PingPigeon: Better Follow-ups and Relationships with Clients

PingPigeon: Better Follow-ups and Relationships with ClientsPingPigeon: www.pingpigeon.com

PingPigeon gives you a reason to contact someone. We’ve built a networking tool working on the LinkedIn and Facebook platforms. Simply put, we analyze your contacts, figure out their interests, and recommend news articles they’ll love which you can share with them. People use PingPigeon as a CRM, sales tool, job search tool, or to help boost their careers.

Have you ever lost touch with someone and realize a few years later you need to ask for a favor? How about needing to follow up with a sales lead without nagging her? PingPigeon solves these problems by allowing you to contextualize your conversations around the personal and professional interests of your contacts.

The Story

During my time at London Business School, I became aware that I had a great network that I wasn’t making full use of, mainly because of my poor record of maintaining relationships. When asking friends or mentors their networking secrets, most often the answer was as simple as “keeping in touch” or “pinging people once in a while.” Fast forward several months later: I had a big excel sheet with all of my connections, the date I last contacted them, and when I was scheduled to drop them a line. However, I never ended up following up with most of them: writing an email out of the blue with no clear intent seemed awkward. Following up with my super-networker friends yielded the following insight: to have “an excuse” to get back in touch with someone, simply find a way to add value to their life or career, oftentimes by including some information they’ll find useful. PingPigeon was born out of the idea of automating this process.

I’ve been working on PingPigeon since late 2010 and our initial prototype was ready by March. In May, we were funded by the Startup Chile (www.startupchile.org) program and since then have been working between Santiago and San Francisco. The plan is to base the company in the US over the long term, but I’m definitely enjoying my time building this startup globally: some partners are here in Santiago, and we’ve been working with developers and designers in Serbia and Macedonia.

PingPigeon: Better Follow-ups and Relationships with ClientsPingPigeon has plenty of competition attempting to solve the same problem in slightly different ways. We consider any tool that helps to contextualize conversations as competition. Examples include Rapportive, Gist, Facebook and LinkedIn themselves, as well as some of the CRMs out there (salesforce, etc). Our vision is to become a ubiquitous, lightweight CRM of choice for client-oriented professionals to grow their top lines along with their careers. And though I’ve mentioned the above companies as competition, there’s also ample opportunities for collaboration with these same great firms.

Usage Cases

We’re seeing two overlapping instances where professionals are using PingPigeon. The first is to maintain and strengthen their networks. The average user has somewhere around 300 contacts; I personally have about 850 between Facebook and LinkedIn. Obviously it would take a huge amount of effort to search for ways & material to send personalized messages to all of those contacts. The end result without PingPigeon is that over time, those relationships weaken as you fall out of touch. So, the first type of usage involves people sending messages via PingPigeon in order to improve their network in general, for future career and personal purposes.

PingPigeon: Better Follow-ups and Relationships with ClientsThe second usage of PingPigeon is to help drive deals, sales, and projects forward. In industries such as consulting and financial services where the sales cycle is six to eighteen months or more, building personal ties to potential clients and staying top-of-mind without seeming overly “sales-y” becomes very important. Previously some of these professionals would set up customized RSS feeds, assign administrative assistants to search for material, or have junior staff write white papers in hopes of coming up with a way to ping clients. With PingPigeon, this process is largely automated, saving time and effort.

Future Plans

We’re eventually going to offer PingPigeon as a subscription-only product, but at this stage, we’re still allowing everyone to use it for free. Early adopters give us valuable data to help improve our recommendation algorithms, and that in itself is worth the server costs we pay to keep the application working. We’ll likely be keeping a free version with reduced functionality, but now is your chance to get the whole thing without paying!

Also, we’re hiring! PingPigeon is built on ruby on rails, and while we prefer to work with local candidates, as mentioned we’re no strangers to virtual collaboration. So if you are interested in recommendation engines and have some solid experience with the Facebook and LinkedIn APIs, we’d love to hear from you.

You can keep up with us, and get networking tips via our blog at: http://pingpigeon.posterous.com/. We’re on twitter as well at: http://twitter.com/#!/PingPigeon

And we can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=260250140659420

And LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/2342312?trk=tyah

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One Response to “PingPigeon: Better Follow-ups and Relationships with Clients”

  1. joey komada says:

    Loved the info.hope it can keep my patients informed and coming in to the office.

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