Surveys, Contacts & Newsletters all-in-1 SaaS platform
Today's online marketing world is heavily ruled by leading and famous products such as Mailchimp, SurveyMonkey, Google Analytics, Sales Force and a couple of other giants. But some people prefer less complex and ideally one integrated systems. Read more to find out why and how we have built Quanda.
1. Absence of seamless contact management, sharing within the team
2. Inability to create more complex surveys
3. Lack of sophistication in newslettering and impact evaluation
The story of this product and of a 3-year happy business partnership is connected with Jan Spacil. He is the founder of Prospectea, a company that has provided marketing consultancy since nineties.
After many years spent by advising companies how to do marketing and sales better, Jan was looking for an online tool that would help him and his team to centralize and organize easily, to share and update thousands of business contacts.
Another area for improvement was the way Prospecta produces and manages multiple surveys - for its own purposes as well as for its clients. Online surveys and feedback gathering tools are a very important part of market research. Its creation and evaluation was one of the most popular services of Prospectea. In marketing, it is impossible to overestimate the power of research and the elegancy of getting instant feedback from hundreds of users.
We got annoyed by continuous copying of contacts from one application to another and by managing updates on all of them. This was the reason why we started to think about developing own solution.
When we met Jan, we felt synergy in our thinking and from experience with our own customers we knew that similar problems are in many companies or teams. This was the reason that from the beginning we believed that better that tailoring this for Prospectea will be to build it as SaaS (Software as a Service) solution and offer it to others.
When we met Jan, we felt synergy in our thinking. And we knew from the experience with our own customers that many companies and teams have similar problems. This was the reason why we believed that a better solution than tailoring Prospectea for this, would be to build a SaaS solution (Software as a Service) and offer it to others.
Jan had experience with software creation from cooperation with other agencies. He knew very well that what he required was not a job for a few weeks but a pretty big custom software system.
The three main parts of the integrated solution - Contacts, Surveys and Newsletters - required modular and scalable architecture and was hundreds of days of programming. Based on business modelling and competitive analysis, the return of investment (ROI) was estimated to 2-3 years for average success scenarios, which meant hundreds of paying customers each month.
There was one important fact from the the beginning: the system was meant to be provided with consultations and custom setup for all paying subscribers (many of them were existing Prospectea’s customers). So while buying the product, one could also get personal advise how to organize his agenda. And we really liked this approach.
The Prospectea team had already enough experience with surveys and polling systems and also good knowledge about statistics and creation of complex questionnaires for market research in different segments. In fact they helped to create thousands of surveys to hundreds of clients and their insights from daily life were priceless.
SurveyGizmo and SurveyMonkey proved to be great online tools for surveys. They were great in creating different kinds of questionnaires but they were not sufficient when analyzing results and gathering feedback. They don't perform in something we call “logical surveys” where upcoming question is depended on preceding question. And of course, they usually don’t offer any tool for contact integration either.
First we finished the heart of the system - contact management. Besides smart import capabilities, it offers comfortable labelling of contacts, grouping and other handy functions which are also integrated into the Surveys and Newsletters parts of the system.
The system minds duplications and when syncing with other sources, it offers possibility to choose source-destination priority or updating certain fields. To get people onboard quickly, we had to create import tools from numerous platforms - Outlook, Gmail, CSV or Czech popular information systems such us Helios or Pohoda.
Import scripts seemed easy but as the system is multilingual, we had to overcome struggles with various character set encoding formats. Also we needed to improve in a few iterations and user tests the user interface of Import Tool module. The reason was that for some “average users”, it was too difficult to prepare XLS or CSV with particular order of columns. The solution was to built in a new feature and let users choose into what column should go what information. And also to let them preview if all items are to be imported to place where they should really go.
We believe that the Survey part of Quanda is comparable with best survey software available on the market. More than 10 000 surveys were completed in the first year after lunch of the system. Here are few supported functions:
You can see full the list of features at Quanda website.
As you can see, we also integrated newsletters - we didn’t go as far as Mailchimp does for features, but the system offers everything that average users might need - email templates and customization, sophisticated analytics tools, logical emails and email serials to mention the most important features. We optimized the user interface to let users create email campaign quickly and at one place. They can choose from existing templates or create new template designs. And thanks to full integration of contacts, they can easily work with recipients groups.
At the beginning we used Amazon S3 solution for email dispatching but later we exchanged it for the Mandrill engine. Besides the fact that it offers better pricing options and scalability, it enables us to dispatch thousands of emails in a minute, which is particularly handy on busy days.
On this project, we have reached another level of expertise in emailing and spam prevention. We integrated functions such us SPF, DWIM and many others. The result is a very low spam ratio and minimum of emails detected as spam.
Here are couple interesting figures from the 3 year old relationship and continuous development.