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In this Capsule vs Nimble review, I look at two CRM systems aimed at SMEs, 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.
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’s pricing structure is pretty simple: you can choose from a free plan, or two paid-for ones: ‘Professional’ and ‘Teams.’
All three Capsule CRM plans share some core features: the ability to store contacts, manage sales pipelines, track customer activity and assign tasks to colleagues.
The free edition of Capsule
has a two user limit
lets you store up to 250 contacts.
comes with a 10MB storage limit.
So really, it’s only suitable for users with very basic requirements. That said, if you’re starting a business as a one or two man band, it’s not a bad introduction at all to the world of CRM.
The ‘Professional’ version of Capsule costs $18 per user per month; and in addition to the features available on the free plan, you get
the ability to store a higher number of contacts (50,000)
increased file storage (10GB per user)
access to reports
access to premium integrations (Freshbooks, Xero, Mailchimp etc.).
Finally there is the ‘Teams’ option, which costs $36 per user per month. In addition to the features on the Professional plan, you also get:
a contacts limit of100,000
a 20GB storage limit
advanced reporting functionality
team-based features (the ability to organise users into team, report by team and restrict access to records)
Nimble’s pricing structure is also very simple: there’s only one plan available, which costs $25 per user per month.
(If you pay upfront for a year, the costs work out at $19 per user per month).
All the features of Nimble CRM are available on this plan, but you may need to pay extra to store extra contacts or increase storage limits (I discuss this in more depth below).
Unlike Capsule, there isn’t a totally free plan available, but you can avail of a 14-day free trial of the product.
Now, let’s take a look at the key features of both products.
Capsule and Nimble allow you to store a large number of contacts as part of their plans.
Capsule is more generous in this regard however: on its $18 per month plan, you can host up to 50,000 contacts, which is double Nimble’s 25,000 limit.
If you are on the $36 Capsule ‘Teams’ plan, the limit is more generous still: you can store up to 100,000.
If you need to store more contacts on Nimble, the company will charge you $10 per user per month for every additional 10,000 records, with no cap on the total number of contacts you can store; with Capsule, additional contact headroom is possible via negotiation.
CRM storage allows you to attach files stored on your computer or network to contacts or deals — for example contracts, reports or briefing documents.
Nimble provides 2GB of storage per user on its paid plan (though you can also buy space in 10GB increments; this costs $10 per account per month).
As with contact limits, Capsule is more generous here, providing you with a file storage limit of 10GB per user on its ‘Professional’ plan and 20GB per user on on its ‘Teams’ plan.
It’s not clear what the costs are for increasing the storage limits on Capsule — although I suspect that as with contact limits, it’s a case of negotiating a deal with Capsule via their support team.
On the face of it, Capsule seems to be the winner in the storage department — however, because you can connect a Nimble account to cloud file storage services like Google Drive, Office 365 and Dropbox, you may find that storage limits are less of an issue in general in Nimble CRM (because you’ll simply be linking to documents stored elsewhere, rather than uploading files).
When you click on a contact in Nimble or Capsule, you will see
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. It’s a great piece of functionality, because it allows you to support customers without necessarily resorting to a support desk app such as Zendesk.
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).
One of the most useful — and interesting — things about Nimble is its ‘Prospector’ App.
This is an extension that plugs into Chrome, Safari or Firefox (it’s also available as a mobile app for Android and iOS).
Whether you’re in your inbox, on a Facebook page, or just reviewing a set of Google Search results, you can just hover over a contact or company name and the app will automatically provide as much social information as it can find about them.
The Prospector app also gives you the option to add that person or company to Nimble there and then, and update key information about them (lead source, status etc.). You can also apply tags.
It’s rather ‘big brother’ in nature – but the information that Nimble’s Prospector app provides can be very useful, as the video below highlights.
There isn’t really an equivalent of this available in Capsule; the closest you’ll get is the Gmail add-on for the product, which displays some additional information about your contacts when you start composing an email to them in Gmail.
However, unlike Nimble’s ‘Smart Contacts’ app, the contact information it displays will have to have been added to Capsule by you first.
Nimble’s ‘Enrichment Credits’
A feature recently introduced by Nimble — and again, something you won’t find an equivalent of in Capsule — is ‘Enrichment credits.’
These allows you to visit a company’s website, and using an option on the Prospector app, find out specific contact details for people at that company which might not be visible on their website. This can be added instantly to your Nimble contacts.
You are given 25 credits with your monthly plan, and time you perform a lookup using the prospector, you use up a credit. If you need more credits, they can be added in increments of 100 for an additional $10 per month.
One thing to be aware of is that these credits expire at the end of each month.
Both Capsule and Nimble provide import tools that make importing data pretty straightforward. You simply map your existing database’s fields across to the CRM equivalents.
In terms of the types of file you can upload, both platforms allow you to import CSV data, Outlook contacts, Google contacts and LinkedIn contacts; Nimble is a bit more flexible however, because it also allows you to import some social contacts (Twitter) and import your mobile phone contacts.
