In this Capsule vs Nimble review we look at two similarly-priced CRM systems, to help you see which is the best fit for your organisation.
An introduction to CRM
Before delving into the specifics of Capsule vs Nimble, it is worth taking a quick look at what a CRM or ‘customer relationship management’ tool actually is. In essence a CRM system is an application which is primarily used for keeping tabs on potential and existing clients (helping you to convert your leads and keep your existing clients happy); but in addition to this core function, most CRM systems help you carry out a range of useful business tasks. CRM systems will typically allow you to:
- store and segment contacts
- view a communications history between your organisation and your contacts
- assign and manage tasks / activities
- view and edit calendars
- manage a sales pipeline
- manage customer enquiries
In this review we will compare and contrast how well Capsule and Nimble handle most of the above.
Capsule CRM costs $12 per user per month; Nimble’s fee is a little higher at $15 per user per month. Not a vast difference unless you are dealing with a large number of users, in which case you may find the savings from using Capsule start to mount up. However, there are various swings and roundabouts to consider.
Capsule and Nimble allow you to store a generous number of contacts as part of their basic plans: both tools allow you to import (via CSV file) up to 50,000 contacts. With Nimble, you also have the option of importing social contacts - for example Twitter followers - and a limit of 10,000 applies here.
It’s not madly clear on either the Capsule or Nimble websites what happens if you need to exceed these limits; with a bit of googling I found out that Nimble will charge you $10 per user per month for every additional 10,000 records; a chat with Capsule's support team led to a discovery that additional contact headroom is possible via negotiation.
It should probably be pointed out that most users are unlikely to need more than 50,000 users; these limits are pretty generous.
With Capsule, you get 2GB of storage per user; with Nimble the limit is 5GB per user. Nimble allow you to add additional space in 25GB increments for $25 per account per month. It's not clear what the costs are for increasing the storage limits on Nimble.
- an overview of their contact details
- a list of any communications you or your team have had with them
- any notes you’ve added to their records
- information relating to deals / sales pipelines
- a list of tasks assigned to them
- any tags associated with them
- links to any files you’ve added relating to them
In Capsule, you will also see ‘cases’ information. Capsule cases provide, in Capsule’s words “a bucket for managing customer service and other events, allowing for a detailed view of requests, responses and what needs to be done next.” This effectively amounts to a simple helpdesk / ticketing system, and it is a feature of Capsule not currently present in Nimble (and potentially very useful it is too!).
In Nimble, you will see a lot of information about contacts that will not be present in a Capsule contact’s overview – most of this will relate to either information that is publicly available on social media about them or exchanges you’ve had with a contact on social media (more on that later).
Importing data in Capsule is significantly easier than in Nimble. With Capsule, when you upload a CSV file, you simply map your existing database's fields across to the Capsule defaults. Nimble, by contrast, requires you to manually edit all your field names on the CSV file itself (or cut and paste your database into a Nimble CSV template) before you can upload it. If you get anything wrong with this renaming / cutting and pasting, Nimble will reject the file (and without really explaining what you did wrong, or what you need to do to correct the situation).
Deduplicating contacts in Nimble and Capsule
The way that Nimble approaches record merging and deduping is extremely poor. When you upload a file to Nimble, it merges / dedupes contacts based only on name. So, for example, if you already have a Joe Bloggs on Nimble and you upload a CSV containing another one, Nimble will merge the two Joe Bloggs records together regardless of whether or not they have anything else in common (for example, an email address). The first Joe Bloggs might be dwelling at an entirely different address to the second one, and use a totally different email address, but Nimble will merge the records nonetheless and you will end up with one John Bloggs on the CRM.
Nimble will also perform this deduping process within single files - so if you are uploading a CSV file to Nimble, and have 3 or 4 John Does in it, they will all be merged into one John Doe, even if they are completely different people. I chatted to Nimble support, and apparently, if you append different characters to the end of an individual's surname, i.e., go through your file and create a John Smith1 and John Smith2, Nimble will then view these as definitely being different individuals and will create different records for each during an upload (or prevent them being merged with any other John Smiths you may have previously uploaded). This is far from ideal however and means that effectively have to eyeball a lot of data so that you can effectively make records 'dirty' and therefore acceptable to Nimble.
Capsule takes a much more conventional and far safer approach to record deduplication. Firstly, it asks if you want to perform it at all (very considerate). Secondly, when it comes to deduplication, it uses a combination of contact name and email address to spot and merge any duplicates.
A key aspect of any CRM system is how it handles communications history. In any CRM system it is vital to be able to go into a contact’s record and easily pull up a list of previous email communications between you (or your team) and a lead or client. This is where Nimble is, for me, a winner (not just over Capsule CRM but products like Salesforce and Zoho) – not so much in the way that email history is displayed but in the way that email history is captured.
