OUR STORY Hi, my name is Jon Ferrara. I am the founder and CEO of Nimble. I welcome you to our community and invite you to join us on our journey. At Nimble, we are dedicated to empowering small businesses in today’s socially connected world to collaborate more efficiently, to build deep and trusting relationships by listening to all prospects and engaging them where they are conversing, and to attract and retain the right customers for building enduring success. And we are doing that with our new Relationship Management solution. Before I tell you about Nimble, I’d like to tell you a little about myself, including how I got started in this industry.
It was over twenty years ago that I envisioned and founded GoldMine, an early pioneering product in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Sales Force Automation (SFA) category. I developed the idea of GoldMine while I was part of a sales team for a computer company. A group of us was tasked with developing and growing business relationships in order to better sell our networking products. At the time, we were managing our contacts and schedules with paper-based calendar/address books called Day Timers. Our team communicated via email and voicemail, and our forecasts were tracked on electronic spreadsheets that we emailed to corporate once a month. These disparate tools were not working well together.
I saw an important need for an application that would help us communicate and collaborate as a team, connect those communications back to our prospects and customers, track what’s pending and who’s going to do it, what’s been done and who’s done it. I wanted a system that not only automated our marketing and sales activities, but would manage the sales pipeline so that we could keep our finger on the pulse of our business. After failing to find a solution that fit our needs, I created my own with a college friend, and we called it GoldMine.
GoldMine had a simple user-interface design and combined contact management, sales automation, team collaboration, network scheduling and email… all in a package that was easy and affordable for an entire company to use.
We started the company with about $3,000. We never accepted venture capital or bank loans, and over time, we grew the company organically to be the leading Customer Relationship Management solution for Small Businesses. GoldMine was a success not just because we had a unique product that served a need others didn’t, but because of our commitment to our customers, our belief in our team and our love of helping people and companies grow. Also critical to our success was our belief in partnering with Value Added Resellers (VARS) and third party developers. They were an extension of our company in the field, enabling us to understand the needs of our users and implement successful solutions that met their goals.
After ten years, we had grown the company to over 350 people serving more than 1.5 million users worldwide. I sold the company but never really left the CRM world. An entrepreneur at heart, I watched, and listened, and joined the social conversation. In my next post, I’ll share with you what I have learned, how I see the market has evolved, what the critical issues are, and why we are introducing a new product to solve the social business challenges we are all facing today.