Jon Ferrara is the Founder & CEO of Nimble. Nimble is revolutionizing social media and CRM through social selling. Ferrara explains how he is powering it.
Ferrara also discusses why he is doing everything in his power to help start-ups.
Jon has over 20 years of experience in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Sales Force Automation (SFA). An entrepreneur at heart, Jon founded GoldMine CRM in 1989 with a college friend and turned it into a very successful venture that he eventually sold to FrontRange. In 2009, Jon founded Nimble, Inc. and is ready to strike again!
Visit Nimble at www.nimble.com.
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Start of Interview with Jon Ferrara
Jason Hartman: It’s my pleasure to welcome Jon Ferrara to show. He is the founder and CEO of Nimble.com which is a great little product that can do all sorts of things to help you manage all of your massive different contacts and interactions and I think you’ll really like this interview and get a lot out of it. Jon, welcome. How are you?
Jon Ferrara: I’m doing great, Jason. I’m really excited to be here with you and your audience today.
Jason Hartman: Well, good. And I’d like to give our audience a sense of geography. Are you in the LA area? Judging by your area code, it looks like you are.
Jon Ferrara: We are. We’re located in beautiful Santa Monica here on the coast of Los Angeles.
Jason Hartman: Yes, the socialist republic of Santa Monica. I grew up there, so I know it well. I always like to tease Santa Monica about that. So tell us a little bit about Nimble. What a neat product you have.
Jon Ferrara: Well, Nimble was created out of a personal need that I had. And I was trying to manage my contacts and my conversations and relationships that I was trying to nurture and turn those relationships into revenue and opportunity. And I was doing it in 6 different tabs in my browsers and 3 different apps in my desktop and I said there’s gotta be a better way. And after looking around and not being able to find it, I created Nimble. And what Nimble is at its core is a contact manager. And it’s a contact manager for you and your team across all the different places your contacts are today. And if you think about your contacts, Jason, they used to be – in the old days – in a rolodex. And then they were in a Day Timer. And then they were in the original contact managers like GoldMine or Act. And then they became in your CRMs and now today they’ve exploded across 6 different apps in your desktop and 3 different tabs in your browsers. And it’s just hard to manage it all.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, it sure is. There’s no question about it. But you did forget one – there was the Palm Pilot in between the Day Timer.
Jon Ferrara: Or the [00:03:59].
Jason Hartman: Yeah, right. Or the Apple Newton. That was a flop. But yeah, there’s been a bunch of things. And it’s really an overcomplicated world we live in. So much information is hitting us from so many different angles that a product like Nimble could be pretty handy. How does it work? Drill down on it a little bit.
Jon Ferrara: Okay. So, today most business people manage the contacts in Outlook, Address Book, or Google contacts. And then they communicate via email. And so what we do is we take all these different contacts from where they are today and ultimately they’re not in your Outlook or address book or Google contacts or your CRM. They’re in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Foursquare and Google Plus. We take all of your contacts in all of these places and consolidate them into one cloud based solution. So if I’m connected to you in Twitter and I’m not in Facebook or LinkedIn, I have your record in Nimble and Nimble would then map out your different profiles and the other networks enabling me to then connect across all the different places you have conversations. Once we have those connections, I then can understand a lot more about you – what you’re passionate about, what your needs are, how best to communicate with you, where to find that connection point that enables me to develop intimacy and trust with you so that you open up to me about your business issues which, as a professional, I could then solve.
Jason Hartman: Well, wait a sec. You mean the software does that? The software is analyzing your communications or it’s just a platform to communicate in all these different ways?
Jon Ferrara: We started out as a platform that pulled it all together – contacts, communications, and activities and social streams. So what Nimble does is it maps into your Google Cal, your Google contacts, your Google Mail, your Apple Mail, your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn contacts and conversations. And we pull it all into one place. So rather than me having to go and look at the messages in Gmail, messages in Facebook, messages in LinkedIn, messages in Twitter to find out all the places you and I have communicated, Nimble builds one record. It automatically links all the communication that you and I have other shared or you shared with my team members in one place automatically. And that solves the biggest pain of CRM because sales people have to log what they did and who they did it with and what they think the possibility of CR will be. Nimble does that for you and then based on these signals we give you insights into opportunities for engagement. So what that means is that we look at all your signals across all your networks and then we surface the most important people for you to connect with and empower you to then connect with them through Nimble and it measures the effect of the engagement and manage that into a revenue opportunity and the resulting business that you derive from that.
