In the Meantime, and Thanks to Friends, I’m Back

 Many thanks to the help of several Toastmasters friends and to the encouragement of Nimble folks, I’m back from four chemo treatments for breast cancer.  Radiology will be next. I will always be grateful to my Toastmasters friends who took me to and from the chemo treatments which made me quite sleepy and unable to drive. 

Back in November, I swore I would not wear a pink ribbon.  I swore that I would not wear a skull cap, a baggy beanie, a turban or a do-rag to hide what I knew would soon be my completely bald head.  I did indulge my love for hats. As you see in my picture, I also  got a pixie cut,  so that I had a little more control over how much hair would fall out and when.  But I did cheat on the pink thing.  My hand-made Christmas cards featured a pair of pink boots.  However, I’m still not wearing a skull cap, a baggie beanie, a turban or a do-rag.  Those are just not me.

In the meantime, Nimble—our Social CRM—has  blossomed into Nimble Personal and Nimble Business.   Pricing for both Nimble Personal and for Nimble Business were announced.  Orders for Nimble are rolling in from people  like you who know that their customers—and future customers—are already on FaceBook, LinkedIn and Twitter. And they want to see them all—and connect with them all—in one place.  So they are signing up for Nimble.   It’s your turn. Nimble Personal—which will always be free—is available here.  Nimble Business—at an extremely competitive price for small to medium businesses  is here.  What’s more, What’s New with Nimble is right here.

Cheers, all!

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A word from a Hero

Jon Ferrara, the CEO of Nimble, may not know that he is one of my corporate heroes.  (Hi, Jon!)

This morning Jon sent out the message that Nimble partners have been waiting to see.  Here is what Jon said.
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As we approach the one-year anniversary of releasing our Nimble beta, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for supporting our company. I am humbled that more than 15,000 users have signed up over the last nine months with thousands spending almost four hours a day managing their social relationships and growing their businesses with Nimble. I knew it was going to be an enormous challenge when we set out to create a new paradigm for CRM in 2010. We wanted to enable businesses to manage Relationships & Social Engagement in a simple and elegant way. I am excited to tell you that we are weeks away from being “core vision complete” and will be releasing a major new version of Nimble in January 2012 that we are testing with select users today.
As you know, Nimble has been free during our testing phase. We wanted to wait until Nimble was something worth paying for…something truely helpful in growing a business. I am proud to say that Nimble is now ready to help you Turn Your Social Communities into Customers for Life. With our upcoming new product launch this January, we will start charging for Nimble. A free single-user version of Nimble for basic Social Relationship Management will still be available. For business users who utilize Nimble as a team and need more professional functionality, we will be charging $15 per user per month. As a special thank you to everyone who has been a Nimble user prior to enacting this change, I would like to extend a 90-day free period on their Business accounts applicable once we intiate charging. More details on pricing here.

It would be wonderful if we could offer Nimble for free for everyone forever; however, I know you can understand that to continue to grow and meet the needs of our users, and to continue providing super cool new technologies, it is necessary to monetize our platform. Speaking of super cool new technology, please join me for a webinar this week to see the new Nimble features planned for our January 2012 release.

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Jon Ferrara

It’s Official: We are now Solution Partners with Nimble

We are proud to announce our solution partnership with Nimble. Nimble Contact is a social CRM platform that combines relationship management and social engagement into an affordable web-based solution.  It integrates LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google, email contacts and conversations into one seamless, intuitive environment, empowering small businesses in today’s socially connected world to attract and retain the right customers.

Created by Jon Ferrara, the founder of GoldMine, a pioneering SFA/CRM product, Nimble Contact is the only solution on the market that integrates the “4 Cs” — contacts, calendar, communications and collaboration — to enable professionals to effectively manage the way they see, hear and connect with their company’s most important asset: their business contacts.

“The problem today is our contacts and our communications are in too many places,” said Jon Ferrara, CEO of Nimble. “Between IM, text messaging, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Skype and email, we can’t keep track of it all. Trying to manage all of this in eight different tabs on your browser isn’t the solution. We created Nimble to solve our own needs and we’re bringing it to the world to help small businesses solve theirs.”

We are pleased to offer our customers Nimble Contact which unifies email, calendar and social channels in one application.  This will allow our customers to easily see all of the communications made with their contacts no matter where the conversations took place.

Nimble Contact is the next evolution in relationship management – a social relationship manager that makes it fun and easy to nurture personal and business relationships. Our goal is to build systems for your organization that will analyze your customers and opportunities, and help your company be more efficient by examining your current business, sales, marketing, and customer service processes.

