Early February we decided that Bantam Live would be our preferred way to store all external relationships we had with users and third-parties. Although we knew that Zendesk our support software does not integrate well with Bantam Live we know that we fix problems when they come and both Bantam Live as well as Zendesk have API’s so worries for later.
I have been on and of trials with Bantam Live and even though I will miss the email options (email template and marketing automation) the Twitter and LinkedIn integration make it feel like a personal CRM with lots of options for internal communication. I got the idea that Bantam Live could not live forever without a good email option and would expand eventually to a more solid email solution then Google Apps with which it integrates using single sign-on.
Do not get me wrong I love Google Apps and we use a lot of Google tools, but a simple mail-merge from your CRM to clients and some marketing automation tools like follow-up emails or auto responders is not Google’s killer feature.
I was happy to get the news that Constant Contact bought Bantam Live on February 16th 2011 since I had the hope it would integrate with Constant Contact and get some real email power. And then…. Nothing?!
Now we are one month further away and I am happy that Bantam Live is now free to use, but we use it less and less. Since Constant Contact is not giving Bantam Live users a clear timeframe or idea how they will integrate it and what the eventual pricing will be. So why push all contacts in Bantam Live when maybe in a couple of weeks they will kill the product and integrate in there suite.
Not knowing anything stops me from buying a subscription to an email marketing tool and stops me from buying a CRM tool. So Constant Contact please do the following and fast so we can move on a register with you.
Send me and all Bantam Live users an email with a clear plan for integration (that includes pricing, timeframe and feature overview). If you’re stuck on market research, here my 2 cents on how to integrate it:
- Make it a free part of the Email marketing Suite and charge per contact (like you do now with email addresses. Since Bantam Live was around 30 USD for a team of three I guess current pricing that starts with 30 USD for up to 2500 contact would match that small business size.
- Do not kill the Google App integration just because you have your own email solutions. Daily emails are different then auto-responders and email marketing. So import and sending one individual email (including a template and merge) allow me to use Google IMAP/POP3 etc.
- Integrate the email marketing tool you have inside with the Bantam Live (was expecting a beta of that by now)
So, in short, I love Bantam Live, but with no clear communication, it’s hard to make any choices.
Love to hear anyone’s idea of Constant Contact and Bantam Live integration, use the comments below.