Jason Hartman: Okay, so is Nimble a social networking platform as well as an aggregator of other networks?
Jon Ferrara: No.
Jason Hartman: Okay. It’s only the people you’re already connected with on Facebook, LinkedIn, etcetera, right?
Jon Ferrara: Well, no. It actually is a listening platform, too. So I could listen to channels like real estate or investing or boats or beer or whatever things that are influential with my community where my buyers are gonna be having conversations and then get involved with people I don’t know making those connections through those different communities and streams and groups.
Jason Hartman: Alright. And so does it replace a CRM system? For example, my companies used Infusionsoft as our CRM and we used to use Sugar CRM, the open source system. And a long time ago we used Act and never used GoldMine which is your prior company which was a great product from what I hear. But I always heard that the adoption of GoldMine was pretty tough from everybody I asked, although I heard it was very powerful once you got it up and running.
Jon Ferrara: Yeah. So your question was is Nimble a CRM? And, ultimately, that begs the question what is a CRM.
Jason Hartman: Well, it sure does.
Jon Ferrara: And so CRMs are databases that you log information to run reports. And they also are workforce systems that empower you to manage the flow of contacts through your processes in your business to turn those contacts into customers. And so does Nimble do that? Yes. So Nimble has the ability to capture leads from a website, put them into the database, map out their backgrounds and their profiles, reach out and nurture them, create sales opportunities and close those opportunities and track those opportunities against the contacts for reports, which is basically what CRM systems do. But what CRM systems fail to do effectively is to enable you to have insight and then to engage. So if you think about the way you use Infusionsoft, it’s a great email/marketing/ecommerce system that can capture leads, put them on drip tracks, and automate the process of nurture. But you don’t engage typically a live-in with Infusionsoft on a daily basis. You probably live in Apple Mail and your Google Mail and your various applications used for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, right?
Jason Hartman: Yeah. I don’t live in Infusionsoft, but my sales people do. They’re on it all the time. I mean that’s kind of their main screen I guess. But it is true because that’s only when they’re communicating with a client via email. A lot of them are doing a lot of stuff on the various social networks and nurturing and developing clients there. And so far as I know, Infusion doesn’t tie into that.
Jon Ferrara: And so if you think about the beauty of the different networks that are out there today, the old classic idea of CRM is you had to tell it everything you knew about a contact. And so sales people spend 60% of their time doing non-sales activity, looking people up on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and then type in that information in the CRM and then logging when they make phone calls and logging what they did in these other places so that you could run analytic reports. What Nimble does is take away the pain of all that. So we automatically show you who it is you’re connecting to, what their background is, what channels they like to communicate on and what channels best to communicate with them on and then automatically log those connections and those conversations and then help you to find the needle and the haystack to connect to. And so Nimble shows you exactly who your people you’re connecting are. We show you the walls, the background, as well as log those connections and conversations. And we have integrations to a variety of different platforms that will help you to extend it to do additional nurture marketing things like email marketing and website, lead capture and other things like that.
Jason Hartman: Now, Jon, let’s take Facebook as an example. There’s a fairly big distinction in the world of Facebook between business pages and personal pages. And then there are other community pages and things like that. Does Nimble link in with your personal profile plus all of your different business pages as well?
Jon Ferrara: Yes. So, you can give Nimble your personal profile and you can give Nimble your business page and what will happen is, based on that information, Nimble will then be able to give you insights into opportunities for engagement. For instance, if I were to look at a record in Nimble, Nimble would automatically map out not just who that person is but what their profiles are on Twitter, Facebook , LinkedIn, Foursquare, Google Plus, and background information on them, and then show me what we share in common. Which connections and relationships across those networks we share as well as what likes we share in common because ultimately building a relationship with somebody requires you to have a point of connection. And that could either be a relationship you share or a common interest. If you can build that connection and develop intimacy and trust, that business professional would then open up to you more effectively about their business issues which, as a professional, you could then solve.
Jason Hartman: Yeah. Can you do multiple business pages? A lot of businesses have multiple pages, multiple brands – I know I certainly do.
Jon Ferrara: Yes. So right now Nimble manages one page. It’s something that we definitely want to add.
