toutapp

Business Emailing for Sales Professionals – A ToutApp Review

This week, I had the opportunity to speak with the folks from ToutApp, a San Francisco based start-up that has launched a slick and cost effective business email creation and management tool designed specifically for sales teams.

ToutApp founder Tawheed Kader started the company in 2010. Legend has it that after his first choice for a name was taken, he spent the weekend buried in a thesaurus and chose ‘Tout’ for its meaning, ‘to promote or peddle’, a fitting name for an application built with the front line sales professional in mind.

Tawheed is a passionate entrepreneur whose blog is well worth checking out. You can also follow him on Twitter. One of the things that drew my attention to ToutApp within the crowded email management space was its backing from (among others) Esther Dyson who has inspired me as an entrepreneur since I first read Release 2.0 back in 1998.

Merely two years into their journey, ToutApp has several thousand paid subscribers and almost 20,000 trial users.

So Where Does It Fit?

ToutApp has chosen to make a run at the crowded and confusing business emailing management landscape. My take on the categories and players in this space looks like this:

What Does It Do?

From a feature and functionality standpoint, ToutApp appears to be the Swiss Army Knife of business email tools. Here is what stood out to me:

  • Template creation, management, and sharing. Readers of this blog know I am fixated on the need for sales teams to be equipped with templates rather than reinventing the wheel 20 times a day.
  • Tracking. Salespeople need visibility into whether or not emails get delivered, opened, and forwarded. In addition, ToutApp provides visibility into links clicked, attachments opened, and even which pages of the attached PDF were viewed.
  • Mobile Access. What good would all of these features be if they weren’t accessible from your iPhone or Android smartphone?
  • Automation. 20% of the work associated with email is repetitive: Cc your boss, Bcc professional services, etc.
  • Scheduling. Personally, I like emails to be delivered late at night or early in the morning but don’t always want to compose them at those times. Similarly, I want my email to show up two days after someone returns from vacation rather than getting stuck in the massive pile that accumulates while they are on the beach in Cancun.
  • CRM Integration. The #1 complaint I hear from sales organizations is the poor (or nonexistent) integration between their email (usually Outlook or Gmail) and their CRM (usually Salesforce.com). ToutApp solves that.
  • Analytics. Salespeople send a lot of emails but don’t generally know which ones work and which ones don’t. Marketers have powerful tools for assessing email effectiveness but ToutApp is the first tool I have seen that provides these kinds of insights for the sales rep. For now, this effectiveness reporting is only available for the individual sales rep but will extended to include team and organization roll up reporting in the coming months.
  • Alert and Notification. Most email applications allow me to see if someone has opened or forwarded my message. I am pretty sure salespeople will be able to take advantage of the fact that ToutApp lets you know through proactive desktop notification.
  • Email to Chat. In the next month or so, ToutApp will be rolling out what I consider to be the most useful feature yet. You know how some people use email like chat or text messaging? Personally, it drives me crazy to keep hitting send and receive; I’d rather pick up the phone or jump into a chat window. ToutApp lets the email receiver open a chat window directly from the email you sent them. How cool is that?

Who Is It Right For?

While I am sure organizations of all sizes could benefit from some aspect of ToutApp, it is important for companies to choose their tools carefully. Desired features need to be balanced with adding additional costs and complexity. I run across far too many companies suffering from ‘application overload’.

For my mind, the sweet spot for ToutApp includes:

  • Salesforce.com power users looking to move beyond the basic template and tracking features available in Salesforce.com and take advantage of ToutApps effectiveness analytics, as well as create more robust templates that can be tweaked and shared across the team.
  • Small businesses dipping their toes in the inbound/content marketing pool. Basically, those looking for 90% of the functionality of an email management system with significantly less cost and complexity.
  • The start-up organization running on Excel spreadsheets and Gmail that is looking for a fast, easy, cheap, and powerful ‘force multiplier’ for their sales team.

Ummm…Someone Needs to Check Their Math on the Pricing Sheet

I am always amused by the lengths software companies go to make their pricing unnecessarily confusing and complex. Like most everything these days, ToutApp is priced per user per month, as well as tied to a daily email limit. However, someone decided that each of the volume tiers should cost more per user and more per email. I’m sure this will get fixed and I’ll let Tawheed know he can give me a call if he wants to borrow my calculator. In simple terms, ToutApp will run you about $25 per user per month, which is still inexpensive for the value it delivers. There is also a slightly reduced functionality ‘Lite’ option available for individuals ($15/month) who just want the basics.

