The Novice and the Indian App Developer

The Novice and the Indian App Developer

I outsourced the development of my app to a company in India, and I am extremely happy with the results! There, I’ve said it!

Now that Org.ly, the Contact Management and Org Chart App for Sales Professionals, has been available on the App Store for around nine months, and we are are just about to start our first official pilot with a large Enterprise, I thought it would be a great time to start writing about my experiences as a novice app developer. The whole process has been completely fascinating, and I have learnt and enormous amount over the last year or so. If you are interested to understand how I came up with the idea for Org.ly you can read about that on this blog post - ‘The Origins of Org.ly’, but in this article I plan to talk about my experience of using an app developer based in India.

 
 

This was my first app development project. Like many, I had a ‘great idea’ and I had decided that I was going to take the risk and bring it to market. I spent a lot of time researching the best way to go about it. What does a good app look like, how to develop it, how to market it, etc. One of the recurring themes I heard was that I should be very careful about off-shoring any development - you can’t trust them, you’ll have to micro-manage them, communication will be a problem, etc, etc.

I had already decided that I was going to get a separate Graphic Designer to help me with the UI/UX aspects, so that meant that I just needed a good developer to turn my vision into reality.

So, once I had a detailed specification that I was happy with (it was around 35 pages long and took around three months to write) I sent it out to three App Development companies so that I could get comparative quotes, get a feel for the way they responded, etc. which I hoped would give me the basis from which I could make my decision.  Of the three, two were based in the UK (where I’m based) and one was in India.

One of the British companies I chose was recommended by the company I work for in my 'day job'. Our IT department used them for the development of some of our in-house apps - good quality and not too expensive apparently. A recommendation is always a good start, so they were on the list. 

It was a recommendation that led me to the Indian company too. A friend of mine had developed an app the year before and had used a company called Systematix Infotech. He had very good things to say about them, so they became the second developer on the list. 

I felt that I needed to get quotes from three companies, so for the third one I simply googled for UK-based App Developers!  There are clearly lots of developers around, so I picked one that had a compelling website, had some great examples of previous apps that they had developed that were similar in target audience to mine i.e. they weren’t just developing games, but had business/productivity app experience, and called them up. So far, so positive.

I sent each my specification document and after a few questions from each, I got their costs back. Both of the UK developers wanted around £50,000 - Systematix wanted £15,000!

As a self-funded start-up, money is very important to me! This is my money, not from an Angel (as I’ve not looked for one - yet!), so even though I’d been warned about the need to micro-manage any off-shore developer, all I could think of was the 35,000 reasons why that wasn’t going to be an issue for me!  And, to be honest, I wanted to be ‘hands-on’ during the process so that I could learn, so having to make sure I was involved somehow seemed like a good idea anyway.

Having selected Systematix, the next thing I had to do was to let the other developers know that I wasn’t going to go with them. So I sent them both a very nice, apologetic email explaining why I was going with someone else and wishing them all the very best for the future, etc. It was only polite, right?  I never heard back from either of them. Not a word. Not an ‘OK, that’s a shame but good luck anyway and thanks for letting us know’ - just silence.  Makes me think that it was a good decision to not choose them after all….. 

 
 

So, Systematix it was, and it was a fantastic experience.

We started with an initial Skype video call with the team where I was introduced to Anshul, my lead developer, and Ritesh, the Team Leader, and from that day onwards they were in communication with me pretty much every day. I got new versions of code to test perhaps every two or three days, they were super responsive to any bugs I found during testing, always happy to tweak the design/functionality as we found things that needed changing, etc. There was seldom the demand for a ‘Change Request’ cost and frankly, they never seemed to go home so even the time zone difference didn’t halt the progress that was made every day. 

Above all, they showed the same level of enthusiasm for my project as I had. They gave the impression of caring about my app and my success and this came across clearly in every communication we had. Frankly, I find it impossible to imagine how working with a local developer could have been any better.

 

Hear my comments on using Systematix to develop my app.

 

Thank you so much Anshul JainRitesh Dembani and the whole Systematix team. You made the whole experience a real pleasure!

If you would like to see their work, have a look at my app - Org.ly - the Contact Management and Org Chart App for Sales Professionals.

 

 

 

 

 

The First Three Things...

The First Three Things...

In this short blog post we are going to look at the first three things that you should do after downloading Org.ly. These are,

  • Manage your Contacts
  • Structure your Contacts
  • Profile your Contacts.

But before we start, let's have a quick look at the basics.

Org.ly imports your contacts from your iPhone and automatically arranges them into company groups based on what you have entered in the contact's 'Company' field.  Don’t worry if you haven’t entered anything, or not entered anything consistently - Org.ly makes it really easy to tidy everything up.

It’s important to note that Org.ly syncs with your existing contacts - so whatever you change in Org.ly is automatically changed everywhere else your contacts are synced to. For example, if you tidy up all of the Company names associated with your contacts, this new, perfectly organised, set of information will be replicated in Outlook, Gmail, or wherever you sync your iPhone contacts. Note that this also means that if you delete a contact in Org.ly it is deleted everywhere.

