Nutshell CRM Review

"Nutshell is the user-friendly sales automation CRM that helps sales reps win more deals, with fast onboarding, powerful reporting, and 100% free support."

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  • Product Features
  • Calendar/Reminder System
  • Document Storage
  • Email Marketing
  • Internal Chat Integration
  • Marketing Automation Integration
  • Segmentation
  • Social Media Integration
  • Task Management

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Nutshell makes CRM software that’s simple for small businesses to use, solving the challenge from which most CRMs suffer: motivating sales teams to embrace the product. Our award-winning CRM solution makes it easy for outbound sales teams to do important things quickly, offering intuitive sales process and collaboration tools, powerful out-of-the-the-box reporting, native iPhone and Android apps, email sync with Gmail and Outlook, and much more in an affordable, user-friendly package.

Nutshell offers a wide range of integrations with popular business tools like Google Apps, MailChimp, Zendesk, Olark, Twitter, Zapier, Wufoo, Quoteroller, Yesware, Microsoft Exchange, and PandaDoc.

Technical details

Nutshell has been developed using PHP, its technology stack contains an exciting set of modern day cutting edge tools.
Nutshell’s development team is heavily dependent on highly disciplined and renowned software development practices – test driven development (TDD) and continuous integration.

TDD and their internal continuous integration setup helps them follow an aggressive release process, software updates are typically released on a weekly basis.

Simply put, for a business user, means a stable software, a software which lets them concentrate on what they do best – create new business and improve on existing ones.

Nutshell’s built-in context-sensitive help and the web-based help system is impressive and a very good user guide.

Nutshell at a glance

  • Free Trial:  Yes, you can try Nutshell free for 30 days.
  • Ideal for:  Small and medium sized businesses.
  • Training required:  No, training is minimized due to simple user interface, free onboarding assistance, and built-in help system.
  • User limit:  No, Nutshell is available on pay-per-user model; add as many users as you like.
  • Mass import/export:  Yes, in addition to traditional CSV import, Nutshell will help you transfer your existing contacts from Gmail, Outlook, or a previous CRM.
  • Accolades:  In August 2016, Nutshell was awarded with rankings in Capterra’s Top 20 most User-Friendly and Affordable CRM lists.


Nutshell’s website is simple, easy to navigate, content is neatly organized, help and support options are easily accessible.

Getting started

Its a cloud based application, there’s no option to download the application for installation on your own infrastructure. Within minutes of creating a new account, Nutshell sends an email with a link to access the CRM instance, setup your nutshell CRM password and that’s it! the CRM is ready for use. To access from the web, all that is required is to have a supported browser installed in your system. Access from mobiles requires installing the native mobile app for your mobile platform (mobile apps are available free of cost).

Look and feel

As soon as you login, the first screen is the dashboard, the CRM is has a traditional look and feel and a tabbed layout wherein important features are organized under tabs.

Nutshell CRM - Dashboard screen after login

Let’s now look at the application configuration

  1. There are several ways to create new user accounts for everyone who will be using the CRM – if you use Google Apps integration, all users in your Google Apps will be automatically synchronized with Nutshell. In case if you are not using Google Apps, you can use the traditional approach of manually creating users accounts and sending invites to everyone who will be using Nutshell.
  2. There is no support for downloading users from an existing LDAP compliant directory such Active directory.
  3. The CRM is easily customizable – the setup tab allows configuring new activity types, industries, custom fields, lead sources. It is also possible to configure your sales workflow based on the custom values defined.
  4. You can define your target markets, products. A product can be either a Good or a service, service are chargeable on time and material basis (ideally there should be support for offering fixed price services as well).
  5. You can as well define your competitors and assign them to your leads.
  6. The screenshot below shows the general settings that will be applicable for the CRM setup for your organization.

NutshellCRM - General Setup

NutshellCRM - Adding and inviting new users

Data import

Data import is an essential feature of every CRM solution, very often businesses have existing database of customers which they would like to seamlessly import into the new system.

Nutshell allows importing – Accounts/Contacts/Leads/Opportunities.

Nutshell allows importing data from

  1. Highrise CRM, so if you are switching from your existing Highrise account to Nutshell, then this feature should help you get your existing data into Nutshell.
  2. Google Apps/ Google contacts.
  3. CSV files.

