Nimble: CRM for Social Salespeople

Way back in 1989, when the idea of using computers to manage customer relationships was still in its infancy, a guy by the name of John Ferrara founded Goldmine Software which would spend the next decade pioneering CRM software solutions. In 1999 he sold Goldmine to a South African firm. But that wasn’t the end of John. He’s back with Nimble, a CRM web app for today’s world where social media is king.

Nimble promises to integrate a salesperson’s efforts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, email, and a plethora of other avenues one might use today to keep in touch with their customers. Keeping your existing customers happy is increasingly important, since, according to some, it can cost fourteen times as much to get a new customer as it does to retain an existing one. Anything to help you keep in touch with your existing customers and network is a plus, so let’s check Nimble out and see if it really can.

Design

I’m more of a functional man at heart, which is why in my articles I tend to leave design until last. Nimble has made me break this tradition. It’s not that its spectacularly designed by any means; it’s that the design feels like something Google might have cooked up on a good day.

Simple design that's easy to use

Simple design that's easy to use

Simple and elegant are the order of the day. Above all else, it works beautifully with the functional aspects of the app by staying in the background and not doing cartwheels to impress me.

When using the ‘Messages’ function, it felt as if I was using Gmail. When I was keeping up to date with the goings on in the Twittersphere, I felt as though I was using a premium desktop app. Everything is spaced out nicely and I didn’t come across a single bug or jitter.

Functionality

Nimble works by giving each company not their own account, but their own site. Because there could be numerous salesmen and community managers per company, you have to go to mycompanyname.nimble.com to log in. This caused a little confusion for me as the ‘Login’ button on the homepage redirects you to a password recovery page, which is confusing for a new nimbler.

Conatcs from Twitter, Gmail, LinkedIn and more

Contacts from Twitter, Gmail, LinkedIn, and more

I ploughed on and accessed my site. The first task is to import as many contacts as you can. The traditional .csv file that any self respecting salesperson will keep as a backup of clients info can be uploaded. Also, your personal or company Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and email contact can all be imported. This takes a few minutes (ten for me). Once completed, a list of your clients, friends and business partners should appear under the contacts section.

Now it’s time to get tagging. For me, I divided up my personal and work contacts first. I then labeled my bosses, potential clients and people I should pitch to. How you organise your is down to you, but it should make sense and follow along the same lines as you’d normally take when categorizing clients.

Sync with Gcal to stay organised

Sync with Gcal to stay organised

Activities allows the user to sync their Google Calendar. You can also make appointments and delegate taks to other users on your Nimble site. It also acts as a to do list by allowing you to strike off attended meeting and events.

Deals is quite similar to Activities in terms of usage but you can tell they had busy cold callers in mind with this one. You can attach active deals with clients under this section can update their progress. Default benchmarks include and and and, but you can change these under the settings menu.

You can assign a value to each deal. The probability can also be assigned based on past deals, giving you an overall total with the weighted value underneath. So if total deals was $10,000 , with a combined probability of 30% to land them, the expected value would be $3,000.

The social tab is much the same as the contacts tab with the ability to tweet and update Facebook. A good point to note is that it doesn’t only allow you to use Facebook user accounts, but also Facebook pages. This will be crucial for web stores and blogs who want to keep an eye on those who ‘like’ their page.

Integrate with Woofu and MailChimp

Integrate with Woofu and MailChimp

Perhaps best of all, Nimble can be integrated with popular web apps such as MailChimp and Wufoo to keep an eye on those who subscribe to your newsletters.

The Bad Bits

All that said, Nimble isn’t perfect. My biggest gripe is that the first half hour is spent, coffee in hand, wondering what in the world is going on. While the interface is easy to use there is a learning curve, something that I feel Nimble could have done more to combat complexity.

For example, after importing contacts you’re left with a ‘what now’ conundrum. It feels too much like a desktop application whereby it’s assumed you know what’s what. A wellmade introduction video series would go down well with that coffee.

Also it can be sluggish. I found that the Social tab can be like starting a steam train on a frosty morning. And, the pricing! $15 might be fine per company. But per user?

Conclusion

Can I recommend Nimble? The answer is yes, but only if it would actually give you a good return on investment. It’s a ‘big’ app, meaning you’ve got to have an extensive client base in order to make it worth your while.

I’m a lowly freelance writer and I had a hard time getting enough use out of Nimble to get a review done. But for a company wishing to monitor customers, attract clients and keep existing ones happy, I definitely recommend checking out Nimble for CRM. It’s not the only player in the field, but it is a very strong contender backed by some of the most important people in the entire CRM industry.


Summary

Nimble is a CRM web app that allows you to coordinate your business sales efforts with your community of cliients and customers. It has integration for popular networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and marketing tools such as MailChimp.

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