Nimble Releases New Social CRM Platform

Yesterday Nimble released the public beta of its social CRM platform at the Demo Spring 2011 event. In a future blog post, I will share my thoughts on the platform after trying the beta release, which is by the way open for invites.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Jon Ferrara (Nimble’s founder and CEO) a while ago, and I wanted you to get some idea of who he is and some of his thoughts, in order to understand the idea behind Nimble and its plans for the future. This is important because the first thing you should look at when a new CRM product is launched is the vision and the track record of its founders.

Jon is a CRM and sales force automation (SFA) pioneer, having co-founded GoldMine in 1989, which quickly became a huge success. He sold the company in 1999 to focus on family life, but his entrepreneurial spirit led to the founding of Nimble in 2009.

Why Nimble?

20 years ago, sales people would communicate with each other by using sticky notes. There was no real solution for contact management—or for anything related to CRM. Today, we have lots of helpful tools, with one major disadvantage: they can rarely be used together.

If you can use a tool for communication, it probably does not help much with collaboration. And if it addresses both communication and collaboration, then it will probably not address contact management or help you manage your appointments.

By way of an example, Jon challenged me to share with him my list of tools for the activities mentioned above. Here’s my list:

  • Contact management: mostly with Outlook and Maximizer, but also Gist.

  • I manage my calendar in Outlook but I also use Tungle for people who cannot see my Outlook calendar.

  • For communication, I use Outlook for e-mails, Twitter and LinkedIn, sometimes Gist, and sometimes Maximizer.

  • Collaboration is the most challenging aspect, since the tools I tried ( and Google Wave) do not integrate with the solutions mentioned above.

In other words, I need at least 3 or 4 different tools or solutions, which leads to duplicate data, as well as integration and synchronization challenges. Nimble aims to address these extremely important challenges—challenges faces by all CRM users.

With the release of Nimble, companies embracing social CRM now have another interesting option to consider. At first glance, Nimble is heading into a space where vendors like Gist and Xeesm already offer robust products. And the fact that Gist has recently been acquired by Research In Motion (RIM) demonstrates that the social CRM space is very active. We can expect new products and mergers and acquisitions in the next couple of years.
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