With most CRMs, if you want to an email a lead or client to be stored on the system, you have to BCC a ‘dropbox’ email address to capture the communication. However, with Nimble, as long as you are using an IMAP account or a Google Apps account, and have things configured correctly, you don’t have to worry about bcc-ing any email addresses every time you mail somebody: email tracking happens automatically. The downside is that you may capture more communications than you strictly need, but you can go into a contact’s record and remove unnecessary communications manually if need be. But overall, I feel it’s a much better way of doing things: personally, there’s no way I’d remember to use the BCC field every time when emailing clients or leads.
The biggest difference between Capsule and Nimble involves social media. Unlike Capsule, Nimble doesn’t simply capture email communication history – it will automatically store a record of any social media interactions you have with contacts too. This is Nimble’s USP really – in theory it provides you with what the company calls a ‘unified inbox’ which gives you a complete overview of communications you’ve had with your contacts across the supported social media channels.
The main networks / products supported by Nimble are:
- Office 365
The social media aspect in Nimble doesn’t stop there, however: you are also able to click on a contact’s record and pull up an ‘activity stream’ containing all of their recent posts across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn (which posts you see of course will depend on whether you are connected to them via social networks and what posts they make public). In addition, where possible Nimble will use information about your contacts on social media that is publicly available to pull together a ‘smart summary’ for you – this provides useful information about the contact like current job, education, Klout score, location, website and more.
Furthermore, there's a 'smart contacts' app available as a plug-in for your browser or email client which gives you real-time information on contacts as you come across them online. The idea is that whether you're browsing the web or scanning your inbox, Nimble serves up information about the contacts you're looking at - who they are, where they work, number of company employees, social profiles etc. It's all extremely 'big brother' but also undeniably useful for making business relationships. And, handily, you can use the smart contacts app to add contacts directly into Nimble with a click of a button.
Capsule does provide some social media integration too but it’s very basic – if it spots that a contact has an account on Facebook or Twitter, it will place the relevant icon beside their record, which you can then click on to see their profile. But there is no aggregated social stream or social communication tracking.
A nice feature in Capsule which is missing in Nimble involves task management. In Capsule, you can set up 'tracks' - a sequence of tasks for things you do in your business in certain scenarios. Examples of processes you could set up using tracks include:
- following through on a sales opportunity
- managing a customer support query
- issuing a monthly customer invoice
- end of period accounting procedures
- pre-event organization
The idea is that whenever you start working with a new opportunity or 'case', there is a predefined sequence of tasks for users to follow, and every time one task is carried out, the next one is automatically presented to the user.
Google Apps integration
Both Capsule and Nimble offer Google Apps integration. Capsule allows you to sync contacts from Capsule to Google Apps (i.e., one way) and send email to contacts from a Google email window; you can also open your Capsule task calendar in Google apps (so long as you are happy to add tasks in Capsule only – again, sync is one way only). Nimble scores better on the integration front – calendar sync is two way, and, if you don’t mind paying a bit extra ($5 per month) you can use a system called Piesync to create a two-way sync between Google Apps and Nimble.
You can also use a third party tool called Zapier to create two way syncs between Capsule’s calendars and contacts and Google Apps.
Finally, both Nimble and Capsule provide Google Apps gadgets which allow you to add contacts directly to each system from within Gmail – a form appears at the bottom of your emails which you can use to add the contact details of the person who is emailing you into the CRM.
One thing I'll say about the Google Apps integration with Nimble is this: it's more comprehensive than Capsule's - but it's also a bit flaky. When using Nimble in the past I've had to repeatedly reconnect Google Calender or Gmail to Nimble to get an up to date view of my activities / mail, or hit the refresh button repeatedly. When it works, it's great...but it could work better and more often.
One environment for everything?
A lot of CRM tools try to serve as a workspace where you can do everything: email, add contacts, manage diaries, assign tasks, do accounts and so on. Nimble comes pretty close in offering this ‘one-stop shop’ environment because
- it offers 2 way sync between its calendar and Google Apps
- you can send and receive email from within Nimble
- you can view (aggregated) social media streams easily, send messages via social media and update (some) social media profiles without ever leaving Nimble
- it is possible, using PieSync, to have two way sync between Nimble contacts and Google contacts
One big flaw in Nimble however involves email folders: you can use the Nimble interface to send and receive IMAP email or Gmail without having to use an email client like Outlook or Gmail itself...but you can’t access email folders or move mail to folders. This means that you’ll invariably need to go out of Nimble and into another email program to organise / file your mail. This really takes away from Nimble's claim to give you a singular overview of everything. And Nimble’s mail interface seems to lag behind Google Apps quite a bit – emails seem to come in and go out quite a bit slower than if you were using Gmail itself.
