It all started when the CEO of the company came to Pete Fife and asked him how they could tie incoming phone calls to lead records in Salesforce. Pete saw the need to help align sales and marketing efforts and the idea of creating Phone2Lead for call tracking started to take shape. Some Twilio, some APEX, and a few months later, Pete has setup a company, Keystone CTI, and has Phone2Lead call tracking software available for purchase on the Salesforce AppExchange. Here’s what Pete had to say:
When/how/why did you start a call tracking company?
When did I get the tickle for Phone2Lead? Around the beginning of November 2010. Why did I start the project? I saw a great need to help align sales and marketing efforts. There are a lot of online services that help with automation of the web space, however, unless you have an e-commerce site, at the end of the day it’s the telephone call that makes the sell. This rings so true at the B2C company I recently worked for. The CEO came to me and my co-worker one day. My co-worker ran the marketing side and purchased the unique phone numbers for the mailers and tracked the call volume and I ran Salesforce, all aspects: technical and business process. The CEO asked us how can we tie the phone calls coming in, to the lead records in Salesforce to track ROI on the campaigns. We had 8×8 as our VoIP provider which had a CTI integration to Salesforce however there were several issues however the inability to tie inbound phone calls directly with leads and their respective marketing phone number was, if not the biggest issue.
At the end of October 2010, I remember reading about Twilio and saw it was some sort of Web 2.0 thingy that was able to take a telephone call and do something to your ‘application’. I passed it off to my co-worker since telephony was his thing, but then about a week later I must of had enough bran or something, because that’s when Phone2Lead took shape in my mind. My years of experience with Salesforce, sales and marketing pain points, complex CTI integrations, could all be simplified with a very simple, elegant, efficient solution by consuming Twilio’s service and some APEX code.
I revisited my idea with the owners and they agreed to let me start building the product with the in house developer. It was going to be an in house sort of project with a prospect of bringing it to market. However a couple weeks later the company was shut down and filed for bankruptcy. It’s now December. I didn’t have job, it’s the holidays but I’m still excited about the product. So I worked on requirement documentation and started learning about patents. Salesforce annual user conference, Dreamforce, was around the corner so I started to ping some of my colleges to present the concept to them at Dreamforce. Created mock-ups and a couple slides in Keynote and showed the concept to about a dozen people. All thought the idea was valid and some where even willing be beta customers if I developed the product. So that next week I found a developer and went to work.
I was so jazzed from the feedback I came home and told my wife I wanted to start this company, Keystone CTI, to build the Phone2Lead product and that I’m cashing in on my grandmothers bonds she’s given me since college, pulling some money out of savings to bootstrap the project. With two young kids under the age of 5, no job, Christmas time, she said she’d support me; however there was a look of tribulation on her face.
Luckily, things seem to be working out for Pete. You can see a screencast of Phone2Lead call tracking software in action below.
See how you can build a call tracking solution on Twilio.