Building Better Business Relationships With CRM
In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Jon Ferrara. Jon is a serial entrepreneur and noted speaker about social, sales, and marketing. He’s the Founder of Nimble – The Simple CRM for Microsoft 365 & Google Workspace. Jon Ferrara is best known as the co-founder of GoldMine Software Corp, one of the early pioneers in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for Small to Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs). He has been recognized by Forbes as one of the Top 10 Social CEOs, Top 10 Social Salespeople In The World, and Top 100 Marketing Influencers.
Today, silos are created amongst your contact list across businesses of all sizes. From sales and marketing to customer service and accounting, you often have separate business applications or at the very least, different ways of managing your contacts. Nimble is working to make relationships easy.
In this episode, I talk with the Founder of Nimble, Jon Ferrara, about how Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) can help small business owners in ways they never imagined. We dive into the value of contact and relationship management. Having a great contact platform that provides you with a system of truth about relationships and interactions with contacts across your whole organization gives you the ability to follow up and follow through.
Questions I ask Jon Ferrara:
- [2:11] Can you talk about the Genesis or the early days of really trying to bring on software or this category that hardly existed for small businesses?
- [6:37] How has the aspect of integrating information people share on social and online into the platform become central to where Nimble is as a CRM platform today?
- [10:31] How does Nimble really act as that single point of contact for multiple departments rather than just being seen as a sales and lead generation tool?
- [15:18] By adding workflows, are you redefining CRM or you are creating a whole new category?
- [17:25] There’s a lot of people with thousands of emails for people who maybe get their newsletter and they might eventually be interested in what they’re doing – can you make a case for those contacts living in a CRM like Nimble or do those need to live somewhere else?
- [18:48] Where can people find out more about Nimble and when these new templates and workflows are going to be available?
More About Jon Ferrara:
- If you aren’t a Nimble customer, use the code JON40 and you’ll get 40% off your first 3 months of Nimble
- Email: [email protected]
More About The Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network:
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John Jantsch (00:01): This episode of the duct tape marketing podcast is brought to you by the MarTech podcast, hosted by Benjamin Shapiro, brought to you by the HubSpot podcast network. Ben's episodes are so awesome. They're under 30 minutes. They share stories with world-class marketers who use technology to generate growth and achieve business and career success. Ben is a great host. I've been on his show. He's been on my show. He always really digs down and gives you actionable stuff that you can take away and do. And he's always bringing up new stuff. The science of advertising, how to figure out what to automate, just things that marketers are wrestling with today. Check it out. It's the MarTech podcast. Find it wherever you listen to your podcasts.
John Jantsch (00:52): Hello, welcome to another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is John Ferrara. He's a serial entrepreneur and noted speaker about social media sales and marketing. He's the founder of nimble, a CRM for Microsoft 365 and Google workspace. A lot of you might know him as the co-founder people that are my age ish might know as the co-founder of goldmine, a software, one of the early pioneers in CRM software for small to midsize business. He's been recognized by Forbes as one of the top 10 social CEOs and top 10 salespeople in the world and top 100 marketing influencers. So John, welcome to the show,
John Ferrara (01:34): John, thank you so much. You now opportunity join you for a conversation. I love the way you build community by teaching and inspiring others to grow and reach their dreams. And hopefully people can take away some good tidbits from our chapter.
John Jantsch (01:47): Yeah, thanks John. So I was an early goldmine user. I've been marketing. I've had my own firm for over 30 years now and all marketers were, as we were using computers and coming online, we were trying to figure out how do we manage all this stuff? Big companies had big giant warehouses of computers that did that for them in some cases, but small businesses were left to fend for themselves. So talk a little bit, and again, you've come so far from goldmine days and I do want to focus on nimble, but talk a little bit about the Genesis or the early days of really trying to bring on a software. Maybe almost a category that hardly existed for
John Ferrara (02:24): John. I really believe that contacts are the heart of every business, right? That, that it's the, it's not just the prospects that your salespeople and marketing people are reaching out to turn into customers, but there's a community around your business that will help it grow. At nimble. We connect to editors, analysts, bloggers, influencers, third party developers, investors, advisors, and prospects and customers of various types. And it wasn't a different backwards, my own need, because I think the best part of come found from your own pain because you're passionate and you understand the problem. And my problem was they put me in sales and I did have a CRM or contact manager to manage that. And that those categories didn't exist. Outlook didn't exist. Salesforce didn't exist. The term CRM SFA, mark automation, contact management didn't exist. And what did exist was day-timers and spreadsheets. And that was sufficient for me to manage my contacts and my interactions to a certain extent, but not good for a team of people.
