May 22, 2023

Episode 276: Jon Ferrara, Founder & CEO of Nimble

Jon Ferrara is a serial entrepreneur and noted speaker about social, sales, and marketing. He has re-imagined CRM by building Nimble - The Simple CRM for Microsoft 365 & Google Workspace. Ferrara is best known as the co-founder of GoldMine Software Corp, one of the early pioneers in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for Small to Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs). He has been recognized by Forbes as one of the Top 10 Social CEOs, Top 10 Social Salespeople In The World, and Top 100 Marketing Influencers.

Julian:Hey everyone. Thank you so much for joining the Behind Company Lines podcast.Today we have Jon Ferrara. Founder and CEO of Nimble. Nimble is theaward-winning social sales and marketing CRM for individuals and teams. Jon,I'm so excited to have you on this show. Not only because you are the pioneerbehind CRMs and, and almost the creator, inventor, connoisseur of CRMs, butreally, you've seen this not only adoption of, of, client customer relationshipmanagement systems, but also the evolution of it and seeing it bleed into manydifferent industries.

We talked about alittle bit of how it can affect me on the show, but. I'm also thinking aboutways it can affect, other industries in, in terms of like, web three inparticular and how those communities are actually managed by the, these robustsystems. So really excited to chat about, CRMs Nimble and all that.

But before we getinto that topic, what were you doing before you started the company?  

Jon:Well, first off, let me just thank you, Julian, for inviting me to come toBehind Company Lines to have a conversation that I hope in the end. Inspiresand educates your, your community about how they might be able to achieve theirdreams.

Because I thinkthat we're on this planet to grow and we grow best by helping other peoplegrow. Yeah. Answering your question. So before I started Nimble Many years ago,I actually invented contact management in CRM and Mark Automation. BeforeOutlook existed, before Salesforce existed, before any of the Mark automationcompanies existed with a company called goldmine.

And I did thatbecause I struggled with managing my own relationships as a sales rep for atech startup. And there wasn't any tool to do it. So I quit my job, started acompany, bootstrapped it to 125 million a year in revenue. Sold it when I was40 and I retired for 10 years. And what I did in those 10 years, I raised threebabies.

And you're tooyoung to have any kids. Mm-hmm. But I think that as a as a son of parents, youreally understand the value of relationships. Yeah. With a family. And I was giftedwith that ability to spend 10 years being a president, father, husband, andmember of my community. But it also gave me time to swim in the Social River.

And I saw theimmense. Power of social media, how it's gonna change the way we work, play, buy,and sell. I started to look for a relationship manager that incorporated socialconversations and relationships. I couldn't find it. Then I started looking atcontact management in CRM and saw that it was really broken.

Contact managementback then was Google productivity Suite and Microsoft on-prem Outlook. Yeah.And neither was incorporating social and each was a siloed contact database foreach team member. So there wasn't essential Yeah. Contact database for thecompany and none of it incorporated social. And I really believe that socialhas changed the way we work, play by, and sell.

So I, I basicallyfelt the same chords in my head that I felt when I founded Goldmine. Infounding Nimble, which essentially is the next generation of relationship managementincorporating social media contacts in order for you to connect and grow yourbusiness.  

Julian:Yeah, and you mentioned something before the show that was really interestingin terms of this, this phenomenon about keeping this relationship up and, andhow you kind of view your systems as not just ways to pound people with,information outreach, but really to connect with them in different areas anddescribe, what cues you into knowing that social would be such a high valuepiece to, your prospects, people within experience knowing that LinkedIn wasbecoming more popularized.

People weretransacting over, social platforms like Instagram, not even just, b2c typecompanies, but also B2B companies wouldn't particular queue you in that, theecosystem of sales is gonna be around everything outside of your kind of firstpoint of contact and, and really relies on the relationship bits andconversations you have outside of, the business offerings and things like that.

One, how did youkind of, what did you see in terms of signals that, that, I guess. Created thathypothesis, but also how has that relationship management ecosystem changed as,as social platforms become more and more active?  

Jon:You bet, it's great question. So I believe in what I call the five Fs of lifethat relationships are built on commonalities around friends.

Five Fs was likeI'm slipping there. I'll come back to that. Yeah. But essentially it's what Iused to teach people. When you went into somebody's office and looked at theirwalls, you look at the books, they, the degree of the school they went to, theknickknacks, they collect. All these things are what you have in common withthat person.

And when you gointo somebody's office, you connect on those commonalities to build intimacyand trust, to get them to open up to you about their business issues, which asa professional, you can then solve. And the business commonalities are lessimportant than the personal commonalities cuz that's how people are gonnaremember you and, and the relationships will be sticky.

As opposed to ifyou just are a transactional with somebody. And so this is really the roots ofcrm, which is contact management, and that's why people love things likegoldmine because it was really about empowering that customer facing businesspeople to build a relationship. Today's CRMs aren't about relationships.

