Steve Dotto here. Today, I thought we’d
take a look at using Gmail as you’re CRM, as your customer relationship management application.
This isn’t obviously corporate-wide CRM. This is boutique CRM for small individuals
or small companies, entrepreneurs, that sort of thing.
The genesis of this particular demo came this week on our radio show. I had Todd Maffin
on. Todd is a Canadian semi-celebrity. He hosts radio programs and is a technology expert.
Todd told me that he lives in Gmail, uses a variety of add-ons, and feels like he has
full CRM functionality with the different tools that he uses. That got me thinking.
Let’s take a look at some of Todd’s tools and a few other tools and see if I can’t
come up with a system that might work for us.
I have here my Gmail account. Before you start busting my chops over having a big, full Inbox—I’ve
got 3,000 messages in my Inbox—this is not my main business email account. This is my
demo account and my personal account that I use for this sort of stuff, allow people
to see into it occasionally so the fact that my Inbox isn’t at zero isn’t really that
big a deal. This account can lie dormant for days and even weeks at a time in between me
doing demos so don’t bust my chops too much. Let’s take a look at some of the tools that
I found that we can add on. Some of these tools are native within Gmail itself and other
ones we add on to Gmail to add some extra functionality. You can see if you take a look
at my Menu bar, you can see that I’ve got a few additional items that you probably don’t
have when you open Gmail and run it. Those are the additions that give us our CRM capability.
Let’s take a look at how they work and how they fit.
I’m just going into one of the emails here. Now we can see my email window. I’ve got
a lot of extra different options. The first one, one that came directly from Todd, is
what really got us started on the whole conversation. It’s called Boomerang. You can install Boomerang
and as you send or reply to email it allows you to select an action as based on that email,
on how long it takes for something with that email. He tells me if he sends an email to
somebody with a suggestion or a request, he asks Boomerang to return that to his Inbox
if nobody responds within x amount of time. He says if I haven’t heard back from a week,
make this send my original email back into my Inbox so that I see it because I’m always
scanning my Inbox, and when I see it I’m reminded. It’s kind of like an automatic
tickler file to create a reminder. You can create automatically repeating emails that
will repeat every week if you want to use it as a reminder system or in this case, as
a system that will help remind you of an item that you’re dealing with, with an individual.
That’s Boomerang, Moving on into the email window within Gmail,
we see that I’ve got a variety of new options that have been installed or new items that
have been installed in my browser. Many of those come from this Active Inbox Plus, which
I have installed. This provides an awful lot of different tools for managing our Gmail
account. Active Inbox is really reasonably priced, $25 a year, and they will allow you
to turn emails into tasks, add projects, and allow you to add notes, which I’ll show
you in a few moments which I really like. These are all the free tools. Then they have
the premium tools including adding notes, storing those notes, and also integrating
them with your other services as well as a backup system. So it is a nice, simple, elegant
add-on to Gmail that really does increase your productivity using Gmail.
Let’s take a look at a few of the different tools here. We see them itemized here in some
of these different bars. This one here I really like, the ability to go into an email and
add notes to that conversation. I can store those notes attached to the email, not inside
the email but attached to the email. I can make notes about a conversation we’re having,
reminders, and that sort of thing. I’ve got those additional notes available to me.
That alone is probably worth $25 a month. This is another feature which I absolutely
love within this tool, the ability to take an email and export it to my Google calendar.
By exporting the email to my Google calendar, then I’m reminded that I have to do something
with that email on that date. It becomes an item in my calendar. That’s something that
I really miss in the Web 2.0 world that I have to use in the Outlook world. That adds
that functionality which I really like. As far as organizing and structuring your
email as it comes in, using different folders and tags is the way that we want to do that
but they within the Active Inbox Plus, they’ve added some nice interface tools that allow
us to sort things very quickly. Now if I take a look here at my Folders, you can see that
I’ve got these different folders, and you’ve got this right within Gmail.
Here’s a trick that really works well. You see how these folders here have the little
exclamation mark before them? That makes them an item here within the Menus. So if I wanted
to add a new folder that I use a lot, let’s say I’m often tracking speaking engagements
and work that I have to do around speaking—I’ve got one there that’s called Speaking—I’m
going to create a new one with an exclamation point first. Look at what happens here when
I go back into my email. I now have Speaking as a button that I can just click on so I
can move any email that I’m reading into my Speaking folder just by clicking on it
here. That’s a great way of adding some extra structure to your email life.
The last tool that we’re going to look at, of the three tools designed to take Gmail
and make it the ultimate boutique CRM tool, is a simple little utility called Write That
Name. This is just a darn cute tool. What it does is it takes each of our emails, monitors
us replying to emails, and every time we reply to an email, it checks that email address
and it makes sure we have them in my address book. It’s just simple. We all spend a few
minutes a day probably taking email addresses from people who sent us an email that we want
to add and save into our Address Book, put in their name and company, adding some extra
information so that we can find them when we need to email them at some point in the
future instead of searching through our Inbox or something like that.
Write That Name just does that and a little bit more. It actually searches through the
entire email, tries to find all the different contact information within that email, and
then it moves it into your Google Address Book. It’s reasonably priced. They have
a free plan which starts at ten new contacts per month, which doesn’t sound like a lot.
But think about your Address Book. Think about how many new addresses you actually add to
your Address Book per month and ten is probably a good starting point. You can try it out
for free. If you like it, you can upgrade to the $35
a year plan which will allow you to add 300 new people, which are quite a few new people.
You can make it work on a few different accounts as well if you have the Premium account, if
you have multiple Gmail accounts like I do. I have my real business account and then I
have this one that I use for demo purposes. So the Premium account might be just the thing
that I need. This is just a really good practice to always have email address of people you
respond to or reply captured, making sure you have the email addresses of the people
you who you actually engage in. I am not 1000% convinced that Gmail in a browser
works as a full feature CRM but it does provide us with some of the different functionality
that we look for. If you make it work within your system, like my friend Todd, it might
just be a tool that works spectacularly for you.
I hope you’ll enjoyed this video and found it useful. If you have, please give us some
props. Click on like and let people know that our videos are good. Don’t forget you can
subscribe to all the Dotto Tech videos. We produce about one per week. I’m Steve Dotto.
Thanks for spending some time with me today. [END OF VIDEO]
Steve Dotto0Gmail as CRM Solution 0March 26, 2013 Page 2 of 3