And just what, exactly, is a TCM?

I know people are going to ask me a lot of questions about why I started AgentNow. After 16 tech companies, why launch another tech startup, instead of taking the extra personal time to hang out with friends and family, work on personal writing projects or — paint; I’m still a raw amateur on this long path.

More important, with so many CRM tools in the cloud — why create AgentNow in the first place?

Well, my sales friends all know they need to register leads and calls to stay organized. And they want the intel and convenience of a CRM. But, unless they can foist the job off on an assistant, the more features and buttons they see, the more they just want to procrastinate — stuff cards in their briefcases for later, play golf, mow the lawn, make more sales calls.

My software team is focused on our vision for making all these cloud tools, even those we don’t make ourselves, play well together.

My partners are excited about how we are using methods that could change how successful small businesses work.

But the real reason I created AgentNow is because of what happened in March of 2000 at a venture conference I produced for a couple of years. I was trying to rally investors to the central part of the United States, thus the auspicious conference name the Silicon Central eConference. Ralph Sefarian from Oracle was one of the keynote speakers along with Tim Sanders from Yahoo.

Also in attendance were the founders of another little Oracle spinoff,

Sales Force was founded in 1999 by former Oracle executive Marc Benioff, Parker Harris, Dave Moellenhoff, and Frank Dominguez. By 2004 the company’s IPO launched on the NYSE under the even more auspicious symbol — CRM.

Think about it: SalesForce is not only the hands-down leader in the CRM space, the company essentially defines the space and itself as CRM on the New York Stock Exchange. Well — like Kleenex and tissues — SalesForce is THE brand.

At the conference I remember speaking at length with Sefarian and several SalesForce Execs — who excitedly, left the conference a day early to close a major investor. I believe the sum was around $3 million.

The Company raised $110 million just four years later in the 2004 IPO. Early investors included Magdalena Yesil, Larry Ellison, Halsey Minor, Stewart Henderson, Mark Iscaro, and Igor Sill of Geneva Venture Partners, as well as Nancy Pelosi.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Until now…

Back to the story about AgentNow and the real reason it exists at all.

As time went on I suffered my own share of small successes and failures — yes, sometimes the companies we call successes cause more suffering than the companies that simply shut down… but that’s another kind of story.

As the years passed, working with many startups, I inevitably began thinking about what I didn’t like about the current state of CRM technology, social media, mobile apps and cloud SAAS in general. More and more individual elements to integrate. More and more unnecessary features cluttering our lives. An increasing tide of well-intentioned and well-made products that didn’t really work well with one another…

Of course I’m aware of Zapier and all the many ways we can synch one cloud product to the next. But there are two very big problems with this approach:

    • The more integrations you add the messier the solution becomes. Too many logins. Too many learning curves.
    • And when you add up all these “inexpensive” solutions, they are not really so inexpensive anymore.

For the record, I love what SalesForce was then and what it has become: a truly brilliant product — now moving strongly into the world of machine learning and AI. A massive tech juggernaut that isn’t resting on its considerable laurels.

But even here in middle earth — the states between the tech coasts in the northeast and California — we do have some pretty technologically advanced companies. Several of these are quite literally sales juggernauts. Most use SalesForce.  A few of these larger entities have a full time SalesForce guru, whose sole job is to train themselves and the company staff on using the tool.

While this is fine for some, the coffee-shop entrepreneurs I know here in startup land are looking for another way.

A simpler solution.

One they can afford without thinking twice.

So after stumbling on an old Wall Street Journal article about our tech conference seventeen long years ago, I began reflecting deeply on what was amazing and what was frustrating with the current state of CRM’s and SAAS tools today.

And I decided to create a new kind of cloud platform using 21st century methods to build one essential product designed to manage all the many ways we communicate.

The result is AgentNow.

We call it a TCM Total Communication Management Platform

And this is what we believe:

    • Most of us are too busy. So if a product takes too much effort to learn, that product is broken.
    • While we will always play well with other systems — closed ecosystems are divisive and outmoded — we will deliver as many core communication tools under one login as possible.
    • Premium tools don’t have to cost premium prices. AgentNow cost about $7.  — YEP… Seven bucks.
    • Less technology is better than more technology. After all, you do have a life beyond this world of business.
    • We will always remember — at the end of every technology is a real person. And hopefully, a real relationship.
    • Simple is always better.

We are using these principles to inform the features of AgentNow. And while I have worked with nearly two hundred of the best and brightest tech people from all over the world, the AgentNow team is very small.

Be patient with us. We won’t deliver everything we’ve envisioned on day one, but if you’re one of those people who thinks it’s time for something better; something elegant and pure, please have a look at AgentNow to learn more.

Give us a little patience and trust.

And feedback.

We promise to give you a little of your life back.

Rick Baker

June, 2017