CRMs says customerrelationship management. It should say customer reporting management. Becausethe reason they call it Salesforce, you have to force salespeople to use it.Nobody, right mind would use a CRM if they, they weren't beat on to do it. AndI believe the biggest cause of failure of CRM is lack of use in the second baddata.

You have to workfor it by Googling people and type in shit in the computer. And then you haveto go to it to use it. And that's why people don't really use them. And sothat's my roots is relationship contact management. By building theseone-to-one connections that last time, and that's essentially what, when I startedto use social media, I saw it was just like that wall that basically helps youto build the connections.

Yeah, I wanted totake those soft connections I was building in Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn,and bring them into a contact platform because if all you're doing is buildingconnections in these social places and not bringing them into a system that youcan segment and outreach and manage and nurture those relationships.

Then you're, thenyou're aft. Yeah. And so, cause I pioneered invented conduct management crm andI was an early adopter of social media, it was really easy for me to see thefuture built for it.  

Julian:Yeah. And how critical was, building to integrate with all these differentresources initially? Did you, did you start out in that way in terms ofintegrating with like LinkedIn and all these other resources or platforms that,that brought in data, or was that part of the evolution of Nimble part of thedna?

Jon:No, so, so the roots of Nimble and why, why was that important? Yeah, yeah,yeah. The roots of Nimble is very similar to the roots of. Of goldmine, whichis the heart of your relationship system, are the contacts you're connectingto, the conversations that you're having and the activities that you'rescheduling.

So email,contacting, calendar, and so you already have that in Google, in their GoogleProductivity suite, and now in Microsoft 365. But it's a separate contactdatabase for every single team member in those systems. And what you want is aunified contact database from all the siloed places that they are with all thehistory of interactions on email calendar, and ideally social integrated to it.

So then add whopicks up the phone. You know who it is, what happened, who did it, what's gonnahappen? Who's gonna do it? And so we first built a contact system, a CRM thatautomatically unified email, contacting calendar from your Google and thenMicrosoft productivity platforms. And then we tied into all the socialplatforms, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram back in the day,four Square, et cetera.

And we actuallywere able to go to LinkedIn and get, have them give us their public and privateapi. So we were deeper integrated to LinkedIn. Than any other contact platformin the world, including contact, synchronization, all the details on thecontacts, messages, synchronization, notifications the ability to sendmessages, et cetera.

And so we heavilyinvested in the social part of crm, pioneering social selling and social CRM,and that was great. Until LinkedIn offered to buy us but didn't offer enough usenough money, and they wanted us to help them build sales navigator. And theywent on to go ahead and build that. But they cut off the API to us at everyother platform in the market, and then Facebook cut off the API because theydidn't want people building alternative UIs to Facebook.

They want you inFacebook so they can collect all your data. And so slowly the fa the social APIstarted to slip away. So, We had this huge traction early on with yeah, thepioneering social CRM, social selling, and then there was a bit of a burp wherethose those APIs went away and we had to reimagine ourselves.

Julian:Yeah. And how are you, how'd you go about reimagining? Did you reinvest in,building, a, a, a team of engineers to create a platform that is almost like anAPI aggregate to plug into those systems? What in particular were, how'd youget over that hump and, and reintegrate those resources back into yourplatform?

Jon:So originally when I built Nimble, I thought people would live in it and justlike they lived in goldmine, goldmine was outlook for. Tens of millions ofbusinesses around the world. But I realize is that no matter how much we buildthe Nimble platform, people are gonna live where they live, right? We live inour email inbox, we live in LinkedIn, we live in Twitter.

We live in thebusiness productivity apps that we might happen to be using, like you useApollo, et cetera. So I said to myself, really, the future of CRM is a CRM thatautomatically builds itself in the contact siloed contacts in your business,which is your email productivity suite, your social contacts.

And your sales,marketing, customer service and accounting applications. There's contacts inall of them. So we unify all those, automatically enrich with people, companydata, and then work back where you live. So we've built a plugin for Chrome,Firefox, safari, and Edge. That we call normal prospector and it literallyworks in every place you work, so it automatically plugs into Google andMicrosoft email productivity suites works inside email connect and calendar inthose platforms.

But mostimportantly, it works in the social places you engage because we all live inplaces like Twitter and LinkedIn, and then the productivity apps that you usewhatever business apps you use. And maybe the business sites that you visit,the, the articles that you read. So Nimble Prospector, yeah.

Will automaticallybring up a record of any contact that you're looking at on any screen thatyou're on, or automatically build a record for that person so that with oneclick, instead of having to go look up all their stuff in Google, Nimble willautomatically bring down their avatar, their bio, their location, their companyname, the company background information.