Jason Hartman: Yeah. Okay, good, good. That’s a pretty cool thing. I guess the next evolution of all of this, and you may be looking at this right now, is to do almost what the government does. It’s a little scary maybe it’s to develop like a psychological profile because when you can tell what people like, what engages them to develop a profile of what type of customer this will be, maybe along the vowel system or the Myers-Briggs or any of these sort of well-known sales personality tools and hiring tools, just kind of some interesting ideas there. I don’t know – is that coming soon?
Jon Ferrara: We’re actually doing that today. So, what Nimble does is it will show you contacts that you should or could be engaging with based off their areas of interest and influence. So then, for instance, if most of the people that you connect with are interested in real estate or investing, when a new contact then connects with you either +1, liking, commenting, retweeting or otherwise engaging with you, and they have a certain profile that fits the common ones that you’re already connected with, Nimble will surface that person above the rest of the noise. And so by looking at this insight in intelligence, we can begin to start telling you things that you either don’t know or aren’t able to follow through on. And Jason, John Wooden said it best is that it’s the basics that win games. And I think that we all know that we should do in business, for instance following up after a meeting, staying top of mind with a customer. These are all important things but we don’t do them well. And so what Nimble does is helps you to do them. For instance, if you had a meeting with somebody and you didn’t follow up, Nimble knows and will remind you. If you have a forecast in your pipeline and you have no pending activities with them, it will remind you. If you have a meeting upcoming next week with a person, it will suggest that you connect with them previously and maybe retweet or mention them or otherwise connect with them on a network in order to start building the foundation of that connection in the relationship. And so it sort of guides the nonsocial, Kool-Aid drinking masses out there that need to start leveraging these signals and these networks for business engagement. We’re helping them to do it more easily and more effectively.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, great idea. How much does it cost?
Jon Ferrara: So Nimble is free for personal use. And that’s for a limited number of contacts. But for $15 per user per month which is less than you’d spend on a decent lunch these days, you get the full business version which will immediately start helping you turn relationships into revenue today.
Jason Hartman: Good. And is there a business plan like you want to sign up 10 or 20 users?
Jon Ferrara: Yeah. So if you want to sign up a group or your team, there are options for getting it at a reduced price.
Jason Hartman: Fantastic. Well, good stuff. Of course, I don’t think we even need to mention the website but it’s Nimble.com. I think we got that pretty clear. What else do you want people to know about either general sales, effectiveness, or specific use of software and technology?
Jon Ferrara: Well, I think ultimately to have an opportunity for sale, you have to have top in mind with a customer. And I think it’s the basics in business that enable you to follow through with the right customer, connect with them at the right time on the right channel and to share with them the most important things that will help you turn that opportunity into a real business relationship. And today it’s harder than ever with all the different networks and places that conversations are occurring and to follow through effectively. And so having a tool like Nimble at your side gives you insights intelligence into people’s backgrounds, enables you to connect with them in the best network to enable you to turn these opportunities into sales. And I think that the thing that you need to remember in business is out of sight is out of mind and out of mind is out of money, honey. And that’s a saying that Mae West used to have. And so being top of mind today is much more than sending somebody a newsletter. It’s much more than sending them an email saying “Did you look at my proposal?” It’s being able to be a resource to people, share knowledge and nurture conversations and turn those conversations and connections into business opportunities and Nimble will help you do that better than anything I’ve seen so far.
And one of the things I would like to suggest, Jason, is I have a Twitter handle that I’d like to share and I encourage all your listeners to follow me on Twitter because on a daily basis I teach people how to fish, I teach people how to use these networks to turn business opportunities into revenue. And my Twitter handle is @Jon_Ferrara.
Jason Hartman: Excellent. Well, Jon, thank you so much for joining us today. I appreciate it.
Jon Ferrara: Thank you, Jason.
Narrator: This show is produced by The Hartman Media Company, all rights reserved. For distribution or publication rights and media interviews, please visit www.HartmanMedia.com or email [email protected] Nothing on this show should be considered specific personal or professional advice. Please consult an appropriate tax, legal, real estate or business professional for individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own and the host is acting on behalf of Platinum Properties Investor Network Inc. exclusively. (Image: Flickr | Jason A. Howie)
Transcribed by Ralph
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