Bottom Line

ToutApp is cool. If I wasn’t spending way too much money on Hubspot, this would be a perfect sales tool.

ToutApp is a feature rich and cost effective enhancement to the business email client you already use. It’s designed for the sales professional and integrates easily with Salesforce.com. Used properly, it can greatly increase the efficiency and effectiveness in an area where everyone (and salespeople in particular) spends much of their day.

If you’d like to check it out, you can click here to sign up for a 14 day trial.

By Townsend Wardlaw

Comments

  1. Nice review Townsend! I’ve been a Tout customer for about 6 months, and I’m also the founder of a startup focused on productivity apps for Salesforce users so I know Salesforce pretty well. While it’s not perfect, Tout is easily the best solution I’ve found for automating and tracking emails related to Salesforce leads and contacts. They’re also very responsive and open to customer feedback, which I’d guess has been a critical element of their success so far. I’d guess using Tout gives me about a 30% boost in my own ability to respond and interact with leads via email.

    1. Author

      Thanks Eric… knowing you guys are a Salesforce.com power shop, I would be interested in learning more about where you get the most value integrated with SF.com

      1. I had two issues I wanted to solve re Salesforce and email:

        1) I didn’t trust the deliverability of emails sent from “inside” the CRM. They are doing the proxied send in a kosher way, but that doesn’t mean some customers’ spam filters wouldn’t toss it out.

        2) Building nicely formatted templates with fully instrumented tracking directly in Salesforce is difficult. We’re a bootstrapped startup, so the bigger marketing automation solutions were outside our budget.

        Tout solves both issues very nicely. All emails are sent from my Google Apps account, and wiring the tracking is done automagically by their service. The stats on tracking provide just the right amount of detail for me to understand how customers are interacting with the email.

        And their integrations to Salesforce and Google Apps push the functionality and data into the systems where I’m already working instead of sending me to a different platform.

        A big bonus is the ability to schedule email sends, which has been awesome for implementing semi-automated drip campaigns for our leads..

        1. Author

          Good call Eric….The proxy issue has been on my radar for awhile. It didn’t occur to me that Tout solved that… from experience with LOTS of companies using SF.com, I can tell you that SF.com’s proxies are blocked by most decent size companies. Solving that problem alone is worth the price.

    2. Thanks for vouching for us, Eric! Well put. Our Salesforce app is the reason that many users find us in the first place, and we’ll continue to enhance it going forward. Thanks for all your valuable feedback!

  2. I used ToutApp way back in the early days when the feature set was fairly limited and the UI was clunky, and TK was working hard to figure out the product/market fit. At the time, I thought the tool was way over-priced for what it did.

    We’re using a tool called Pipedrive – pipedrive.com (instead of SalesForce), and another tool called YesWare (yesware.com – free), which ties directly into Google mail. It too has the ability to create sales templates, etc., but it will send the communication directly into Pipedrive, track opens, etc. without me having to login to another data source/technology stack.

    Do we really need to be logging into yet another app, or should we be building apps that tie directly into the things we already use? This is why I chose the Pipedrive/YesWare/GMail path.

    1. Always great to meet a customer from our earlier days, Ryan!

      As a matter of fact, we agree with your sentiment. Our core principle has always been to work and fit into the tools you already use. This is why in addition to our core app experience, we’ve built robust plugins into Gmail, Outlook, and Salesforce.

      You never have to leave Gmail/Outlook in order to enjoy Tout.

  3. We integrate Marketo with SF for tracking and automating email campaigns, events, lead management, analytics, etc. On a larger scale (and 2 dedicated administrators), it performs well enough and provides sufficient data to satisfy the marketing operation as a whole.

    My 2-man team operates with a more focused and select set of accounts and we often get lost in the data. Would Tout have the ability to improve tracking visibility and efficiency for us without interfering with the Marketo Machine?

    1. Author

      Actually… thats a perfect use-case. While Marketo (or Eloqua or Hubspot) are much heavier duty email automation/marketing automation tools, ToutApp can be used as a stand alone (integrated with SF.com)

  4. Way too much money on Hubspot is right. I’ve been using Tout for the trial period and will definitely be pulling out the credit card for this app. The templates are awesome!

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