Nimble keeps punching at Salesforce — integrates Dropbox

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Nimble, a company that offers customer relationship management software that is more social that its competitors, today will launch support of Dropbox  integration.

Starting today, you can see a list of the files you’ve shared with your  contacts on Dropbox, and you can sort them by people or by file name. The  move is the latest in a scramble by the two-year-old Nimble to stay ahead in the  area of “social CRM.” It also comes at a time when many application companies  are announcing almost daily integrations between their apps other apps.

Nimble has now integrated with more than 100 other apps, including Get  Satisfaction, Yammer, Zendesk, Assistly, Quickbooks, and Wufoo. It is also  working on more, including Box.

When you add a contact within Nimble, the software automatically pulls  in updates, posts and correspondence the contact makes from places like  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Gmail — which is especially powerful for  users who like to have insight to the personal side of the people they’re doing  business with. The product finds its natural user base among sales and marketing people.

Professionals at smaller companies are no longer using enterprise-grade CRM  products, which are too expensive or cumbersome, says Nimble founder and chief  executive Jon Ferrara. Rather, they’re using Gmail, calendar, contacts and  documents — all of the places Nimble is pulling information from. Nimble then  works to provide useful insights about contacts: For example, if you’re  connected with someone on LinkedIn, but you don’t follow them yet on Twitter,  Nimble may recommend that you follow them there after recognizing that they post  more often to Twitter.

Nimble also pinpoints contacts of those contacts who also may be of  interest.

Nimble said its usage has more than doubled from last year. The site gets  55,000 visits a month, up from 25,000 visits a year ago, Ferrara said.

Several Nimble customers I’ve talked with say they chose the service because  it’s more immediately social than competitors, even while they recognize the  service needs to make more aggressive moves in syncing its APIs with marketing  automation tools like Marketo or Hootsuite.

Brian Butler, who owns a small business in Boston called Skyline that  implements exhibits at trade shows, said he evaluated several CRM products for  his team of ten people, and settled on Nimble because of the extra insight it  gives about customers. For example, many Skyline clients post images of their  exhibits on their Facebook page, and Nimble lets his sales people see that  immediately via its dashboard. They can then use that information to better  serve them.

Going in, Butler said he recognized drawbacks to Nimble, for example that it  hadn’t implemented market automation yet. However, Nimble has been making speedy  updates — including providing access via a mobile app — and Butler expects  marketing automation will be coming soon. Nimble was also far less expensive  than Salesforce, at $15 per month per user, versus $50 or more per month.

Matthew Kruchko, who owns a small brand marketing firm, said he chose Nimble  because of the social insight recommendation engine it offers. He enters Nimble  first thing in the morning to see all of the social streams of his contacts. He  can then engage with their tweets or other updates from within Nimble. Once  Kruchko tags someone as being a valuable relationship, Nimble goes to work to  alert him about certain things about that person. “I can see what you do on the  weekends, and have access to your social networks, and based on who you know, I  can extend my network.”

Kruchko agrees, however, that Nimble needs move quickly to have true two-way  syncing with marketing automation companies if it is gong to fend off moves by  Salesforce in the social area. He still can’t launch an email campaign directly  from within Nimble, for example. He’s found a workaround, though, by using a  third-party company Zapier that helps integrate apps.

Salesforce is coming on strong, having acquired a string of companies,  including BuddyMedia and Radian6, to build out its “social marketing cloud  offering,” but Kruchko says Nimble has the opportunity to stay compelling given  that it’s social at its core, and is still priced competitively.

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