For more information,  please visit our “What We Do” page or our sister Nimble Partner website.

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The nimble CRM Leadership Revolution: Part II

Susan Ellsworth

The nimble revolution is here. Bye, bye bloat. Hello web-based solution integrated with well-known social networking sites LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and  Gmail. Nimble empowers small businesses in today’s socially connected world to collaborate more efficiently, to listen and engage with their community in order to attract and retain the right customers.

Yes, there are people who are still doubtful about the value of social networking and growing business.  You may be one of them. If you are, here is a resource that talks about how social media monitoring can grow your business. Like me, you may have prererences for a variety of browsers for different purposes.  You may even work on a Mac or on an iPad. I raised the question of compatibility in the nimble LinkedIn group.  Todd Martin, Director of Sales at nimble, responded that “Nimble works on PCs & Macs with either Chrome, IE, Firefox or Safari browsers. We support two versions back on each browser.” Other responses from the beta testing community were also positive in that regard.

Here’s a thought. Since GoldMine founder Jon Ferrara is also the founder of nimble, my bet on the likeliest CRM slated for import to nimble will be GoldMine. That would be the same CRM solution, where in 2009 there were “experts” in the FrontRange community who could not see value in integrating social networking with GoldMine CRM.

Here’s another: a FREE nimble license for up to two users you can get at our Pequod Systems Nimble Partner website .Visit. Click  Contact. Sign up. Yup, it’s that easy.

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Nimble: Love that Revolutionary Leadership!

It’s finally happening!

A hosted fun, friendly Social Customer Relationship Management solution that a small business  can actually afford.  For those who just came into this virtual room, a quick note to explain SCRM. It’s not simply adding FaceBook, LinkedIn or other social networking services to traditional Customer Relationship Management.

In her February 23 blog, Ann All says that

In perhaps the best definition of SCRM I’ve seen yet,  [Bertrand] Duperrin  says SCRM shifts the focus from the “management” aspect of CRM to the “relationship” aspect….As Duperrin writes, it’s “moving from ‘buy my product, it’s the best’ to ‘How can I help you.’” And follow-up gets more emphasis in SCRM, sometimes with a dedicated customer care channel on social media or a “peer care” platform where customers can help each other.

So why am I so excited about the rollout of Nimble Contact? Back on April 11, 2009,   I had reported the results of my advocacy that GoldMine from FrontRange stop ignoring the reality of social networking as it applies to business development. And that FrontRange should begin development along those lines. The result?  Comments from well-known FrontRange GoldMine partner technical “experts” who said things like ” I don’t see how social networking fits into the realm of GoldMine. ” A recent Tweet from FrontRange indicated the company had just joined a LinkedIn cloud computing community.

Fast forward to February 2010. Who contacted us to let us know he had started the Nimble Contact revolution? None other than Jon Ferrara, who also had inspired and led the development of  the original GoldMine customer relationship management product that many small businesses had invested in.  We signed up for the Nimble Contact beta testing and development, and have been following the progress of Nimble Contact for a full year now.  By the time you read this blog, Nimble Contacta software solution for businesses that have chosen applications in the cloudwill have been rolled out.  Here is the demo Ferrera gave today.

Usually, you see the picture of the watchful eye at the end of my blogs. Today, I am happy to say that we are partnering with Nimble, and you will now see the Nimble logo not only here but also on our Nimble Partner Website and on our Pequod Systems website as well.


Welcome, Nimble Contact !

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Revisiting the Wisdom of two Toastmasters

by Susan Ellsworth

A few months ago, a fellow Toastmaster observed that the real value of our program is not what one does inside our meeting room walls….it’s what we do outside our meeting places with what we learned within the program. Years before Pequod Systems was formed, I was sitting in a Toastmasters meeting and hearing comment about the actions of a member that the group did not quite approve of. Finally, one Toastmaster looked around to the group and said, “You know, there really is value in negative examples. You can learn what NOT to do.” In their own way, both these Toastmasters validate our operating belief in telling the outside world that customers deserve products that have been well-tested and that they are not beta testers for products pushed to market before they are thoroughly well-tested and debugged.

Lately I have been reminded of one of our core values. We believe it is inappropriate to promote to our customers—let alone deliver—products that were frankly pushed out the door too soon. Recently a significant upgrade of a product we know about was released. Within days, I was reading complaints from the manufacturer’s partners that said

“But even beyond firing up exotic new hardware, I think [company] could do more to improve overall [product] performance. As mentioned a few times above, performance drops are completely expected when users upgrade from [version] and [version] (of course no one wants to be told this _prior to _ upgrading, else they’d never upgrade). Performance is almost always the first thing users complain about after upgrading. Some customers have even threatened to force us to roll them back to their old [product] version, which of course sends us scrambling to do anything we can to eek out more performance.