And then even giveyou their email so that if you wanted to outreach, you could with template,trackable outreach emails. So rather than having to go buy a CRM and then ZoomInflow or a LinkedIn sales navigator, and then Outreach IO and SalesLoft, whicheach costs a hundred dollars per user per month for $25 per user per month, youcan have all that in Nimble.

Julian:It's so fascinating thinking about how robust the technology is, and, and it'sreally a ahead of the time in terms of, you see a lot of, platforms orcompanies building kind of, it's almost we think about it very much in likedeveloper tools, right? To have a sketchpad or notepad that automatically keepstrack and almost is like a, a, peer long building with them.

But it's similar inthe way that Nimbles. Allowing you to not only engage with your prospects inone area, but understand where you've engaged with them in other areas, anddescribe the impact of that in terms of social selling and what that actuallymeans. I think a lot of people think about, I got a post on LinkedIn, I'vegotta like a bunch of posts, I've gotta comment and things like that.

I don't thinkthat's the case, I think, I think there's other mechanics that keep you reallyrelevant within someone's social ecosystem that then kind of leads to strongrelationships and, and ideally business outcomes. Where, how do you definesocial selling and where do you kind of, what are the tactics and strategiesthat you deploy or that Nimble deploys that are outside of what people thinkabout, which is, like I mentioned, the posting and things like that.

What's a little bitmore active and how do you stay relevant to your prospect?  

Jon:So, lemme come back to the Five Fs cuz I, I, it came back to my head. So it'sfamily, friend, food, fun, and fellowship. These are the commonalities of, ofrelationships. This is the glue that connects us. Yeah. And this is what youwant to build with any human being that you're connecting with on this planet.

And because byhaving that connection, that's 60% of the fuel of a rocket is getting intoorbit or a car getting up 60 miles an hour. But to maintain the orbit takesvery little. So once you've invested in a relationship, then keeping up tospeed is just nudging it every once in a while, like that plate on the pencilthat that guy does in the juggling.

And so, yeah, myphilosophy on social selling is this. You should build an identity in all theplaces that are relevant to your constituency. And I say constituency cuz it'snot just prospect and customers. You want to go after, you want to go aftertheir influencers as well. Mm-hmm. And then give you knowledge where, on adaily basis.

Cuz I believe ifyou teach people to fish, they'll figure out yourself fishing poles. And thenlisten for the engagement that happens on the content that you're sharing. Andif you're not good at writing, then curate people that inspire you in andaround the areas of your promise of product and services.

So that's what Idid to build a new brand in my brand is I shared content from people thatresonated with me. Around social sales and marketing, and then I listened forthem to engage with me and rather than connecting with them and saying, Hey,you wanna buy Nimble? Or, Hey, will you talk about Nimble for me?

What I did is Iconnected with them and I, my philosophy in that is I. Pay people forward,build, pay forward relationships, and the world will come to you. And so Iconnected with them and I did my homework. So I knew who they were and whattheir business is about. I asked them relevant questions and I just shut the Fup and listen for 30 minutes.

If you let somebodytalk, they'll fall in love with you and you'll learn how you can add value to them.Once I then added that value, they naturally said, what are you doing, Jon? AndWhat's up? And I told 'em about Nimble. They started to use it. They startedtalking about it, recommending it. And that's how we get a hundred thousanduniques per month through our website with no advertising.

Yeah. And soinfluential marketing has been key to building both of our, the startups that Ifounded, goldmine and Nimble. It's just with Nimble, we do it from a socialway.  

Julian:Yeah. And the, that word of mouth also kind of organic traffic, is that just,doing good work? Is that accomplishing, a certain particular task?

Is that targeting acertain customer base? What, getting that word of mouth traction is, ischallenging. And, and what are the, I guess the first milestones if you'rethinking back. In the early days of Nimble as a founder, what are those firstmilestones that you should key in on to then kind of perpetuate that momentumand start getting, whether it's people using your product or service, or askingand inquiring, what should I be focusing on, being that, you can kind of bespread in so many different directions being that there's so many priorities,how would you f focus on that earlier if you were to give a, an earlier founderadvice?

Jon:So if you want people to consider your product, you need to touch some frommultiple angles, multiple times. And so if I can get if I can get a influencerthat they trust, Or friend to recommend me. Yeah, that's one touch. If I canget a publication that they trust, or a viewer or a podcast to recommend me,that's another touch.

Yeah. And so whatyou wanna do is you want to create these multiple touches, and that's what wedid. We started with the influencers, and then we went to the publications, thePC magazines and other places that write about articles. The podcast, theblogs, and then we went to the business productivity apps that they trust.

We builtrelationships with Google, with Microsoft, and with Adobe and other companiesthat we integrate with. And then what they did is they started recommending usas the trusted thing, and then their resellers started recommending it, andthen people that they know and trust recommended, and then all of a sudden youbecome a A, a company standard.

