Nimble has a deal for you.
The latest edition of the social contact manager promises to help you identify the most important contacts in your address book and the most important conversations in your stream of messages and emails. Gmail users can also take advantage of an integration with Rapportive to access this consolidated contact information from an email thread and add email contacts to your Nimble address book.
Nimble CEO Jon Ferrara's vision for Social CRM is built around a contact manager and social media dashboard designed for the sales team, not the public relations or marketing department. "It's time to stop thinking that putting a community manager in front of the business is social business," he said. In the social media age, "the buyer knows more about you and your product than you know about them," he added. "Customer 2.0 is smarter. They are engaging on social media and listening to friends and colleagues over analysts and reviewers."
Sales teams need to account for that power shift by engaging with social contacts more intelligently, Ferrara said. There's no excuse for failing to congratulate them on a job change or wish them a happy birthday when they're broadcasting all that information in social media, he said. "The precepts we learned from Dale Carnegie and Zig Ziglar are still the same, but we're so buried in our inboxes and our streams that we forget to do some of these basics."
[ An emerging category of social apps can help you get work done more efficiently. Read more at Social Task Management Tools Gain Clout. ]
Previously a co-founder of GoldMine, one of the early salesforce automation software vendors, Ferrara has focused Nimble on creating a tool that unifies contacts and communications across an array of social and digital communications tools, including Gmail as well as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, HubSpot, MailChimp, and Foursquare. You can view your communications in a unified inbox, or by visiting tabs for each of the accounts connected to the service.
Of course, the danger is that inbox overload can become more overwhelming than ever--thus the focus on discovery of important people and conversations in the latest release of the cloud software product. The new Nimble filters through your social feeds, looking for the most active conversations and the greatest opportunities for engagement, delivering a daily summary to your email inbox as "The Nimble Daily." This digest also calls out events like contacts' birthdays and job changes, upcoming tasks and meetings, and engagement with your posts through likes.
Ferrara said the next step will be able to enhance the filtering capability so users can train the software to recognize the contacts and conversations that are most important to them. Users might provide a series of examples and ask the software to find similar contacts, much as Pandora finds songs you might like based on your choice of sample musicians and songs. In this release, the matching is a simpler "people like you" algorithm, he said.
Nimble lets you create unified contact records from your email address book and associated social contacts, automatically combining profiles whenever it is able to match them with a high degree of confidence. Contact records will then include the latest updates from that person's social feeds, specifically calling out any interactions you or members of your team have had with that person. Nimble now makes it easier to sort contacts by how recently you have interacted with them and says that a future release will allow you to get alerts when a contact is "slipping away."
Team editions of Nimble will also get enhanced collaboration with built-in task management--for example, allowing a sales manager to assign a member of his team to follow up on a social interaction. Nimble offers a free edition for standalone use with a limited number of contacts and charges $15 per user per month for business and team accounts.
"This is a fully evolved place that shows me who the activity is coming from, what the wall looks like, who we share in common, [and] what that person is saying on their social stream--all of which gives me opportunity for engagement," Ferrara said. Most CRM products fall down by forgetting the "relationship" part of customer relationship management, and that's one of the ways Nimble aims to be different.
Social media make the customer more powerful than ever. Here's how to listen and react. Also in the new, all-digital The Customer Really Comes First issue of The BrainYard: The right tools can help smooth over the rough edges in your social business architecture. (Free registration required.)