Prospecting Needs Disruption

Sales prospecting is hard work. Lots of emails to send out, lots of research to do, many touchpoints with each prospect, all in the aim of getting a meeting scheduled. It’s a lot of work, and it can be frustrating just getting someone to respond. I’ve been on both sides of it! As a second-time co-founder, prospecting is the source of getting new business. You get what you put into it. The tools I used were pretty common in the industry: Salesforce for my CRM (I tried hubspot too), then email and calling as many as I could. I know there are lots of marketing automation tools, but I didn’t have a lot of money to get the business going, and transitioning a response to something more personal was difficult. As a VP of Engineering for an established company, I would be on the receiving end of many of those prospecting email. To be honest, I ignored a lot of them. They felt like they were form letters, and they didn’t research my needs or company other than to find out who the decision-makers were for their product. When there was an occasion where I had time to look at something interesting, the rep would always be slow to respond. I had just a few minutes to look at the solution, ask a few questions, and decide to move forward. When the rep would reply, sometimes it would be days later! By then I had moved on or became busy with something else. I’m sure that was frustrating for the rep too; finally, someone replied and I was late to get back. When I was prospecting myself, I would use any opportunity to reach out: an email was read, a link clicked, or any email replied to. And no tool was fast enough! When any lead was wasted, I felt like an absolute failure.

Fast forward a few years. Slack is now a dominant player, and we started using it at the company I worked for. I absolutely loved it. I hated emails, and found nearly all of my internal communications were through Slack. In fact, if someone emailed me, it was a high likelihood that I wouldn’t reply to it within a day! This is all well and good for internal communication — but what about piping those emails in and out of Slack? Like a channel for that email thread? The external person didn’t have to know I was replying through Slack; to them, it just looked like I was super responsive. I know I could add them as a guest or link their Slack — that presented issues as well. What if this was a short term communication via email? What if I don’t want to go through the process of adding them as a guest to my workspace?

So I put these two problems together and co-founded Centro with the most incredible engineer I’ve ever had a chance to work with, Bailey. We’ve had experience in the Salesforce ecosystem with apps that are in the top 3 in the AppExchange. Why not apply our learning to another budding ecosystem, Slack? The idea was simple: how to use Slack as an interface to email or text prospects, keep the thread in a Channel (not a Slack thread, like some competitors of ours), and be able to add co-workers to collaborate on the deal!

That’s why we created Centro. Leverage the responsive nature of Slack, couple it to an old process with email, and apply a sales prospecting use case with an integration to Salesforce. It’s (and I’m biased) simply awesome. I get notifications the moment someone reads, clicks, or replies. I can add my team. It’s super-fast, just as we designed it! The pain of prospecting is now less (there’s still rejection of course!), but I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. I feel like I have the entire weight and support of my team with me too. I don’t have to awkwardly forward emails, explain the thread, and then try to re-engage with the prospect.

Where are we going next? You can imagine the power of simply linking emails to an interface like Slack, why not other communication channels? We’ve already done Text/SMS, but are thinking about all of the other channels people message others. Think about other use cases, like account-based marketing, support, recruiting, etc, and we’re very excited about the future of Centro!

We have a 14-day free trial of Centro, and right now, you can have the first five channels for free forever for being an early adopter. Check it out here:

Ryan Hitchler
Co-Founder, Centro




Centro enables Sales and Support teams to Learn and React in Salesforce and Slack

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