Nimble Social CRM is set to make a dramatic impact in the CRM, Social CRM and Social Business marketplace. It will help sales people, relationship managers, business owners and others to be more productive, effective and improve sales. As a next generation Social Contact management System Nimble has the potential to redefine the market.

Jon Ferrara Nimble CEO PortraitI had the privileged to get behind the public message and interview Jon Ferrara, the Nimble CEO, on 9th February 2012 in the run-up to the Nimble 2.0 launch which took place on February 14th 2012 – Valentine’s Day.

Listen to the interview, and while you do you can review the highlights and rough transcript below.



Jon Ferrara Interview – Key Messages from the Nimble Social CRM CEO

Jon has great clarity about the marketing, sales and relationship management challenge, he is passion to help people rise to the challenge, and he has a vision and experience to build not just a product but a community focused on sales success.

  • Selling is changing – interrupt marketing doesn’t work any longer.
  • Business is Social – but the tools to support people and social relationships have been missing.
  • Jon had a need for a marketing and sales system as a sales manager – he knows the front-line issues.
  • Jon uses his own software to meet his needs – and trains others – and builds his company.
  • No other system offers the ability to support the relationship manager as Nimble does.
  • Mobile strategy is underway and Nimble is committed to deliver this.
  • Integration with Hubspot is available leading toward the whole integrated sales process.
  • Nimble Social CRM is an open platform that will enable and encourage other apps to work with it.

Mark Stonham interview with Jon Ferrara Nimble CEO

The following is a (rough) transcript of the interview, if you’d like to read along while Jon outlines his vision.

Mark Stonham: With the new announcement on Nimble V2 next week – what do you hope this will mean for sales people, small businesses and larger companies?

Jon Ferrara: Ultimately Nimble is not a product ONLY for sales people, because everybody in the company needs to be part of the conversation, to be working together and collaborating on the shared contacts and as a team, listen and engage and work with those contacts on an ongoing basis. Everybody in company wears the sales, marketing and cust svcs hats in a business, large or small.

Whole idea about Nimble at its core is enabling an individual to pull together their fractured and disparate contacts, calendar and communications from all the places they are and unify them into singular place, enabling them to stay top of mind, manage comms, and to build relationships.

We then transfer that and do it as a team, and then extend that into sales and marketing processes, as ultimately what all businesses are about, to attract and retain customers. We are a great fit for small businesses or for departments of large businesses.

Not trying to be an enterprise crm app. I think CRM apps aren’t really about relationship managert. They are management tools for forecasting and sales status and reporting on sales people. Salespeople don’t even live in them, they live in Outlook, Google and Gadgetbooks, and Google Contacts and now Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and the like.

Mark Stonham: What do you see as the day-to-day challenges for sales/business people with all the social media etc.

Jon Ferrara: Ultimately the challenge for sales people and social media goes back to basics – life is social, business is social, people buy from people they like and they like people who know them. You can’t know someone without listening to then.

In old days we got to know someone by going to their office, look at their walls, their degrre, the pictures of their friends and family, the books they read, their hobbies. We use these to figure out a way to build relationships, to stay connected, to build intimacy, so ultimately they would open up about their businesses and problems so as a professional we could then solve.

This is what all the classic relationship people have taught, including Zig Zigglar, Dale Carnegie and the like.

Today we do it electronically. The problem is we do it in six different tabs in our browsers, and three apps on our desktop, and none of it is connected.  It’s hard to know what you’ve said to who, never mind what your team member has said.  And Nimble fixes that for an individuial and for a team. And the enable sales people to manage their sales pipeline, automate th e marketing processes, connect those things together, to create a tool that helps companies turn their sales opps and prospects to customers and to customers for life.

Mark Stonham: That assumes both parties want a relationship. What if the customer only wants a transaction?

Jon Ferrara: The job of a sales person is to understand the needs of the customer. You do that by listening Listen, engage, and supplying those products or service. With certain customers they do enjoy a connection. I think in human nature there is a chemical desire and need to connect to be heard, to be wanted, to be recognised.

We all like to be commented on re-tweeted, plus one’d. There are people that enjoy that and thrive on it. There are other people who don’t care for that and just want to get their needs fulfiilled, and it’s the job of teh salesperson to figure that out.

The great thing on Nimble is it’s not just a social tool, it is a customer relationship management system that enables you to manage your relationships, your business, your sales and marketing and if you never wanted to do social at all nimble would be a fine CRM system to help you do sales and marketing. But, today, I think, if you’re not social you’re gonna be dead. It’s as simple as that.