Step One - Manage:

So, the first step is to Manage your contacts.  Tapping the Merge icon allows you to merge companies with different names into one. e.g. 'SLiCK' and 'SLiCK Concepts' merge together as SLiCK Concepts. Or tap the 'Edit' icon to rename any company to the name you would like all the contacts to have, e.g. rename from SLiCK to SLiCK Concepts. All of these changes are pushed down to all contacts within that group, and are then synced to everywhere else.

If you've not previously entered the company name for your Contacts, fear not. Go to the 'Unallocated' tab and from there you can create a new company (tap the '+' symbol) and add all of your contacts to it from there by swiping left on each one you want to add. Each contact will be updated with this new information.

 

Step Two - Structure:

Now that things are in good order, let’s start putting some structure to your contacts into getting them into the company hierarchy so that Org.ly can automatically create the Org Chart for you.  Go into a Company and select the Manager that you would like to start with. Tap on the ‘Reports’ section down the bottom and now start adding reports to them. Swipe on the contact you want to add and select the report type.

You can select Direct Reports, Dotted Line Reports, Executive Sponsors and Executive/Personal Assistants. Keep doing this until you have added everybody that you want, then tap the Tick.

Viewing the Org Chart:

You’ll notice that these reports are now visible along the bottom of the Manager’s ‘Main Contact view’ (MCV), and that you can scroll through them to see everybody that reports to that contact.

Now swipe left across the centre of the MCV and you will reveal the Org Chart that Org.ly has just created for you automatically. From here you can change the Org Chart style by swiping up/down as well as how many levels are displayed in the Org Chart. You can also export the Org Chart as either an image or a PDF for inclusion in your Account Plan, etc.

 
 

Swiping through the Hierarchy:

Once you have the hierarchy configured in Org.ly there is a really easy way to navigate up/down it.

If you would like to see the team beneath one of the Reports in the bottom scroll bar simply drag that contact to the centre of the screen and drop them there - that will make them the main contact and will reveal their Reports in the scroll bar along the bottom. If you swipe left now, it will reveal their Org Chart.

If you want to see who the main contact reports to, simply swipe down from the top to reveal their manager.

This way you can navigate up and down through the company hierarchy really quickly and easily.

Step Three - Profile:

Now that you have your contacts organised, you can now profile them. This allows you to categorise each contact according the the traditional Strategic Sales profiles - are they a supporter or enemy? Are they an innovator or a laggard? A decision maker or a user? 

This is really easy in Org.ly. Simply tap the Profile icon on the Main Contact screen and select the options appropriate for your contact. When you click ‘Done’ you will now see these profiles on the Main Contact screen.  If you swipe to see the Org Chart you can toggle Profiles on or off by tapping the Profile icon. You can Export the Org Chart with or without the Profiles.

Showing the profiles on the Org Chart is a really quick way to spot where your coverage needs improving, or where to focus, depending on your objective. Click here to understand more about the value of Profiling your customer contacts.

 

Three Steps, and you're done!

There you go. Three simple steps and your contacts are perfectly organised. It is really easy to keep them up to date, so you can quickly update things after a meeting, when you have dead-time, etc. so you never need be out of date again.

Feature Focus: Sales Profiling

Feature Focus: Sales Profiling

If you have ever been on any Strategic Selling training courses you will understand the need to profile your customers. Are they a supporter or not, are they a decision maker or an evaluator, etc. Colour coding your Org Charts to show this has never been easy - until now! The latest version or Org.ly brings Sales Profiling to the palm of your hand.

Selling into a complex account is hard. Doing this without having a good understanding of the various players in the game is almost impossible. So whichever strategic sales training you may have been on - Pfeiffer, TAS, Holden, Powerbase, etc. (and over the years I’ve been on them all) they all have one thing in common - you have to understand your customer, and you have to understand them in detail.

The number one reason we win or lose in sales is relationships. Key to a successful campaign is knowing ‘who is who in the Zoo’ and documenting it. It’s not enough to do it in your head as people spend time with people they like. Documenting and profiling is key to get you out of your comfort zone. Healthy Paranoia when it comes to relationships and documenting what and who you know is key.
Trevor Greenaway Principal, 4Sight Systems

Trevor Greenaway

Principal, 4Sight Systems

To help our understanding, all of the strategic sales training models provide us with four key categories to focus on. These are Support, Role, Coverage and Personality.

Support:

    Supporter or Non-supporter?

    Supporter or Non-supporter?

At a simple level, do they like you or not? If they like you then they are a Supporter, but how strong is their support?  Would they stand up to their boss in support of you? Would they take a controversial proposal forward for review and position you as the better alternative to your competitor? If they will, then they are stronger than a Supporter - they are your Champion! And we love them!

However, it is equally (more?) important to understand the other end of the spectrum. Is your contact a non-supporter? Why is this? What can you do to turn them around?  Moving a non-supporter to neutral, or even better, to a supporter position, is often far more impactful on the outcome of your sales campaign than relying on your supporters or champions.

Of course, if there is an Assassin in your customer you need to know that too. Assassins will go out of their way to make sure you don’t win. You are unlikely to turn an Assassin (although you really need to try and understand why they hate you that much), so your strategy is likely to involve getting your Champions to try and sideline any Assassins that stand in your way. It doesn't have to be personal by the way. More often than not it will be because they chose the existing solution and feel emotionally attached to it, but if it is because your company let them down in the past it can be pretty hard to overcome.

