I was taking a look at Nimble, the Twitter-centric social CRM tool, because the company made some announcements this week about new integrations, with Zapier, Freshdesk, and Import2. The Zapier integration is pretty interesting, because it opens the door to a long list of apps — like Salesforce.com and Quickbooks — whose APIs are accessed by Zapier in structured ways. For example, imagine sending GoToWebinar sign ups into Nimble for better customer management.
I recently wrote about social email (see Dragging email into the 21st century), imaging that I got an email from a third party that I wanted to discuss with my colleague David Card:
Perhaps I’d like to ask David a question before responding to the email. What I’d like to do is treat the email as an object and then have a private comment thread with David about the email.
Today the typical pattern is to create a second email exchange to discuss the first email, which has a number of problems: the first email is either out of context, or gets embedded in second by forwarding or by pasting as text. All these options are bad, really.
Besides, David and I talk all the time, and we share tasks frequently. So I don’t want to communicate with him in the email lowest common denominator form factor.
Or taking it a step farther, imagine that I want to punt on the email, and assign the response to David. In a naked email world, I’d indicate that through another email.
But in a social email system, I would be able to assign David a task, to review the email thread, and after a give-and-take with me in a social layer, one of us would then respond to the third party, moving back to the externally oriented email to close the loop.
I thought I’d see if Nimble implemented something like this. Nimble sort of supports this, but the implementation falls way short.
Nimble — in a nutshell — is a lightweight social ‘relationship management’, or social selling tool. It’s primary orientation is to allow a close integration to Twitter and email, pulling in messages from those two sources and putting them into a unified inbox. Nimble is a team tool, so in principle I could assign a task to David that linked to an email, but it doesn’t work. Here’s an example of me trying to do something like that:
I had opened an email in Nimble, and one of the options is to create a task based on the email. However, instead of embedding or linking to the email thread, Nimble copies the first few lines of text from the specific email, and pastes that into a notes field. Fail. A URL to the email would be better, but even that is far short of preserving the thread. Yes, I could have assigned this to David, but he wouldn’t have sufficient context to do anything.
However, I tried the same thing out with a tweet, and since tweets are short, the text cut-and-paste actually leads to an acceptable result, although the possible Twitter thread is lost.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive review of Nimble as a social selling tool. In fact, I haven’t touched on those capabilities at all. But in terms of implementing what I am calling social email, it falls short. It does however possibly serve as a mechanism for taskifying your Twitter interactions, although I think there are other task management tools that would do a much better job of that, honestly. However, Nimble’s real value proposition is to pull people’s contact information from Twitter and email, and then manage messages as part of sales campaigns. I shouldn’t criticize too hard because they don’t do social email, per se, although it seems to me that the basic features I am looking for would benefit their core constituency, too.