John Ferrara (03:28): And it really takes a team of people collaborating with contacts outside of your organization to get things done. And so I couldn't find a program that integrated email contact and calendar and sales and marketing automation. So I quit my job. I started goldmine with a college buddy of mine named Milan Sesar. And we invented the category of not just conduct management and CRM, but also SFA and mark automation. How do you teach people? Things they don't know they need? And we figured out you do it through a trusted advisor. The best way to do to access your prospects at scale is to find the person they trust. And in those days it was the person that sold them, the network, Novell, resellers, and we got them to use it because people sell what they know, what they use. They started reselling it. And that's how we scale to a hundred million dollars in revenue.
John Ferrara (04:16): But the key thing I want you to take away from that is not how and why we invented these things, but what they solved and what they solved managing contacts across the entire organization. And that pain still exists even more today. So today you have sales, marketing, customer service and accounting at the very least. And each of those departments, you separate at business applications to manage contacts and maybe your sales and marketing people use CRM, but everybody else in the company has to choose Microsoft or Google and Microsoft 365 or Google workspace, whatever they call it these days. And they're not good team contact managers and without a good contact platform, that is the system of truth of relationships and interactions that you have across your whole organization. You will know who that person is when you pick up the phone, what the history of interactions and who did it, what's going to happen, and who's going to do it and have the ability to follow up and follow through. And that is what nimble is solving today is that team contact management. And I think we've forgotten about the need to be working as a team on one page with the contacts across your entire organization.
John Jantsch (05:33): Yeah. One of the things that I know it was early on for you, I am always still amazed when people write to me and say something like I'd like to get together and see if we have any synergies or learn more about your business. And you know, that used to actually be a task. It was hard to learn about businesses or individuals you wanted to call. And it, my, my dad was a long time. What kind of bag carrying a salesperson. And I remember him saying he would go into some of these office and you'd look and you'd see, oh yeah, they've got a family. Oh, they must like baseball. Yeah, exactly. There's a, this is how you sort of let the lay of the land. Where can we connect today? We're now just like spewing that stuff everywhere. It's in every social network. And so you could probably know what I had for lunch today, if you're paying attention at all. And so I'm always amazed at when people call and say, I want to learn more about your company, but that's their first step. And I know one of the first iterations of nimble was really this idea of, Hey, there's all this social stuff out there that people are putting out there, all these markers, let's bring that in to the record automatically. And so that even if you're just initiating a conversation with somebody, you've got a leg up, how has that aspect of nimble kind of become central to
John Ferrara (06:41): Where it is? Like you said, John, I think people connect on their commonalities. I call it the five F's of life, family, friend, food, fun and fellowship. And it's how we develop our shared interests in order to earn intimacy and trust in order to get somebody open up to us about their business issues, which is a professional we can then solve. In the old days, we taught people to look at their walls. When they go in somebody's office today, we do it electronically. And that was one of the first things I solve for when I built nimble, because I think it's a lot of work to go to people for meeting. And it's even more worth to go type down the serum, which nobody does. And so your CRMs are basically not used or they have a lot of bad data in them. And I wanted to solve the problem for serum failure, which is lack of use and bad data.
John Ferrara (07:28): And so I think the serum should work for you by building this out and then work with you where you're engaged. That is the second biggest problem is that you have to go to the ceremony, use it and you work for it. It doesn't work for you. It should work for you by building the record automatically and then work with you wherever you engage. And where do we live? We live in our email inbox and now more and more social or the business out. So we use across the departmental divides in our company, sales, marketing, customer service and county. And so when we first built nimble, I thought, okay, I'll build it like goldmine. And will people live in nimble because I'll go get the API for everything and integrate it all. But then I recognize that no matter how much code I throw at it, people are still going to go to the places that they love and they live in whether it's email or LinkedIn or the business app to use.
John Ferrara (08:15): So I've built nimble as a plugin to the browser that will automatically work wherever you are listening to engage you, you just hover on the guy's name with the gal's name and nimble, automatically bring up the record or build the record, give you the context and insights. You need to engage the history of interactions and who that person is, what the business is about and what's going on right now with them. And then most importantly, the ability to follow up and follow through, because I think that is the biggest cause of business. Failure is lack of doing the basics and the basics are, if you say, you're going to do something, make an action and take care of it. If there's a key conversation that occurs, make a note because you'll forget it or somebody else will take over the account. And so if you're not so busy doing the arduous things that a computer should do, looking people up and creating records and updating records for the basic contact and business info, and you could simply spend your time listening to the customer and finding ways to add value and then log in that note and scheduling that next task you're going to be more successful.
John Ferrara (09:19): And that promise for nimble has gotten even better.
John Jantsch (09:22): And now let's hear a word from our sponsor. I talk a lot about tools and strategies to track customer loyalty and satisfaction, whether it's predicting consumer behavior or diagnosing the many what's how's and why's of marketing, the HubSpot CRM platform has customizable solutions to help your business go from why not to what's next. I love all things duct tape, as you know, except for when it comes to a CRM platform, many CRM platforms are either over-engineered or clunky and unreliable costing you more time and money than they're worth a HubSpot CRM platform means that you have purpose built solution. That's tailored to your business and your business alone. So whether you're just getting started or looking for a robust system, HubSpot is flexible and customizable, meaning it scales and grows as you do with new features like business units, association labels, permission sets, and more HubSpot admins can tailor their accounts like never before and now with sandboxes admins have access to a production like account, allowing them to test iterate and experiment without risk.
John Jantsch (10:25): Learn more about how you can customize your CRM platform with [email protected] So I think there's no question. And this is one of the challenges with the way we work today. I still work with people that are on spreadsheets or other people that have their own literally their own database and nobody else in the company that he has access to or even knows exists. A lot of salespeople, the old file flex days, they're building their own little, their own little chests that they're going to maybe take off somewhere else. If they leave. How do you suggest? Obviously, a lot of the big CRMs are trying to solve for that by having the enterprise version that everybody has to use. And everybody has to plug into a lot of companies do work around just because they don't want to do that. How do, how does nimble, let's say I'm that 10 person firm and I have sales and marketing and service folks or people who have that accountability. How does nimble really act as that single point of contact for all of those departments, rather than just being seen as a sales and lead generation?
John Ferrara (11:28): A lot happens before a customer buys and after a customer buys and even more happens if you want them to buy again or to tell their customers about you and John, you wrote a really amazing book about that customer journey and why you need to focus on that customer journey in order to grow your business. So the way we solve for it is that we automatically ingest your contacts from across your organization, where they're siloed today in Microsoft and Google email productivity platforms, Microsoft 365 and Google workspace, every team member in your company has a separate contact data fix that big problem, because it should be one source of truth for your company, for all contacts that your organization interacts with. In addition, they're siloed contacts in the sales, marketing customer service and accounting applications that you use nimble. And just the context from across all those platforms and then unify the history of interactions on email calendar, and social enrich those contacts with people in company data, and then work back in those places that you work.
John Ferrara (12:36): Number one, you have a record that is automatically built, but more importantly, I think that it's process that helps scale a company. And so if you talk to anybody in any of those departments and ask them, if they're going to do a unique outreach, I'm going to outreach to people for booking jazz gone podcast. I'm going to outreach to get people to support the book launch. I'm going to outreach to new hires. I'm going to hire new people for the organization. You need to put people through a process for that. And we all resolve the spreadsheets for that because it's much easier to build columns in a spreadsheet that allow us to track entries of people and they feel do we want to track and then put them through stages in order to complete tasks, or we might go try Trello or base camp or sauna to do that.
John Ferrara (13:27): But all those project management tools that help you to manage workflows, don't tie back to the people and companies you're doing the flows with. And so that's why we're launching workflows in nimble that we'll have templates for the common tasks that happen in companies like PR outreach fund, raising, hiring support, tickets orders, whatever workflows you have that will allow you when you get that inquiry could be an email that says, Hey, John, I want to book you for a podcast or a tour company. Hey, I want to buy some coffee beans from my restaurant. You could take that email and put them on a workflow that is predesigned to get somebody from point a to point Z, to complete the interactions necessary to grow your company. And I think that having a common contact database that goes across all departments gets everybody in your company will be touched at one point by multiple departments, having workflows that are pre templated, but also easily editable because no matter how much a template I create for hiring everybody's process is a little different, but you could take a template and easily modify the stages or the fields that you're collecting and then tailor it to yourself to have your organization grow.