Role:

       Good decision :-)

       Good decision :-)

This one is far easier to understand. Who is Approver, and is going to sign the purchase order you are after? Who will be recommending you to the Approver instead of competitor? Decision Makers come in a few forms - you can have a technical decision maker, business decision maker and financial decision maker, and others depending on the solution and the make-up of your customer. Depending on the product/solution you are selling you may have to convince one or all of these decision makers as you aim to get your product/solution put forward for approval.

Evaluators also fall into different categories, again depending on what you are selling. Technical evaluators will spend their time looking at your product and deciding how it compares to other options. Hopefully your product is technically capable, in which case you have less to worry about, but as always it is really important that you position your strengths and ensure that they are tested and are weighted highly in the decision making process.

If you are facing a competitor who isn’t following these strategic sales techniques too closely they can easily miss out the key people to influence, leaving you with an effective open-goal. Of course, if your competitor is talented (and therefore, uses Org.ly), you have to be on the ball to make sure you are not struck by their FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt - you knew that, right?!).

Users are also important - you must not forget about them. A bad review from a user can have significant impact and can often outweigh any technical ‘wins’ you might have in your pocket.

Coverage:

There is no substitute for regular meetings

You will know who you meet regularly, and who you have never met. Here you really need to be honest with yourself. As Trevor said above, we tend to spend time with the people we like - which means that we will probably ignore the ones that are in the non-supporter/assassin areas we talked about earlier. That would be a bad decision.

We have all heard the saying about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer - this is what you must do here. It’s hard, but writing it down - or with Org.ly, adding it to the contact’s profile - makes it blindingly obvious who you are ignoring and it will nag away at your conscious until you finally summon up the courage to phone for a meeting! Do it now - you know it makes sense!

Personality:

The personality types in this section are Innovator, Visionary, Pragmatist, Conservative and Laggard. The type of person you want to sell your product/solution to will depend entirely on what it is and how it impacts your customer’s business. It’s easy to think that you need to seek out the innovators and visionaries in your customer, and it is certainly the most fun conversations you could have, but if you are selling support services for example, you want to be focussed at people who are concerned with risk reduction - most likely to be the Pragmatist and Conservatives. If you are selling tried and tested products that have a solid and proven record, then the Laggards are more than likely your destination.

However, if you are selling the latest in Augmented Reality Remote Expert solutions, then you are really going to have to lead from the front end with the visionaries and innovators. 

Of course, your solution might actually have aspects that are relevant to each of these personality types, so you might need to create a different value proposition for each. To really ensure you are going to win you need to try and get everybody on your side, so the key point here is that you need to understand each of your customer contacts in enough detail to form an opinion about them in each of these categories. If you can do this - and you can only do this by meeting with them regularly - then your account and opportunity strategies will become more accurate and you will have a greater chance of success.

Don’t just do it in your head - write it down

Easier said than done. Traditionally, the way to do this was to colour code your Org Chart to show the status of each contact at your customer in one of the four areas we discussed above. If we thought that creating an Org Chart in Powerpoint was a bad experience, then adding these additional boxes just increased the complexity. As a result we became lazy, perhaps only focussed on the first two - Support and Role, but then again, we often just did it in our head and forgot about it, relying on ‘gut instinct’ instead of real documentation. As Trevor mentions above though, it is no use just doing it in your head - you will naturally just gravitate to the people you like and automatically avoid the ones you don’t (or don’t like you - but it amounts to the same thing in sales).

Once you have managed to colour-code the Org Chart though, you can see at a glance what your coverage is like - how much green is there compared to red? Perhaps this is why we don’t like to write it down - it becomes obvious to our management how wide and deep we have (or haven't) got within our account!

Use it correctly though and it will act as a reminder for you. It will trigger you to get in touch with the people you haven’t met in a while, the people that are non-supporters, and yes, go and speak to some users! 

As we all know, knowledge is power, and using sales profiling correctly will dramatically increase your understanding of your customer.

 

Sales Profiling in Org.ly

If it is easy, you will use it.     And it is really easy. 

Enter the sales profile for each contact by selecting the appropriate option - it is then displayed on the main contact screen for easy and immediate viewing.

Once you have created an Org Chart you can toggle the Sales Profile view on/off by simply tapping the Profile icon. Simple as that. You don’t need to create the Org Chart, and now you don’t need to create the Sales Profiles. Org.ly does them all for you, automatically. Then of course, you simply export them for inclusion into your account plan and wait for your management to be blown away by your knowledge.

Don’t forget to tell them - Org.ly sent you!

 

Feature Focus: 'Groups' and how to use them

Feature Focus: 'Groups' and how to use them

In the latest version of Org.ly we have added a much anticipated feature - Groups. In this first issue of 'Feature Focus' we are going to have a look at this fantastic new feature to see what you can use it for, how you create a group, etc.  Do let us know if you found this feature useful, and what feature you would like us to write a 'Feature Focus' about next. We'd be delighted to oblige.

Groups - Triple - Add Contacts.png

Go on then, tell me what I can use Groups for....

New Groups Tab

New Groups Tab

OK, since you ask nicely! As you know, Apple just gives you a big long list of all of your contacts on the phone, which is a nightmare if you have a lot of contacts, so Groups is a great way to assign your contacts into, well, Groups. It gives you a really easy way to give some structure to your contacts.