And so yeah, thattakes time to build the PR outreach, the influencer outreach, the pressoutreach, the podcast outreach. But we've done all this with zero advertising,so it's absolutely doable and it just takes intelligent investment.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. Shifting gears here, thinking about the, the history of Nimble.

What's beenexciting about where the company has gone up to this point and what inparticular is exciting about the next phase that, Nimble kind of looks in, interms of the direction?  

Jon:Well, I, I wanna start with our roots is conduct management and relationshipmanagement. What I, what I saw when I entered the marketplace 10 years ago isthat, yeah, CRM isn't about relationships.

It's about commandand control and reporting, and it's not really delivering the full suite. Soyou still have to buy. Salesforce ZoomInfo outreach io and you know what I'mtalking about? That's the sale party police stack that all these SDRs at thesestartups are, are paying for it $300 per month.

Yeah. And the repsdon't even know how to use this stuff, so then you gotta hire an admin to doit. And they're not relationship focused. They're really designed formanagement to command and control rather than to empower that, that rep totruly engage and build the relationships. And so I think what makes Nimbleunique is our relationship focus.

That weautomatically build records, that we work with you everywhere you work, andthat our outcome isn't just a deal. Because in most cases, the outcome of engagementis rarely a dollar. In many cases, it's those par for relationships that reallywill accelerate your dollars. And that's what we call workflows.

And so, by having aunique platform that completely differentiates from the traditional pipe drivesor sales forces or HubSpots, I think is really great for our traction, but moreimportantly, getting other people to talk about us. So we built an integrationwith the Microsoft Commercial marketplace and Microsoft is signed up as ourglobal reseller for Nimble.

So we become thesimple CRM for Microsoft 365. If you wanna buy Nimble, you could buy it throughMicrosoft on the AppSource store. You could buy it as a reseller throughdistribution alongside Microsoft 365. And they're paying the distributors andresellers to go push Nimble. Why? They've got Microsoft Dynamics, but it'sreally more of an enterprise crm and the majority of Microsoft customers areSMBs.

And so we sortfilled that gap between Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Dynamics helping grow theresellers and the customers from just using Microsoft 365 to being ready to usethe rest of the Microsoft Product Suite. And so you can't do it alone as astartup, you need to build a community around you. I call it the gar, the theSelf-Sustaining Garden.

You want to buildaround your business of not just prospect and customers, or not even justinfluencers, but it's a whole series of individuals that are involved with yourcommunity, where you are helping them grow and thereby they're helping yougrow. And that's basically how we did it at Goldmine and how we're doing it atNimble today.

And in what'sreally interesting. Is, it's a lot of the same players. Microsoft help us get ahundred million dollars a year ago, 10 years ago, and and they're doing it againtoday.  

Julian:And what made you think about partnering with, was it just a, I guess, a resultof, what you were building, that you partnered with Microsoft cuz you wereintegrating into their platform?

Because from how Ithink about it, it's almost like a channel partner. Having your customer first,customer base being something a little bit smaller, like an s and b company andas a scale needing to add more features. But yeah, that all sounds good inDandy when you think about like, oh, let's give you minimum value and thenyou'll add on other features and you'll pay more money.

But, Nobody, Imean, maybe you do, but most people don't know how to necessarily understandthe mechanics of how to actually accomplish that. What made you think of partneringat Microsoft? Was that kind of channel partnership and others giving you thatability to kind of go upstream? As your companies grow, as your clients grow,how are you able to kind of, I guess, accomplish that tactic?

Being that it's notnecessarily, it, it's a challenging one because it takes a little bit longer interms of that relationship.  

Jon:You bet. Great question. If you think about the most CRM ISVs, Yeah, pipe driveHubSpot, et cetera. They're generating their eyeballs through mostly AdWordsand driving those expensive eyeballs into SDRs and just multiply the dollarsthere.

So like, how muchdoes every lead cost them, which is driving up their costs. So they have toraise their costs because all the costs, and they're, they're, it's a downwardspiral to death of the cost of the CRM tag word in all those AdWords. So, Wehave built our traffic through the pay forward influencer marketing gorilla pr,but the channel with Microsoft, that's how we basically grew goldmine.

And I knew how todo that relationship because. What happened is when we started Goldmine, Novellwas the operating system for networks for small businesses, and we started bypartnering with their resellers. Yeah. And then Microsoft doesn't innovate.They iterate, they wave someone else to build the market.

Then they come intoone that's big enough to build something good enough NT server, and then usetheir muscle, billions of users and hundreds of thousands of ours to dominatethe market. So I saw how Microsoft eight Noel. Yeah. And we basically partneredwith Microsoft by integrating into small business server, anti server, SQLserver exchange server.

