Nimble CRM Review

Product
Nimble
Version
Free Trial
Type
CRM Software
Product Author
Nimble
Reviewed by

on 2014-17-02
Rating

What is Social CRM?

Nimble’s value proposition – and that of all social CRM — starts with the identification of one’s social networks with one’s lead pool.

Nimble software is intended to help you manage your contacts, customers, partners and sales activities from a single dashboard, albeit one that integrates with the crème de la crème of cloud-based business apps.

Cost:

Nimble CRM Pricing

Getting Started

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Go to www.nimble.com and download the free business trial version. Onsite chat opens up and you can dialog with a friendly, knowledgeable customer service representative, if you like, while Nimble collects your name, email, password, a subdomain, and lets you opt-in to receiving Nimble news. You’re up and running in seconds.

Contact Management and Social Listening

The first thing to do is import your contacts from your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, 4Square, Google, IMAP email clients (e.g. Gmail, AOL mail, Web-based Outlook, etc.),  or desktop-based Outlook (the only POP account supported) as well as Contacts CSVs. Click Import Contacts on the dashboard to get to the Import screen and select a source. In Figure 1 you can see the four source systems I imported my contacts from.

Nimble CRM Import Contacts Screen

If you have contacts in desktop-based Outlook 2007 or Outlook 2010, you can import CSVs from them into Nimble or you can visit http://www.nimble.com/marketplace/ and grab the Nimble 4 Outlook app to launch Nimble from your Outlook toolbar.

These imports are Nimble’s heart, soul, and eyeballs, so do not leave any source of contacts untapped. The more social network you have, the more Nimble can do for you. After the first viewing, Nimble defaults to “Recently Viewed” Contacts.

Figure 2 shows what a populated Contacts page looks like with the Sort options opened. This view represents All Contacts sorted alphabetically by first name/company name, but you also have the option to sort by Creation Date or Last Contacted Date.

Nimble CRM recently viewed Contacts

Other Contacts views are:

  • People – alphabetical by first name (no Companies)
  • Company – alphabetical by Company Name
  • Recently Added
  • Recently Contacted

There is Search functionality as well, including Advanced Search functionality. With Advanced search, you can create multiple filters, narrow by existing views, and save your searches. See Figure 3:

Nimble CRM Advanced Search

All of Nimble’s features, including this one, initially open with a pop-up offering to take you on a tour of the functionality. You can turn off this option, but don’t do it until you’ve taken the proffered tour. The tours are always well-written, brief, and to the point.

You can also add contacts manually. See Figure 4 and Figure 5. Note that different data are collected for these two contact types.

Nimble CRM Adding a Personal Contact

Nimble CRM Adding a Company Contact

After everything is in Nimble, the model sales person will click Social in the toolbar, and then, for example, the LinkedIn tab. Current LinkedIn activity for contacts displays immediately. Let it be noted without any disrespect that sales people are notorious for a lack of keeness about data entry. However, sales people also like to schmooze. Nimble captures that schmooze and makes it easy to organize. The only data entry the Nimble salesperson will need to undertake is in making the actual communications – email, FB posts, tweets, 4Square check-ins, etc. Nimble puts it all together.

Nimble CRM Social Tab

So, go to the Social tab. See Figure 6. Take a moment to catch up on what’s new with your network, noticing promotions, and job changes, articles posted, etc.

For example, let’s say you notice your old friend Mike McTavish has just connected with the VP Sales at a company in your vertical that you have not yet contacted. You can send Mike a message from within Nimble. See Figure 7.

Nimble CRM eMailing from Nimble

This leveraging of parallel communications is Nimble’s strength.

You can professionalize the signature in your message by adding your own contact information and logo. To do so, first upload any images you want to include on one of the many image-hosting sites, e.g. postimage.org. In Nimble, go to Settings | Email Signature and paste the image link that is returned to you into the HTML edit box, along with the text that you want to include.

Click the linked names in the Social stream to drill down into a person’s contact information. See Figure 8.

Nimble CRM Contact Drill Down

Follow your contacts on as many social networks as you can. Nimble advises you to immediately follow anyone who matters to you on Twitter, for example. To do so, drill down to the contact, click the Twitter icon in the right side bar, and then click Follow.

Nimble CRM follow on Twitter

Now, go ahead, the urge will be irresistible…retweet something. I did that in the course of this review. I did not need to do it, but I was so carried away by the social experience that it was as if I had been compelled by unseen forces.

