My first guest in this convo series over nine years ago featured Jon Ferrara, CEO and founder of Nimble. And before Nimble, Jon cofounded Goldmine back in 1989. So Jon literally pioneered the contact management/CRM game and has been involved with it for 30 years.
We find ourselves on the eve of a new decade (and a new decade for CRM). So it thrilled me to speak with Jon to get his take on the state of CRM. We looked at how it has evolved over the years. And I asked if he is surprised by how things have changed (and how they haven’t.) We looked at those changes over the three decades since he cofounded Goldmine.
Below check out an edited transcript of our conversation. See the whole interview by watching the video. Or click on the embedded Soundcloud player below.
The State of CRM
Small Business Trends: When you started with GoldMine, did you imagine like what CRM would look like in 2019 30 years later?
Jon Ferrara: It’s hard to imagine where things will go. But when I started this whole industry, it was about people connecting with people. I think that in some respects, CRM lost its way. Where it stopped being about relationships. Started being about reporting, and command, and control. I think that the reason they call it Salesforce. You have to force salespeople to use it. Nobody in their right mind would use a CRM if they weren’t beat on to do it.
Brent, you don’t use a CRM. Paul doesn’t use a CRM. Most of the CRM analysts I know don’t use CRMs. And why? Because unless you basically are trying to keep your finger on the pulse of the business, a hand around the neck of the salesperson, you don’t need a CRM. But what you do need is you need a relationship manager. Because your network and your brand or your net worth and the people that you connect to are critical to your life’s success.
I think in our over-connected, over-communicated world, it’s getting harder and harder to manage and nurture the relationships ar