An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Relationship Management: Who To Keep in Touch With, and How Often

April 14, 2012

10:00 am

Editor’s Note: This blog post has been excerpted from an article that was originally published by Zvi Band on the Contactually blog. 

When running my previous company, staying in touch was crucial to my business. We were one of dozens, maybe hundreds, of web development firms in the DC region, but we kept really busy (sometimes overwhelmingly so) thanks to a continual flow of referrals from past clients and our network.  Come to think of it, I never accepted a client that came via anonymous websites (read: my own website). So relationship management was a core aspect of my role as founder.

I’ve now transitioned to co-founder and CEO of Contactually, an early-stage, venture-backed startup. Relationship management is now a core part of my responsibilities, and it’s absolutely live-or-die around our users and partners – and especially fundraising.

Who do you need to keep in touch with, and how often?

Top Users: keep in touch every 15 days – We ping them about new feature releases, ask for their support, and in general, just touch base to see how Contactually is working for them. They love it.

Partners: keep in touch every 30 – We talk about deals we have in the pipeline, API providers, business development relationships, resellers, etc.

Sales Leads: keep in touch every 10 – While we’re a self-serve SaaS product, I’m in touch with many people who are actively considering Contactually, and I use our own product to follow up with them until the sale is closed.

Advisors: keep in touch every 30 – I touch base with them around quick status updates and to ask them for a particular connection.  Of the advisors we are close to, we simply ask “How are we doing?” and they’ll give us an all-around review.

Current Investors: every 15 – Given our early stage, we stay especially close to our angel investors, given them incremental status updates, asking for guidance and introductions, and in general, giving them some pride in their investment.

Potential Investors: every 7 – Continually follow up with investors who are evaluating your company. I provide constant updates on metrics, answer any questions, etc.

Future Investors: every 30 – If you haven’t read Mark Suster’s excellent blog post about investing in lines, not dots, read it now.

Potential Hires: every 7 – Keeping in touch works both ways, as we’re able to show interest and at the same time ask them any questions we may have.

Other Entrepreneurs: every 30 – We’re always exchanging introductions, support, etc., but it’s generally nice to get in touch with each other just to see how things are progressing.

Zvi Band is CEO of DC-based Contactually, a CRM product that integrates directly into your email; they are backed by 500 Startups.  He is heavily involved in the DC tech scene, including Proudly Made in DC and the DC Tech Meetup. You can follow him on Twitter @skeevis. 

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