And we drove theirfirst party solution with a third party product and then they pushed the crapout of us. So fast forward to today, or, or years ago when I started theMicrosoft relationship, Microsoft didn't have a cloud productivity suite.Google did. They had on-prem exchange servers and Outlook.

And so I sawMicrosoft launch. Office 365, and I knew they'd eat Noel and they haveliterally Microsoft 360 fives dominates today. So I knew if I'd builtintegrations with the products, Microsoft 365, et cetera, Azure ac, that wouldgimme access to the people, which you would gimme access to the programs, andthat I knew how to do that dance.

Microsoft says thismammoth gorilla, and you not gorilla, wooly mammoth. And you can't do it withone person either as a contact at Microsoft or as a contact at your company. Soit takes a team of people working with a team of people there in order to buildthe trust and the relationships. But because of my stature and the industry, Ithink it did open some doors, but you gotta follow up and follow through tomake it happen.

Yeah, and itliterally took us probably seven years to get to where we are. So it's not a.It's not a simple task, but I'll tell you what, by having the trusted advisorof the small businesses who sold the Microsoft 365 recommend Nimble as theadd-on thing on top of it. Yeah. It's been frigging golden.

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. That's brilliant. I, and, and that's just such a great way to kindof, like you said, drive. Drive, first party outcomes with, with third partysolutions is, it's such a brilliant way because it, it integrates and createsthat trusted ecosystem, which is so challenging, cutting through all the noise,all the stuff people talking about.

But that initialbit of trust, I mean, it's crucial for, for, where you know where you'recomfortable, how  

Jon:many million Microsoft 365 businesses are out there, and how many could use ateam contact platform. For the whole company and the sales and productivitymarketing suite that we have on top of that.

And so it's just anatural thing for any Microsoft customer to buy, even if they already have a crm.Cause a CRM is the sales tool for the sales people, but they don't have acontact database for the whole company. And so it's a really easy sale for theMicrosoft solution providers.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. Shifting gears here, what, whether it's external or internal, whatare some of the biggest risks that you think Nimble faces today?

Jon:One of the great things is we've minimized a lot of those risks because ofeliminating our reliance on other people's APIs. So we're not relying on thesocial APIs anymore. We actually will work within those platforms toautomatically work as you dance within Twitter and LinkedIn and Yeah.

And any apps thatyou're using. So besides that, the big thing on everybody's mind is ai, right?Yeah. Like how can you make your, your tools. Better, smarter, faster to assistus all. Yeah. And so that's really where we're leaning in. We've already got achat G P T integration that does some amazing things.

We're not talkingabout public yet, but but I definitely think that the. The companies that seethe future and build for it today, just like we did with social, just like wedid with Goldmine, by pioneering conduct management and CRM and marketautomation before they even were thought to be used. I think that's how companiesstay ahead of the curve.

I definitely thinkthat that Nimble is surfing on the, that wave ready for that next bigthing.  

Julian:Yeah, yeah. Obviously, the, the company's been around for, 10 plus years and,and you've had such success and great, created such partnerships and continuedelivering outcomes. What's the long-term vision if everything goes well, what,what continues to be the long-term vision of the company?

Jon:Well, what's interesting is we've had a lot of inquiries from companies thatreally could use a contact CRM like Nimble, and I think that the biggest.Potential company for us to partner even deeper with is Microsoft. Yeah.Because Microsoft today has Microsoft 365, which is a great email productivitysuite.

But like I said,every, every team member has separate conduct database and their resellerstoday mainly sell plumbing plumbers. They sell IT infrastructure to it decisionmakers, they sell Microsoft 365 backup security migration. Yeah. But they don'tsell any business applications on top. And what we're doing is we'retransforming those Microsoft resellers into solution sellers by getting them tosell their first business productivity app on top.

And then we'rebecoming the Trojan horse to the rest of Microsoft's Crown Jewels, which isAzure, Microsoft Dynamics the power apps, power bi, et cetera. And it's justwhat we did with Goldmine and Microsoft Small Business Server. So, My end goalis to become the relationship platform for hundreds of millions of peoplearound the world, not just crm.

I think contactmanagement is the Blue Ocean opportunity, and I think we're really paved. We'rereally. Position well for that. Secondly to that, I think that everybody in theworld should have a personal crm, and I think that that's a wide openmarketplace because you're branding your network or your net worth, andeverybody should have a a, a system.

They could unifytheir contacts because LinkedIn is not your contact manager. You can't tag, youcan't make notes, you can't segment, you can't outreach, you can't do thebasics. And so I see Nimble not just being the world's small business crm, butreally the world's. Personal CRM and and I think that, I think that in the nearfuture there's probably gonna be an acquisition, not for me to walk away, butfor me to lean in because then I could leverage that company's basic customersthat are resellers, et cetera, to really just blow the doors off this thing.