The same contact can be in many different Groups, in addition to the Company that they actually work for, which, as you already know, Org.ly automatically creates for you.  The ability to have people in multiple Groups means that you can have someone in a couple of different project Groups, their Company group of course, your friends Group, your Golf Club group, etc. so no matter what you are looking for, your contacts will always be in the right place.

Of course, you can create an Org Chart for any of these Groups – each of which will be different for each group.

Let's have a look at these different type of Group in more detail.

Matrix/Project Teams

Many organisations are adopting and more flexible and agile approach to team structures, and so being able to map out these new matrix structures is really important. The formal org structure within a company tends to remain in place for a long period of time, but these matrix teams can be put together quickly to address a specific project, for example, a new product development, but then can be broken apart once the project has been completed. Keeping up to date with who is involved is really important if you are trying to sell to these groups.

Project Teams can also include people outside of your company. Using the same Product Development example, your project team will likely include internal product management teams, developers and engineering, but perhaps external graphic designers, PR and Marketing teams. Groups on Org.ly allows you to bring all of these people together so that you are instantly able to see who is working on the project.

 
Group Org Chart

Group Org Chart

 

Holding/Divisional Organisations

So you want to map out the structure of a Holding Company and all of it’s subsidiaries?  Groups is perfect for this. Take the Chairman of the Holding Company and then add in all of the CEO’s of the Divisions. Once they are all in the Group, add in the Org Structure and you automatically have an Org Chart. Beautiful!

Inner Circle/Political Influence Maps

Members of the 'CEO Inner Circle' Group

Members of the 'CEO Inner Circle' Group

If you’ve ever been on any ‘Strategic Selling’ training courses you will know the importance of understanding the political landscape within your customer. Who does the CEO really talk to for advice? This can often skip many levels within the traditional company structure, especially if it involves technical or other business specific knowledge, and you need to know this – it is a key way you can influence an Executive’s thinking without speaking to them directly. This has always been really difficult to map out as traditionally it involves overlaying groupings on top of a traditional Org Chart. Org.ly changes that.

Create a Group for the ‘Inner Circle’ for the CEO (or whoever you are mapping it for) and simply add the contacts that you believe influence them. No messing around with overlaying diagrams on other Org Charts – that adds no value – let’s keep it simple and just focus on who is important to them.

It's maybe not quite so relevant to create an Org Chart for this Group, but you still can if you want to.

 

Simple Groups

Simple Groups perhaps don’t need an Org Chart as an output – you just want to group people together in a manner that helps you keep track of things. How about a group for all of your Family? Perhaps your Golf friends? People you were on a training course with? How you group is entirely up to you – the great thing is that you now can group!

OK I’m hooked - how do I create a Group?

As with everything Org.ly, this couldn’t be easier. There is a simple three-step process that you have to go through:

  1. Create a Group and give it a name
  2. Add users to a Group
  3. Add an Org Structure to a Group

Simple as that. Of course, you might not even need to do step three if you don’t need to create a structure within the Group, so maybe it is just a two-step process ;-)

Create a Group

Create a Group

 
Add Contacts to Group

Add Contacts to Group

Each group is given a different colour so that you can easily identify which group you are in.

 

How can you see what Groups is a Contact a member of?

Groups MCV.png

We have added a new tab at the bottom of the Main Contact Screen that will show you which groups a contact is a member of. Tapping on any of these group icons will take you directly to that group so that you can see who else you have in there.

Each Group is a different colour so that you can always keep track of where you are, and of course each Group has its own different Org Structure if you have chosen to configure one.

The company that the contact is a member of is also shown in the Groups tab so that you can always get back to the Company with a single tap.

There is no limit to the number of groups that a contact can be a member of - and remember that in this latest release you can now 'Favourite' a Company and a Group, in addition to an individual Contact, making it super-fast to get to where you want.

A host of new features....and more coming!

Latest updates from the Org.ly camp!

We have released two new updates for Org.ly in the last month. These updates have delivered some cosmetic changes to the design, but also some fantastic new features that will make creating Org Charts even easier. The best bit? We have some more awesome new features in the pipeline too!

Here's a list of what you'll find in the latest versions:

  • Org Chart design changes (more details below).
  • An awesome new 'Quick-Scroll' bar has been added to all screens so you can now whizz through and find the contact you are looking for.
  • You can now merge multiple companies at the same time instead of having to do them one by one.
  • Added the ability to remove a contact from a company from within the 'Add Contacts' screen.
  • Text changed to Apple's new 'San Francisco' font so we are now super-trendy ;-)
  • Icon design updated to look more IOS10-like.

Org charts just got better....

In the latest version, we've made the automatically created Org Charts even better. New designs, new layouts and new ways to export them mean that spending hours messing around creating them is a thing of the past!

Revised Org Chart layout and design

Revised Org Chart layout and design

  • New designs - image+box, box only or image only.
  • Scroll up/down on the Org Chart to see alternative designs.
  • Personal Assistants and Executive Sponsors now displayed in the correct position on the chart.
  • The dynamic layout is now more suited to displaying large Org Charts.
  • Ability to display just the top level, two levels, or all levels of an Org Chart.
  • We have added the ability to export the Org Chart as a PDF.

