How a busy consultant stays in touch with future opportunities

As a PR professional with thirty years of experience (and twenty running her own firm), Ann Willets knows a lot of people. And that network — full of prior clients, professional colleagues, and c-suite executives at larger firms — is a powerful source of new business opportunities, from speaking gigs worth a few thousand dollars, to new client contracts worth upwards of $50k.

While her relationships are unquestionably valuable, staying top of mind with them isn’t easy. Ann has attempted to manage her communication with a few different approaches, from maintaining an Outlook database to investing heavily in LinkedIn as a de facto CRM. But the size of her network (over 2,000 people in LinkedIn alone) and the spread of her relationship-building to new channels like Facebook and Twitter quickly stretched these systems to their limits.

"It’s like anything in life — you only get out of it what you put into it. But Contactually is so critical to my business that it’s worth the effort."

Ann Willets

Ann’s three-pronged relationship management strategy

Enter Contactually. With it, Ann has deployed a simple, powerful system for staying connected that consists of three main parts :

  • 3 buckets (for current clients, past clients, professional colleagues) with reminders every 90-120 days, and another for key vendors and friends/family
  • Email Templates designed to quickly get people up to speed on what she’s been working on
  • A drip campaign built for reaching out to cold LinkedIn connections

Despite her relatively long follow-up reminder times, the sheer size of Ann’s network keeps her busy reaching out to 10-12 client contacts a day (and hearing back from 6-8).

Contactually’s place in the workflow

As with most experienced professionals who discover it, Contactually has replaced some parts of Ann’s workflow, and simply enhanced others. LinkedIn falls into the latter category, as it remains the primary place she connects with people — Contactually simply takes over once those connections are made, and enables her to nurture them over time. By themselves, social networks provided opportunities to follow-up during job changes or birthdays… but that’s it. Contactually gives her a reason to follow-up more regularly, and the tools to do it at scale.

The other component of Ann’s prior workflow was Salesforce, and that’s not something she’ll miss. Without an IT person, setup and daily usage is simply too much work and too little reward for someone as busy as she is.

"It’s clear to people that I care about them, and I genuinely do. It's getting to the point where people tell me that."

How relationships become results

So far, Ann’s been extremely successful when it comes to turning her network of relationships into results. In just the few months since she started using Contactually, her sales are up 30%, and her ability to easily connect the right people is opening new doors ever day.

“I’ve made so many introductions to people that are now working together and doing cool things. People thank me all the time, and I really feel like I’m making a difference. You’ve made me look good!”

While Contactually certainly makes things easier, it’s not automatic. Ann’s dedicated to getting the most from Contactually, and it shows.

“I truly dedicate about an hour per day to networking in Contactually. Not just sending emails, but through the phone calls, coffee dates, Skype conversations that result from them.  It’s like anything in life — you only get out of it what you put into it.  But Contactually is so critical to my business, it’s worth the effort. No tool is going to deliver results unless you work it.”

Get more from your network like Ann – start your free trial!

The right Buckets can make all the difference.

If you want to take advantage of follow-ups as well as Ann, you'll want to make sure you have a good Bucket strategy.

Learn About Buckets via the Contactually Training Site