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Nimble CEO Outlines Vision For Social CRM

Jon Ferrara, the co-founder of Goldmine, describes how Nimble Contacts unifies communications streams such as email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google Calendar in a Web-based dashboard for sales and customer service people.

Carr: What other sorts of applications do you want to integrate with?

Ferrara: We don't want to be all things to all people. I'd rather be the WordPress of CRM than the Microsoft Office of CRM. So we're going to invite in third-party developers and enable them to share and sell their extensions in our app store.

In my mind, in the perfect world, we would love to embrace the existing platforms people have invested in. That's why Gmail and your Google Calendar activities are integrated into Nimble. And you can see that if I've read a message here in Nimble, it's marked read in Gmail.

I don't think we'll ever be Salesforce, as far as the depth and width of the platform -- I don't want to be that big.

Carr: You talk about Facebook and Twitter and Gmail, but for business use don't you also need to be integrating with Sharepoint and other enterprise collaboration technologies?

Ferrara: For an enterprise play, yes, but Nimble's beachhead is the SMB market. Most of our customers have never heard of Sharepoint. They've never heard of Yammer. They're just looking for something that's going to make them more effective. In the beginning, we will do our own internal collaboration.

Carr: Are you getting any enterprise interest, despite that?

Ferrara: We are. One of the things I learned at Goldmine is that big businesses behave like small businesses at a departmental level. We were a corporate standard at 50 of the Fortune 500, back in the day.

Nimble is applicable back in the enterprise marketplace. We will support Exchange. In the future, we will support whatever customers want us to.

Carr: You will support Exchange -- but not yet? I want to be clear on what it is you will be integrating with, as opposed to competing with. Will we see you integrate with Salesforce?

Ferrara: Right now we connect with Exchange via IMAP. Our integration plans, on a short-term horizon, will be looking to marketing platforms like HubSpot, accounting packages like QuickBooks and Freshbooks, and customer service applications like ZenDesk and Get Satisfaction. These are natural first steps for us.

Now, we do have customers who have 5,000 seats on Salesforce and would like us to map and integrate with Salesforce. So we're going to be looking at that, and it's definitely something we're going to consider.

But our focus will be on helping you understand your customers. Our view is the better you understand your customers, the better you will be at serving their needs.

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