Nimble: A New Take (from Some Old Hands) on CRM

Updated: February 24, 2011

So why aren't more SMBs using more CRM yet?

  1. CRM's too hard - which means that solution providers have neither delivered nor sufficiently explained enough business benefit to persuade most SMB decision makers.
  2. CRM's too expensive - which means that not even cloud-based CRM solution providers have delivered solutions that are sufficiently affordable, easy to deploy and use and beneficial to the business to persuade those decision makers.

And for those who were quick to adopt CRM software, many are likely now finding varying degrees of difficulty in adapting those tools to deal with perhaps the biggest thing to hit CRM since CRM itself - social media. How best to track and manage the social exploits of your customers and prospects, or to engage them meaningfully via these new channels?

Enter Nimble, founded in 2009 by Jon Ferrara. In 1989, Ferrara was a founder of GoldMine Software, developers of pioneering, multi-award-winning CRM and sales force automation (SFA) software for SMBs. GoldMine CRM, now available from FrontRange Solutions, claims more than a million users. So Jon and his team at Nimble know their way around the challenges of delivering compelling software solutions for SMBs.

In a recent conversation, Jon said two really resonant things. One was that "humans want to help each other, but modern tools don't really enable us to do that." The other was that "the [relationship management software] market has not fundamentally changed in the 10 years since I left it [and sold GoldMine.]

In response to both drawbacks, Nimble combines the experience of Jon and his team with social media savvy and support, cloud-based delivery and usability that parallels that of popular Web-based resources such as Gmail, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Invitees to the current private beta test of Nimble, including this author, are asked to say nothing about the solutions features, functionality or look and feel until Nimble becomes publicly available. However, conceptually, the goal of Nimble is to tie together all of the contacts, calendars and communications that help to define, manage and optimize the relationships that matter most to an individual, a team or a business.

A key design goal, according to Jon, was to accomplish all of the above in ways that do not interfere with how users use the tools they use now. To meet that design goal, the Nimble team first built a software foundation with robust application programming interface (API) support. The user interface that cannot be discussed yet came after that.

So Nimble promises to consolidate all relevant, actionable information about all each user's contacts, their social and professional online network connections, all messages and all activities. And to bring together internal collaboration and external listening and engagement. And it promises to do so in ways that users and administrators will find to be better, cheaper and easier than competing CRM offerings.

After using the initial solution for a while, this author believes that the above are promises Nimble can likely keep, if the company can build and maintain a superior ecosystem of partners, developers and other stakeholders and contributors. Which this author also believes Nimble can do.

Nimble the team and the company promise much more, however. For starters, the first offering, Nimble Contact, designed for individual users, will be free. Follow-on offerings will include additional features to support teams, sales forces and full-blown CRM. Pricing will likely range from approximately $10 to $30 per user per month, depending on the edition chosen. (For comparison, Salesforce.com currently charges $5/user/month for its Contact Manager for up to 5 users, $25/user/month for up to five users of its Group edition and $65/user/month for its unlimited-user Professional edition.)

Featured Research
  • 7 Ways Your CRM Helps Convert Leads

    Failure to convert interested leads can impact your bottom line drastically and simultaneously increase your operational costs and decrease your profits. The most common reason for this failure is lack of follow through from a sales team. Did you know that 74% of CRM users said that their CRM gave them improved access to customer data? And that by properly implementing a CRM, a business could shorten the sales cycle by 8 to 14%? more

  • Is Your CRM a Liability

    Is your CRM a liability? Before you answer too quickly with a no, just think about all the advancements that have taken place over the years regarding this technical solution. In fact, just in over the past decade there has been a dramatic shift away from on-premise systems to cloud based solutions. more

  • 12 Must-Have CRM Features

    Having a CRM is absolutely essential to any modern day business's success. In fact, 91% of companies with 11+ employees now utilize a CRM solution in their business. When making the decision to purchase or upgrade your CRM solution, it can be quite overwhelming determining which features are essential to your success versus those that pack more fluff than punch. more

  • Making the Case for a New CRM

    Did you know that having an outdated CRM is just as bad as not having one at all? Do you find yourself working even just a little too hard to make your current CRM work to maintain your contacts and relationships? While it is increasingly more difficult to reduce customer churn, modern CRM tools are much more powerful and provide much more opportunity to develop stronger relationships with your clients that can provide more stability and revenue to your company and bottom line. more

  • Don't Make These 10 CRM Mistakes

    Finding and buying a CRM is exciting. It is also quite daunting as you want to be as prepared as possible so as to avoid making a costly mistake. We have seen that many businesses fail when implementing a CRM, as they repeatedly make the same errors over and over again. more