Nimble (social business platform) announced yesterday that Google Ventures and a boat load of other companies and angel investors including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Jason Calacanis, Don Dodge, Dharmesh Shah, and others have invested $1 million in Nimble.
This announcement is important as it represents one of the big pillars in small business software in the cloud – social crm.
Office software, such as Microsoft Office and accounting software, such as Intuit QuickBooks or Sage Peachtree have been one of the KEY traditional software purchases that every small business makes, for the past 20 or so years.
However, many small businesses are now considering many more software as a service offerings to run their businesses. Of course there are still MANY traditional software installs on computers, but SaaS is definitely dominating with each year.
One of the big drivers of SaaS offerings for small businesses are tools to listen to social media streams, respond to these streams and overall manage this interaction in the context of customer service and pro-active content creation and engagement – things that my friend Brent Leary speaks about quite often. This is why Google Ventures and their investment team has backed Nimble. Content is king – listening and producing it.
One of the biggest companies in this space, of social CRM, is Salesforce.com, and their partner Dell (see my article on Dell’s cloud moves here) is quickly advancing a world of no software.
Nimble, BatchBook, SalesForce.com, 37Signals HighRiseHQ allow you to listen to customer conversations on social networks, respond to these customers in context and overall manage the entire customer experience.
As your small business is looking to grow there are four critical cloud computing or SaaS pillars you must have:
- Collaboration and Communication (internal) – Google Apps, Office 365, Zoho, HyperOffice (including your phone system Ring Central, Skype, etc)
- Social Customer Relationship Management – BatchBook, Nimble, Salesforce.com, HighRiseHQ, others
- Cash Flow / Financial Management – QuickBooks, PeachTree, Outright, Indinero
- Content Creation and Management Tools – WordPress, Tumblr
- Software specific to your industry
Focus on learning these tools and learning them well – this is the new software your business must use and leverage for 2012.
If you are deaf to your customer. They’ll be deaf to you.
You’ll be marketing to them but the response won’t be as great as it could be or it will be simply a miserable failure. Building LONG term customer relationships is beyond a CPC campaign or TV commercial – it’s being in TUNE with each and other customer. The only way to do that is by leveraging social crm and executing on a content production strategic.
Part of this social crm is also analyzing your keywords, your analytics – gaining as much intelligence about your customer – aggregately and individually as you can.
Still don’t believe me:
- - The competition today is stronger than it was 10 or 20 or 50 years ago
- - Your customer has access to more information about the products you sell
- - Your customers can easily speak to other customers about they’re good or bad experiences with you
- - Customers want to feel special (social CRM is the new mint on the pillow)
- - Face to face customer lunches are great, but MUST be complimented with social media listening – 24/7
- - Issuing press releases and getting media attention is not enough. You must create your own content, that is found by customers and others and be your own media.
Mashable has a neat write on this here.