Yeah. Because I'mnot in it to make another a hundred million dollars. I'm in it to transformpeople's lives. Because a year after I sold Goldmine, I got a head tumor andalmost died. And what that made me realize is that what's my purpose for beingon this planet? So I did some soul searching. Yeah. I did some spiritual work.

And I came to theconclusion I'm on this planet to grow my soul in the brief period of time thatI'm here and the best way for me to grow my souls by helping other people growtheirs. Yeah. And I think that Nimble is the perfect way for people to helpthem achieve their dreams. And so I think there's a higher purpose to Nimble,which is powering people's dreams around the world and and I think that that'sreally what needs to shift in sales.

Most salespeoplethink, how much dollars can I extract from you? But if they shifted that andsaid, how much can I help you grow, then I think that it'll change the waypeople sell. It'll change their purpose of being in business and connecting forrelationships. And I think that the world will unfold to them because DaleCarnegie said, the more people you outgrow, the more you will grow.

Julian:Yeah. I love that. And, and, and it's such a, it's, if, if you think about itas, a, a nice message or an evangelist message, but it really does kind ofbreed the outcomes with that activity that you're focused on. Yeah. Peoplenaturally connect. People naturally want to keep engaged, want to keep anetwork, but networks are becoming more vast, more, more.

Disperse in termsof locations that it's becoming increasingly challenging to keep up withanyone, whether it's professional, personal but especially as I think a lot ofpeople, and maybe you agree with this, are really thinking about how theirprofessional lives collaborate with their personal lives and, and really kindof reimagining that relationship.

Whether it's, Iwork at X company and then I have my separate life, or, my work and my lifeare, are, cohesively bonded in some modules, relationships, relationships.  

Jon:Yeah, that's true. Go back a hundred years. We all lived in a small village andeverybody knew everyone. And your brand was built on the promise you make, theexperience you delivered and the people that you connect with in business, you tookthem home for dinner.

You, you took themto ballgame and, and hopefully you're still doing that because why spendwhatever amount of time you're spending per week working. Yeah, if you're notbuilding relationships with people that you really dig and then taking thoserelationships to another level. So yeah, a lot of the influencers that I'veconnected with and the partners, not only have I connected with 'em from a onthe business side, But I bring them home and I cook for them.

We'd go to games together,yeah. It's like, that's what life's really about. And so people have forgottenthat it's not B2C or b2b. It's P2P and H to H. It's person to person. And and Ithink that social media's changed in the way we look at these things. Yeah. AndI think it's changing us all back to that small village because I connect topeople all over the world.

Digitally in thisway. Yeah. But if I'm gonna do that connection, ideally I can nurture it overtime and find ways to grow it. But if you do what I say, which is build yourbrand, inspire and educate on a daily basis around the promise of your productin the communities where constituency learn and grow, and then listen, engage.

Not with the intentto sell, but to serve. You're gonna have tens of thousands of connections andyou can't manage them. In LinkedIn, you can't manage 'em in your head. You canonly manage a hundred to 200 people in your head at one time. That's why youneed Nimble. And yeah, if, if Nimbles resonated with you and you go, use the code, Jon 40 and you get 40% off your first threemonths.

Julian:Amazing. Jon. I, I love the, the offering and how you kind of view the way yourproduct and your tool really enables people and supports people versus,thinking about outcomes, thinking about everything that this, this, thispackage can offer you. It's more about how it can enable you to just do whatyou're doing already, even that much better.

I always like thisnext section, I call it my founder faq. So I'm gonna hit you with some rapidfire questions, Jon, and we'll see where we get. So, always like to break it inwith an easy one. What's particularly hard about your  

Jon:job day-to-day?  

Well, we're adigital remote company these days.

Yeah. Since Covidand and because I'm home, I'm accessible to my family, and so a lot of times Iget honey dues in the middle of the day and or my fa my, my kids needsomething. And so it, it's a little harder to balance all those things than itwould've been to be in an office. But it's also a blessing because life's soshort.

You spend, such ashort period of time with your kids or, or with your significant other. And soyou could either sort of say, oh my God, this is horrible. Or Oh my gosh, isn'tthis great? And so I'm leaning more towards the latter.  

Julian:What's something that you're, you're really good at now that you wish you werebetter at earlier on in your career as a founder?

Jon:Writing. Yeah. Yeah. I think that communication is key to life. Yeah. And as amath computer science major, I wasn't a a great writer, but I become one. Butyeah, I'll tell you what, if I take the writing that I do do and and I uploadit to chat, chat G p t, gosh, I love that system.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah. I was alsothinking about waves that can mechanically just help with other things. Onething I wanted to start doing was do more Cora answers to really just like,continue that engagement and it, it not necessarily replaces, what I'm going tosay, but like you said, it, it really just kind of recaptures it and, andformitize it.

