Nutshell CRM: A Quick Look

Posted by David Chism | Wed, Sep 7, 2011

 Nutshell CRM: A Quick Look
I recent­ly came across anoth­er cloud-based Cus­tomer Rela­tion­ship Man­age­ment (CRM) that I found note­wor­thy: Nut­shell CRM. My first though: Oh great, anoth­er wannabe CRM com­pet­ing in red oceans (a com­pet­i­tive mar­ket).” Yet the more I explored the fea­tures of Nut­shell, the more I could not believe how intu­itive and sim­ple each fea­ture was to use. I can see blue oceans ahead for this program!  The design of the user inter­face (UI) was very impres­sive. Of all the CRM pro­grams I’ve test­ed in recent years, Nut­shell seems to have the best UI. I found myself won­der­ing if the design­ers worked for Apple, since every design fea­ture was top-notch. Most CRMs I’ve test­ed start with some advanced fea­tures but not a great UI. Then as they release updates, the designs grad­u­al­ly improve. Nut­shell, on the oth­er hand, start­ed with a good UI, so I expect each update to be like updat­ing my iPhone, just more fea­tures with a qual­i­ty design. This obser­va­tion makes Nut­shell note­wor­thy to me, because they right from the start they have a qual­i­ty prod­uct with good features. The icing on the cake for me was the native iPhone mobile App that does an instant sync with the desk­top version.  Pros
  • Google Apps plu­g­in to add new con­tacts or for­ward emails into Nut­shel­l’s Con­tacts (works great)
  • User Inter­face is sim­ple and beautiful
  • The native iPhone App is sim­ple yet pow­er­ful (two-way sync)
  • Android App soon to be released
  • CRM is very customizable
  • Can be used as a sim­ple or advanced CRM pro­gram (lots of fea­tures if you want them, or a sim­ple Con­tact Manager)
  • Report­ing and Ana­lyt­ics: easy to run reports and view (again…user inter­face is very good)
  • Sales Pipeline is very orga­nized: You can cus­tomize all sorts of activ­i­ties such as when to send an email, a thank you note, fol­low up, who and when, what day, and much more
  • The deals” (or Oppor­tu­ni­ties) make it easy to add stan­dard­ized pric­ing. So a con­trac­tor could have set ser­vice prices i.e. Kitchen Remod­el­ing $45,000 (then adjust the price)
  • Easy to set­up and start using
  • Events Sync up nice­ly with your Google or Out­look Cal­en­dar (I only test­ed Google Cal­en­dar and it was instant)
  • Import­ing from oth­er CRMs seems to be easy. I tried it from my CRM, High­rise and it took me a cou­ple min­utes. (btw, I still use High­rise and like it…it fits my busi­ness style perfectly)
  • Cap­tures leads from your web­site and cre­ates a contact
  • The iPhone App, although is awe­some, still has room for improve­ment. It does not sync with your native iPhone calendar…and I am not sure how well set­ting events on the app work with Google.
  • The Task Man­ag­er works well when deal­ing with a Lead (next steps), but not great deal­ing with exist­ing clients or projects. I’ve spo­ken to Nut­shell, and they are work­ing on releas­ing a Task Man­age­ment sec­tion soon. So this con” may change. Task Man­age­ment is one of the num­ber one rea­sons I con­tin­ue to use High­rise.
  • To set a task, you basi­cal­ly have to cre­ate an event.” So the process is not easy. This may sound minor, but for me, I use to-do lists and reminders all day long.
  • The pro­gram is more geared for sales man­age­ment than for cus­tomer man­age­ment. This too is a major down­side to the cloud-based CRM. The whole pur­pose of a CRM is to man­age the ongo­ing rela­tion­ships you have with your cus­tomers. It is not a one time deal: sell them, do the job and move on. A good CRM should then take you through the next steps: cus­tomer fol­low up, cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion, set­up month­ly email blast, thank you notes, etc. Although there are ways with­in Nut­shell to do some of these tasks, it is not as sim­ple as one would expect. If they improve in this one area, I believe Nut­shell will be a major threat to Zoho, Sales­force, Pipeline Deals and others.
Your Thoughts? This was just a quick, nut­shell” review of Nut­shell CRM. Has any­one out there tried Nut­shell? Do you cur­rent­ly use it? A quick word of cau­tion: don’t quick­ly switch CRM pro­grams. Although com­pa­nies online are mak­ing switch­ing eas­i­er, take the time to eval­u­ate what you want your CRM to do. I would also sug­gest talk­ing to your staff about it too. Show them the program(s) you are look­ing at. Ask them to take some time eval­u­at­ing them and give you feed­back. I tend to always want a pro­gram to do some­thing bet­ter and can eas­i­ly get dis­con­tent. I’ve forced myself to stay with High­rise from 37 sig­nals. It keeps get­ting bet­ter and works for my company.

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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