If you bring Nimble into your business, your staff will struggle against the urge to be social outside the business context. Retweeting a prospect’s tweet could strengthen a business relationship, but retweeting something clever that one of your non-business friends posted could result in quantities of wasted work time.

You could meticulously remove every “merely” personal contact from your list, but I don’t think that’s the right solution. The power of social CRM is the social part; and leveraging your social side to the benefit of your business side is the whole point of Nimble.

Activity Management

Sales and marketing is all about activities and events and fortunately, Nimble makes these easy to set up. From the Activities tab click New Activity. You are then asked to choose whether you are logging a Task or an Event. In Figure 10, “Task” has been selected.

Nimble CRM New Task

Assign a due date and then assign the Task to a team member. From the Related To box, select a contact so you don’t have to look up their name and phone number later, add a description, and assign a Deal and Tags. You must already know the universe of assignable Deals. Nimble will not suggest them to you.

If you are logging an Event, give the event a name, assign a time and day, add Guests from among your Contacts, and attach a Deal and Tags.

Nimble’s visual design strengths are again in evidence when you look at the overall Activities tab. Activities are color coded by due date and can be filtered in a variety of ways. See Figure 11.

Nimble CRM Activities Tab

Notes

If you are that rare salesperson who has acquired the habit of documenting your non-Internet activities, you can record phone calls, reviews, and other off-screen, contact-related activities in Notes. From the bottom of the Note pop-up, you can add multiple Contacts to a Note. Go to one specific Contact to start the Note. See Figure 12.

Nimble CRM Contacts Log a Note

Deals

While there can be a lot of social dallying with Activities and Events, deals are cut and dried. They are action-oriented. But recording a deal is, like all data entry into Nimble, easy and straightforward. See Figure 13.

Nimble CRM New Deal

The deal-focused business person can review their Nimble deals either as a pipeline or as a list. See Figure 14 and Figure 15.

Nimble CRM Deal Pipeline

Nimble CRM Deal List

Dragging and dropping a deal into the closed category gives Nimble one more chance to show off their fun design. See Figure 16.

Nimble CRM Close Deal

Depending on how you answer the question, Nimble presents a short dialog box to force a few details about the close from you.

Robustness

Nimble truly presents a rich collection of robust functionality. Try as I might, I could not throw Nimble into an unusable state. I clicked multiple things in quick succession, I changed my mind, I tried to enter the wrong type of data in the wrong places – it just kept working and posted messages to me when it determined that I needed to know something.

Apps Marketplace

Nimble integrates with 40 apps in 8 groups, listed below, and when they say integrated, they mean it. They don’t just mean, “You can also use another cloud app while you are using ours”. If there is a highly rated, award-winning, cutting-edge communications app out there for digital communities, then Nimble has integrated with it.

Event and Project Management: GoToWebinar, Podio

In the group of integrated apps for managing Events, for example, is GoToWebinar. You can trigger GoToWebinar to enroll every new Nimble contact into an introductory Nimble GoToWebinar. To do so, open a Zapier account, select the app that you want Nimble to integrate with (in this case GoToWebinar). Then pick the trigger and the result that you want. Bear in mind that GoToWebinar, as well as every other app cited below, has its own pricing structure. Figure 16 is an example of the Zapier interface between Nimble and GoToWebinar:

In the group of integrated apps for managing Events, for example, is GoToWebinar. You can trigger GoToWebinar to enroll every new Nimble contact into an introductory Nimble GoToWebinar. To do so, open a Zapier account, select the app that you want Nimble to integrate with (in this case GoToWebinar). Then pick the trigger and the result that you want. Bear in mind that GoToWebinar, as well as every other app cited below, has its own pricing structure. Figure 16 is an example of the Zapier interface between Nimble and GoToWebinar:

Nimble CRM Go to Webinar

Customer Support and Helpdesk: Freshdesk, Desk.com, Zendesk

You can trigger Zendesk to create a new help desk user when Nimble creates a new Contact.

Marketing and Email: MailChimp, HubSpot, HootSuite, Rapportive, Active Campaign, Constant Contact, HipChat, Active Campaign, Contact Monkey

You can trigger MailChimp to create a new subscriber when Nimble creates a new Contact.

Importing, Data Syncing, and Forms: Wufoo, Import2, Zapier, GoogleContacts, Salesforce, ZohoCRM, Sugar, SalesLogix, Netsuite, Nutshell, Pipeline Deals, Sage Act!, Highrise, Batchbook, Nimble 4 Outlook, Sage ACT

You can trigger Salesforce to create a new Lead when Nimble creates a new Contact.

