Nimble is a game-changer, forever altering the landscape of how CRMs support marketing and sales professionals.
Over the past few years, small business use of marketing automation solutions have skyrocketed. It’s no surprise, really, as these solutions automate “significant aspects of customer acquisition such as lead generation, qualification and nurturing activities”.
In other words, marketing automation enables you to save one of your small business’s most important resources: time.
While many marketing automation solutions include significant customer relationship management (CRM) features and functionality, that side of the equation remains the least automated of all. Yes, every interaction with a lead is recorded and tied to their contact record however, beyond that automatically captured information, you and your staff must populate each contact record manually.
In other words, your CRM activities, from data entry to data mining, still consume a lot of time. This is exactly the pain point that Nimble was created to relieve and they’ve done so by focusing on three key features.
Key Feature #1: The CRM that Builds and Maintains Itself
“The problem with CRM is that it’s a database where you’ve got to type stuff in and it’s too much work for a human being,” says Jon Ferrara, the founder and CEO of Nimble.
Ferrara believes that traditionally, “CRM stands more for Customer Reporting Management, rather than Relationship Management because relationships happen in Outlook address books and Google contacts. Those are your relationship managers.”
However, even those contact managers don’t save a lot of information and they certainly don’t aggregate it into one easily understood and usable contact record.
Ferrara contends, “You need a complete view of what’s going on with a person. You need connections to calendars and email and social signals to make that happen.”
And that’s view is exactly what Nimble has built. As you can see below, a Nimble contact record contains everything from social media profiles to education, social messages, email messages and more. Most importantly, this content record was automatically compiled by Nimble once we imported our Twitter contacts into their system.
As Ferrara puts it, “The most important thing you can have in a CRM is data, and if you have contacts and insights, that’s 60% of the work that any businessperson has.”
Importing is where everything begins. Nimble can pull your contact records from a variety of systems including Google Contacts, Gmail and Twitter. Once the platform has the information, it builds your contact records by matching information from many disparate systems. The result? A complete view of each contact, no data entry required.
“Your calendar activities, messages and social interactions are all connected to the record automatically,” says Ferrara. “Nimble builds each contact record so you understand where they’re from, where they work, where they went to school, what they’re influential in, whether they’re an investor, all that stuff.”
What’s more, Nimble actually brings the data down so it’s yours to own, as it should be in a CRM solution. They also update your contact database on a daily basis, bringing new and changed information into the contact record automatically.
“What people love about Nimble,” says Ferrara, “is that it’s the first relationship platform that works for you by building itself.”
Key Feature #2: Anytime, Anywhere Context
Once Nimble builds your contact records, you can use its browser plugins to access your records as you work online.
“If you’re sitting inside of your CRM,” says Ferrara, “you’re not engaging with customers. You need context and insights on everyone that you’re engaging with — Nimble give you the ability to ‘Nimble’ anyone anywhere.”
This powerful feature is a game-changer, forever altering the landscape of how CRMs support marketing and sales professionals. Here’s an example that, in Ferrara’s words, “Just might blow your mind.”
Access Your Contact Records Anytime, Anywhere
Let’s say you’re working on LinkedIn, nurturing your connections and looking for new ones. Using the Nimble sidebar, you can pull up the details of anyone on LinkedIn:
A view of the Nimble sidebar on a LinkedIn profile. In the interest of showing the full view, we’ve broken the sidebar into pieces moving left to right.
As you can see, Nimble has built a profile for our LinkedIn connection on the fly, including information that did not originate on LinkedIn. If we want to add the contact to our in Nimble, all we need do is click the, “Add To Nimble” button.
Now, we have some context however, Nimble enables you to dig deeper as well as take action right there and then.
Deeper Context and Taking Action
As you can see below, Nimble’s sidebar offers a number of super-handy features:
- Dig deeper into a contact’s record using this menu. “This way, I can see the history of conversations, the history of interactions,” says Ferrara. “I can see what this person’s saying to the world and interact with them.”
- Schedule or record an action by clicking on the circled plus icon.
- Send a message via connected channels by clicking on the envelope icon.
With all this context and functionality at your fingertips, your marketing and sales efforts just got a lot easier to manage. Or, as Ferrara succinctly put it, ” The most important thing is to be able to follow-through wherever you’re at.”
Key Feature #3: Automatic Segmentation
As shown below, Nimble offers a number of ways to slice and dice your contacts (i.e. segmentation):
This is basic CRM functionality but as with many of it’s features, Nimble is about to take segmentation to the next level.
“Using the data we pull behind the scenes,” says Ferrara, “we’ve built a new segmentation engine (rolling out soon) that let’s you use any of that data and we’ve pre-faceted your contacts.”
As you can see, this new feature will enable you to search on a number of useful data points, all built for you automatically (note the black boxes near the top of this photo):
Here’s an example of one of these drop-down menus built by Nimble using the data they’ve pulled from our contacts:
Using this functionality you can really dig into your data. For example, if you wanted to find all contacts who are CEOs of Chicago-based companies who are interested in SEO, this new segmentation engine would make doing so a snap.
While we’ve explored three of Nimble’s key features, there’s a lot more under the hood including tags, integrations with other types of solutions and group mailing/tracking functionality.
Perhaps the most compelling facet of Nimble is its ability to give you a whole view of each of your contacts. As Ferrara put it, “Your CRM system needs to be both professional and personal because that’s how relationships grow, by forming connections to the person, not the contact record.”
Matt – You’ve written a wonderful article describing the evolution of CRM and how Nimble has re imagined relationship management by building the first CRM that Works for You, Everywhere You Work.
The one thing I’d add to your post is that once you’ve segmented contacts with Nimble then you should engage them with our new Email Marketing, Group Messaging, Templates & Campaign Reports http://bit.ly/1iupUJ9
My friend, Charlie Bloom (a.k.a Kalle Blomqvist) has developed a new business concept around relationship building with slogans printed on t-shirts and other merchandise. NetZpider will be using Nimble as the main tool for social CRM activities.
Great article and cheers to the “Nimble” team and @jonferrara for building a great relationship management platform!