Data import from CSV files is convenient process, prepare a CSV file and upload it. We checked the CSV import functionality by importing Accounts/Contacts into the system, the entire process involves some very easy steps –

  1. Prepare CSV file containing contacts and upload it.
  2. Nutshell analyzes the uploaded file and prompts for mapping CSV columns to Nutshell’s fields, this is pretty cool yet powerful feature because there is no predefined format, and you simply need to setup the correct mapping. Nutshell saves this mapping for later use, so that you can use it again and again.
  3. You can also import legacy IDs to maintain relationships. You can create custom fields to store data which would otherwise not fit into an existing field. Nutshell uses entity name and legacy ID to match existing entities.
  4. An email is sent as soon as the upload is finished.

NutshellCRM - Import Step1

NutshellCRM - Import Step 2 - Data mapping

NutshellCRM - Import Step 3 - Preview

Import step 4 - Mapping over, email will be sent once import is complete

Previous import history and settings


Ease of use

Nutshell’s USP lies in its simplicity, it packs exciting and powerful features with a simple user interface, an interface which isn’t too taxing on your organization’s non-technical users.


Every business is unique, software like CRM must be customized to suit the needs of each business. Nutshell is highly customizable and easily configurable to suit the business needs of your organization.

Its possible to add custom fields to hold data specific to your business, certain custom fields can even be used in configuring lead distribution rules and other sales process related configuration.

NutshellCRM - Adding custom fields to lead and contact screens

It is however not possible to reorganize placement of existing fields, neither is it possible to change color of modules.

Lead distribution logic

It is possible to setup lead distribution logic so that leads can be assigned to specific users or teams based on territory, account type, market, industry, product, competitor, or source. This is an important feature as this way specialists can be assigned to handle leads.

It’s also possible to assign leads in a round-robin fashion and helps in balancing load amongst your internal users. Let’s look at a lead distribution logic configuration, the configuration below implies that all leads with interest in Software Consulting will be assigned to user Robert Adams, otherwise by default all leads will be assigned to Greame Evans. It is of course possible to change ownership of leads so that they can be re-assigned to other internal users.

NutshellCRM - Lead distribution logic

Feature set

The dashboard is the first screen which comes up as soon as user gets into the system, it allows users to view upcoming activities, overdue activities and sales process steps. Dashboard has a fixed layout and its not possible to customize the dashboard. The column on the left hand side displays a summary of sales figures. Admin users have special privileges to see dashboard of other users.

NutshellCRM - Dashboard

Lead Management
Many CRMs have two tiers for tracking potential deals – divided into opportunities and leads, however in Nutshell there’s no separate distinction between leads and opportunities, sales are tracked as leads through the entire pipeline.

In Nutshell, leads are managed through the leads tab. New leads are created using the Create new dropdown available at the top of every page, products can be quoted at default rates or custom rates.

NutshellCRM - New Lead creation screen

As soon as the lead is created its visible under All Leads functionality. Its possible to filter the leads being displayed, the screenshot below shows a filtered list of all leads having name shoe. Nutshell allows configuring columns to be displayed and the list below shows extra columns.
Bulk edit feature allows updating multiple leads at once, multiple leads can be reassigned at once.

NutshellCRM - Lead listing, leads can filtered, edited in bulk

Depending on user’s configuration, email notifications are sent for every new lead assignment and updates to an existing lead. Sample emails are displayed below.

NutshellCRM - Lead creation notification email

NutshellCRM - Lead change notification email

Lead details screen organizes necessary details such account/contact information, notes, custom fields, activities and a timeline. The timeline displays notes, activities and emails in chronological order.

NutshellCRM - Leads

Account and Contact Management
Accounts are the companies and organizations your organization works with. They are Long-term customers, vendors, and potential clients. Every account has an account type which essentially help categorize accounts. There are several built-in – Standard Account, Customer, Partner etc., Nutshell allows adding more account types.
Contacts are the people you sell to and buy from.

When using the contact and account dialogs, Nutshell gathers some helpful information for the current contact.

NutshellCRM - Contact detail screen

You can view Twitter timelines, RSS feeds, local weather and current time for your clients. It uses the address to determine local weather and timezone. Add a Twitter name or URLs, and Nutshell will import their Tweets, and the posts from any RSS feeds that it finds.

NutshellCRM - Contact's twitter timeline


Data security is as important as any other functionality. Users can be disabled, disabled users cannot access the system. Rules can be setup so that only certain users can export data from Nutshell.

