Nine Nutshell features we stole from our customers

Seven years ago, we introduced Nutshell: a new CRM with several big ideas.

We understood a handful of the challenges sales teams face, and set off to solve them. Along the way, feedback from our customers revealed even more challenges that we didn’t consider. That’s why so many of the best Nutshell features were inspired by suggestions from our own customers.

As Paul Graham put it, spending the time to delight individual customers doesn’t scale, but it’s a total necessity if you hope to build a product that people actually want to use—especially in a startup’s formative years.

Here are nine popular Nutshell features that didn’t exist until our customers asked for them.

One-click account backup

When Nutshell was a fledgling company, a lot of our customers were (naturally) worried about the stability of our business. To ease their concerns, we added a one-click “export everything” feature so users could back up their information at any time. After all, it’s your data, not ours.

Spreadsheet-inspired lists

While spreadsheets work fine for individuals managing their sales efforts, they’re terrible when it comes to sharing. Still, a lot of people seem to like them, so we embraced our customers’ comfort with spreadsheets and designed our lead lists with familiar rows and columns, plus filtering and sorting right out of Excel.

No matter how you’re used to working, we want to make the transition to Nutshell as easy as possible.

Duplicate finder

Few things cause more confusion for CRM users than duplicate contacts. When we launched, our duplicate detector simply pointed out when you were looking at somebody who might be in Nutshell twice.

Our customers asked us to think bigger: We got countless requests from Nutshell users who wanted to find all possible duplicates at once, rather than one at a time. Now you can hit the “Duplicates” box in People/Custom fields, and Nutshell will put every offending record in a list, for quick and easy cleanup.

Lead cloning

For companies that have recurring or renewing opportunities with the same client, re-creating a lead over and over again can be aggravating. It took a suggestion from David Higbie at Modelon for us to recognize that common pain point, and create a lead cloning tool that begins the process again, for the next renewal.

Minimizing data entry is the most helpful thing we can do for sales reps, so we’re thrilled to offer this feature for businesses that sell repeatedly to customers.

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Reporting on individual product lines

Our friends and neighbors at Arbormetrix originally requested this feature after they kept getting asked for breakdowns of revenue by product line during board meetings. It was exciting to learn that our customers were using Nutshell to present to their boards, and one of our investors suggested that we dig in to find a solution.

The resulting feature gives users the ability to quickly see the revenue each of their product types is generating within the sales report—a very useful addition for businesses that have more sophisticated product and service lines.

Calling and emailing from the dashboard

Any time we can save our customers a few clicks, it’s a cause for celebration. Thanks to suggestions from Ryan Hartsell at Oxford Partners and Dave Guernsey at Stacks Data, we added the ability to send emails and place phone calls (via Nutshell Pro’s click-to-call feature) directly from the Dashboard, rather than clicking into contact records first.

Negative filtering

We designed our filters so that our users could find things like “leads from Google Adwords” or “sales over $1,000.” But if you wanted to know “leads that didn’t come from a trade show” or “leads in our Midwest territory that are not owned by my sales rep Jacob Smith,” it required a lot of unnecessary legwork.

Having an “is not” option while filtering companies, people, and leads gives our users another way to find what they need quickly. Special thanks to Mark Noeker at Thermal-Tec and Tannus Quatre at Vantage Clinical Solutions for bringing this one to our attention.

Email attachments

One of our most frequently requested features, this recent addition gives users the ability to attach files to emails sent from Nutshell, and automatically imports email attachments from synced and BCC’ed emails, letting you accomplish more within your CRM without having to switch between programs.

More lead creation options for Zapier

Connecting Nutshell with Zapier allows you to automatically complete actions such as creating people and leads, and performing contact searches. Our customers let us know that they wanted more automation beyond simply creating the lead, so we made it possible for multiple types of important lead information to sync to Nutshell.

Now, data such as which pipeline the lead should be in, what competitors they’re checking out, and which market gets the opportunity can be added without any extra work—which lets salespeople focus more on closing the deal than hunting down information in multiple systems.

Honorable mention: Individual activities by lead

This was actually a request by us, since we use Nutshell to manage our own sales activities and customer relationships. We wanted to look at individual sales and understand the typical number of calls and demos that lead to each one, but didn’t have an easy way of doing that.

The most interesting thing we learned from this new feature? When one of our trial users calls in to our support team, there’s a 50% chance they’ll become a customer!

Got an idea for a game-changing Nutshell feature? Add your suggestions in our community forum, or give us a shout on twitter!

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