Both Capsule and Nimble allow you to export data easily — you just select the records you’d like to export (using filters etc.) and hit an export button.
In Capsule, you get access to your file immediately; Nimble by contrast emails it to you, meaning you may occasionally have to wait a little while to receive your data. The upside of Nimble’s approach however is that it is slightly better from a data protection point of view.
One thing that is worth flagging up with Nimble’s approach to exports involves tags: the way that Nimble outputs the tags you have added to your records is less than ideal. In its export file, Nimble provides you with a series of columns named Tag 1, Tag 2, Tag 3 etc. – all containing different tags. This makes filtering based on tag in another package — for example Microsoft Excel — really difficult (a workaround would be to concatenate fields manually…but it’s messy!).
Capsule takes a better approach, providing one tag field which contains all your tags separated by comma, making it easier to filter your data based on tag.
In my view however, both products could benefit from re-thinking how they output tags — it would be better to output a column per tag (for example, ‘Tag_Age’, ‘Tag_Source’, ‘Tag_Interest’ etc.) and populate this with a true or false flag. This would make manipulation and analysis of your data much easier outside the CRM environment.
Let’s move on now to discuss email tracking.
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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 many other CRM apps too) – 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 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 a Google Apps, Office 365 or IMAP 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 (such as emails to your granny), but you can go into a contact’s record and remove unnecessary communications manually if need be.
On balance, I feel Nimble’s approach represents 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.
Nimble used to market itself as a ‘social CRM’ because originally, it provided users with a ‘unified inbox’ containing a complete history of communications with contacts across several social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn).
The unified inbox used to work great, because you could manage not only emails in it but social messages on key networks like Facebook and LinkedIn too…but in 2015, Facebook and LinkedIn stopped providing Nimble with access to messaging, rendering Nimble’s unified inbox far less functional.
These days, Nimble users can see emails and Twitter communications in the unified inbox; handy, I suppose, to have both sets of messages in one place, but not exactly mind blowing.
That said, Nimble does still try to integrate social networks into proceedings as much as possible.
First, where possible Nimble still uses social media to provide you with a ‘smart summary’ of your contacts – this is based on information that is publicly available on social profiles, and gives you useful biographical details like current job, education, location, website and more.
Furthermore (and as discussed above) you can use its ‘smart contacts’ app to get real-time information on contacts as you come across them on social media, and add their details to your Nimble account.
Capsule does provide some social media integration too but it’s rather basic – if it identifies 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.
Capsule definitely outperforms Nimble when it comes task management.
Both solutions allow you to create tasks and assign them to team members or deals — but in Capsule, you can set up something called ‘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
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. This is really useful functionality, and as things stand, Nimble doesn’t offer anything comparable in nature — so Capsule is a winner here.
G Suite and Office 365 integration
Both Capsule and Nimble offer a G Suite integration.
Capsule allows you to sync contacts from Capsule to G Suite, but not the other way round; sync-is one-way only. If you want two-way sync between G Suite and Capsule contacts, you’ll need to make use of a third-party tool like Pie Sync. This will involve an additional fee, however.
In terms of calendars, you can view your Capsule task calendar in G Suite, but any appointments will need to be added within Capsule — again, sync is one way only.
Nimble scores considerably better on the G Suite integration front.
First, calendar sync is two way and you can view all your calendars within Nimble.
Second, you can append Google Drive files to records — for example, you can link a Google Document or Sheet to a lead or client’s record. However, the contact sync works the same way as Capsule (i.e., you’ll need to use a third-party tool like Pie Sync to get two-way sync).
Finaly, both Nimble and Capsule provide ‘add-ons’ to Gmail which allow you to add contacts directly to each system from within Gmail. They also allow you to view any stored information about those contacts without leaving the G Suite environment.
Nimble beats Capsule easily when it comes to its integration for Microsoft 365, providing you with two-way calendar sync, an add-on for Outlook 365, the ability to link OneDrive files to records and an integration with Microsoft Dynamics. Capsule doesn’t yet provide any of this.
Contact sync between Nimble and Office 365 is still one-way however, unless you use Pie Sync or a similar tool to facilitate two-way sync.
Although there are some workarounds you can use to connect Capsule to Microsoft 365 — using third-party sync tools — ultimately Nimble is a better fit for those wishing to use a low-cost CRM in conjunction with Microsoft’s productivity suite.
One environment for everything?
Some 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 / Microsoft 365
you can send and receive email from within Nimble
you can use Twitter within Nimble
it grabs publicly available information from social networks such as LinkedIn to provide you with biographical details about your contacts
its ‘Prospector’ app and enrichment credits allow you get additional lead contact information (phone numbers, email addresses etc.) that you might not have
One flaw in Nimble’s ‘one-stop-shop’ workspace 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. Sadly this takes away from Nimble’s claim to give you a singular overview of everything.
Another annoying aspect of the Nimble inbox (where Gmail is concerned at least – I haven’t tried it with other email providers) is that it’s not refreshed as frequently as your main inbox, making it a bit unsuitable for anything time-sensitive.
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 ‘one workspace’ offering is better than Capsule’s (but there are improvements which could definitely be made to its inbox).
