For years I’ve wanted software companies to show their screens on their sites. It should be Rule #1 in any guide on “How to Market Software.” Instead, they get in the way—with lots of words . . . cute graphics . . . faceless-people illustrations . . . and stock photos. But we are buying a tool—and a quick glance at the screen will tell us almost immediately if we want to start using the software. Right? Right!
So I was very, very pleased to see what Nimble is doing on their site. They are selling software the right way.
First, look at this home page.
The first question people ask when they come to your site is, “Have I come to the right place?” It’s almost a subconscious question, asked in a fraction of a second.
This banner is brilliant. The copy doesn’t beat around the bush or bore us with stock photos. It says: “This is what we’re selling and these are the two environments it works with.”
The customer’s buying process is a series of questions. We should be answering the most important questions first. But we often don’t; instead, we show off our snappy slogan or breast-beating claim.
Too many software sellers bury the most important answer (which environments this software works with) somewhere deep down in the copy. Much like manufacturers of physical objects do when selling products online; the dimensions are always ridiculously difficult to find.
Asking for the order
So the first question is answered right away: Will this work with my current systems? Now what’s the next thing a software buyer wants to know? Whether they can get their hands on the program and try it for themselves.
Nimble gets it right again. Just below the headline on this banner is a wonderful green button that says: “Try Nimble Free.” And, just below the “Enter your email” box, two other important questions are answered: “Immediate access. No credit card needed.”
How many times have you been frustrated when clicking on a “Try It” button, only to find that you have to fill out a long form giving the company all sorts of information about yourself, and, even worse, after hitting the “Submit” button, the next screen that says you will be contacted by a salesperson?
Promise made, promise broken.
Now you’re sorry you gave them all that information, and you still haven’t seen what the software can do. They are herding you down their selling process and ignoring your buying process. They are getting what they want without giving you what you want. When that salesperson does call, she’s going to have a very hard time engaging with you, because you’ve already been disappointed and misled.
Back to Nimble. Yes, you can try it free right after you arrive at the home page, if you want to, which is really great. Nimble is asking for the order without asking for the order. They are giving you the chance to try this software now, if you want.
However, if you aren’t quite ready to take that step, right below that step is a big screen shot, which we can see below the banner. Before we get to that juicy part, though, let’s take a look at that subhead, which answers yet another Super Important Question: “How easy will this be to set up?”
Their promise: “Skip the set-up. Nimble is the only CRM that builds itself for you.” That’s intriguing. How on earth can a CRM build itself? So now you are curious. And relieved. Because software, in spite of all the enthusiastic promises to the contrary, can be a royal pain to set up.
Everyone knows that. Everyone has had problems getting some software program to work. Admittedly, those running Windows have more problems than those running the Apple programs; as our family tech support, I refuse to have any Windows products in our house. And yes, cloud-based software has made software setup so much easier. Integration with other programs? Ha. That’s another snake pit, especially when you’re talking about CRMs.
But I digress. Suffice it to say that software buyers are very skeptical, due to their own personal experience.
Let’s get to those screenshots.
These screen shots are big. Big enough to see what’s actually going on. You can scroll through using the forward and back arrows, or you can click on one of the copy clumps to the left. They’ve even made it interactively fun.
When you mouse over one of the clumps, it’s highlighted, with a fun dashed-line border.
Click on it, and the little vertical line to the left of the sales phrase slides down to the phrase you just selected and the next screen appears.
They’ve added a little bit of copy explaining what you’re looking at, which, because the screen is so large overall, doesn’t get too much in the way. They should have capitalized Outlook in that blue rectangle, but no matter. They’re still answering your questions.
This is truly the best example I’ve ever seen of a software program actually selling their software. Software is, after all, two things: Screens, and what users can do using those screens. How refreshing that the company got out of the way and let us see for ourselves.
As we keep scrolling, the next bit below the screens provides proof of popularity: a row of easily-recognized logos.
And, to make it more personal, and even more convincing, they then show all the numbers and drop some Very Big Names.
And, in case you will go to those application rating sites to see what real customers think, they show tiles for Capterra, GetApp, and G2 Crowd:
Then, once again, they invite you to Try Nimble Free:
As excellent as all this is, they do need to clean up a few bits. Their chatbot thinks my name is “null.” If they don’t have my name yet, it should just say “Hi.”
And a follow-up email I got from “Megan at Nimble” (positive points for sending one!) called me “null” again.
Of course, “null” actually means “invalid,” or, for techies, “a zero.” So this is definitely a program error—not great, considering this is a CRM program that sends out emails, and this is not an error that an email-sending system company should make.
But they sure got the home page right, with a solid understanding of how people buy software. Bravo!