Two killer features incoming!

We are now working on two more really exciting features that will make Org.ly even more useful when creating these relationship maps the help you understand your customer's structure.

Support for Matrix/Project teams

This is a feature that many of you have requested - and so here it is!!

A new feature called 'Groups' will allow you to create Matrix/Project Teams, or other cross-company groups like 'Friends', 'Family', 'Golf Club', etc. You can also use Groups to create a 'Political' or 'Inner-Circle' relationship maps for your customer.

  • Contacts can be members of many different groups
  • Groups can have members from different companies
  • Each Group has a separate reporting structure and Org Chart

Want to create a 'Project Team' that involves both your company and your customer's? No problem!  

Want to create an Org Chart for a Holding Company with reports in each division? Easy! 

Have golfing friends that work for a number of different organisations but would like to have them all in the same group? Simple!

Fingers crossed, the Groups feature will be released before Christmas.

Sales Profiling

The second major new feature coming for Org.ly (probably before the end of January) is called Sales Profiling.  If you've even been on any 'Strategic Sales' training courses you will know that it is important to understand if your customer is a Supporter or a Non-Supporter, an Innovator or a Laggard, etc. The Sales Profiling feature will allow you to do just that, with the colour coding appearing on the main contact screen and on the Org Chart. More details to come!

New App Store Screenshots

In preparation for Org.ly's launch on Product Hunt next week we've created some lovely new screenshots for the App Store in order to make sure that we are looking our very best for the upcoming show!

We have tried to make them both standout - by using bright primary colours as the background, but also make them informative so that people looking at them can get an understanding of exactly what Org.ly does and how it will help them.

What do you think? We'd love to hear your thoughts on the new screenshots. Why don't you leave us a comment below?

Org Charts - we've been doing them all wrong!

Org Charts - we've been doing them all wrong!

In sales, we've been doing it wrong for years and years.

Here's the thing - Org Charts are for Management, not for sales professionals.

Of course, as sales professionals we need to understand our customer's Organisational structure - in fact we must understand it, but spending hours putting it into the traditional Org Chart layout adds zero value to anyone, except for your management when it gets included in your Account Plans.

The reason is simple. Once you have created the Org Chart you stick it in your account plan and never look at it again. You never update it, except maybe for the one time a year when you need to present your Account Plan again - but even then we'll use last years if we can possibly get away with it. And of course we don't carry it with us - it stays in the folder on the server and gets forgotten.

And don't get me started on the 'experience' of creating Org Charts using the de-facto tool of PowerPoint. Drawing boxes, typing in names, joining them together with lines, aligning them, rearranging then, aligning them again..... It is, quite frankly, rubbish. It's an hour or more of your life that you are never going to get back!

Keeping up with your customer's changes

Your customer's Org Chart should be a living document. You customer’s structure is constantly changing and you absolutely have to keep up with it. You need to understand who reports to who, their responsibilities, their level of influence, etc. so you know who to speak to about whatever it is you are trying to sell to them. Navigating your way through a sale is complex enough, but doing it without having an up to date understanding of your customer means you are destined to fail.

So, what do we, as sales professionals need? For me, it settles on the following four things:

  • Something we can carry with us all the time for easy reference.
  • Something that is easy to use so we can see who reports to who throughout our customer.
  • Something that is easy to update on the fly, so we are always up to date.
  • Something that will create the traditional Org Chart automatically for us, for when our manager’s want to see it

This whole thing has vexed me for many years. Eventually I decided I would try and solve this by creating an 'app for that'. I figured that I wouldn't be the only sales professional that was experiencing this issue, and also figured that this was something that could only be solved by someone who was experiencing the pain.

Technology has moved on - it's about time Org Charts caught up

We carry our phones with us the whole time, and all of our contacts are on it, so let’s use them and surface the customers organisational structure right there, in the palm of our hands. Let’s use the gesture controls that Apple has gifted to us to enable you to swipe up and down through the company's structure so you instantly see who reports to who, throughout the entire organisation. Let's make updating this structure quick and easy to do - removing the barriers that stop you from updating immediately as and when you hear of changes.

If we could do this you will always be up to date.

This increased knowledge will help you sell more. It's that simple.

Of course, when your Management need to see an Org Chart you can email it to them, stick it in your Account Plan or whatever you want - but Org.ly will create it for you - automatically.

As Sales Professionals we have better things to do with our time than to waste it creating Org Charts. So, go get Org.ly and then use your time saved to go and sell more stuff!!

Welcome to Org.ly

Welcome to Org.ly

Org.ly - The Contact Management and Org Chart App for Sales Professionals.

  • A Contact Management app like no other.
  • You manage your contacts - Org.ly manages your Org Charts.
  • Beautiful, Simple and Magical.
  • Contacts Managed. Org Charts done.

Sales - Back to Basics

As sales professionals we know the importance of understanding our customer. Who are the key decision makers, the influencers, who reports to who and who you should spend time with. But when it comes to writing it down we are stuck with the Org Chart - and even worse, we are stuck with using Powerpoint for the Org Chart. Drawing boxes, writing in everyone’s names, connecting them all together, aligning, re-arranging, aligning again - it is, quite frankly, rubbish. And then, once the Org Chart finished we never look at it again - it goes out of date very quickly.