Today, if you’re not social you’re going to be dead. I tell people we used to yell at our customers. Customers have shut down, they’re having conversations among themselves. If you’re not there you’re dead’, they want to talk in social media, and expect you to hear and respond.

You can’t just scream – buy my product, my prodict is best. Let’s take the newsletter – use case – how they can grow business be more successful. All pros know more about give away knowledge buy from expert be top of mind share content.

Nimble has been built through conversations with its community. the whole idea behind Nimble came about when i had a need. looked for products, looked for peoe with similar need. use sm as platform to grow thru those convo while ideas products & svcs core foundation of and put that back into the product.

Nimble is the result of conversations with people at the forefront of social media, social business and brings together everything to help social discovery, engage, marketing tools, to stay top of mind and close more business.

Mark Stonham: With many years of experience 20 years experience how do you see the sales / business challenges today being different to 20 years ago – Goldmine experience

Jon Ferrara: Ultimately, Goldmine was created because i had a need. I was part of field office selling team, selling technology solutions to big corp and sales was not in vacuum but as part of larger team.  Thay needed to communicate, collaborate and tie that communication and collaboration back to the customer. To be able to manage communication and stay top of mind with customer and tie that all back to managing the pipeline.

That’s what we know as CRM now, but 20 years ago it was pink Daytimes, was paper forecast done the night before our sales meeting becaue it wasn’t part of our sales process. I looked around for a tool that would do that, but I couldn’t find one. I found stand-alone contact tools, sales pipeline tools, email and collaboration programs

What i wanted was a blend of all that and we created our first sales team tool on $3,000. I Built Goldmine and used Goldmine to build my company. I used my own software to build my company and then teach others to do the same. Today is absolutely no different, it is exactly the same things.

Today the problem is that our contact, calendar and communication is spread all over the place. You have your inbox, your calendar, your contact record and none of them are linked.  And then you go and listen in Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook and try to manage all this with Hootsuite. And then you try to do collaboration in Yammer and it doesn’t work.

Nimble basically pulls all that together and that’s what makes us unique. No CRM in the marketplace unifies your contact, calendar and communication, and enables you to jump back and forth between them.

So if I go and look at my messages and see all my messages and jump from my inbox to my contact, or if I want to I can jump from my activities to my contact, all of those things are linked. That’s the core difference of Nimble.

Then, on top of that we built the other sales & marketing, customer srevioce, accounting, to tell you who the customer is, where they came from, if they’re on a drip-marketing track, if there’s a sales forecast, if there’s an accounting issue or a customer service issue, if there’s something in teh social stream, or if someone internally is talking about them, to give you the complete picture.

Mark Stonham: One question that came through over the Twittersphere is about Nimble Mobile strategy?

Jon Ferrara: If you’re not mobile you’re dead today, we need to take our stuff with us. We have committed resources to win in that marketplace- with our recent new hire of Jason who was Director of Mobile Products with Salesforce. We will deliver a mobile product soon.

The strategy is probably a native HTML5 core with native wrappers on various platforms. Proper app on phone rather than browser interface. I like the idea of local data for speed.

Mark Stonham: I saw somewhere you wanted Nimble to be the WordPress of CRM – can you expand?

Jon Ferrara: We don’t want Nimble to be all things to all people – rather than us trying to build marketing, customer service, accounting etc. We are going to integrate into market leaders packages and then manage the info as it gets into Nimble. Rather than build a whole marketing platform, we integrate into apps such as WuFu to capture data.

Hubspot, here is our Hubspot data, build landing pages in Hubspot to collect lead info, once data in Hubspot drill down, contextual info re consumption on website, who they are what they viewed, in chronological order, see what forms filled, what drip tracks, lead score assigned, lead back into Nimble, so you see not just who the person is but also the Hubspot data and then Nimble will auto notify the salesrep re leadscore based on conversion event, that data will go back into Hubspot for ROI analysis.

The cool thing is that we’re delivering the core platform, like WordPress, that people will then build  customer life cycle engagement systems off of and integrate the marketing tools, the customer service apps, the accounting packages and so on.

We will have automated processes that will drive workflow and engagement internally and we will build and release the APIs. We will build a culture and community of people working on and around the platform, and using the Nimble platform.

Mark Stonham: So are you looking at an equivalent to Appstore or Force so people can assemble applications from various elements, in a similar way to WordPress and their plug-ins, and will you monitor quality control?

Jon Ferrara: Yes re Quality control.

Jon Ferrara: I thought your article was well written, Mark.

Mark Stonham: Thank you Jon, and all the best for the launch.

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