Using Gmail as a Simple CRM Tool

For individuals and small teams that may not require the collaboration and power of or the many other CRM solutions on the market, you can retain speed, simplicity and discipline with your sales and relationships using Gmail and G Suite.

Much of the efficiency of using Gmail as a CRM comes from habits and process. You can read some of those on a resource such as note taking and on productivity.

If you want to manage relationships well and sell more, here are some questions to consider:

Setting Up Your Google Contacts for Sales Pipeline Management

Your Google Contacts is a powerful address book that has so many benefits:

  • You can search your contacts quickly for results
  • It syncs with your smartphone
  • You can keep notes about the people you meet in the contact notes
  • You can set up contact labels for grouping types of people
  • Anyone you email can be added automatically
  • There is associated email history

When you are seeking to maintain sales, then you want to set up two key labels:

  1. Customers/Clients – These are people you are servicing right now
  2. Deals – These are people you are working to make a deal with

Number these to put the labels at the top of the list of labels you may use.

Gmail Sales Labels.png

You want to label any Contacts with these identifiers to add them to the filtered list view.

Then, every week, be sure to update the lists and review them for next actions as part of your weekly checklist.

You can also add a third label called “Nurture” to keep track of people you want to touch base with once a month because they can:

… do business with you someday

… refer you to someone that can do business with you

… is a center of influence (a person who is working with your prospective customers)

Using these lists, you can review them for taking action.

Starred Contacts for Adding Value

On a weekly basis, either on Fridays or Mondays, review your lists – Customers, Deals and Nurture – and star the contacts you want to touch base with during the week:

starred contacts.png

This is a simple way of tagging a contact for action. This places the contacts at the top of your contacts view. When you have made a touch – email, phone call, meeting, text, social post, etc. – you can unstar the contact. You have completed the touch.

This is a weekly ritual. As a rule, you should touch:

Customers once a week

Deals once a week

Nurture once every month or quarter

The important thing is that you are adding real value to a person and not interrupting or annoying them.

Your Google Contacts is a way to review and keep the important relationships front and center for your follow-up.

On Adding Value

People are looking for value. You have to be a person of value so customers and prospects want to deal with you. They don’t have to deal with you.

Think about what is important to the person you reach out to. Think about not interrupting them and the communication or gesture you provide really helps them.

Helping people solve their problems is extremely high value.

You can share your knowledge, your network and your compassion to truly help people solve their problems. What you know can be valuable. Who you know can be valuable. Caring can be connection.

It has to be genuine. You have to care and be a problem solver.

If you want to get some coaching on your sales process and how to add value, feel free to fill out the form above.

Use Gmail to Document Everything

Many CRM’s have a way to log a call, capture notes or create information on your conversations, actions and decisions.

A much simpler approach is to develop the discipline of taking notes, emailing people you interact with and search the person or the keywords in your Gmail when you need to find something.

Gmail’s search capabilities are ridiculously fast and easier to find past information by simply remembering keywords and searching.

It’s the same approach you use when you are Googling anything you want to find. Your email archive is gold. It remembers things for you.

After meetings, I like to send what was discussed, any decisions and then next steps and action items in numbered lists. This creates immense clarity.

Furthermore, when you open your respective contact’s record in Google Contacts, you can go to the bottom of their record and see Interactions – all the emails exchanged between you.

Google Contacts Interactions.png

Email is a record and you can use it to store information.

Think about someone who pops up months later. Maybe they fizzled out in a conversation but now they need something from you. You can simply Gmail search them or look up your interactions to see what you last spoke about or explored. Immediate context to help you think about how to grow the relationship or deal.

Gmail as a Simple CRM

We live in our email and it is how deals get done. You can use your Gmail as described above with a regular process and discipline to keep important conversations going and developing relationships with timeliness. You can manage your pipeline this way.

If people are no longer a customer, deal or nurture relationship, simply remove their label.

Your Gmail search abilities allow you to look up anyone that comes back into your focus quickly and easily.

You can focus on relationship building and have powerful, yet simple CRM structure in the daily grind and speed of doing business.

There are other strategies such as reminders, tracking and conversation sharing that can also be implemented to help drive relationships and conversations.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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