Nimble Passes $1.5M In ARR Last Year, $200k MRR now as CRM space heats up with CEO Jon Ferrara

Jon Ferrara

In Episode #643, Nathan interviews Jon Ferrara. He’s in CRM—a relationship management entrepreneur and noted speaker about social media’s effects on sales marketing. He’s reimagined the CRM by building a simply smarter social sales and marketing platform. His most recent venture is called Nimble.com. It’s the first CRM that works for you by building the updated contact data for you and then works with you everywhere you work. He’s best known as the co-founder of GoldMine Software, one of the early pioneers in the Salesforce automation and customer relationship management in software categories for SMBs. He’s recently been recognized by Forbes as one of the Top 10 Social CEOs and Top 10 Social Sales people in the world.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Think and Grow Rich
  • What CEO do you follow? – Marc Benioff
  • Favorite online tool? — Buffer
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep? — 7-8
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “Not to sweat shit so much”

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:17 – Nathan introduces Jon to the show
  • 02:13 – There was no Outlook, CRM or Salesforce when Jon had the idea of GoldMine
    • 02:31 – Jon started on $5K with no bank loans and VC
    • 02:35 – Jon ran GoldMine for 10 years, had 5M customers around the globe, sold it and retired at 40
  • 02:44 – GoldMine was a software platform
    • 02:55 – GoldMine started as a floppy disk until it became a CD
  • 03:28 – Jon started GoldMine in 1989 and sold it in 1999
    • 03:38 – GoldMine passed $70M in annual revenue, with 250 team members worldwide
  • 04:00 – ARR wasn’t necessary before when it comes to valuation
    • 04:22 – Jon sold GoldMine for $125M in cash with no strings attached
  • 04:55 – A year after GoldMine was sold, Jon was diagnosed with a head tumor
    • 05:07 – “The most important thing you have around you is your health, next is your family, then your passion and business”
    • 05:19 – Jon was 41 when they found the tumor
    • 05:27 – “We are on this planet to grow our souls”
  • 05:51 – After the tumor, Jon spent next 10 years of his life with his family and friends, adding value to people
  • 06:15 – Jon got into photography and worked as the photographer for USC football for 10 years
  • 06:42 – “You need to be your own advocate”
    • 06:56 – Jon found a doctor who developed the technology to have a radiation beam reach the center of your head without touching any vital nerves
    • 07:17 – The tumor disappeared after 7 weeks of radiation treatment
    • 07:42 – The radiation is like burning the seed inside the watermelon without burning the watermelon’s skin
  • 08:18 – Jon started in social media in 2006-2008
    • 08:33 – Jon saw that relationship managers are contact managers
    • 08:58 – Jon looked at CRM and saw the gap
    • 09:07 – You have to use salespeople to use CRM
    • 09:08 – “That’s why they’re called salesforce because you force salespeople to use it”
  • 09:27 – Nimble’s team was formed in 2010, Alpha in 2011, and they turned the paywall in 2013
  • 09:36 – “Just like with GoldMIne, I was early to the idea of an intelligent social relationship manager that works for you”
  • 09:57 – Business is social and life is social
  • 10:11 – First year revenue
  • 10:21 – Jon got their first customer for Nimble the same way he got their first customer for GoldMine:
    • 10:36 – Jon had a trusted advisor for his prospect
    • 10:51 – Jon got his first $50K revenue in GoldMine from resellers
    • 10:56 – Jon grew the $50K by mobilizing writers who write about technology and business
  • 11:10 – In 2009-2011, there was no reseller because everything was cloud
    • 11:27 – Jon looked for influencers
  • 11:36 – Jon put in his own $3M to the company
    • 11:48 – Jon also got some cash from Mark Cuban, Jason Calacanis and others
    • 12:05 – Jon’s money went to the company’s capitalization
  • 12:20 – Nimble currently has 100K customers and 10K paying companies
    • 12:31 – An average of 3 seats per company
  • 12:36 – Nimble is a SaaS business and is generating 80K website visitors with zero marketing
    • 12:43 – Trial to paid conversion is 20%
  • 13:05 – Nimble started at $15 per user per month
    • 13:08 – It recently rolled out to $25 and will have $45 and $65 buckets with a $99 mark automation add on
    • 13:16 – “Sales and marketing should never have been split apart”
    • 14:07 – $200K average MRR
  • 14:15 – Gross churn is about 3%
    • 14:22 – “We provide a lot of value and satisfaction to our customers”
  • 14:32 – Nimble just rolled with Microsoft Outlook mobile by providing 40M handsets for free
  • 15:04 – CAC is really small because they don’t have a large team
    • 15:25 – You don’t need to spend or overspend in order to build a company
    • 15:35 – It is great to find people who want to grow with your help
    • 15:42 – Rather than hiring a sales guy, Jon would rather hire someone who truly cares about the customer experience
  • 16:16 – Jon’s team is based in Santa Monica with remote workers in USA and Ukraine
  • 16:53 – 2017 target revenue
  • 18:30 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Engage with your customers and add value – don’t always think about the sales.
  2. Share your passion with people on a daily basis, don’t be afraid to bare your soul and make those connections.
  3. You don’t need to spend more to build a business – find people who are willing to grow the business with you.

Resources Mentioned:

  • The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences
  • Organifi – The juice was Nathan’s life saver during his trip in Southeast Asia
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible
  • Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books
  • Freshbooks – Nathan doesn’t waste time so he uses Freshbooks to send out invoices and collect his money. Get your free month NOW
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives