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24 8 Tools I Use Every Day for Social Engagement

I get asked what tools I use for some of my daily social routines on a somewhat frequent basis. The other day I got that question and it dawned on me that many of the tools I’ve written about for the basic stuff have changed or evolved over the past six months.

So, I thought it might be useful to write a post outlining my current tool set for consuming, sharing and interacting online.

Alerts

It seems to me that Google Alerts might be on the scrap heap over Google as it not only suffers from lack of innovation it just seems pretty lame in terms of what it picks up anymore.

I’ve recently gone to a combo of Mention and Talkwalker to get alerts for things like my name, brand, journalists and important phrases. It seems like they tend to pick out different things so the combination is very strong.

Content consumption

By now you’ve likely heard that Google Reader is shutting down. While this caused widespread panic and prompted lots of anxiety about replacement tools, the fact is the technology is pretty simple and this opened the door for some innovation in a long dormant space.

For now, I am sticking with Reeder, a Mac based laptop, iPad, iPhone app that relies on Google Reader but says it will replace the underlying technology. I really like the interface and love that I can interact with a piece of content in the app by sharing, bookmarking or saving in a variety of ways. I use it with Buffer to share lots of content to Twitter and Facebook.

I think it’s worth noting that many people have also started to embrace tools that surface content based solely on category or the recommendation of friends rather than sticking to content produced only in blogs they subscribe to. I’ve started to use a service called Newsle in this fashion.

Social dashboard

I have been an avid Tweetdeck user for years but recently made the switch to HootSuite. For me Tweetdeck was getting a bit tired in terms of innovation. While it took a little bit of time to embrace the somewhat more complex interface of Hootsuite, I’ve grow to like the tabbed profiles approach and the fact that you can get so much more information on individual profiles and tweets. I also like some of the integrations available. For example, with one click I can add people who I interact with on Twitter or that get added to a list, based on search terms in Hootsuite, to my CRM tool.

Social CRM

This last element is a crucial piece of the engagement puzzle. I currently use two CRM tools. I use Nimble for the daily interactions that I have or should have with clients, influencers, authors, partners and prospects for various types of projects. Nimble allows me to create a unified messaging platform that includes email and important social networks. This way I can view a record of what these important groups of people are saying and doing in real-time and what I’ve said to them over the course of many interactions. Access to this level of information helps turns transactions into trackable conversations.

In addition to Nimble I use Infusionsoft to run the many ecommerce functions of my business such as shopping cart, list segmentation, follow-up and email marketing in general.

The key to making this part of the communication cycle work is that most of these tools talk to each other and almost all are available in synced versions on the desktop and on a variety of mobile devices and tablets.

So, that’s it for now, until, well it isn’t. Always love to hear about tools you find useful.

8 The Golden Age of Social Lead Targeting Has Arrived Fully

In the beginning, you know about five years ago, some smart sales types discovered the awesome power of mining social networks for leads. In a way it was like the early prospectors digging around and bumping into gold with little more than an idea and some hard work staking claims. (This post I wrote in 2010 about mining Twitter for leads remains one of my most shared posts)

But now we’ve moved past the point of crude social lead digging to a much more elegant phase in which prospective clients can be discovered, scored and nurtured using social networks and everyday relationship building tools.

In fact, the practice has become so accepted it now has several names – social selling and social lead targeting. (By the way I’ve curated a list of CRM tools at the bottom of this post that you might want to check out.)

As services such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter grow in importance so too have the tools that mine the rich set of sales data left in every interaction.

But, the big breakthrough in social selling occurred, in my opinion, when tools that mined social data started talking to each other.

No longer do we need the mammoth do everything in one enterprise type tools to compete. A lone salesperson with a Hootsuite and Nimble account and about $20 a month can become a social lead targeting ninja.

Now, I’m not saying that some of those more expensive and more complicated tools aren’t awesome. Heck, if you’ve got the budget, full-time IT support and someone to pull the levers and adjust the mirrors, go for it!

But, if that’s not you, let me ask you this.

Would it be helpful if you could easily find people searching for your products on, say, Twitter?

Okay, no magic there, anybody with a little Twitter search mojo has been able to do that for years now, but . . .

  • What if you could also instantly know everything those people are doing on other social networks?
  • Who they are, who they are connected to and how to contact them in several channels?
  • What if you could easily create a contact record that unified all of your communication with them?
  • What if you could then start to track what they did on your website and how they reacted to your emails?

First off, you can easily do all of this and more with little or no tech support for less than $100 a month.

Do you think that could make you a better sales person?

I’ve only mentioned Twitter so far, but you can do the same kind of discovery and targeting on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ as well with the right tool set up and integration.

And building targeted lists is only one way to look at what I’m talking about. You can also build a connected network of your customers, share targeted insights and facilitate engagement and partnerships better when you adopt this kind of targeting mindset.

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Here I’ve used Hootsuite to find someone on Twitter that I want to connect with, so with one click I’ll add them to Nimble for a complete picture and connection record for future engagement.

The key piece of the puzzle is integration. Hootsuite is a great tool, but integrated with Nimble, it’s a power tool.

I can easily build a list in Twitter based on search criteria and then with one click add selected list members to the Nimble CRM tool for a complete picture of the prospect along with unified messaging. So, now if I reach out to that prospect by way of a subtle connection tweet, Nimble captures our entire conversation, shows me the prospect’s social stream and their key connections in one screen.

As much as I’ve grown to appreciate the power of a true social CRM tool, integrating it with a lead tracking and capture tool like Hubspot further allows me to score the interest of my leads and keep an entire record, not only of my direct interactions, but also their interactions with my content and landing pages.

Integration is also what allows most CRM tools to talk to most email service providers.

I’ve written previously about a specialty service called Zapier that allows you to create your own integrations where none exists. For example, you might want to create special record in Nimble when someone buys something through your 3rd party shopping cart – no problem, create a Zapier integration and get busy with better follow-up.

Social is not so much a channel as it is a behavior that allows for much richer listening, targeting, nurturing, learning and converting. The key is to bake social data and signals into your entire prospecting and sales process as a mindset using tools that put this vital set of data at your fingertips.

The real skill then becomes using this information to add value!

I’ve added a list of CRM tools and hope you’ll share your thoughts and insights.

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