it's not "cheating" to remove weak relationships from buckets if you're not actually interested in following up with those people -- it's a good thing! Revisiting who's in what bucket from time to time is a great way to reduce pointless clutter on your Dashboard (and common practice of the most successful Contactually users), and the RPA is designed to encourage that important bucket maintenence.

One of the problems with the old system of "bucket X contacts, send Y follow-ups" was that while it encouraged you to take some important actions, it didn't recognize the difference between being an active user, and necessarily being a successful user. By focusing on how many people you're staying in touch with (and not just on how many random email addresses you've put in buckets, or how many messages you've sent overall), the RPA becomes a much better way to see how effectively you're engaging your network, instead of just how much you're using a cool piece of software. RPA is a feedback system that encourages you to expand your active network over time, without sacrificing the relationships you already have -- which is exactly what you should be doing with Contactually.

How it looks


Here's what the RPA Dashboard indicator looks like:



Don't let the pretty colors fool you; this thing is now designed to give you directly actionable information. By hovering over each section, you can see how many strong (green), fading (yellow), and weak (red) relationships you have. You know why I have a C+? It's because I've let a huge percentage of my relationships decay over time (I blame this incredibly addictive snowboarding iPhone game, what's your excuse?), and that's exactly what the RPA indicator tells me.

Then there's my favorite part -- your RPA is calculated in real time (instead of at some arbitrary interval, as the old Grade was), so it'll actually go up as you follow-up and reconnect with your fading and weak relationships; you'll get an updated RPA every time you load the Dashboard. And who doesn't enjoy a little instant gratification?

What's next?


We think this initial version of the RPA, and it's Dashboard indicator, are a huge step in the right direction -- but we're only scratching the surface of better reporting and analytics inside of Contactually. Internally, we're trying all kinds of crazy concepts to better reflect how Contactually helps you interact with your relationships and drive results, and as soon as we know they work, we'll be rolling them out to you.

For now though, go see what your RPA is, and let us know if you're surprised, excited, distraught, or confused. In fact, visit the official Contactually User Forums, and share your RPA (and your thoughts on it) with the community and the Contactually team.

And of course, feel free to send a few follow-ups to give your RPA a boost before you share. Don't worry... I won't tell anybody.