Of course, we could just require all upgrades to have brand new, dedicated high powered servers (even if their existing server meets the min [product] specs). But I’m not even all that convinced that the performance issues are strictly related to the server alone. I think the [product] client app itself is also to blame for sluggish-ness, at least in part (yes, on machines that meet the min reqs). So that would mean, not only upgrading the main server but also workstations. This has the net effect of pushing the overall upgrade cost beyond the reach of many customers.”

For this reason, when a new product is released, we watch for comments and avoid treating our customers like beta testers who pay us for the privilege of using software that has not been thoroughly tested and is not ready for distribution. The connection with those Toastmasters? Over the more than twenty five years we have been associated with Toastmaster, we have learned to articulate and share with others our core values.  Delivering quality products is one of them.

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Technology Past and a Bet on the Future

Susan Ellsworth

We all have rituals in our lives. One of ours is to get together on December 31 or January 1 with a friend of ours from the Eastern shore of Maryland. On December 31, he brought his iPad with him, and our discussion about technology ran something like this.

When Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak first rolled out Apple computer in 1976, their assumption most likely was that if they built a better mousetrap, the world would beat a path to their door. When Bill Gates started Microsoft, Gates believed that if he promoted his operating system widely, included necessary tools  and got it installed on all the new small pc’s being rolled out, the world would create and roll a carpet to his door. Gates was right, and Microsoft was initially more successful than Apple.

So why am I now reading eMail newsletters that talk about the Apple iPad in the corporate workplace?

Consider one of the smarter moves that Apple made in the 1990’s. Almost as if by magic, Apple Macintosh computers started appearing in public schools. The children in those schools became comfortable with the way the Apples worked. Those children grew up and today are the decision-makers in corporations who remember those Apple computers. They are the ones using the iPads and going to “cloud computing.”

Or consider this software scenario. Back on April 11,2009, I was wondering out loud if Front Range Solutions, the manufacturer of GoldMine, had a purely technical focus rather than a marketing focus—and just who [was] being listened to—and who had contributed significantly to FrontRange’s lack of planning so that GoldMine Premium Edition was not working with with social networking applications.  I wondered if this situation were the total lack of awareness of a sea change in marketing strategies. Lack of incentive ? Lack of customer access to the FrontRange movers and shakers that make it happen?

Today GoldMine Premium Edition still is not integrated with social networking, still is not Software as a Service, and still is not in the cloud. Has FrontRange has concluded that the midmarket is ignoring social networking? How long will FrontRange continue along this path before it is abandoned by its midmarket target?

In an interesting twist of fate, Jon Ferrara —the creator of the product GoldMine and co-founder of the company GoldMine Software— concluded that “most of the vendors that used to serve the small business market have either taken their eye off the ball or have tried to move up-market in price and features. They have abandoned their traditional users and partners and have left a large hole in the space that GoldMine used to fill. “He created a new company and product “to address the needs of the small business CRM community including its end users and Solutions Partners. ” He predicted that “Nimble CRM, a SaaS CRM system for the small business market, will be launched in 2010. It will be lean, mean, affordable and of course Nimble. In addition to all of the features you would expect in a CRM system it will have cutting edge features that leverage the internet including tight social networking integration, web and blog site integration, and great email marketing. “[LinkedIn Nimble group] As with many technical product launches, the beta testers found and reported a few more issues than a responsible company would roll out to the public. Nevertheless, I believe that Ferrara—a guy with a record of success—will succeed with Nimble.

What remains to be seen includes the computing platforms (smart phones and iPads, for example) we see in the schools today that will thrive and be the corporate tools of choice when the students of today are the CIOs of tomorrow.  It also includes  well-developed, flexible softwares easily accessed by the computing public.

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The Fine Art of Back-Pedaling on a GoldMine Offer

Susan Ellsworth

On very rare occasions, I have to back pedal on something I said or did. Or did not do. Today is one of those days. In my March 25 blog, some of the data I posted about the latest GoldMine Premium Edition offers were just plain wrong.

Here is what I should have said.

First: All the promotions below expire on April 30, 2010. To take advantage of these offers, please contact Pequod Systems before April 26.