Technology has moved on, and it’s about time that Org Charts caught up…….Welcome to Org.ly…..

With Org.ly you don’t create an Org Chart - Org.ly does it for you, automatically. You simply organise your contacts into the company hierarchy and the Org Chart is created. Even better, you can swipe up and down on a contact to instantly see who a contact reports to, and who reports to them. Your Org Chart is always with you and always up to date.

THE OLD WAY

  • It takes you hours! Drawing boxes, typing names in, drawing connecting lines, spacing and aligning......
  • You give your Account Plan presentation and never look at it again.
  • You update it once a year, if that.
  • You take notes about your customer's new team structure, but never translate that into an Org Chart

THE ORG.LY WAY

  • You don't create the Org Chart, Org.ly does it for you. Automatically.
  • You connect contacts to their manager from within Org.ly. That's it.
  • You have immediate visibility of who reports to who - all via a swipe on your iPhone.
  • Update the information on the fly - your Org Charts are always up to date.


HIGHLIGHTS:

  • View all of your Contact's 'Direct' and 'Dotted Line' reports from the Main Contact view.
  • Swipe Up on a Report to see their details and their Reports.
  • Swipe Down on the Contact to see their Manager.
  • Swipe Left to see their Org Chart.
  • Swipe contacts onto their Manager to define the team structure.
  • Org.ly supports Direct Reports, Dotted-Line Reports, Executive Sponsors and Executive/Personal Assistants.
  • Org Charts of each Contact are automatically created by Org.ly. 
  • No need to draw boxes and type everyones name in them anymore!
  • Different layouts available by swiping up/down.
  • Easy export of the Org Chart to Powerpoint, etc. for Account Plans and presentations.

FEATURES:

  • Imports your existing contacts from your iPhone and organises them automatically into Company groups to make searching easier
  • View contacts by company, All contacts or contacts with no company specified
  • Add unallocated contacts to an existing or new company
  • Add the company logo to each group to create a more visual experience
  • Add a photo to a contact to create a more visual experience
  • Rename a company and have all contacts within it automatically updated to reflect the change
  • Easily merge companies and tidy up your contact list e.g merge all contacts from companies like: SLiCK Concepts, & SLiCK to a single name
  • Create a new company and add contacts directly to it
  • Add regularly used contacts to a ‘Favourites’ section for quick access
  • Call, text, email or FaceTime directly from the contacts list or Main Contact screen
  • Edit contacts and any changes are synced with Apple Contacts app and iCloud (if enabled)
  • Add reports to any contact
  • Identify a report as either a Direct Reports, a Dotted Line Report, a Personal/Executive Assistant or an Executive Sponsor
  • Create a new user ‘To Be Hired’ (TBH) and assign them immediately to a company or Org Chart
  • Specify how many levels of reports you want to see - one or two levels
  • Export Org Chart via email as an image or PDF for inclusion in your Account Plan/Presentation, etc.

It's the final countdown.....

It's the final countdown.....

Org.ly submitted to Apple for approval

Org.ly has taken two huge steps forward today. We have submitted the app to Apple for their approval and simultaneously started our Beta Test program.

Approval from Apple can take around two weeks to come through and so we have started this process now as a way of checking that everything is OK with the technical implementation of the app, we've adhered to Apple's rules, etc. At the same time we have started the Beta program where our lovely volunteers get to test Org.ly and provide feedback on any bugs they find, what they like/don't like, etc. with a view to incorporating these changes into the next version of the app that we submit to Apple for what will, hopefully, be the final release version.

Launch Plan

With development now mostly complete, thoughts at Org.ly turn to Marketing. Arguably, this is the hard bit! With over 1,500 apps launched on the App Store every single day, the challenge is going to be how we get Org.ly noticed by our target audience of Sales Professionals. Build it and they will come isn't really going to be a viable strategy here!

So, while we are hoping for approval from Apple in the next few weeks we have decided to go with a 'soft-launch' initially - put it quietly on the App Store and only tell you, our lovely followers, about it. We will then follow-up with the full PR bandwagon in January when everyone is back from holiday. This will give us a bit of time to work out exactly what a 'PR bandwagon' is and how we get one! :-)

Marketing is critical, so please, please do follow Org.ly on Twitter and Facebook - and Retweet and Share as much as you can! It's easy to do - click on the links below and then retweet and share, A LOT!

Thanks

Org.ly

A little more Org.ly.....

A little more Org.ly.....

As you’ll remember if you read my first blog - ’The Origins of Org.ly' - you’ll know how I came to decide to ‘invent’ Org.ly. As the app development process is moving along nicely it is probably time to reveal more details about Org.ly so you can get an understanding of what it will do, how it works, etc. when it is released towards the end of October.

What is Org.ly?

Org.ly is a Contact Management and Org Chart app aimed squarely at Sales Professionals. As sales professionals we need to create Org Charts of our customers for inclusion in Account Plans, presentations, etc.  and Org.ly aims to transform this process by doing it all for you.

The old way

Creating Org Charts frustrates me enormously. Powerpoint is frankly rubbish at the job - you have to draw all the boxes, type everyone’s name in, connect them with lines, align, re-arrange, align, re-arrange, align and align again. You could use Visio but few of us have access to it. You could use mind mapping software which sort of works but isn’t pretty, at least not in the conventional sense, so, we are stuck with Powerpoint. 