John Ferrara (14:44): So I encourage anybody listening to this today to go and do a, a review of the contacts that you have in your and where they're all stored, the processes that you do across departments in order to create a common contact database for the whole company to build processes that can help scale your company. And to think about CRM is not just for salespeople, but it's really contact management is for the whole company.
John Jantsch (15:12): So by adding workflows, are you creeping into a different category than most traditional CRMs? Are you redefining CRM or you are creating a whole new category?
John Ferrara (15:24): I think that if you look at the roots of gold line, this is our roots contacts for the whole company and workflows to get things done. Gosh, John, 25 years ago, almost 30 years ago, I trademarked automated processes, which is if this and that for people in companies. So if you put a name in goldmine and it looks like this, Goldman would do that day one, send him an email day, 77 on a fax day 14, schedule a call. Uh, if a sale happens, stop this track, start a new track. So we were managing workflows in goldmine before the term mark out of nation occurred. And if you think about what I've just described, that's marked automation, but actually better than market automation, because you could do anything you want with the database. It wasn't just about emails. And yes, the current CRMs today were redesign were, were reimplementing workflows and processes into the CRM, which is not common.
John Ferrara (16:21): And I'll tell you why just go and Google CRM, go to the pipe drive website and go look at how they describe themselves. They are the sales CRM. Salesforce is called Salesforce because it's for salespeople. And I'm going to tell you something, the reason they call it Salesforce, you have to force salespeople to use it. It's not even they like using it, but I really believe that CRM should be designed so that people love using them. And they work in the way those people work for the processes that they're already doing. And again, if you listen to this today, go audit how your people work. I'll bet the majority of them are still trying to use spreadsheets to do the jobs that they do. And the problem is those spreadsheets are static and they're not tied to the contacts that your business is interacting with on daily basis. And they don't where you live. And where do you live? You live in your inbox, you live in social, you live wherever you're having conversations with the customers. And if you're not you better, dang do it.
John Jantsch (17:19): All right. So tell me this. I know a use case that a lot of people have is maybe their active contacts, people that they are either nurturing or they work with. They want to do more with, they get referrals through our normal ecosystem. That makes total sense. But then a lot of people have 20, 30, 40, a hundred thousand emails of people that maybe get their newsletter and that they maybe eventually will get interested in what they're doing. It is it, can you make a case for those in a nimble or do those need to live somewhere else? Alongside nimble?
John Ferrara (17:53): We have millions of contacts in our nimble database. And I think that all contacts should be in one place because you can use segmentation in order to, uh, segment out the database for active contact and inactive context. But guess what? Inactive contacts come back. Sure. And when they do it is good for you to have the history of interactions. I'm going to ask you to do another thing, call American express up and ask them what your last phone call was about. They're going to know and ask him when your first phone call was, they're going to know, and you know what? Small businesses should behave like enterprise businesses, because that's what customers demand today. They don't want to tell you their stuff. 5,000 times, they expect you to know, and you know what? You need a good database to do that.
John Jantsch (18:42): All right. John tell people where they can find out more about nimble. And when, when these new templates and workflows are going to be available,
John Ferrara (18:49): You bet. So if you go to nimble.com, you can go ahead and sign up for nimble. If you're not a nimble customer. And if you like what you use the code, John 40 Jon 40, you'll get 40% off your first three months. If you want to connect with me, here's another tip. Google me, Google yourself. Yeah. How do you show up? Do you show up on that first page? How much of you do you show up on that first page? And if you don't show up on that first page, build a Wikipedia page for yourself, it's free and it's easy and you can control how people see you. But honestly, when you Google me, you'll find that I'm available on a lot of different channels connect with me or whatever channel works for you and adapt this to work for you. Here's my email, [email protected] Let me know how I can help you grow. Awesome.
John Jantsch (19:34): Thanks John, for stopping by the duct tape marketing podcast again, and that's just nimble.com. Hopefully we'll run into you now that we're all getting back out there on the road
John Ferrara (19:41): Again. Awesome. Thanks, John is great.
John Jantsch (19:44): All right, so that wraps up another episode. I want to thank you so much for tuning in and you know, we love those reviews and comments. And just generally tell me what you think also did you know that you could offer the duct tape marketing system, our system to your clients and build a complete marketing consulting coaching business, or maybe level up an agency with some additional services. That's right. Check out the duct tape marketing consultant network. You can find it at duct tape, marketing.com and just scroll down a little and find that offer our system to your clients tab.
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