Quoting and File Management: Quote Roller, Evernote, Right Signature

You can trigger Evernote to create a new note in a notebook when Nimble creates a new Contact.

Accounting Billing, and Invoicing: Freshbooks, Harvest, QuickBooks, Xero

You can trigger Quickbooks to create a vendor when Nimble creates a new vendor Contact.

Phone, VOIP, and Virtual PBX: Hoiio

You can trigger Hoiio to call every new contact you acquire and play a pre-recorded message.

E-commerce: Magento and Shopify

You can trigger Magento to create a new invoice when you acquire a new contact.

Support

High quality, in-app “tours” explain every feature.

Also included are thought-provoking postings about social networking in general: http://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-tools/9-tools-to-improve-social-media-productivity/

On the other hand, although I posted an inquiry about server-side security in the “Post a Question” area of the Support page, my question was still unanswered two days later.

Mobile

Currently, Nimble does not have a native application for mobile devices. According to their Support page FAQ, they plan to release an iOS application in 2013 and an Android app at a later time.

In the meantime, users can access their Nimble accounts from their tablet or mobile device’s web browser by going directly to their custom Nimble subdomain

Privacy

Nimble does not have the ability to restrict who can export the contacts database, but a feature on the roadmap is the implementation of “Read-Only” permissions for specified users on Nimble team accounts.

Pro’s

  • Great name
  • Almost 100% intuitive
  • Visually pleasing
  • Collocates and contextualizes your contacts
  • Streamlines communications documentation

Cons

  • Undocumented security
  • Laid-back support
  • Recreational feel

Verdict

Nimble unifies within a single platform all your contacts, calendar events, deals, and communications while pointing at potentially relevant public communications from non-contacts. This is what makes Nimble so sticky – you are literally reading your Facebook page, your Twitter feed, and your work email all at the same time. Unless you discipline yourself, it is easy to dally unproductively. If you are disciplined, however, and you are in a highly social vertical, Nimble is hands-down the software to try. It’s clean, beautiful, and usable.

The “Nimble Contacts Gadget for Gmail” is really a “Nimble Contacts Gadget for [Enterprise] Google Apps.” And it’s a booger to install. Here’s the trail of my tears:

From the “What’s New in Nimble” link at the bottom of the Nimble homepage, I arrived here:

Nimble CRM Instal

Clicking the Gmail box took me to the following page of the GoogleApps market place (http://www.google.com/enterprise/apps/business/):

Nimble CRM Contact Gadget for Gmail

I poked around a bit in the marketplace and also found this:

Nimble-CRM-Social-CRM

Hmmm. Confusing. But, it turns out that the second of the two possibilities was just plain Nimble after all, Nimble that I love, and that I already have installed. The plug-in I wanted to test was the first thingy. So I returned to it.

However, to install/run it you must add a TXTRecord to your domain services page and get validated by Google:

Nimble CRM-txt-Records

Once you are proven to be Owner Enough of your domain that you can add this kind of record to it, you have granted Google the access it needs to make sure things go smoothly:

Nimble -CRM-Validation

And once you’re validated, you’re asked to add 5 new MX Records to your domain service and delete your existing MX records

Nimble CRM MX Record 1Nimble CRM MX Record 2

Actually it turns out you can keep the old ones if you like (I forward a couple of aliases from mine and was loath to delete them) but you have to have let Google turn into a giant router for you, which is more configuration than I was up to. So that is where I stopped. I felt deflated.

(Google by the way, sets a world-class standard for service. Their support staff were experts, but also easy-going and collegial. Because I had other appointments I had to keep, they even called me back to continue the handholding at a time more convenient to me – 6:30 AM the next day! Google clearly knows how to hire, train, and staff!)

This evening, however, when I came to type up these notes, I found the following post; and my deflation turned to delight:

Nimble-CRM-Widget-Plugin

I clicked that link and ended up at the chrome webstore:

Nimble-CRM-Contact-Widgets

So THIS is what I should have tried, the Nimble Contacts Widget for [Individual] GmailTM! (Please go back and reread the first sentence of these notes.)

Conclusion: Nimble needs to hire some marketing people that are better at naming and branding. I’m too exhausted to continue investigating now, but will give it a go later, if you would like me to.

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