Jon Ferrara is the founder of Nimble, a social CRM platform that wants to help you build a better relationship with customers and clients. This tool will automatically pull all your contacts across social channels and put them all in one place.
Please join us as Jon shares his startup story, as well as few business tips for new entrepreneurs.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about your company – what is Nimble all about?
Nimble’s mission is to be the go-to Relationship Intelligence App — that helps everywhere business professionals work to identify contacts that matter most to their business. We want to then enable these individuals and business teams to create strong, vibrant relationships that lead to measurable business results.
Nimble is contact management, reimagined.
My first startup company, GoldMine, was one of the first relationship management SFA/CRM tools with an emphasis on what is now called “social business” and “social selling.” I contend that business has always been social. Nimble represents the evolution of that premise to more efficient worktools. Today’s world is noisier than ever before, and monitoring and nurturing the 1,000s of relationships on many social channels is simply impossible without technological support. In fact, Dunbar’s Number asserts that human beings can only handle 150 relationships online before disorganization takes over.
Nimble aims to change that — and that’s our differentiator — providing automatic processes and insights about users’ networks to help them find the best ways to deepen relationships with their customers and prospects. Our goal is to make this a seamless, integrated process that merges into the daily workflow of business professionals.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about your background and how you started your company.
After I sold GoldMine, I concentrated on being a involved gather, husband and contributor to my community. After raising my three I was ready to start another business, I started to use Social Media and I immediately saw the way it was going to change the way we work and play. I also saw how it would change the way customers research products and make buying decisions.
I looked for a platform that incorporated contacts and social engagement and was surprised when I couldn’t find a social relationship-focused software platform. The CRM world had not embraced the new social customer journey that required relationship building based on listening and engagement — one empowered by interactions on social channels where the sales rep became a trusted advisor by giving knowledge away. I set about identifying key sales, marketing, social media thought leaders to share my vision and get their advice. The Nimble product and brand was the outcome of that exploration.
Q: What are some of the projects you are working on right now?
We’re constantly moving our core platform to add features and workflows that our users want. We know that what is important to them is what will move our needle. In 2012, Nimble built on its social CRM next-generation contact and social relationship platform, innovatively pulling social profiles from many different networks and sources to build out a robust contact record. This early version aggregated social, email, and calendar into one dynamic profile view.
Then, in 2013, Nimble took its platform to a new level by introducing unique, differentiated features in three areas: Insights, Workflow, and Productivity. We added features to help users identify and stay in touch with the most important people. We took Nimble into people’s favorite worktools with our Nimble Everywhere! Strategy, providing the Nimble Contact Widget.
And this spring, we’ve added a Smart Summary feature that automatically goes out and brings more useful information about any contact right to the contact record — no data entry required. In fact, this spring will be packed with a series of releases to make life easier for our users. Our next phase will embed our Nimble Relationship Intelligence in the customer-facing business apps companies use to attract and retain customers — including their enterprise CRM, Marketing, support and accounting platforms. We will also put Nimble into your browser, mobile, and tablets.
Q: What were the top 3 mistakes you made starting your business and what did you learn from it?
(1) – I would be very careful about outsourcing product development. A misstep there can cost you precious time and momentum.
(2) – Team building is more about the culture fit and the passion for social business than it is about anything else. We found the best team by searching for people who shared our culture, values and passion for social business — in particular those who appreciate and use social tools as part of their daily lives.
(3) – No software platform can be all things to all people. You’ve got to narrow focus, and evolve in a specific and focused way. After all, as hard as it is to believe, social selling is still new to most people. They need a tool they can adopt with enthusiasm.
Q: Please share some advice for new entrepreneurs, someone who’s just starting out.
Find the best minds and ask them for advice. They’ll help you focus. They’ll help you connect with others who can help you, as well. I am humbled by the friendships of many of the best business minds in my field. And one more thing: Never. Give. Up.
Q: What was the best business advice you have ever received and who gave you this advice?
One of the first companies I worked at was Hughes Aircraft. It was there I had a chance to meet many of the founding fathers of southern California’s aerospace industry. One of them told me the story about how his friends over time had all left Hughes to start their own companies like TRW and Litton. He used to tell me that he shoulda, woulda, coulda done that if I only took a chance like they did. When I came up with the idea for GoldMine years later I quit a high paying job and decided to become an entrepreneur. I knew that I could always get a “job” and that I never, ever wanted be a person that said shoulda, coulda, woulda.
Q: What are the top 3 online tools and resources you’re currently using to grow your company?
(1) – Google Apps. We’re both power users and have built on top of Google Apps like Gmail, Google Calendar, Drive and single sign-on. The ability for us to be hyper-productive with office documents is critical.
(2) – You have to have a great customer service solution. For us, that starts with live chat on our site through Olark and continues through Desk.com’s ticketing system and our Ideas Forum, provided by UserVoice. All are great, affordable SaaS products — just stellar.
(3) – We all use HootSuite and they are also a technology partner. There’s not a better social monitoring tool on the market.
Q: What’s your definition of success?
For me, success is about helping others — whether in my personal life or my business. That’s not an altruistic or self-serving statement — because personal success comes about through the happiness and satisfaction of helping others. I believe we are all put on this earth to be the best educators and helpers we can be. People are wired to help each other. It’s what drives us.
Q: What are three books you recommend entrepreneurs to read?
Can’t stop at 3!
- Think and Grow Rich – by Napolean Hill
- The Lean Startup – by Eric Ries
- To Sell Is Human – byDaniel Pink
- Secrets of Closing the Sale – Zig Ziglar
- Start with Why – by Simon Sinek
- Snap Selling – by Jill Konrath
- Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy, Social World – by Gary Vaynerchuk
Q: What is your favorite entrepreneurship quote?
“You can have everything in life you want if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want.”- Zig Ziglar [Tweet it]
Q: How can our community get in touch with you?