It really creates aproductive process.  

Jon:Polishes it, right? Like, yeah. Yeah. Like, I don't think e everybody listeningthis today has an English degree or, or knows the difference between effect andeffect, right? Yeah. Yeah. There's a lot of that, right? And so, so yeah, I, Ithink that communication is key to life and clear, concise, beautiful words,half power.

And so, before yousend that important business email, Or even Slack message if it's really,really important. Chat cheapy. Teat baby.

Julian:Yeah. I love that. Thinking about the, the, just the evolution of a lot ofsystems, especially CRM as, as you mentioned, it kind of turned into areporting system, just kind of maybe some superlative analytics to see where,your pipeline might have leaks and things like that.

But thinking about,relationship management, I, I, I, I lean on web three as it's building thisphilosophy around community. It's. Brands are around community. It's all aboutengagement, all about relationships. Will, are you seeing a revitalization of,that that customer relationship management platform actually accomplishing thethings that it was initially set out to, which was engaging with people,building relationships, adding value, being a trusted member.

Are you seeing moreof that added with the invent of newer technologies like Web three or is itmore macro changes within companies being more. I guess, conscious about therelationship that they're building with their customers. Where have you seenthe evolution of CRMs and are you happy where it's going?

Jon:Well, I still feel that the CRM industry is more designed for management whobuys it than the customer facing business people that use it. And I don't seethat changing because they sell to the business owner, they sell to thebusiness managers and that's who they serve. And so CRM is, are still mainlydesigned for sales and for sales managers who have their finger on the pulse ofbusiness and they hand around the neck of the salespeople.

Let's face it,sales managers and owners don't trust salespeople. Yeah. They never have. Andand it's a love-hate relationship. And so, Goldmine and Nimble was designed forthat customer facing business team member. Of course we have the managementreporting tools and all that to facilitate the tools you need to manage andlead people and to analyze your business.

But you really, theheart of it is that relationship management stuff. And I don't see. I, I see itgetting worse. For the sales tools, the automation is just getting overused.People put people on these tracks of emails that are written by marketingpeople that don't know a thing about relationships or sales.

And sales peoplejust used it cuz they're told to use 'em. Yeah, and all our inboxes are gettingSP filled with all this crap email. But when somebody actually takes time tolook at who you are, figure out what you're doing, and send a clear, concisemessage of value to you, and especially if they spent a few weeks nurturing youby sharing your content and engaging it with you in a relevant, authentic way,that person's gonna stand out.

Because I think themore digital we get, the more human we need to to be. Yeah. And I think themore human you are, the more you'll stand out in today's over digitizedworld.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. Thinking about, your company in particular, what's something thatis top of mind? If you were to wave magic wand, something that you could haveresolved tomorrow?

Is it, buildingproduct, building a certain feature set? Is it hiring? Is it fundraising? Whatin particular? If you were to wave magic wand, would you want resolvedtoday?  

Jon:Well, we're already, we have a machine we've built over time that converts at,a consistent north of 5% visitor trial, north of 10% trial to paid lifetimevalue over three years.

And so it's like amachine that just works. It's just consistent like that. And so if I were towave a magic wand, I would just want millions of people in the world to reallyunderstand. Our purpose and vision, how we stand out differently as arelationship platform, how our vision is to power you to achieve your dreams byideally connecting with others to help them achieve theirs, and that we're a,at our heart, a contact platform, the whole company, not just salespeople witha system with outcomes that are not just a dollar and a deal, but the workflowsthat you need to be able to manage contacts across your entire company.

Cross-functionallyto build those repeatable people and company data pro processes you need toscale. And so yeah, really waver magic wand. More eyeballs, baby. Yeah.  

Julian:If you weren't working on Nimble, what would you be doing?  

Jon: Ilove history. I love photography. I love astronomy. I love traveling with myfamily.

I love, I lovecooking and food. And so all of those things in a blend, backpacking, mountainbiking. And so I spent 10 years really leaning into that in between Goldmineand Nimble, and I see myself doing that at some point in the future. Includinggiving back cuz I'd, I'd love to teach and, and grow other entrepreneurs.

Yeah. And help themachieve their dreams.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. I love that. I always like to ask this next question cause I lovehow founders extract knowledge out of anything that they ingest, whether it'sbooks or people who's influenced or impacted you the most today?  

Jon:I'd have to say Dale Carly book on influencing others. Yeah. Yeah, I thinkthat, I think that a lot of the words that. People share today are just builton the shoulders of giants.

Yeah. So if youthink about like, all these influencers today that are sort of spouting off allthese words, it's really just a regurgitation of the giants. So, so I thinkthat if you were to take time to read two books, Napoleon Hill, think and GrowRich and Dale Carnegie's famous book on Building friends and influence.

