At the start of Contatta, one of the things we debated a lot about was whether we had to create our own email client. Personally, I didn’t want to do it, but eventually I was convinced otherwise.
Patrick, our Chief Product Officer who had designed the Outlook integration for both SalesLogix and Infusionsoft, was totally adamant that if we were going to build something truly great, we had to create our own client. “Integration just SUCKS!” He said it loud. He said it often.
And he was right!
First, we watched how salespeople worked. They spend up to 80% of their time in email. Then we discovered that every other business person on the planet wastes over half of their workweek in email, as well. The reason they’re spending so much time in email isn’t because it’s so efficient. It’s because the inbox is broken.
Think about it, Outlook and Gmail have to be designed for the “lowest common denominator.” When planning new possible features, they have to consider whether they are good for business users AND my mother (who uses it to send me pictures of her cat).
Make Email Better and Use It Less
With both ACT! and SalesLogix, we created an “integration” with Outlook and Gmail. They were total kludges. Still are. Bouncing between two totally different interfaces is just sucky.
There are literally hundreds of things you can tightly integrate and make useful if you have your own email client.
So we did it. It was incredibly hard to do, but the result is totally awesome. We’ve created so many things that, frankly, you may never be able to do with either Outlook or Gmail.
For me, email is really only good for one-to-one, or at best, one to a few. Collaboration is a far better way for one-to-many or many-to-many communications. Email is also often used for task/calendar management—another thing it is not particularly great at. Our goal was simple: make email much better, but use it less.
Contatta does some incredibly useful things in collaboration and task management that email could never do. Don’t misunderstand me, Contatta users don’t HAVE to use our email client. Some very cool things still happen in Contatta if you choose to stay with Gmail or Outlook. However, what we’ve found is that people who say they would never change from their current email, discover within a very short period of time why it is just a no-brainer to switch to Contatta—at least for business. My mom’s still fine with what she’s using now.