Welcome Back to GoldMine is an offer for GoldMine Corporate Edition Customers who have been off of maintenance for more than six (6) months and who now want to upgrade to GoldMine Premium Edition with a minimum of five (5) seats. All existing seats of GoldMine must be upgraded. Please contact Pequod Systems before April 26 to take advantage of this offer.

The bottom line from Front Range for such a customer with five seats of GoldMine is $2,940. Here are figures showing a sample breakout for five (5) licenses.

The Upgrade from Corporate Edition to GoldMine Premium Edition is for customers who are currently on maintenance, and who will upgrade with a minimum of five GMPE seats. All seats must be upgraded.   This FrontRange offer for five seats at $488.00 per seat includes a required $139.00 annual maintenance.

Then there is the Director’s Special for Standard Edition users. The FrontRange offering is an upgrade at $544 per seat, including $139 per seat required maintainance.  A minimum of six (6) seats is required.  Standard Edition users please note:  GoldMine Premium Edition with multiple users requires a server and workstations.

Once again, the fine print
There is no return for any reason. Clients will be invoiced for renewal at the then current rates. The sale is final and non-returnable.  That includes the End User License Agreement.

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More GoldMine Premium Edition Offers: Gotchas Not Included

Susan Ellsworth

It goes against our grain to lure customers or prospects in with an apparent low price for product or service, and then suddenly hit them up with hidden extra fees. There. I’ve said it.

Here are the latest GoldMine Premium offers from FrontRange, including additional charges that come directly from FrontRange.  Pequod Systems is a GoldMine (FrontRange) partner, so I am definitely not commenting about FrontRange or any other FR partner.

I am talking about Pequod Systems values. We have been told not to lead with price, but with benefits.  Our relationships with our customers have always been built on transparency right from the start.

Welcome Back To GoldMine is an offer for GoldMine Corproate Edition Customers who have been off of maintenance for more than 6 months and who now want to upgrade to GoldMine Pemium Edition with a minimum of 5 seats.  All existing seats of GoldMine must be upgraded. Please contact Pequod Systems before April 26 to take advantage of this offer.

The bottom line from FrontRange for such a customer with 5 seats of GoldMine is $2,940.  Below are figures showing a sample breakout.

Welcome Back to GoldMine

Upgrade from Corporate Edition to GoldMine Premium Edition is for customers  who are currently on maintenance, and who will upgrade with a minimum of  five  GMPE seats. All seats must be upgraded. This FrontRange offer for five seats at $449.00 each comes to $2,245.  The FrontRange requirement for $139 per seat annual maintenance upgrade multiplied by five seats comes to $695.00.  Total offer for an upgrade for customers currently on Corporate Edition with only five seats of CE: $2940.00.

Then there is the Director’s Special for Standard Edition users. Evidently there are still a few Standard Edition users out in the hustings. The FrontRange offering is an upgrade  is for $499.00 per seat. That price does not include the $139.00 for maintenance.  Also, there is a minimum of six (6) seats required. Thus, the software investment for six seats would be $3828. Standard Edition users please note:  GoldMine Premium Edition with multiple users requires a server and workstations around it.  Please do not try to use one person’s workstation as a server.

Bottom line for these offers? Don’t be fooled if you see announcements saying “Welcome Back To GoldMine! Flat fee of $500 ! Upgrade for $349 – includes SQL 2008 for WorkGroups !” Think again if you see announcements that say CE to PE $449 includes SQL 2008 for Workgroups.” Ask for the numbers behind the numbers.

Some other fine print
There is no return for any reason. Clients will be invoiced for renewal at the then current rates. The sale is final and non-returnable.  That includes the End User License Agreement.

Remember, you got your numbers and fine print here at Pequod Systems.

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GoldMine Premium Edition Spring Bundles!

Susan Ellsworth

FrontRange has recently announced the following GoldMine Premium Edition offers, which are good only through April 30th, 2010.

Small Business  Bundle Offer : For the small business who want to purchase three (3) user licenses of GoldMine Premium Edition.

A user can buy 3 licenses of GoldMine Premium Edition for $1,995 including new product upgrades for a period of one year.  This offer includes MS SQL 2008 Workgroup, but does not include Crystal Reports®. Renewals after the 1st year will be $695.  No FrontRange telephone support is included in this package. Telephone support will be the responsibility of the partner.

Starter Pack Promotional Bundle: For Company wishing to purchase 5 user licenses of GoldMine Premium Edition

Five (5) licenses of GoldMine Premium Edition for $2,995 including maintenance for one year.  This offer includes MS SQL 2008 Workgroup.

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