Nimble Adds Social Data to CRM


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I had an intriguing demonstration yesterday from social CRM vendor Nimble. Since “social CRM” could mean just about anything, it’s important to explain what Nimble actually does: it combines traditional contact management with automated access to social media information about those contacts.

That might not sound like much, but in practice it’s pretty darn slick.

Here’s how it works. Say you’re selling a product related to, oh, circuit boards. You can do a Twitter search for messages on that keyword, scan the Twitter profiles and Klout scores of people sending those messages, and push a button to add the interesting people to your contact list. Once you’ve added a contact, Nimble will automatically display their most recent Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn activity every time you call up their record and let you send them messages through any of those products or by email. This is all done in the same system as traditional contact management activities: tagging contacts, assigning tasks and events, sending and receiving emails, tracking deals, building lists, searching your database, and managing your calendar.

Seamless combination of contact management with social media is a big deal: when I showed Nimble to a colleague who runs a public relations agency, her eyes lit up. From her perspective, having an immediate view of each contact’s social activity saved time, made it easier to tailor conversations to their interests, and let her reach them through their preferred medium. From a corporate perspective, it means the system contains data that salespeople didn’t enter manually – helping to overcome their perpetual complaint that salespeople enter data into corporate CRM systems without getting anything in return.

For the users themselves, Nimble has one more advantage: its lets them stick with familiar communication tools. Integrations are currently available for Outlook, Gmail, Google Calendar, MailChimp email, Wufoo web forms, and HubSpot marketing automation. An open API to import contacts from other sources is due by the end of February.

The email integrations copy messages from the external email systems into the Nimble activity history, where they’re available for searches and list selection. The social media and HubSpot integrations also import contacts from those systems, but display messages and other data without storing them. Users do have the option to manually save individual social comments or assign tasks based on them.

Nimble plans to add more functions, including automated processes that could support multi-step nurture campaigns. But the company is focused on combining information from other systems, not replacing them. The relationship with HubSpot is especially intriguing, since HubSpot itself lacks a CRM component, making the two products highly complementary, and both companies target small-to-mid-size businesses. It’s also worth noting that Nimble recently announced $1 million investment whose participants included Google Ventures, which is also a HubSpot investor, and HubSpot Co-Founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah.

A beta version of Nimble was released early last year. The system is currently available in a free personal edition limited to 3,000 contacts and a $15 per user per month multi-user edition allowing up to 30,000 contacts and some other advanced features. Nimble already has more than 25,000 users across all versions and has a network of more than 250 solution partners.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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