If you have got the Google integration switched on, Capsule allows you to send emails directly from within its interface too, but you won't be able to view your inbox. In essence, with Capsule, you will generally have to use your own email client and calendars. So Nimble's a bit stronger on this point.
Both Nimble and Capsule offer group messaging - with Nimble's being more sophisticated. With Nimble, you can create message templates (and use merge tags); you can also view basic reports on open rates. With both systems however, you are sending email via your own email SMTP so send limits apply (30 messages per day in Nimble and whatever your email provider allows in Capsule).
For very large mailouts however, it's best to use a dedicated e-marketing solution - and both Capsule and Nimble offer integrations with Mailchimp.
Attaching files to contacts
When it comes to file storage, Nimble offers more functionality – you can attach files directly from Google Drive or Dropbox to a contact’s record (which means when they are updated in Google Drive or Dropbox, they’ll effectively be updated in Nimble too). With Capsule, you have to upload files to the system itself (which of course eats into your storage quota).
Support desk functionality
Capsule is better than Nimble when it comes to running a support desk. For a start, its ‘cases’ functionality can actually serve as a simple support desk out of the box; and it also integrates with the popular Zendesk system easily too. With Nimble there is no built in support desk feature and you will need to use a third party tool such as Zapier to hook a support desk system up to it.
Both Nimble and Capsule allow you to create custom sales pipelines or use their suggested templates. These allow you to create ‘deals’ or ‘opportunities’ and track their progress. Some basic financial reporting is available with both tools, although for any serious accounting work, you’ll probably need to use another product.
Ease of use
Capsule is arguably easier to use than Nimble – but that’s probably because it does less, certainly when it comes to contact management and social media. But Nimble’s interface is in general pretty clean and intuitive too, and the learning curves for both systems are not as steep as those you might encounter with several competing products.
Capsule and Nimble both provide iOS and Android mobile apps, which allow you to access selected features on the go. These apps are both surprisingly comprehensive. The Capsule App allows you to add contacts directly from your phone's address book. As the company points out, the import process is particularly useful if you have an app to scan business cards on your phone, because with the card scanner app you can save the contact to your phone and then import it into your account using the app. Similarly useful is the way that you can sync your phone calendar with the Nimble App.
Nimble and Capsule's support services are pretty basic: there is no phone support, and the email support is only available during office hours, Monday to Friday (PST and GMT respectively). Both companies could up their game a bit here.
Which is better, Capsule or Nimble?
If it wasn't for one issue, I would argue that either Capsule or Nimble would make a good solution for small to medium sized businesses in need of a CRM. But because of Nimble's really odd approach to deduplicating contacts during import, I find it difficult to recommend Nimble as a good CRM solution, despite the fact that I love loads of its other features.
In essence, because Nimble's import algorithm only looks at contact names when merging records - and not key identifiers like email or phone number - the quality of the resulting data is inevitably going to be compromised. It will lead to bad data on your CRM, in essence - which in turn renders a CRM much less useful. If Nimble manage to sort this out (along with a couple of other issues highlighted above), however, they will have a very attractive CRM product on their hands. But as things stand, if you were asking my opinion on which of these two products to use, I'd have to come down in favour of Capsule.
I would remind you however, that this is only my opinion: free trials are available for both products and it is advisable to try both out fully before committing to one or the other:
Reasons to use Capsule over Nimble
- It deduplicates data properly during import; Nimble does not.
- It handles data imports better than Nimble, thanks to a simple data mapping tool - no messing around with CSVs before importing contacts.
- It's a simpler tool, so easier to use.
- It allows you to run a basic helpdesk using its 'cases' functionality.
- It integrates well with the popular helpdesk tool Zendesk.
- Its 'tracks' functionality has the potential to significantly improve workflow - as yet, Nimble does not provide similar functionality.
Reasons to use Nimble over Capsule
- Its social media functionality and 'unified inbox' allow companies to get a 360 degree view of leads
- It is not necessary to BCC contacts to add a record of an email communication to Nimble
- Sync between Google Apps and Nimble is 2 way for calendars
- It generally comes closer than Capsule in providing an ‘all in one’ solution for calendars, task management, email and social media communications
- It integrates with Google Drive and Dropbox
- The Smart Contacts App is very useful in providing context about contacts
- More functional group messaging
- Users get more storage than on Capsule - Nimble's limit is 5GB to Capsule's 2GB.
As ever, we suggest that you try out both products before committing. Capsule offer a free 30-day trial; Nimble offer a 14-day free trial (which I have found can be extended if you contact their support team).