We only look at these org charts once in a blue moon, we never update them (until we need to do another account plan presentation – and even then we’ll try to get away without updating it) and we don’t carry them with us. We meet with our customers who will tell us their latest structure following a re-organisation and we write it down in our notebook, and then forget all about it. Or perhaps that’s just me…?

But here's the thing - Org Charts are for your management, not for you, not for the Sales Professional out in the field trying to exceed quota. Of course it is critically important that you understand the organisational hierarchy of your customer - you can’t under-estimate the value of that - but does the traditional Org Chart really add any value to you in the selling process? Not as far as I can see. What ‘we’ need is a simple way to see who reports to who within our customers so that we can quickly and easily pinpoint who we need to speak to.

The Org.ly way

So this is what Org.ly sets out to solve.  You organise your contacts and Org.ly creates the Org Chart for you, automatically. In fact, you don’t have to think about Org Charts – you just focus on identifying who reports to who in your customer and leave the rest to Org.ly..

Org.ly allows you to immediately update the organisational hierarchy of your customer(s) within the app with a simple swipe. You can see the details of the reports for any contact all on one screen - swipe down on the contact to see their manager, swipe up on a contact’s report to see that person and their reports. Need to add a Direct Report, an Indirect or dotted line report or a PA - no worries - these are all options when you swipe. If you need to you can also input the organisational hierarchy for matrix teams, for example, a project team or global sales team.

Since you are only ever a swipe away from adding or amending these details it is really easy to keep it up to date. You can have Org.ly open while you are in a meeting with your customer and enter the report structure there and then - no need to write it down first and then update your org chart later (which you will never do, of course!).

With Org.ly, everything is at hand, and everything is always up to date. You can export a traditional Org Chart (which Org.ly automatically creates for you) for the one time in the year you need it, but on every other day of the year you have the entire company structure in the palm of your hand in an easily managed and digestible form.

Contact Management

As we explored this idea though, we realised that Org.ly really needed to be a Contact Management app that did Org Charts, as opposed to being simple an Org Chart app. If you are going to keep it up to date it has to be usable on a daily basis as your 'go to' app for searching, calling, texting, etc. any of your contacts - and it has to be slick and beautiful too :-)

When you launch Org.ly it automatically imports all of your contacts and arranges them into Company groups for you. If, like me, you’ve not kept your contacts well organised, correctly named, etc. then you can merge groups together and Org.ly will overwrite all of your contacts Company name to bring everything into perfect order. If you haven’t saved company names with your contacts then a quick swipe will add them to the correct company (or a new one that you’ve just created).

Org.ly connects to LinkedIn and Facebook (assuming you’ve logged in to them) and brings back photos for as many of your contacts as it can find and automatically displays them. This all syncs with your iPhone contacts and then backs-up to iCloud. Org.ly organises all of your contacts into something that your OCD friend would approve of.

Roadmap

There are already a number of future features on the roadmap. Contact profiling that aligns to the customer types found in Strategic Sales training (supporter, neutral, etc), a feature that allows you to set how often you should meet your contact and then reminds you when to call them, and even a team collaboration feature so you can share your contacts with others in your team and enable everyone to update the information in there, ensuring that you are even more up to date.

Feedback

What features would you like to see in Org.ly? If, as you were reading this blog you were thinking "wow, that's a killer feature", or “if only it did this…” then please let us know via the 'Comments' section for this blog. All comments and thoughts gratefully received.

Thanks

Org.ly

Six of the Best: Productivity Apps for Sales Professionals

Six of the Best: Productivity Apps for Sales Professionals

Since Org.ly is a productivity app aimed squarely at Sales Professionals - it simplifies the task of understanding your customer's organisational hierarchy and automates the production of the org charts required for account plans, customer review presentations, etc - I thought it would be fitting for my next Org.ly blog post to discuss the key applications that I use to help increase my own productivity.

From day one I've always adopted new technology to help me simplify and keep on top of the process of sales and I've been asked many times about what app I use for doing 'x' or 'y' functions. There are number of applications that I use on a daily basis and that have become core to how I work, think & organise myself. Of course, Org.ly will clearly fit in here when it is released, but until then here are my Top 6 ‘must-have’ apps that you should take a look at.

Evernote

I guess this is everybody’s favourite? It certainly is mine.  If you aren’t familiar with Evernote you are really missing out. Evernote is a cloud-based note taking app that works across any platform, where you can easily gather everything that matters to you.

I first started using Evernote when I started my degree study with the Open University as a way to store my study notes so that I always had them to hand. However, once I started using it properly I quickly moved it into my daily workflow. Today, all of my work-related meeting notes are stored in Evernote, as well as everything I’ve ever done during the development of Org.ly. 

A top tip is to make sure you use Tags when saving every note. I tag not only based on the subject of a meeting, project name, etc. but also for the people in the meeting as well, then next time I’m due to meet someone I simply search their name in Evernote and I can immediately see when I last met them, what we talked about, etc.

GoodNotes 4

I mentioned that I keep all of my meeting notes in Evernote – well, I take all of my meeting notes by handwriting on my iPad using GoodNotes 4.0 and the Adonit Jot Script stylus. This is the app that I get most comments about - it's very obvious when people see you writing directly onto your iPad! It's certainly the app that I've generated the most revenue for through recommendations! Lots and lots of my colleagues are using this great app now.

