Review: Nimble is a powerful CRM system for business users
If you're having trouble keeping up with email, events, and multiple social networks, you might be considering an all-in-one solution. Free and simple options such as MultiMi or Fanmix turn your social networks into one big inbox, but if you're running a business, have a team to manage, or simply like to see all your activities in one place, give Nimble ($15 per month per user, feature-limited free version for personal use only) a try.
Nimble is more than just a social media dashboard: It's a full CRM system. It connects your Google accounts (including Google+), Facebook, Facebook Pages, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare accounts under one roof. You can also add your Google Calendar, and import Outlook CSVs or any other contact CSVs. Unlike regular social clients such as TweetDeck or HootSuite, Nimble puts emphasis on interaction and individuals, and not on your social streams.
Nimble is a Web app, so there's nothing to download. After signing up, start by adding your email and social accounts. You can choose to import up to 30,000 contacts from different networks (3,000 contact for Personal accounts), or simply connect your accounts without importing. The import process is surprisingly quick, and by the time you finish going through the introduction tour, all your contacts will be available in Nimble.
The Messages tabs contains all your interactions from all over the Web.
Nimble's dashboard includes five main tabs: Activities, Contacts, Deals, Messages, and Social. In Contacts, you will find a full list of all your contacts from all the networks you added to Nimble. Duplicate contacts are pretty common despite Nimble's automatic merge feature, but you can easily merge them manually. When looking at contacts, you can read their social streams, see related contacts, read your personal history with the contact and sometimes find other social profiles you're not yet connected to. If you're running a business, this can give you easy background information and remind you of previous conversations.
The messages tab is your communication hub for all your networks and contacts. Here you can view all your interactions in conversation view, either in one central inbox or divided by network. If you're managing several large networks, you know how easy it is to miss an email, a Facebook comment or a tweet. With Nimble's inbox, everything is under one roof, and you can easily see what's been taken care of and what needs attention. You can seamlessly interact with your contacts regardless of network, or send out general status updates, which can even be scheduled. You can archive, delete, or star your conversations, and also convert them into tasks.
The activities tab, which can synchronize with Google Calendar, is much more than a simple calendar. In Nimble, tasks can be associated with contacts, assigned to other Nimble users on your team, tagged, starred and more. You can view your tasks in list view, where you can sort them by tags, who they are assigned to, etc., or in regular calendar view. Tasks and events you add to Nimble synchronize nicely into your Google Calendar. Unfortunately, this doesn't work as well in the opposite direction, and events from Google Calendar did not appear in Nimble automatically.
In the Contacts tab, you can view contacts from all your networks.
The last two tabs, deals and social, are aimed at more specific needs. In deals, you can integrate your business with your social activity by adding upcoming business deals you want or need to close. The social tab is where you can focus on your actual social networks, read your streams, view your own profile and search your social feeds.
Nimble is one of the only services to integrate Google+ into its dashboard, but due to API restrictions, this integration is not complete. As a result, you can only view your Google+ contacts and read their streams, and won't see Google+ featured in the social tab.
Nimble is a serious solution for business, and while it does offer a free option, it's too complex to be of use to a private user. With its daily engagement opportunities email, the ability to drill down into contacts, its Gmail plugin and with integrations with third-party services like MailChimp and Wufoo, Nimble's $15/month business plan could help a manager connect and keep in touch with users and customers. Nimble's Business account is free to try for 30 days, so there's nothing to lose.
Note: The "Try it for free" button on the Product Information page takes you to the vendor's site, where you can use the latest version of this Web-based software.
Copyright (c) 2012 PCWorld Communications, Inc.
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