Its even possible to hide or show selected data to certain set of users. Nutshell can configured so that certain leads, accounts and contacts are hidden from specified non-admin users. Non-admin users can be added to a team and given rights to view all data, see all data in the team, or only see their data.

NutshellCRM - Drawing 1 - Data security configuration - specifying access details

Data Export

Yes, it is possible to export data out of Nutshell. Its built-in export tools allow exporting contacts and accounts. Its also possible to export reports. Additionally, administrators can generate an export of all accounts, contacts, leads, products, and notes, this full export will be a bunch of CSV files inside an easy-to-manage zip file.


There is no limit to the number of users concurrently accessing the system, neither there is any limit on the number of records that can be added, imported or exported out of the system. All nutshell accounts come with unlimited storage.

Reporting and Analytics

Nutshell has a very impressive reporting system available under the reports tab. Instead of focusing on raw data exports, Nutshell delivers clear, analytical reports which are quick and powerful tools for understanding your company’s sales.

All reports include summaries and charts, as well as full tabular data tables. There are several built-in reports (for sales forecast, employee’s activities etc.), users can as well add custom reports and save them for reuse. When using custom reports, the data can be exported to a standard CSV file. Reports can be shared between users and shared reports appear on the home page of each user’s reports tab.

NutshellCRM - Nutshell reports tab showing built-in as well custom reports

Mobile Integration

Quoting Nutshell “our vision for software doesn’t end with the web. At Nutshell, mobile is in our DNA. We believe in designing software to be cross-platform from day one, with robust APIs and native mobile applications.”. Native apps for iPhone and Android are available can be downloaded for free from respective app stores. These apps provide full (non-admin) functionality. There are plans to release a dedicated iPad app and development is in progress for the same. System maintains a trails of all mobile based accesses and its even possible to disable certain mobile devices from accessing the CRM.

NutshellCRM - Nutshell android app

NutshellCRM - Nutshell reporting access in android app

Social Media Integration

Nutshell integrates well with twitter and LinkedIn. While viewing a contact in the CRM, Nutshell automatically searches LinkedIn for a profile. If it finds a match, an overview of the profile is immediately. The LinkedIn profile shows information based on the contact’s privacy settings.

Twitter integration allows accessing twitter timelines of your account/contact, while this integration a very good and lets you stay in touch with your customer, yet there is enough scope for improvement to make it even more relevant by adding more features.

What we found missing was the ability to post tweets from your company’s official twitter account.

Third-party integration

The CRM integrates very well with popular third-party products such as Google Apps, Microsoft Exchange and Office 365, MailChimp, Wufoo, Quote Roller, Highrise (for contacts import), Zapier (for integration with Quickbooks).

It has a pretty solid integration with Google Apps. Google Apps is pretty popular amongst business users and the integration between these two is a win-win situation for businesses using both these tools, more importantly it reduces the pain of maintaining contact information in two systems.

Integration with Google Apps provides –

  • Single sign-on to Nutshell from Google Apps.
  • Synchronization between Nutshell activities and Google Calendars.
  • Users can see Nutshell contact info below Gmail messages.  New contacts can be added to Nutshell without leaving your email.

Nutshell has its own industry-standard SOAP and JSON-RPC APIs, these APIs can be used to  retrieve, modify your data at any time and to integrate it with another software.

NutshellCRM - Third party integration


Nutshell used to follow a different pricing strategy, it has since tweaked its pricing model and is currently available on a pay per user model.

NutshellCRM - Nutshell pricing


  1. Simple, easy to use interface.
  2. Robust data import module with duplicate checks to minimize duplicate data import.
  3. Solid mobile device support.
  4. Integrates very well leading third party applications.
  5. Brilliant reporting tool which allows creating and sharing custom reports.
  6. Smarter and efficient lead assignment and management of sales workflow.
  7. Reasonably priced.


  1. Fewer customization options for changing look and feel of the application.
  2. Focuses on pre-sales management and relies on external applications for post sales and support activities.
  3. No support for LDAP based directories.
  4. No support for importing meetings, tasks.
  5. Lack of clarity on what’s next for the product, would be good to have a roadmap of next set of features.


Nutshell has done very well to present an elegant design and provide a pleasant user experience. Its reasonably priced and packs in powerful features to ensure smoother and smarter sales management.

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