March 10, 2015

Expert Interview: Social CRM and Social Selling with Jon Ferrara

Jon Ferrara (@Jon_Ferrara) is the CEO and founder of Nimble. Ferrara is also known as the co-founder of GoldMine CRM Software Corp. He was one of the early pioneers in Sales Force Automation and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software for small to medium sized businesses.

I invited Jon Ferrara on the show to discuss the social selling (#SocialSelling) approach to networking, the evolution and trends in Social CRM Software, and how to find a new CRM program that can help you truly engage your customers.

Here are a few of the highlights from our conversation:

(1:27) TECHNOLOGYADVICE: “People don’t buy great products, people buy a better version of themselves.” What does that mean and why is that such a cornerstone of everything you teach and believe in at Nimble?

JON: I truly believe that we are on this planet to serve other human beings. The more people you can help grow the more you’ll grow. And ultimately, I think we’re on this planet to grow our souls and let other people grow theirs. And we do that by being present with other people, by listening to their passion, their plan, their purpose and helping them achieve that and through that sharing, through that connection, magic occurs. And that’s all we leave this planet with, we don’t leave it the money, we don’t leave it with our Facebook connections, our LinkedIn connections. We leave it with people that we’ve served. And so, I truly believe when you’re out there as a business person, don’t talk about yourself, don’t talk about your products. Talk about how you can help people make better decisions faster, how you can help them grow. I truly believe people don’t buy great products, they buy a better version of themselves. Which you want to do is figure out how you can help people achieve their passion, plan and purpose. And so, I think at the heart of all these is people’s net worth is their network, it’s their brand. And I think that one of the things we’re serving with Nimble is we’re powering people. 

(11:17) TA: Do you feel like there ever will be a time when the salesperson is no longer needed because of technology automation?

JON: No. I believe that connecting with people and that the world is powered by people. … I believe the more digital we get, the more human we need to be. .. The modern social business has to be listening and engaging with the social customer in their buyer journey because it’s not funnel. It’s more of a pretzel, it’s a circle, it’s a dance and you need to be able to walk in your digital footprint with your prospects and customers and do what I call as the 5 E’s of social business – educate, enchant, engage, embrace and empower your customers. And you do that by teaching them, by inspiring them, by educating them. And if you do that properly, they will see you as a thought leader and when they make buying decisions or their friends need something they’ll buy from you or recommend to their friends to go connect with you. “If you teach people to fish, they’ll figure out you sell fishing poles.”

So if you look at my tweets, I’d say that 70% of them is teaching and about 10% of them is what’s going on with Nimble and another 10% is just my human being. Just me sharing who I am because I think that you need to expose a little bit of your heart and soul so people see who you are so that connection with you is a little deeper beyond just the business stuff.

(15:05) TA: When someone implements social CRM software into their workflow, what are a few basic ways to get started and to make sure you’re listening and you’re engaging in the appropriate ways?

JON: I think the biggest problem with CRM systems you have to go to them to use them. Nobody wants to go to the CRM because we’re all working. We’re all in our inbox, on the phone, and doing all the things we need to do to turn these connections into mutually beneficial business outcomes with your customers. The thing I want to remind people is not just prospects and customers that you need to connect to as a business.  …That’s the biggest problem with CRM is bad data. Bad use, bad data, lack of use. So if you could have the system automatically map who Clark is, where he’s from, where he lives, what he is influential in, when you last contacted him and what the history of all the interactions with you and your team that gives you the starting point to be able to then engage effectively and intelligently. But the thing is, is I think you don’t want to go to a CRM. We all live in our inbox and now more and more in social and LinkedIn and Twitter and Facebook where our customers are having conversations. What’s beautiful about Nimble is it works everywhere you work. So with Nimble what you should do if you are starting with our platform is map in your data and then load our browser plug in and start using the product everywhere you work because what it will do is it will give you the insights on that person no matter where you are. So if I’m on LinkedIn I can go ahead and see Clark’s entire background, not just the resume on what he’s telling me about himself I can go and see everything that I need in order to connect effectively. And then I can do the things I need to do to follow up and follow through because that basic business failure is lack of follow up and follow through. It’s the basics that wins the game.

(19:35) TA:What do you want people to remember you as?

JON: I think it’s my passion for helping people grow. And helping them achieve their dreams. You know, the other day I was walking out of my doctor’s office and this little old man walks out of the office next to me. I looked at him and I recognized him and wasn’t sure who he was. And then I saw it was Mick Jagger. And he was like, he was a tiny guy. He was old and he just looked fragile. And I thought to myself, “I just saw this guy six months ago on a stage in front of a hundred thousand people. Why does a guy who has got more money than he’ll ever spend in his life get out there on the stage and do all these shows every year” And you know Clark I figured that out. It’s the same reason why I do what I do. I love to help people grow. When I got stopped on the street at SXSW or some place and they’re basically saying that the products that we built for them whether it’s GoldMine or Nimble help them grow. Team members that used to work with me, partners that used to work with us, Verge or Third Party Adam product people, when they basically say that we changed their lives, I dig that. And so if you’re going to remember anything about the team that we built and the tools we built or who I am as a person, remember that I want to teach you to be present in your life with the people that matter. And to serve them, help them, and I practice that on a daily basis.

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To learn more about Nimble CRM, visit nimble.com. Listen to the entire show above in order to hear our full conversation, or download the show to listen later. You can subscribe to the TA Expert Interview Series via Soundcloud, in order to get alerts about new episodes. You can also subscribe to just the CRM category here.

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This podcast was created and published by TechnologyAdvice. Interview conducted by Clark Buckner

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