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 stats on open rates.
With both systems however, you are sending email via your own email SMTP, so send limits apply (these vary depending on your provider).
For very large mailouts, it’s best to use a dedicated e-marketing solution — and both Capsule and Nimble offer integrations with Mailchimp.
Alternatively, you could consider using a CRM tool that provides email marketing functionality out of the box — a good option is Hubspot, which also offers a very functional free version of its software.
Support desk functionality
Capsule is considerably better than Nimble if your business requirements include running a support desk.
For a start, its ‘cases’ functionality, which allows can actually serve as a simple support desk out of the box; and it also integrates with the popular Zendesk system easily too if you require enhanced helpdesk functionality.
And Capsule’s ‘tracks’ feature allows you to standardise the steps your team take when dealing with an enquiry from a lead or client.
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.
So overall, a definite win for Capsule CRM in this area.
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.
Both products also give you a nice ‘drag and drop’ interface which allows you to move opportunities along a sales pipeline as a project progresses.
However, in Nimble, you also get the opportunity to create multiple custom sales pipelines, which is useful for companies that need a lot of bespoke pipelines for different project types.
When it comes to reporting, Capsule performs considerably better than Nimble. Whereas reporting in Nimble CRM focuses exclusively on sales pipelines and forecasting, Capsule allows you to zoom in on metrics relating to
staff activity (calls, meetings etc.)
The reports produced by Capsule are graphical in nature (see example below) and the charts and statistics produced by its reporting dashboard are clear and attractive.
Additionally, you can connect Capsule to Google’s Data Studio, which opens up a wealth of custom reporting opportunities.
It’s important to note however that you will need to be on a paid-for Capsule plan to unlock reporting functionality.
Ease of use
Capsule is arguably easier to use than Nimble – but that’s probably because it (on the whole) 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.
Neither platform as yet provides a responsive interface yet though — although if you want to use either tool on a small screen, there’s always the option of using a mobile app. And speaking of which…
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 in nature, allowing you to
sync contacts from your smartphone to the CRM
Nimble’s app also allows you to scan business cards and add contact details from them directly into the CRM.
You can achieve the same results with the Capsule app, but you’ll need to use a separate business card scanner app in conjunction with it to do so.
Capsule’s customer support is via email or Twitter during UK office hours, Monday to Friday. It’s easy to access this support — you just click the ‘support’ link on the Capsule website, where you’ll find a button that links to a contact form.
If you want to get support from Nimble, you have to go through a few more hoops.
First, you have to search for an answer to your problem. Then you have to read all the information provided, and if you are still stuck, you are finally provided with an email address for the support desk (you can also try your luck with a ‘Nimble Bot’ chat window). It’s not clear on the website what hours Nimble support is available.
I have had relatively little personal experience of support from either company — what I have received was reasonably good however. What I do think Nimble could do however is make the contact details for the support desk more easily accessible, and be more transparent about the hours that support is available.
Capsule vs Nimble: the verdict
Both Capsule and Nimble are good CRM options for SMEs. Capsule is a bit better for those on a low budget — it’s $18 ‘Professional’ plan comes in $7 per month cheaper than Nimble’s (if you’re paying monthly).
Capsule is also better for users for whom task management is a priority — its ‘tracks’ and ‘cases’ make task management much more effective and even let you run a basic helpdesk system out of the box.
Nimble integrates considerably better with Gmail and Office 365 however, and because it scrapes information from the web about contacts, it’s better for those who want to get more detailed, third-party information about leads and clients.
Nimble also manages communciations history better.
Below you’ll find a summary of the key reasons why you might want to pick one of these products over the other.
Reasons to use Capsule over Nimble
It’s a bit cheaper.
It allows you to run a basic helpdesk using its ‘cases’ functionality.
Its reporting functionality is considerably better.
Its ‘tracks’ functionality has the potential to significantly improve workflow — as yet, Nimble does not provide similar functionality.
It’s arguably a bit easier to use.
It exports tags in a more logical way than Nimble.
An entirely free version is available.
Reasons to use Nimble over Capsule
Its social media functionality is more comprehensive.
It is not necessary to BCC contacts to add a record of an email communication to Nimble.
Sync between G Suite and Nimble is 2 way for calendars; same goes for Office 365.
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.
It provides an official integration with Office 365.
The Prospector App is extremely useful in providing context about contacts.
It provides more functional group messaging.
You can try Nimble for free for 14 days here.
Free trials — and alternatives to Capsule and Nimble
As ever, we suggest that you try out both products before committing. Capsule offers an entirely free plan; Nimble offers a 14-day free trial (which I have found can be extended if you contact their support team).
If you’re looking for an alternative CRM tool, there are a host of good CRM platforms available aimed at small businesses — examples include Infusionsoft, Zoho and Salesforce.
However, they tend to be a bit more expensive, and not too many offer an entirely free plan like Capsule’s — Hubspot being a notable exception.
Hubspot’s free plan comes with some built-in email marketing tools too, which many users will find helpful; you can avail of the free Hubspot plan here.