Customer relationship management company Nimble rolled out its 2.0 version today to help companies better make use of social media.
The Santa Monica-based company, which launched at the DEMO Spring 2011 conference, told us last month that it was adding new features to its CRM. This included a hub to control all of a company’s different social networks. As Nimble chief executive Jon Ferrara explains, you can’t just put a community manager in front of a computer and call that “relationship management.” He says there is a lack of communication between sales, marketing and the rest of the company. Leads and relationships often overlap and it is hard to see who is connection, where they’re connected and the various conversations that have already taken place with that person. That’s what Nimble wants to change.
“If sales and marketing and customer service are not using [social] in a uniform fashion, especially the C-level execs who don’t understand their market, they’re dead,” said Ferrara.
Within Nimble 2.0 lives a social media manager, which allows companies to aggregate and interact with its social networks. Prior to 2.0, you could see the social networks but couldn’t actually poke back or follow someone else. Now, you have all of your notifications in one place, can respond to them without leaving Nimble, and the software will record all of your activity with a certain contact. If you’d rather Nimble not follow that activity, you can set the social network’s settings to “private.”
Ferrara also said he is sick of CRMs simply being a place for inputting information. He wanted a tool that would analyze your CRM data and then tell you something about your leads. For instance, you may have stopped talked to Jane Doe and now her lead is getting cold. A weekly e-mail from Nimble will tell you to reconnect with her. It’ll also give you information such as whose birthdays are upcoming, if someone changed jobs, and other important events.
“Mae West said, ‘Out of sight is out of mind, and when you’re out of mind, you’re out of money, honey,’” said Ferrara of keeping up with your contacts. “We’re bringing the love back to relationships management.”
The relationship doesn’t have to be social, however. Nimble’s recently integrated with Hubspot in its 2.0 version. Indeed, the company’s founder, Dharmesh Shah, is an investor in Nimble. Hubspot looks at the visitors to your website, collects information about them, and sends it to your Nimble account as a new contact. It will then watch that contact for certain milestones, such as how many times they’ve been to the website or watched a certain video, and then alert a sales or marketing employee that the lead is hot.
Ferrara explained that when CRMs were first built, they were to act as warehouses for contact information in case an employee were to leave the company and take their leads with them. Because of its singular purpose, many of these management tools were input-only, and didn’t provide much information other than the data you had already given it. But this was also back in the day when trust was built by visiting each others’ offices. You looked at other people’s walls to see what they did, what school they went to, their interests. Nowadays you do the same thing, but you look at people’s digital walls, their Facebook walls and Twitter streams.
“They’re not customers, they’re people,” said Ferrara. “They’re your peeps, man.”
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