Role: Director of EMEA
How you might know him: Richard was previously the Technical Director of AVG, the UK distributor of GoldMine. He was also the EMEA CRM manager for BMC software.
I’ve been involved in the CRM industry for the past 16 years and I have to say it’s been quite a ride. I meet Jon Ferrara, founder of GoldMine Software, back in 1996 whilst the Technical Director at AVG (the then UK distributor of GoldMine). This was the early days of CRM so in those days we called it SFA, something that I still believe needs to be at the center of any CRM system today. Back then GoldMine was the market leader, innovating the work place and winning award after award. It was a real buzz being at the forefront of something that pioneered and established CRM and changed the way we do business today.
Bitten by the CRM bug and Jon’s enthusiasm for the subject I co-founded several start-ups specializing in the implementation of CRM and even did a stint as the EMEA CRM manager for BMC software. Life was good, Jon in the meantime sold GoldMine (curse him!) and moved on to pastures new.
Whilst that took place, CRM developed and new players entered the market. However, somewhere in the mix, CRM lost its way; it became more about business process enforcement and less about relationship management. Where CRM put the customer in the center of all things, most companies deploying CRM used it to ensure the worker bees followed procedure. Don’t get me wrong, business process enforcement is needed, but it shouldn’t replace or stifle the individual’s ability to build relationships with customers, to go that extra mile and make a raving fan customer. In my view, it’s all about building relationships with people.
Enter Jon, back with a new product – Nimble. Social Media has a lot of hype around it, but it has a lot of raw data to back it up and the facts can’t be argued with. So I sat down and reviewed Nimble. Having been through it, I thought someone must have already done this a million times… turns out no they hadn’t and those that had, didn’t really have a clear vision of where they wanted to be. Jon brought a credible product and more importantly vision for where Nimble would be going and where the direction of the market place should be heading.
So there it was, Nimble – Social CRM. A product that was bringing the R – Relationships back in to CRM, putting the customer interaction first and winning hearts and minds. This I liked, this I could be part of. The rest as we say is history, Jon called, we talked, turns out Jon has a number of the GoldMine crew onboard as well. The opportunity to get the EMEA operations off the ground couldn’t be missed.
It has to be said I’m really looking forward to engaging with the partners and customers in Europe. I believe Nimble offers a great opportunity for small businesses, helping them to compete with the big boys in economically challenging times by delivering on Social CRM.