Nimble Review – A very nimble Social CRM

Introduction and the Competition

 

Nimble is a social CRM (#sCRM) and after spending some time with it I can say that this is one of the better online social CRM systems I’ve tried and I have tried quite a few the last couple of months. In this article I will initially compare Nimble to one of its competitors that I have also spent some time with, namely Gist

I am a fan of small footprint applications where the GUI doesn’t get in the way of function and I’ll be honest with you, I’m not a big fan of Gist’s GUI. I just don’t want to use their web interface. It’s very clunky and slow, it just seems to drown in a sea of “we want to integrate as much as possible with as little attention to usability as possible“.

The colour palette in Gist just seems completely off and it doesn’t make it better when much of it is presented in gradient. This makes it really hard to focus on what’s important, which should be the content, not the GUI. Another downside is that you cannot compose emails to contacts in it plus you have to use Gist’s long, self promoting and bulky signature when sharing something interesting that you found in the feeds.

So why do I use it? The only real reason I use Gist these days is that it integrates with Gmail meaning I can get a small sidebar to the right of the e-mail providing me information about my contact straight from LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. It performs this task quite well but it’s on its way to loose this battle in favour of another similar service called Rapportive (more on this in another article).

“…the main purpose of  a social CRM should be to ease your daily social network overload and combine them into one GUI.”

The reason I’m on the lookout for a good social CRM is that I think that the way it works today is way too time consuming. Too much updating of information on all the different services available. I think the main purpose of  a social CRM should be to ease your daily social network overload and combine them into one GUI. This will in turn help you sort out relevant information and if possible add info about the person you are going to interact with.

 

The Review

 

Adding accounts to Nimble
Adding accounts to Nimble is a breeze.

Enter Nimble! My first encounter with Nimble surprised me in a good way. First off, adding Gmail accounts for contacts and emails is a breeze. Enter your email adress, approve the connection in Google and it’s starts syncing your messages and contacts in the background. Granted, this might take some time initially, but you don’t have to worry about it and when it’s done you don’t have to do it again.

What Nimble does next is actually quite cool, it almost works as a replacement GUI for Gmail. This means that you can compose, reply and view conversation history straight from within Nimble and many times it actually does this better then Gmail itself!

After adding my Gmails and the contacts I continued to add Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook which also worked a charm. From the main page in Nimble you select which area you wish to dive into by using tabs located at the top, these are Contacts, Messages, Activities and Social. In all of these areas you can filter the content depending on whether you want to see all contacts and messages or for example just your Gmail contacts or just your LinkedIn contacts. The extra super duper nice thing (yeah I said it!) here is that there’s hardly any loading, clicking the tab for the social media feed and then back to my 500+ contacts takes milliseconds and that is a huge plus in my book.

Every email or post on a social network can be replied to, retweeted (if twitter), liked and even made into a task that is then added to your calendar (unfortunately only Nimbles calendar, not your Google Calendar). When you compose or view excisting messages you also get a nice box on the right side with more information about the recipient.


Easy navigation in Nimble using tabs
Easy navigation in Nimble using tabs, lightning fast!

Are there no clouds on the sky then? Yes, there doesn’t seem to be a two way sync of the contacts, meaning that adding a contact in Nimble doesn’t add it to Google Contacts. This is especially bad for people who, like me, sync their phones with Google Contacts. In the GUI I miss some stuff that notifies you of new emails and messages (hint: small red badge on the tabs perhaps?). I also would’ve like a little bit more focus on enriching your contacts with info from all these different sources, that in combination with a two-way sync with Google Contacts would rock.

These are all pretty small things (except the last one) and will most likely be added in the near future. Keep in mind that Nimble came out of beta testing yesterday when it launched at #democon. Overall I can really recommend Nimble if you’re curious about social CRM’s. If you want to try it out you can actually do so for free aswell!

 

The Good

  • Easy to add accounts such as Google Gmail, Google Contacts, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook
  • Fast and intuitive GUI
  • Active developers
  • Two-way sync of the added calendar

The Bad

  • No two-way sync of Google Contacts
  • Not able to sync more than one calendar
  • No Gmail plugin (sidebar)

 

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Nimble.com website

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3 comments: On Nimble Review – A very nimble Social CRM

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  • Erik,

    Thank you for taking the time to write a detailed review on your user experiences with Nimble. We very focused on the user experience and I am pleased you appreciated our efforts. I also liked the way you picked up on Nimble key principle that our contacts and the way that we communicate with them, are distributed across too many tabs in our browsers today and it’s almost impossible to remember what you said to whom let alone what your team member said.

    I’d like to address some of the shortcomings you observed in Nimble.

    No two-way sync of Google Contacts – Coming soon
    Not able to sync more than one calendar – I like the idea. I’d also like to MAP other people calendars into my Nimble calendar. (GoogleCal. AppleCal. Exchange) This item will take more time.
    No Gmail plugin (sidebar) – Coming

    Please keep the feedback coming. That’s how we grow.

    Cheers,

    Jon

    Jon Ferrara
    CEO Nimble.com

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