Nutshell CRM: A Quick Look

Posted by | September 07, 2011 | Cool Software, Marketing Advice | 12 Comments

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

Cons

  • 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.

12 Comments

  • Mark Kreiner says:

    Wow! Great article.

    Unfortunately, I just sent Nutshell an email regarding the ONGOING relationship problem. It was that specific issue that led me to this article.

    By enlarge, I highly recommend Nutshell as it is hands-down better than the vast majority of the “big players” in the marketplace. My hope is to see them implement some ongoing relationship capabilities in the next year (or less!) that will truly help them compete and beat the ‘big boys’ in the marketplace.

    Great review!

  • Mark Tipton says:

    We have used Nutshell for about six months, and I have used several others. This is the best I have found for a structured CRM. It does work on Android and iPad, so we are very satisfied. When you consider the cost, I am blown away. This guys did it right.

  • Michelle says:

    Hi David-
    I have started using Nutshell…I really like the Sync with Google Calendar…you are right, it was instantaneous. Outlook, however, doesn’t seem to work, and that is the Calendar I use for business. Do you have any info on this?

    • David says:

      Hi Michelle

      I am not familiar with how Nutshell CRM works with MS Outlook these days. It appears a lot of their attention has been making Nutshell work for Cloud-based programs like Google and MS 365. So syncing with the Outlook calendar, not sure. One way is to just setup Google Calendar sync with Outlook…so that your Outlook is always in Sync with Google. Have you already done that? That might solve the problem. Let me know what you find out.

      Here is one article about it:
      http://www.nutshell.com/support/kb/activities-exchange.html

  • Thatcher says:

    I wonder if we can talk about the difference between sales management and customer management? I find it absolutely critical for most of my clients who have relationship companies rather than sales oriented companies. Is Highrise really the only option? Are there notable others in the space? What are the critical components?

  • David says:

    Thatcher

    Good question. I agree…there is really a difference between a sales management CRM and a customer management CRM. There really should not be, because CRM means: Customer RELATIONSHIP Management. In other words CRMs should all start with getting a customer (sales) and then nurturing that relationship for life! Most of them don’t do a great job with the relationship part.

    You can take a number of CRM’s and customs the customer management, but it is very light. Depends on what type of management you want to do with a client, I’m using BASE CRM. I have a few clients using that and a fair amount using Pipeline Deals.

    What types of relational management did you have in mind? I mean what do you want the program to do for you?

    @Thatcher

  • Jill Bishop says:

    Hi David – I’ve been using Highrise for 6+ years, but with their recent shift away from Highrise, I’m looking for new. Are you still sticking with Highrise or switching to Nutshell?

  • Jill Bishop says:

    I had a feeling things might have changed since you posted! Great to know that you’re happy with Base – I’m looking into that as well. Cheers!

  • holly says:

    We recently implemented nutshell on a broad use base, transition away from claritysoft. Many positive features but still some limitations. Ease of use is a certain plus, maintenance of information is easy to care for as well. One limitation we have found is the reporting of information to non-nutshell users. It would be nice to have an export feature in a pdf format to share the pipeline stats to management without having to recreate what nutshell has already put together. Has anyone else experienced this snag? Opened up an idea request and need votes for it to be taken in consideration – if you share this requirement please add your vote by using the link provided below! Thank you.

    https://nutshell.uservoice.com/forums/274441-nutshell-ideas/suggestions/7060489-improve-export-functionality-within-reporting-st

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Schedule your free 30 minute marketing call. Contact David Today!

Schedule a free 30-min consultant!

Free Consult
X