There are many handwriting apps for the iPad, and I think I’ve paid money for all of them. Some are good but overcomplicated (Note Taker HD) and some are rubbish (I’m looking at you, Penultimate) but GoodNotes 4.0 wins for me by just keeping it simple. It ‘inks’ nice and smoothly, the interface is uncluttered and it is just easy to use. It just focusses on doing one thing well.

 

My handwritten notes about this blog post written in GoodNotes 4

 

I write everything in GoodNotes. I create one note per day just like I would if I was using the ubiquitous Moleskine notebook. I then send each note to Evernote where it is stored as a pdf and tagged appropriately to make searching easier later. By the way, Evernote does a great job of handwriting search too – search for a word/name, etc. and it will find it in your handwriting (as long as it is neat enough!)

Tweetbot

In sales and don’t use Twitter? Inconceivable! On the assumption that you do use Twitter as, let’s be honest, where else are you going to find so much information about your customer and their industry, then Tweetbot is the best client to read your tweets with. It supports multiple devices and syncs your feed across all of them (so each devices starts from where you last left off on another device) and multiple accounts. And if you have a need, like I do, it has a built in translation features so that you can instantly read Valentino Rossi’s Italian tweets in English to hear what he is saying. 

Pocket

OK, you are on Twitter and you see a really interesting article that you don’t have time to read. What to do? Easy, stick it in your Pocket and read it later. Pocket takes web articles and saves them for off-line viewing later. Simple as that. Flights, train journey's, holidays - all perfect use case's for Pocket. Equally though, Pocket just makes a great bookmarking app where you can instantly read the articles you've saved for later. Couldn't live without Pocket.

Trello

If you are working on something with lots of moving parts that you need to make sense of then Trello is your friend. Essentially a project management application, again one that is cross-platform, you can track and make sense of a complicated world very easily. The card-style layout is fantastically easy to re-organise - it's rather like having hundreds of Post-It notes on a wall that you can constantly re-arrange as you brainstorm ideas, change tack, etc. I’ve only recently started using Trello, but it’s been invaluable when working on Org.ly. But Trello, if you are listening, it really, really needs an offline mode.

 

Current state of the Org.ly marketing plan in Trello

 

Delicious

Just want to save web pages as a bookmark, but get fed up when you are on a different device and your bookmarks haven’t sync’d? Delicious is essentially a cloud bookmarking service that allows you to see all of your bookmarks from any device. You can sort them, tag them and search them, and Delicious offers suggestions on alternative pages that you might like too.

And did I mention Org.ly? Now that will be a Top 7 productivity app!

Of course, there are many other apps that I could have mentioned. What's your favourite - what would you have had in your Top 6? Let me know by leaving a comment.

The origins of Org.ly

The origins of Org.ly

Creative Destruction. This is the term coined by Joseph Schumpeter in 1942 to define the process of innovation. He said that it was the "process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionises the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one."

As sales professionals we inherently understand about innovation, or at least we really should do. Innovation drives competition by enabling new entrants into markets and is critical to any company’s survival. Stand still and your competitors will innovate around you and you will soon be out of business. Innovate around your own products and services and you can stay ahead of your competition, but it is really hard to do as all of your instincts tell you to preserve your existing revenue streams.

The process of Creative Destruction is fundamental to the future of any business. There are thousands of companies that have fallen to the ‘young upstarts’ over the years – they’ve been too afraid to cannibalise their own revenues only to then find that someone else does it for them.

What has this got to do with Org.ly? Well, I recently finished a Business Degree with the Open University – First Class Honours thank you very much. I didn’t get a degree when I was younger and decided that this was something I needed to rectify. I really enjoyed it. From the very first course – where Schumpeter was introduced to me – I learnt a considerable amount. I was particularly interested in the process of innovation – whether that is product innovation, such as the iPod or iPhone, or process innovation with Additive Manufacturing (or 3D printing if you prefer), I found it all totally fascinating.

In the final year of my six-year course (you could do it faster, but with a family and job it would be impossible) I took a course called ‘Innovation - Designing for Change’.  The course studied the process of innovation in some detail, to the point where you had to invent something during the course and write about your experiences. You couldn’t pass if you didn’t invent something, and you couldn’t invent something without following the process.  But no, this isn't when I came up with the idea for Org.ly.

The first part of the innovation process is to identify something that frustrates and/or annoys you. Once you have identified something then you need to consider all the possible ways that you can solve that particular issue, evaluate all of them so that you come up with the best solution.  For my degree we had to do something in the area of sustainability and my focus was around reducing household food waste. The invention itself didn’t become reality (yet!), but the lessons from this course certainly did. 

Moving forward a few years and it was time to create a Strategic Account Plan for my customer for review by my management.  I hate doing Org Charts. Powerpoint is the only tool we have and it is rubbish at them. Drawing boxes, typing in names, drawing lines between them all, re-arranging, aligning, re-arranging again, etc. drives me bonkers. If only there was a better way. Oh, hello……

Welcome Org.ly.

 

Then, the hard work began!! Interested to know what happened next? Read this blog post:

The Novice and the Indian App Developer