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Oh Business Card, How I Love and I Hate Thee

contactspls | March 19, 2013

The Love

I love business cards.
I love the creative designs.

I love the pomp and circumstance.

I love the ceremony – if you’ve ever exchanged business cards in Asia, you know what I mean.

I love the look of pride on someone’s face when they get their first set of business cards.

I love how small business owners agonize and obsess about their new business card design.

One of my previous business partners almost came to blows with another partner about business card design – no joke.

In their simplest form, business cards are just a physical representation of contact information.

But business cards are so much more than just contact information.

Business cards represent instant credibility.

The exchange of business cards represents the promise of future business.

A business card is a physical link to the past – back to a time and a place of a first meeting.

A business card is evidentiary proof of a meeting.

Even though it’s 2013, there’s something oddly romantic about business cards.

The Hate

But I also hate business cards.

I hate that business cards stack up on my desk at home.

I hate that business cards stack up on my desk at work.

I hate that business cards stack up on my dresser.

I hate that business cards pile up in my laptop bag.

I hate that business cards collect in my pocket.

I hate that business cards represent a ToDo item.

I hate that I have no backup for a business card.

I hate asking anyone else to enter my business cards into my CRM or address book.

A single business card means I need to perform some annoying, tedious data entry.

A pile of business cards means I’ve no longer got my evening at my disposal.

The Solution

Over the last 15 years, I’ve tried a myriad of approaches to solve my business card problem.

I’ve spent $359 on NeatReceipts.

I bought CardScan once for $399.

And so has every serious sales guy that I know.

BTW,  if you work for me, and you’re in an airport, don’t ever, EVER thinking about expensing NeatReceipts.  I’ll fire you on the spot.  OCR business card scanners  just aren’t accurate enough.

The problem is that OCR for business cards sucks.

I’ve sent cards to services like Shoeboxed. That takes too long, and I don’t want my valuable business cards out of my possession for a week or two.

I’ve asked admin assistants to enter the data for me, but that just makes me feel bad that I won’t do it myself.  Plus it doesn’t really work when I’m on the road.

I’ve tried every business card reader app in the App Store.

All existing apps use OCR and they all are not accurate enough – especially in real world conditions.

Plus, all existing solutions don’t get the data where I really want it.

As a sales person, I want business cards in exactly TWO places:

1) My CRM (Salesforce)

2) My Personal Address Book

Nothing on the market does this to my satisfaction.

After years of frustration, I decided to solve my business card problem (just one part of my contact information problem).  As a result, we started FullContact and raised nearly $9M of venture capital.

It led to FullContact Card Reader for Salesforce.

FullContact Card Reader is different because:

  • Card Reader is Simple.  It works with Salesforce or your FullContact account and it’s built to do one thing:  capture business cards and put them into your address book.

  • Card Reader uses multiple human transcribers to transcribe and verify business cards with substantially higher accuracy than OCR scanners.

  • Card Reader isn’t as fast as OCR – it takes about 10 minutes for a card to be transcribed – but it’s the most accurate. Accuracy trumps speed any day of the week.

Go ahead: Give it a try and let us know what you think.

What does it cost?

Card Reader is Free for 10 Cards. After that, you can purchase a premium subscription for $99 per year or $9.99 per month which gets you unlimited cards.**

Yep, that’s right: $99/year to have a human being at your disposal to transcribe your business cards and put them into Salesforce.

For a road warrior, that’s a bargain.

(It’s also an expense report I’d gladly approve for any of my sales reps.)

**UPDATE: As of August 2014, we’ve retired our Monthly plan. FullContact Card Reader now lets you purchase packs of cards, so you only pay for what you need!

Visit our Card Reader page for up-to-date pricing and the latest info on the app.