Nobody trusts me with paper, least of all myself! I can lose stuff faster than you an put it on my desk. So I’ve always been an early adopter of productivity software, especially of programs that live “in the cloud.” Here’s an example:“August 17, 1999 marked a defining moment for two burgeoning companies. On that date, Intranets.com transformed its service offering from high quality shrink-wrapped intranet software to an entirely web-based intranet solution and Smith Weaver Smith Inc. signed up as the very first customer of the new web-native intranet paradigm. Smith worked out of her home in the beginning, and because her business associates worked independently from different locations, she soon developed a pressing need for an online collaboration solution that could store information in a variety of formats and be securely accessed from anywhere. “Because we were just starting out and had no IT department, I knew we had to create our own collection of technology solutions to jump-start the business. I spent a lot of time researching collaboration solutions and Intranets.com was the only one I felt would sustain our needs over the long-term. I’m happy to say that my initial instincts were right and that our intranet has proven its value over and over again!”
Since then, intranets.com was purchased by Cisco and became WebEx and WebEx office. It’s no longer my intranet site, but it still represents the kind of internal office integration that I am always looking for. So much of your company’s productivity hinges on the ability to manage information and the ability to translate information into competitive knowledge! And even more important, the ability to access your information anywhere and to share with your team and others.
For its time, that was a phenomenal platform because it integrated customer information, contacts, deals, and internal to-dos and project management. BUT it was so powerful because you could customize it; so . . . time and effort to customize. Plus all data was entered “by hand” — type in the business card etc.
More recently, The Whale Hunters experimented with a 2-year subscription to salesforce.com. That’s another whiz-bang program and I have nothing but good things to say about it. However, it was overkill for our small business. Steep learning curve, high price, and manual maintenance required.
In addition to my own personal and company experience with managing who and what we know, I have the benefit of learning from all of The Whale Hunters’ clients. And the processes of managing their CRM, pipeline, and active deals are typically pretty weak. Even with a high-end solution like salesforce.com, salespeople do not want to enter data into forms. It’s not their thing. They are not good at it. If you insist they do it, you will be paying salesperson prices for data entry work. Think about it!
Soooo, along comes Nimble!
Wow! Founder and CEO Jon Ferrara was a sponsor of the recent Sales Shebang meeting in Minneapolis and generously offered a one-year free trial to all participants. Although I wasn’t looking for a new CRM or sales management program, I took them up on their offer.
When I first logged in it looked like a “space,” and I didn’t know quite what to do with it. But there are intro videos and lots of help screens, so I started messing around and importing some things.
Basically, Nimble aggregates ALL of your social media/email/calendar activity in a single place, plus providing space and tools for deal tracking, relationship management (including reminders), to-do list and calendar. You can import all your contacts from your email service (including gmail), Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Each day the program will take you through a set of your contacts and ask you to determine their importance and to set a follow-up schedule if you wish. You can build your own whale hunting sales steps into the deal tracking section! And once you set up a deal–give it a name, assign it to you or someone else, and associate it with one or more contacts, all of your activities, emails, tasks, and other interactions automatically populate that deal!
I really love it, and I am learning more about it each day. I can see all of my LinkedIn and Facebook updates there. I can see my email in there if I want to. Just so simple. This tool is making work easier for me, helping me to focus, and saving all kinds of data entry time and email searches. Check it out! You can get a free trial. Great choice for a small company.
[Disclosure: I am receiving a one-year free trial of this software package. I am not an affiliate seller and do not earn commissions. PLUS, the actual price (per website) is $15 per user per month, so we are not breaking anyone’s bank here!]