Julian:Yeah, yeah. Like making friends and influencing people or something like that.Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. I've I've read both. Yeah. Brilliant books. Yeah.Yeah. Yeah.  

Jon:And the dale, the, the Napoleon Hill book Thinking Grow Rich is really the, Icall the three Ps, passion, plan and purpose. Figure out what your passion is,build a plan to achieve it.

Make it yourpurpose on a daily basis. And that's how we were able to bootstrap goldmine on$5,000, never took a dime adventure. Bank loans, nothing and grew it to $125million a year in revenue is putting our goal on the refrigerator. And everytime we open it to make mac and cheese, when we were struggling, we could juststay focused on that.

Kept putting onefoot in front of the other. And eventually we got to the top of this mountain.We said, if we could just get there. And then we saw that, okay, we're on topof that mountain. Well, there's another mountain right over there that we gottakeep going to get there. And the entrepreneurial journey is, Is amazing.

Yeah. But but Ithink that one of the things you definitely want to do is not lose track ofyour family and friends through the process. Mm-hmm. Because in buildingGoldmine, I really gave all that up to just get that thing done. And I thinkI've found a better balance in, in Nimble.

Julian:Yeah. How are you able to find that balance?

What, what inparticular allows you to have. You know that yeah, yeah. That balance betweenwork and, and the other things that probably rejuvenate, recharge, and add alittle bit, more happiness and joy, how are you able to find that balance beingthat as a founder, you kind of live and breathe your products for a while.

Jon: Ithink that the universe needs to smack you a little bit for you to grow. Yes.They, they say that you need to tear a muscle to make muscle. Yeah. And and so,with as much success I've had, as I've had in my life, I've been smacked by theuniverse, including my my encounter with cancer. Yeah.

After sellinggoldmine. And it made me stop and think and to do some, some work. And I thinkthat we all should be doing continuous work in our life to, to tear that muscleand grow it. And not just the physical stuff, but the spiritual and theemotional stuff as well. Yeah. And and I've done that investment, continue totry to do those investments and I think that's what really has transformed meinto the human that I am today.

Julian:Yeah. Jon, it's been such a pleasure chatting with you. I know we're coming tothe end of the show here, so I wanna make sure we didn't leave anything on thetable. Is there any question I didn't ask you that I should have, or anythingthat we didn't talk about that you wanted to bring up? Obviously, we'll giveyou a chance to give us your plugs and your LinkedIns and all that good stuff,but before we do that, is there anything that we left on the table today thatyou wanted to share with our audience?

Jon:Well, I, I think that your, I've shared before your brand new network are yournet worth. And that you should be working on building your brand on a dailybasis. And I call it the the five E's of social selling. Educate en educate,echa, engage, embrace, and empower. And essentially it's that whole idea aboutgiving you knowledge away.

Stop talking aboutyourself, stop talking about your products. People don't buy great products.They buy better versions of themselves, so you should be selling others abetter version of themselves on a daily basis. Put your customers at the heartof your storytelling. Make them the hero. Show them how you can grow, how youcan help them grow, and people will build a a path to adore.

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. Jon, it's been such a pleasure. Not only learning about your careerand your early exit, but not early exit, but your exit earlier and in yourcareer, and how that kind of revitalized and re-inspired this, continuous kindof journey you've been on, which is to create meaningful relationships betweennot only, customers and prospects and, and clients and prospects and what haveyou, but people and, and people, and doing it in a way that is very organic andutilizes the activities that we already like to do, but at skill being that itis.

So hard to keeptrack of people and hard to engage and hard to, even with my own familysometimes just keeping in touch is challenging. But all in all, Jon, it's beensuch a pleasure learning from you. I hope you enjoyed yourself on the podcasttoday, and thank you again for joining us. And last, last little bit is wherecan we find and support you?

Give us your plugs.Where can we be a fan of you as a founder, but also Nimble? What are yourLinkedIns? Your Twitters? Where can we find you?  

Jon:Well, it's easy to find me, Google, me, and and, and find a, a, a place thatthat works for you. Of course, my company is But I also encourageyou to Google yourself because people are gonna Google you before a meeting,and if you don't show up on the first page, you could fix that by starting toshare content on a daily basis and even.

Bill on a Wikipediapage on yourself, because it's easy and free as long as you follow the rules.And that will show up in your, in your search. But if you're, if you want toconnect with me, you'll find me in all the places. If you Google Jon j o nFerrara, f e r Ara, and if you have to reach out to me, my email's,, I'm easy to find.

Julian:Amazing. Jon, thank you again for joining us today on Behind CompanyLines.  

Jon:You bet. I, I appreciate it, Julian. And again, If you sign up for Nimble andyou want to become a subscriber, use the code. Jon 40, get 40% off your firstthree months, and then let me know how we can improve Nimble and improve you asyou grow in your life.


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